Why I Love Asynchronous Communication (a.k.a. Emails)

I love to write, and emails are a breath of fresh air.

No editing.
No fancy words.
No issues over length.
No need for profundity.

It has been almost five years since I left Bell Mobility to pursue a career in marketing, and one thing that has drastically changed is how often I communicate via email.

I miss the simplicity of it all.
I miss reaching out to my clients daily.
I miss the back-and-forth motion that builds connection.

At Bell, I had so many great relationships; I used email to build better ones along the way. It was just so damn efficient. Templates allowed the writing to take shape quickly. In mere minutes, I was sending off concise and compelling messages. Over and over again. Each email was re-read once, at most twice, and then sent so I could continue to the next case. It was a beautiful workflow, and it was all supported by Salesforce.

The strategy behind it? Starting, stopping, continuing. Perpetually. The true definition of email really—asynchronous. This is also marketing. For a later topic!

And by the way, I am trying to write more like Seth Godin. Also, finding my way back to my university days. My favourite professor and mentor, Paul Woodrow, graded an essay I wrote on the fallacies of Coca-Cola, commenting in tiny writing and bright green ink, “Swift and punchy, Chona!”

So begets my email manifesto –

I will always try to write swift and punchy. 

If I can remember to, that is.

Alas, I have a pop quiz for y’all.

I want you to decide which entry below is authentic, meaning not edited. And which one is “fake”, as in completely and utterly revised from its original style + tone.

How can you tell?
What gives it away?
Which is written better?

Ah, so many questions to ponder, but if only we had more time.

Off to bed, now, enjoy the exercise!

Entry 1

For all my years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, some of my fondest memories included writing emails. I loved how fluid and uncomplicated it was to craft messages on the spot without spending copious amounts of time editing. I would not mind working on some ideas to “wow” our current and prospective customers with something easy to read, memorable, and impactful!

Entry 2

I spent many years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, crafting friendly and professional emails. I thought it was so exciting (yup, I love communication!) to be able to write something on the spot that didn’t require any editing. It’s an art form really. Would love to work on some ideas to incorporate more emails into how we communicate with our customers.

It’s Time!

(A poem about AI or conversely celebrating My New Job)

As cryptic as it may be, the time has arrived.

Surprise!” it squeals with utter delight.

After all that hard work, you’ve finally made it here.

I’m ready. She’s ready. She’s finally prepared!

“Where are you going?” it asks quizzically.

Well, I am headed toward reality.

It’s bursting at the seam from being grappled for so long.

I’ve been waiting, hankering, perfecting my song.

“Do you know where you’re going?” it asks once again.

Well, I certainly have an idea. The spot is a delight. Filled with smiling faces, happy circumstances and scenarios of hard work.

“Well, welcome home then, I suppose!” it pats my back congratulatorily.

Why, thank you, my friend! Now, let’s pencil this in!

A little explanation:

On Monday, March 14th, 2022, I had a wicked phone interview that started with a compliment about the same content you’ve been passionately reading here on ChonaBLOX. Swiftly, I was scheduled super bright and early the next day, Tuesday, March 15th, 2022, to meet the CEO and Operations Manager of Clearbridge Business Solutions. I walked away from that interview, thinking I had done horribly. And as I arrived at work, I furiously texted my husband, saying, “Man, I’m worried. I don’t think I did that well.” But it turns out I did because I received a phone call within minutes saying they wanted to offer me the job! So, it’s done. I’m starting a new journey with my new company, Clearbridge. So excited! This is going to be a lifetime experience. Can’t wait to get started!

What’s new with you guys? Drop me a line anytime!

Formation

The oldest turns into a ghost. And she writes –

It’s weird how important points in life can become permanent as art—written in 2018. In other words, it can feel like the universe has swallowed me up, and I have become a planet—experienced as a child and adult. So big, my sight became distorted—on the drive into work. I would look at my bedroom door, and its imposition startled me—the nightmare. I tried to comfort myself by huddling underneath the blankets, but they too swallowed me whole—while dreaming. It was and still is the most alarming thing I have ever experienced.

What is the fear factor? The risk that you will not change. The fault of your pursuits. The question of your intentions. We form who we are based upon who we’ve been and are set on a continuous quest to find and form a new self. These pieces have formed me for a small portion of time, yet they are timeless, ongoing representations of growth and quiescence. My art is my refuge. How do you relate?

A Design Thinking Process

I’m no design wizard, but I have an eye for harmony and style!

These images were created as draft ads for a publication. They are not final but simply an example of my design strategy at work.

What strategy is that, you ask?

Well, for a multitude of reasons, there is always a small group of work that stands the test of time. I hold on to these works, for I know they will come in handy later.

And so, I found some old designs used to create our persona project Facebook ads and decided (ever-so-decidedly) that they were appropriate to appropriate (see what I did there) for this particular task.

So alas, using my trusted canvas called Canva, I copied the design in the new dimensions and spent about 2 hours iterating upon iteration, if that could be a thing!

So, what are your thoughts? Which one speaks to you the most? Which one do you think the team went with? Let me know!

Agtech Career Series

I am so passionate about educational marketing. It inspires me to look beyond the standard expectations of my role. For this project, I tried to situate myself in the mind of a teenager reading a presentation about a job in farming. It’s so much more than that though. It’s igniting their energy with thoughtful and calculated design. It’s creating flawless headlines and engaging copy that will leave them fascinated and motivated. More urgently, it’s about arming that younger generation with the knowledge to pursue a rewarding career in an ever-growing and transitioning industry.

Our primary call-to-action invokes us to – farm smart start today. We’ll provide you with the education and the technology to succeed. To change your operation for the better. To help the planet survive. So let’s band together and fill each other with hope to prepare ourselves to fight with our minds and hearts to beat global problems like a growing population, food waste, and climate change.

I hope to participate in more projects like this in the future and maybe even join the classroom for some face-to-face interaction and hands-on teaching!

Read more about the project I launched here. Alongside a blog series, these are the assets I designed for the students:

And here are the blog graphics that were used to complement the content. I mimicked a rainbow effect because the colours of a rainbow positively impact our brains, affecting emotions, mental clarity, and energy levels. We all know long nights of studying could take advantage of a rainbow or two!

But Local First Facebook Ad

The ‘support local’ movement is a force driving change worldwide. It moves people to want to purchase fresh, healthy products from farmers. It creates a connection between shoppers, where we can ignite conversations to examine how we’re doing our part and why it’s so important. Products are showing up more readily and in places where you least expect to see them. Overall, there is a feeling of togetherness, kindness, and open-mindedness that helps promote awareness and captures the interest of new, existing, and prospective customers.

I wanted to create a fun digital ad that spoke to the nature of the ‘support local’ concept, one that explores options (expressed using a carousel format), eliminates predisposition (articulated in the ad copy), and ultimately grants us the ability to choose (the call-to-action ‘but local first’) – take action (decide what you want to eat for breakfast) or take action through inspiration (are your eggs local? Well, you can get them laid the same day of delivery! How awesome is that!). The inspiration trickles through in a matter of seconds affecting all those involved (conveyed through various images, colours, animation, and the image of a family). As individuals watching the ad, we feel more attuned to thinking about what’s on our plates, how it got there, where it comes from, and why our consumption habits can negatively or positively impact the planet. The focus remains on the following values –

Support local

Empower people

Help the planet

Grow the community

What are your thoughts on this ad? If I could make one change, I would use a graphic of a globe in place of the farming graphic (at the end of the video). Does it speak to you and make you feel empowered to support local? Let me know your thoughts; open to discussing with you!

Food for Thought

We all wonder about things, everyday things, that lead us to research and ponder.

For example, are you starting a new diet? Curious about trying fresh, healthy food? Just nosy about the history of something? Well, these graphics will satiate you.

The #AllAbout campaign explores a variety of fresh, local, and healthy products, giving customers the chance to learn something new in a colourful and digestible way. As part of an ongoing strategy to define the tagline #TrulyFarmtoTable, I explicitly position an image at the bottom of a newsletter, like my brother Alan would say when we were kids eating dinner at the dinner table –

“The Ultimate” a.k.a. the last bite.

It satisfies and perfectly wraps up the meal (conversely idea) (metaphorically conversation).

Are you munching on words or proverbial nuggets or just vegan nuggets?

Well, these images will work in the same way! Once again, satisfying and perfectly wrapping up your dinner.

Another analogy – who didn’t chew Bazooka bubble gum only to unwrap the tiny comic folded neatly on the inside? Take it apart. Pop the pink gum. Immediately unravel the humorous reward.

It’s a ritual in a sense, and these graphics were indeed a ritual to create. So, I hope you enjoy them and that they will entice you to…Munsch!

Instagram Grid Layouts

grid, which features multiple images split into a visually appealing frame, is one way to brand your business on Instagram. 

Three benefits (that connect in the end) – 

  • Command attention: make a lasting first impression; if a viewer’s average attention span is about eight seconds, they will have some time to absorb what you have to present to them.
  • Stand out: imprint your audience’s mind with a quick taste of your identity; give them immediate access to your information and interests while establishing credibility and authority.
  • Tell a targeted story: communicate who you are to your existing and potential followers while stimulating emotions, and on a practical side, organizing the layout of your images into a narrative.

I created these grids when reviewing the masses of content I have made over the past year for DirectFood. store’s email marketing strategy (a whole other topic on its own). I like how the colours and shapes seem to speak to one another, and the creative copy helps deliver a message in tune with the selected graphics and photographs.

If you like this sort of work, let me know. I’m happy to share more impromptu design posts here for you!

11 – Tripping

Daisy was always looking for inspiration, the appearance of cursive writing or the look of a padded, bulky knit sweater featuring crimson and indigo animal characters like Filburt. Anything creative, really, would do.

The day she noticed something, she quizzically peered into a bathroom mirror, hoping because she was in the large stall, her sweater would reverse. 

Utterly distracted, Daisy made a note never to do it again.

“My progress has become insuperable from all the months of writing exact-sized phrases and headlines with five words or less.” Daisy thought fast while twiddling her phone in her hand.

“Have things changed in A Day? What were things like when I first started anyhow?” she thought. “Well, I was definitely more satisfied. Had a bounce to my step, could care less about the matchy-ness of my outfits. I also felt more powerful, like people were listening to me, learning from me, and so on.”

Stroking her phone, Daisy continued, “However, today, everything is an exercise—an exercise in recalling (all types included).” Distracted, she goes on, “I have great hair, and my skin is young, it seems. On that note, ageing has not necessarily imparted more wisdom or money in my purse.”

She was always digressing.

Back home, Chona grabbed her fire orange Frank & Oak bucket bag and booked it out the door. She was late, again. Always leaving the house ten minutes post-shower. She hopped into her 2008 white Rogue and took off toward the light. 

The road was slick, and rain dripped down hard, like her binary code pleated skirt that streamed neon pink zeros and ones from her waist down to her thighs. 

She hated driving, though. It was dangerous in Elevententeen, and she knew one day it would kill her. Still, she cranked the radio and listened to old 90s songs like The Cranberries’ Linger. She hummed this tune imagining it more regal played on the baby grand piano at her dad’s house. 

When she sat back to play, his gigantic TV wouldn’t let her use the old music books, so she had to carefully balance grade 8 Royal Conservatory in volumes six, seven, eight and ten. The chords? They prevented her from falling. 

Daisy’s next big project was sitting in her bag. She put it in there to prevent its glorious shimmer from stirring the Outsiders’ eyes. It could kill, and she didn’t want to be a murderer tonight.

Finally arriving, she stepped out of her car. There were Dreams everywhere! She blinked. Then, blinked again. Her eyes started to roll back into her head, and she could feel the surge streaming now from her crown down to her feet, hiding neatly inside her red rain boots. 

In her room.

Someone painted her Brooklyn studio apartment bright orange-red! So, she knew the test had begun.

Should she attack? Chona could barely hold her head up, let alone break out into dance and song. She would just have to sleep it off, her phone continually buzzing that darn song. Then, like all the other times, she passed out. What remained Wide Awake in complete consciousness (forget Artha today) was her supple orange bucket bag. And within it, her project, slipping away…