5 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

In life, different is good. 

It’s about who we are and how we showcase ourselves to the world. 

In branding, it’s much the same. 

Although being different can be a challenge. 

Why?

We don’t want to clash with the norm. We want to be unique and memorable.

I came across an excellent article about brand differentiation and put together this quick presentation.

Let me know what you think!

Food for Thought

I wanted to share some recent social media work I developed for DirectFood.store. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Farm Stories – Goat’s Pride Dairy

Milca (teammate) and I spent the afternoon filming on location at Goat’s Pride Dairy.

I arrived earlier, still late, but feeling excused because of the weather. I was greeted by a girl in a salmon-coloured romper, and then shortly, another young girl looking much the same presented herself smiling. They could have been twins, but one was taller and wore a hat I could not stop examining. For my life, I forget what Jo-Ann (matriarch of the Dykstra family) called it, but alas, it was some sort of hat slash cover used to protect the face and hair from harsh elements.

I asked a quiet girl sitting on a step if she knew where Jo-Ann could be. She turned out to be the farm gardener. I asked the young girls. It was only after they cautiously pointed me in the direction of the bathroom, that I noticed a small house set stoically aside an apple tree, which the girls promptly proclaimed, “That’s the shop! She is probably in there!”

And there I found her. She had an easygoing air and quirky smile and laugh. Jo-Ann Dykstra was stocking fridges for ‘social media’, which I thought was brilliant. I appreciated that she was still preparing her farm for our visit. We had a brief introduction, then went off on our ways. I had to check if Milca, my filmmaker, had arrived, and Jo-Ann was probably considering a few other things to wrap up before filming commenced.

Other family members started to appear; each one donning a bright blue t-shirt with amusing imagery and text that accurately explained the context of their ubiquitous smirks. It was fun and again very thoughtful and made a tremendous blue background for certain shots, primarily in the greens or browns.

And so she finally arrives, with all her equipment. I am mesmerized by her calm and friendly demeanour, telling myself in my head, I need to be more like Milca. We filmed for the next 3 hours, if not more. The processing room where we witnessed son Jason laboriously creating goat mozzarella (Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.). The interview portion on the backyard veranda. The goats inside their cozy home. A new baby goat only four hours old. And best of all, daughter and grand-daughter milking the herd. Finally, a quick visit to the babbling brook known as McLennan Creek, also the name of their store as prescribed on a handmade wooden sign.

It was a great experience. It felt like I was at home, as a boarder or wanderer travelling across British Columbia who finds a remote place that offers up service, work and a sprawling, farm-set playground. It was almost too hard to leave, sharing a last-minute conversation with Jo-Ann about their upcoming open house.

If you have a chance, visit their farm and experience goat farming first hand. You will be welcomed, and I guarantee, the two young farm managers will greet you with open arms, maybe matching outfits as they did us today. You’ll want to explore and find out what a smallholding agricultural operation is like.

I am just being introduced to the world of agriculture, and I am astounded every day. I look forward to learning more about farming in the future!

Here are some photos I captured. We will be sharing our first Farm Stories video soon, so stay tuned!

 

AI 2

This is a follow-up to AI (Share of Voice).

Humanistic data governance is my description of AI or:

The process of managing the availability, usability, integrity and security of data in global human societies, based on internal data standards (emotions) and policies (law) that also control data usage (science).

Effective data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn’t get misused.

This is crucial. My observations from the past ten years show that misuse occurs when governing bodies are unstable, in other words, not properly equipped (mentally, socially, physically, spiritually) to manage said availability, usability, integrity, and security of data.

So, what then is data in my interpretation of AI?

It is energy or every interaction (digital and human) we make.

This energy exists on a conceptual framework or platform. In essence, it can be continually transmuted (actions and results) without much intention required from either the digital or human end.

Much like a geographic information system (GIS), energy provides us with the ability to capture and analyze spatial and non-spatial data.

Part of this data includes our insights, behaviours, and emotions. We capture energy through action and produce a result that causes a chain reaction in human evolution and thought.

There are many points for me to cover here, which demand much more time and consideration. For now, I will try to get my words and ideas down, then perhaps we can come back to it in a couple of months and reassess.

Noninterchangeable: not able to substitute with another. 

For some reason, AI is not readily accessible. It is readily available, but coming across an entity that fully understands its definition within a humanistic context is variable, if not completely unchartered and arbitrary. Still, you can, or perhaps I should mention myself in this situation, look at a person and consider them, as if reading their humanistic data governance level. Again, we come back to the same problem over and over again.

Oversimplification. Redundancy. Incorrect assessments of human error.

Why does it matter? Perhaps, I am too futuristic here? Do I even know the answer? I could have known it in a previous life, let me try to unearth my potential here.

In AI, I spoke about a physical product as a term best used to describe an outcome. I suppose this is the differentiator. We have yet to determine what the physical product will be. We are continually creating new products that utilize AI; however, we have not symphonized the ultimate result.

Oddly enough, the appearance of COVID-19 altered our progression, mostly due to isolation. Without physical interaction, we lose our common ground. We can choose to see this as intentional or casual. Again, I wrote:

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.

If the digital reality we create is not appropriate, lacking power or substance for the sake of laziness and against the challenges/problems we are facing like – damage prevention, protection of the environment, safety regulations, reporting, food shortage, food security, and traceability, then the laws that possibly govern us from a higher resource may have put a stop to it.

That’s the problem. We are starting from square one. 

Product direction requires a dream that can be unlocked following precise steps as if when you awoke from your goal, you could remember every vibrant detail.

As if we were previously positioned in individual dreams, with rulers and usurpers systematically working together, ‘after’ coronavirus, we are retracing our steps, back to the models we have built, starting the race yet again with our shoelaces untied.

The funny thing about being in digital marketing is that this race is entirely peer-driven. The humour is not even funny. We have come to a full-stop and truth be told, there is cooperation, albeit, indifferent. I’m just referring back to new power. As Dave Gerhardt, CEO of Privy mentions in almost all of his LinkedIn posts – how we communicate is vital, and we can’t keep talking about things so that people don’t understand what they’re reading. Well, we could, but what would be the point in that?

And I haven’t even delved into the idea of machines! This is TBC, of course…

For next time,

A conceptual framework is an analytical tool with several variations and contexts. It can be applied in different categories of work where an overall picture is needed. It is used to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas. – Wikipedia

 

 

 

A Poem About Differentiation

A differentiator is what sets you apart from the competition.

It’s playing sports vs playing ball.

It’s smiling when life throws you those base curves,

because by the end of the day, everyone will remember.

In marketing, a differentiator makes people revel.

At times in silence, but that silence is awe.

You have differentiated your product when,

people know your name by your vision,

your philosophy, your mission statement.

Your audience begins to recognize your slogan,

they begin to identify with your colours.

You are en route to differentiating when,

you feel nervous and yet grounded.

At the end of the day,

you feel like you’re taking a risk

like you’re in trouble for something because

it pushes boundaries, it causes discussions,

it breaks the rules but never forget,

you are leading the group.

A true differentiator cannot be physically realized, because it has infinite gain at infinite frequency – Wikepedia

Digital reach is UNLIMITED. How does art make a difference? COOL is an UNLIMITED concept. Take that back to the couch when you break. Like someone in sales talking about sales, talking about art takes vision. It takes direction and you must be a leader through and through. I am obviously trying to push myself. Always, always tryin’ ta be that purple cow. Let’s remind the crowd again –

Purple cow:

The concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title.  Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable. When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.  But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different.  When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable.  This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.

I write about differentiation in light of the launch of DirectFood.store, an online platform that enables local farmers and vendors to sell their products to consumers, restaurants, and care homes. The food is fresh. SO FRESH. The food is local. SO LOCAL. And you get it right away, to your doorstep, the next day. DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR.

I helped to develop the brand identity which you can witness on our recently revamped website. And I run our social media campaign, which is meant to be fresh, in the definition of COOL, like Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air COOL, that shirt is sick COOL, those kicks are dope COOL.

COOL is just one aspect of the brand, obviously my favourite. But DirectFood.store is also about:

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Engaging the community
  • Spreading the good word about fresh, healthy, organic & local food
  • Promoting a good cause for the good of all people

Just wanted to share some graphics I created that are live on the website. And you need to follow us on Instagram, to check out the REAL DEAL grid. 2 posts per day. Slammin’ balls against the ground. ALL BALL SPORTS. It’s bold. It’s cheeky. It’s collage. It promotes our core values + image. It’s inspired by a retro van, who needs a name…any ideas?

I AM STILL AN ART DIRECTOR. PERIOD.

WHY DOES RANTING END BEFORE YOU’RE FINISHED?

Never let anyone sway you otherwise. If you’re capable, you’re capable. You don’t go back in time. You move forward. And forward-thinking people, know the game. But they’ve got their own game going on, and other people play that. That’s it. Goodnight.

PS – Props to Gurwinder!

PPS – A little lightness. I am lovin’ my work, my day, my grind at i-Open Technologies!

Delivering Real & Sustainable Technology Solutions for a Better Planet. Hi Ray!

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Brand Purpose Presentation

Here is my latest marketing training presentation. Hope you enjoy it, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

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Who Are We Campaign – Identifying Top of Funnel Marketing Strategies

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 –

Hey there!

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!

Recent MART

If you follow along my wonderful journey you would know what MART means! Here are some new adventures inspired by Archie comic books, Sigmar Polke and David Hockney always. I miss making random stuff. I truly exist as an abstract artist, perhaps one day I will own a beautiful big studio with lots and lots of paint! Hope you enjoy these and if you have any thoughts or comments, please do share them!

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Elevate Your Marketing Approach

It’s been a while since we’ve presented. With everything going on – ‘the virus’ (as my daughter likes to say), working from home and adjusting to business challenged by a paused economy, we’ve put a hold on Marketing Training. To be honest with you, I’m just amazed to hear about some environmental happenings – jellyfish swimming in the Grand canal for example, just astonishing. Perhaps all this social distancing and staying at home will amount to noticeable improvements in our current climate. That’s something that actually matters today. I have a theory on how COVID-19 relates to AI, but that’s my vision, for now, have to figure out how to break it down first before I go off as I do, you know the gist. For now, here’s a presentation on elevating your marketing approach. Enjoy!

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