What do we long for? Is it written in stone? Is it unattainable? It was once there. We obsess over its nature, it’s power and prowess. Can we return? Why sure, why not. However, what is it that stops us? Try something different? Go another route? I am tired of being tired and overrun by stopping. It’s time to pick up the gloves and pound out smashing. Use vigour. Use life. Use everything in your soul to carry you toward the light.
Tonight, we exercise!
That is so cheesy but true. A poem, or more like a manifesto for the one single thing that drives me to be a better person. Inside and out. Answer the questions in the poem above for your own good. What is it you’re struggling with and why? Can you overcome and how? Together, we can find the answers, one step at a time!
Doing that too.
It matters. Shout it from the rooftop. Be dedicated. Be proud. Take that extra step, in your own time, to show them what you’re worth. Your excitement is often abated, and they most likely won’t bat an eye. But if you keep showing them, one day they will recognize. Your truth. Your ability. Your strength. Repeat it with me. Your truth. Your ability. Your strength.
I’m too obsessive.
I don’t know what I want.
I do, but I’m working toward it?
Damnit, this is difficult for me.
I can just go to sleep, but wake up mended.
Not defeated. You are healed in the morning.
You can do it, walk with me, hold my hand if you need to.
I will go where you need me to be.
I’m writing something important here.
So listen and be clear.
Top three things that make you tick:
What are they?
This all began at the end of the day, Friday afternoon.
I was leaving i-Open a little bit late. I was put in charge of sending out a Stablebuzz priority newsletter speaking on frameworks released by leading equestrian organizations ensuring a safe return to work for stable owners. My managers (I pretty much work with only managers) were stuck in meetings all day and I was waiting for one to review the final test newsletter. I couldn’t go without his approval. Anyway, long story short, I was finally finished and hopped into the elevator with another man standing there. I did not know who he was, but he definitely worked in the building. He moved into one corner because of COVID-19. He asked how everything was going in the office with us all being back and followed with a classic job interview question: what do you guys do there? I was quick to respond, we’re a tech company and he laughed saying that’s obvious, but what do you do there?
We are all told to have an elevator pitch prepared, but who else only reserves coming up with one for special presentations and interviews? This campaign is based on that idea. The idea that we assume our audience are experts, primed in communication and language technologies. But the truth is, this may not be the case. I’ve spoken with countless business owners, in one role trying to sell digital marketing services. As touchpoint rules say, it always took 3-5 interactions before they were really willing to talk to me. First interactions were like this –
My name is Chona, I work across the street at a company called VanWhistle Media. Do you have some time to speak?
Business owner: Hi. Not really. I am busy at the moment.
So, as you can imagine, not much more can be said there. I could either say no worries, and leave, or, I could provide a more basic, and general description of my goal.
Ah, no worries! I can imagine you are super busy. I have a one-pager that describes what we do with a little more detail. It’s easy to read and my card is attached, so please reach out to me if you have any questions!
Our immediate messaging must be enthusiastic, and look after our audience’s basic needs. Once a certain level of safety or security is established then perhaps, we are able to provide a little something more. Using a hook, we can then present a very basic/general value proposition. In this case, the hook is the one-pager. (I can never forget and it always works out this way – the medium is the message à la M. McLulan!) The value in that is that yes, perhaps the business owner was truly busy, but this does not mean they are not interested. The one-pager gives just enough information to get them hooked. Then once they realize they have interest the relationship begins.
So, why are we in this relationship? As Ezra Firestone, marketing maven and e-commerce guru would say: this is the game. We are all people and we are essentially communicating through various mediums. What this means is that, we are all on the same level in one way or another, however we must learn how to communicate with each other using said various mediums. As a marketer, this means not making the assumption that my audience is interested in what I have to say, but moreover is interested (subliminally) in HOW I am saying it.
I’m about halfway through a Facebook ads mastery course and in the process I have developed a creative ad campaign strategy that touches on the essence of why our group at i-Open Technologies is doing what we’re doing. I’m excited to present it to my team this Friday! Cheers!
According to Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, authors of Understanding “New Power”, cooperation is “rewarding those who share their own ideas, spread those of others, or build on existing ideas to make them better.” This may be false. Cooperation is a tricky territory to navigate, especially within an environmental or technological domain. Still, a significant paradigm shift to consider – if we are moving forward, we must let go of ownership and authority to create a new wave of energy. This energy or humanistic data governance (AI) describes every interaction (digital and human) we make, and we should comply accordingly. As a writer, this can mean less writing. As a business owner, this could be thinking more dynamically. Energy is a force. It is in itself a superstructure.
New power models will always have limited influence and impact unless they are operating within a superstructure designed to play to their strengths.
The idea of new power is not new. For centuries, humans have searched for ways to influence society, and it is no different today. One thing’s for sure, in environmental technology (purposeful applications that utilize digital environments to authenticate realities), a ‘superstructure’ is required to transform high-level ideas into physical products. We lose product direction without a proper process (energy) in place.
AI is fluid, though noninterchangeable and can digress. A physical product is a term best used to describe an outcome. In digital reality, a new power takes actionable items related to spatial and non-spatial information to influence a decision-making process, which leads to a result.
An example of this is a dream. So, on a larger scale (the dreamscape), new power (our human ability to dream) can affect human mentality (how we feel when we wake up), it can direct human conversation (self-banter), and ultimately, it can change the way we do things (feeling sad instead of happy). Product direction requires a dream, one that can be unlocked following precise steps, as if when you awoke from your dream you could remember every vibrant detail.
New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.
I wouldn’t put it any differently. New power disables groupthink. The main distinction is that peers are not forced to agree with ideas, but rather can propose alternatives or contrasting ways to look at situations. Energy has a voice and the voice has a force. Individually, we can select bits and pieces then take what we choose to be the most vital outcome or result.
It is easy to hoard ideas, hence why we share ideas through various modes of communication (social media, ads, websites). At the moment where ideas surge (individual brands becoming a full brand suite), we can use the opportunity to address a group of topics so that a more specific and arguably necessary topic can arise (how do we take a humanistic behavioralist approach to products).
Digital branding takes us back to a commonplace, to a dream, in an abrupt fashion (it is constantly changing). The current social atmosphere lets us choose how our human mind responds to digital anomalies (do we create or does creation make us), and when we are rendered incapable of seeing (becoming incapable of interpreting data), we know that it is time to try a different strategy.
As new power models become integrated into the daily lives of people and the operating systems of communities and societies, a new set of values and beliefs is being forged. Power is not just flowing differently; people are feeling and thinking differently about it.
This is AI. Models, in essence, switching established paradigms into new sets of values and beliefs. It impacts people and precisely their emotions, behaviours and insights. We can sense the change; we just haven’t figured out how to contextualize it. Digital branding gives us the power of autonomy – it integrates into our daily lives, and it is the marketer’s responsibility to make the message loud and clear – we are not scared of machines, we are still in charge.
At my new job, we run group presentations every Friday. This is my first contribution, which talks about 2 useful acronyms that can be leveraged in content marketing. Let me know what you think!
I created a brand strategy presentation with the hopes that it would inspire change. As mostly an introduction, I failed to address several elements, including company (Buyer) positioning, strategic factors and most importantly, key stakeholders (employees). Failures aside, I’m quite confident that I could deconstruct the design and come up with a feasible, long-term plan that would incite metrics for profitability, scalability and an improved customer experience.
The greater joy is the chance to do this work with a team. A fearless leader to look me in the eye and say, “This is amazing. But what are you going to do with it, Chona?”. And then, to be surrounded by other supportive creators; we could sit down together and come up with something rather attesting! Marketing is always about brilliance, because there are a trillion answers and a trillion more ways to approach what we do (thanks to our beautiful digital landscape!).
Enjoy #impromptus no. 3 and take note: having a template works wonders and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to develop their technical writing skills.
*Featured Image by Kasimir Severinovich Malevich | Black Cross (1923)
Here’s a rant I wrote when returning from a run a little while ago. Sometimes these ideas get stirred around during physical activity, perhaps a cocktail tumbled by adrenaline, cortisol and/or endorphins. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much energy for me to produce content, as I’ve said this time and time again. What takes energy – and time – is pairing down said content, so that it makes sense to my audience and can relate to my work as a whole. Have a read (some major thesis edits were made) and tell me this: how would we A/B test to further quantify/qualify this as an experiment?
abstract – italic (R) : Visual Transparency & Communication, what makes AI right-brained, Insight / bold (L): platforms, IT, ME, WE, US, UP sales, Currency / underlined words have DUAL meaning (typically analog vs digital
2-way communication is what we’re dealing with today. It is no longer multiple channels (which I think is still the way most dominant marketers believe it to be), but 2 separate, individually performing platforms that interact with each other, either knowingly or not.
So, say there’s Platform A and Platform B. An example of this idea is when I sat down to use Markeko’s FB Blueprint Exam Study Guide YouTube video. As platform A, I intentionally participated in communication. Markeko was Platform B and he simply took my need and fulfilled it. Now, the way this works as a 2-way communication experience is what I take from him is fed back in his direction. He may not know this, or need it, however, the point of the ‘internet of things’, is this interaction in existence.
IT (internet of things) is a thing in the air, in our system, online that is being dispersed, received, re-dispersed and transmuted into other forms. These forms utilize adaptive learning or my exploration of AI as a right-brained system. IT will impact our economy and the poverty line, because we will be able to apply it to everything (Visual Transparency/Communication). WE can begin (as marketers, social media specialists, art/creative directors) to imbue all of our work with this element.
IT is not a new element. Marshall McLuhan’s explorations of ‘medium as the message’ were done in the late 50s. But our society has changed, and we have not figured out a way to apply his concept to our new technologies. IT has been explored by many (think movies, books), but we (apparently) have a small percentage of geniuses, intellectuals and educated individuals with high IQ+EQ+PQ (Global Comprehension), so we have an enormous remainder of people left out externally.
We are all internally capable, but the ‘alone ability’ to read or decipher content and context using right-brained AI in today’s digital circumstance deserves more recognition.
The amazing proposition (GC) is that, again, we as marketers and social media specialists have both the ability and avenue to distribute this new form of technology, as we are catering to clients, businesses large and small, that require some form of interpretation for their business needs. We are developing their projects, campaigns and overall the content of their identity with purposeful motivation. Therefore, behind the scenes, each project or campaign where we can apply the maximum effects of visuality (Visual Transparency/Communication) will cause massive changes in branding, marketing and sales applications. This holistic approach will impact the general stream of Insight (Insight Selling – right-brained) and paired with Solution Selling (left-brained), we are fully realizing AI and what it can do, for society, culture and most importantly …
This is my notion of XE (Currency). High-quality work that only a true and talented artist can create, combined with that person’s ability to make the most abstract concepts and ideas, will turn them into (Visual Transparency/Communication) money. I say money (interchangeable with Currency/Insight), because we know WHAT this is – customers, clients, target audiences are accustomed to a high-level customer experience.
According to my findings – this service is enjoyable. They want to deal with us. They want to see our results. The whole experience, for both the Seller & Buyer is productive.
And then, it just turns into a pay-it-forward type of system. Pay me, I will pay you back, well now, let’s pay them, and finally, why not just pay the whole existing world? I am scaling the most minute, Critical Mass to create a huge tidal wave effect. Again, this effect is imbued, may or may not be intentional, but the point is, it will snowball toward to right direction, UP.
This is the way I built it. More equality, happier business owners, more enticing and vibrant ads, campaigns that focus on world change and not simply on reach vs influence.
I would love to present this idea to the CEO of Microsoft and see what he would have to say. The most brilliant thing I have experienced, just in the last week, is while studying for the FB Blueprint exam (September 2019), I’ve begun to learn these new terms, almost 100% analytical and in turn I am funneling my right-brained ideas into beautiful left-sided friction. Highly needed as my conscience purports many individuals disagree with anything termed right-brained. So then, let’s get measuring!
The below is more abstract, but perhaps you want to read it –
The strength of application lies in between ability (to develop sound) and our ability to apply (these concepts) to solutions (sight) that would impact our interaction with customers. I often develop concepts in sets of 2. I believe DUALITY is a great way to present information (internally and externally), because it provides CHOICE (to see and/or hear). And everyone likes to choose what they think is BEST for them. This is where my Seller & Buyer persona study began – choosing a WAY to communicate, to tell a story, to sell/buy a TALENT, that’s IT/ME/WE/US/UP!
And so, can you see how we hear things together?
I just wanted to break down the steps that were involved in developing a digital marketing startup agency. Now, I don’t have a formal background in business or marketing, so it’s taken me awhile to put all this information together. One thing I know about being a mostly abstract thinker is that, following a logical progression based on reasoning and detail is a lot easier than gathering data that is specific to a certain cause and effect. So, this is my attempt at quantifying and qualifying the work I did at VanWhistle Media. Note: I am no longer affiliated with the company. The reason why I left was that my creative vision did not align with the founder’s business style. The owner is always in charge – #winknudge! Jeremiads aside, I am now identifying with the title Creative Director because my work crosses over the walls of artistry into a very consummate dedication toward design and strategy.
If you have any feedback, I am all ears. Please reach out!
Duration: 6-month contract
Goal: To establish company through brand development and product awareness.
Outcome: Sizing market, understanding market potential and organizational design.
- Startup Development (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation, mid-measurement *wider release required)
- Concept & Research
- Commitment & Traction
- Software application – Pipedrive, Qwilr, Pomodoro, Canva, Basecamp, Ahrefs
- Sales & Marketing (stages / discovery, *heavy strategy, implementation, mid-measurement)
- Working directly with company CEO
- Development & Launch
- Sales strategies and marketing approach – solution selling (action), insight selling (aim), prospecting methods and scripts, Letter of Engagement, Value-Based Price Sheets, Mom & Pop Store Spring Promo, Door to Door Mapping)
- Creative & Technical Writing (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation, early measurement *wider release and further market research required)
- Strategic Development (responsible, transparent & accurate)
- All creative and copy across multiple platforms
- Campaign Creation – #ourlocalcrew (awareness/brand image), #targetaudience (definition), #thursdaytheory (attraction)
- Brand Development (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation *establishing workflow, process & guidelines)
- Promote brand
- Promote products/solutions
- Buyer Persona and Market Research – Brand Concept Kit, VWM Complete Branding Package)
- Solution Development (stages / discovery, *heavy strategy, implementation, early measurement)
- Website Revamp/Rebuild/Build (The Hub Concept)
- 1st Meeting Form, Digital Marketing Plan, Value-Based Price Sheets
- Media Kit, Digital Presence Business Model, Step by Step SEO Guide
- Content Creation (stages / discovery, strategy, early implementation)
- Simpler & Larger, Passion & Efficiency, Seller & Buyer
- The Hub Concept, Digital Collaboration
- Digital Presence, Make Change Happen
- Art Direction (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation)
- Communication style – branding, project documents
- Design style – marketing & sales collateral, Media Kit, logos
- Contract and proposal templates (100% original design and content)
- Project Management (stages / discovery, implementation, early measurement)
- Coordination & Scope
- Bottom-Up & Kanban
- To promote and encourage incremental, logical change without triggering fear of change itself
Do we all love Grinch green? The original green colouring of the Grinch was inspired by a rental car. This reminds us that inspiration can strike from anything, that’s how easy it is to come up with new and innovative ideas. Just look, see & apply!
Started a new project focused on communicating some mainstay ideas relating to my business entity Blox. Communications. My aim is to further develop my use of transparent, accurate and responsible language. Hope you like this content, let me know what you think!
Back into the swing of things.
This project may seem simple to you, but it challenges the idea of giving and receiving. In our digital space, we give constantly. And is the return of our efforts (ROE) measured through digital collaboration (DC) enough? Think: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI). *I will explore these ideas in a future post.
When my mother received letters from her suitors (a common practice in her time), she did not write back. She kept each letter as if to say, I realize you are all interested, however I will hold in my heart, the one who is right. Is this action right? Is it just? We observe a similar practice in Japanese culture. The ritual is gift-giving (action), rather than the gift itself. Huffpost.com describes it in three steps – the reveal, the denial and the recognition. Or, revelation of intelligence + denying impact of emotionality + recognition of our role and place in digital space.
Using this interpretation, I could say that this project was aimed to reveal part of my identity/intelligence (I now question its visual and linguistic legitimacy in my current digital explorations), to reflect my denial of attaching emotion to the act of giving and receiving, and finally to sustain 2-way recognition/communication (between seller and buyer in this case) of the journey (action) itself – “For the Japanese, gratitude is a battle of endurance.”
We need to evaluate the tone and style of our expressions (gratitude being relevant today) as we delve further and further into a state of digital collaboration. We are impacted and at what point are we actually bringing more clarity to situations and circumstance? This is sort of the concept of ‘niceties’ and because I aim to maintain a certain level of accuracy in my work, details are important, but should my actions impose more or less scrutiny in regards to how my audience receives my message? This ties everything back to: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI).
As you make your way through the below, try to remove feelings of assumption or judgement. Art is for everyone. Despite my specific approach, there’s a core selection from each demographic (Baby Boomer to Gen Z) that relates to my work in its simplest form, in other words – the visual and the language. For this project, I give it back to them!
Abstract – slash / roboto / elephant
This project started out with a photoshoot. I was dressed as Wenda (Where’s Waldo’s girlfriend) and my friend Allegra and I captured a series of images in and around Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, Canada. There was lunch at Troll’s (fish and chips of course) and a brief introduction/chat with family business owner Ab Troll. Then, tea at another local establishment Flour Bakery and the final shot – me peering over … The Giant Hedge.
I developed the concept around a youthful, graffiti-inspired (old BLOX style) rendering of sweetness or the sweet spot/’magic’ that we often search for in our interactions with brands and art projects in general. My old style was always striking, vibrant and street culture inspired. Think – Keith Haring meets baby Andy Warhol.
The first portion centres around strategy, the next on my Social Seller & Social Buyer personas and finally, the Wenda portion (introducing myself within a specific context) finalizes the presentation. I printed the images on glossy card stock and hand-cut each one with a paper cutter. The final presentation resembled 7-inch vinyl singles and are displayed most effectively in a stack, layed out as placards on a table or mounted onto a wall with colourful binder clips (yellow, purple or stainless steel would work).
Along with my visual presentation, I designed a series of stickers that were printed on matte sticker paper and cut by hand. I then assembled the stickers, one by one, into individual, resealable plastic bags. Two of the images are BLOX identity concepts. The one with the primary color wheel represents right-brained or creative BLOX and the other with the black and white bunny mascot (and letter B branded roboto typeface mouth) represents left-brained or technical BLOX. The remainder stickers were simple and fun applications of imagery used in the presentation. To top the set off, I made a collaborative-style logo (powered by) for the agency I was presenting to.
As a fun treat and tribute to the jam jar (featured in several of the images), I filled a couple of clear canisters with bright fruit candy (I once had a banana necklace) to match the colour theme and concept of sweetness. I also included a book containing 85 pages of work samples and creative/technical resources – collateral, white papers and articles. The book was bound using the specifications below:
8.5″ x 11″
Double Sided, Colour
Colour Laser, 98 Bright, 32-lb.
Binding – Wireless Binding – Black
Standard front cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
Standard back cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
The final products were wrapped in colourful confetti paper and fastened with two Jelly Marketing stickers. Everything was arranged bento-style in an unobtrusive Staples box with a package of fun pastel highlighters and a final ‘hello’ letter placed on top.
I am eternally dedicated to my work and process. This project was a homage to my academic background as a printmaker and street identity as a writer. When I was practicing regularly, the art forms themselves took shape. There was no plan, just creation. I would compare it to writing and reading classical music. I can’t really compare it to anything else. But my efforts today are different. They are positioned around understanding and fully utilizing the creative + technical aspects of my brain. So, now there is a need to plan and there is a need to create, but by having a specific outcome in mind.
At the end of it all, this has generated the foundation of A Brand Strategy. You will hear more about this in the coming year.
A few quick work goals for 2020 –
- Find a job that I’m happy about
- Develop Digital Presence business model
- Develop A Brand Strategy
Next up: who’s down for white, black and corporate-friendly? Is it time to revisit my Digital Presence business model? Yes/No?
The question remains – To mail or not to mail? To give or not to give? To receive or not to receive? What matters most? Having or expecting? Waiting or forgetting? Are you a yes-man or a no-sayer? Check back guys!