Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Moment of Un-Truth

First I have to say it is obvious my plan to post at least once a month on this blog has failed.  So I thought it was about time to take a break from my fashion blogging to talk a bit of marketing.

A few weeks ago I went to Victoria for Social Media Camp to see Scott Stratten of @Unmarketing fame speak. He didn’t disappoint. He is engaging. He is funny. He is really funny! And he makes a good point. Actually he makes many good points.

Scott isn’t necessarily telling us anything new. But he is certainly giving us a well needed reminder.

The basics of marketing, according to Scott, are that it is not a task. It isn’t a role, title or action item on a to-do list. It is every single time you engage with your customers. And building relationships means building business. Because as we all know that people do business with people – particularly people we know, like and trust. Scott reminds us that this is just common sense – too bad more of us don’t use it.

Marketing really is simple, but we make social media and marketing so complicated. One of my favourite comments was “We’ve had social media for decades it was called talking.” Social media is a tactic that allows you to build relationships!

When I rewind my career to 1992 I had the privilege to work on an innovative brand called Saturn (we can debate why Saturn failed in the long run on another day). This was my first job out of University and I was just happy to have a job in my chosen field of advertising – in a time when there were few jobs at all. I realized later what a great first job this was. Besides being a car company trying to introduce the innovative idea that a car company could be fair, they were smart marketers. They knew that all the millions they spent on starting this new car company from scratch would be lost with just one poor interaction – one grumpy receptionist, one mechanic that thought he could make a few extra bucks. They knew marketing wasn’t just your TV advertising. They knew that EVERY touch point with a consumer was a “moment of truth”.

This truth is even more true today in the world of instant worldwide social media conversations. So it is even more important to understand your brand and its differentiation in the marketplace. Keep it simple and deliver it at EVERY customer touch point. Build relationships and don’t try to hit people in the face to get them to buy now (you’ll need to read Scott’s book, aptly named Unmarketing to understand this comment).

Scott will be appearing in Vancouver in early December, on his UnMarketing book tour. Be sure you don’t miss him.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Multiple Twitter Personality Disorder

I recently attended a Canadian Society for Marketing Professional Services (CSMPS) luuncheon featuring
Craig Faulkner speaking to social media.  His presentation gave me a few tips on how to adjust my social media thinking for my 'day' job. 

But it also got me thinking that perhaps I'm suffering from multiple twitter personality disorder.  And I don't think I'm alone.  I was chatting with a couple of other twitter friends on the weekend - and by chatting I mean in person sitting next to each other talking (which to me is the real value of twitter... but more on that another day).  My 2 friends are entrepreneurs and both had a personal and business twitter account. We laughed about creating a unique voice and audience for each of our accounts.  Then I rather sheepishly admited to managing four (4) twitter accounts. 

Somedays having 4 different and very distinct accounts is a challenge.  But I still seem to be in control of them all... well except for those few times when I click the wrong personna on tweetdeck or hootsuite and I tweet something about diaper training on another account.

First there is my personal account @tjrossignol. This one is the most complex cause it is the personal me.  It is the mom, wife, marketer, tv viewer, lover of gossip, toilet training triumphs/failures, sci loving, sort of sarcastic account.  Lots of topics open to discussion just like this blog and ME.  Pretty much anything I'd say at a cocktail party after a glass of wine is fair game on this account.  I have a good group of twitter friends on this account. We get together in person for family outings, playdates, tweet ups, vancouver mom's night out, marketing events, etc.  They are great supportive pals and lots of fun to chat with online and in person.

Then there is the @WIL_Fdn.  This is the Women in Leadership Foundation account, which I manage with some help from a couple of other lovely volunteers. This account is all about inspiring and celebrating women.  Bringing women together and helping them empower themselves.  Topics include Women's leadership, professional advice,  entrepreneurial information, research, what other women's groups are doing and of course information so we can meet up with some great inspiring women at our events. We follow and are followed by some very interesting and successful women.  So I need to think networking profesional, and remove the glass of wine from my "voice" on this account  (and I apologize for those few training updates from @tjrossignol by mistake).

@Fashion_frwd40 is the side of my personality that has always loved fashion.  I'm sharing the details of my adventures in rediscovering my love of fashion after 40.  Just like the blog I tweet celebs over 40 fashion, my own experiences, great trends and tips from other fashionable tweets.  Now the people watching, slightly catty girl, with 2 glasses of wine (or perhaps a cosmo or two) comes out.   I'm still in the community building stage here.  I've started attending more local events and meeting people in person always seems to benefit my twitter relationships.

My final account is my work one.  I do the marketing for a professional services firm. This one is the hardest as I'm not an expert in the service we offer.  So I'm listening more than talking.   We are a creative thinking firm, so I use that as my guideline for content.  But so far I listen and RT more than I provide original content. 

Confused yet!  Me too.  I guess as long as the accounts don't start chatting amongst themselves without me, I think I'm okay. 

So how about you?  Do you have multiple accounts?  How do you create a unique voice for each?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Green Day!

St. Patrick's Day!!!  One of the my favourite holidays.  Not sure which part of me is Irish but I know somewhere after the Scottish and the Chinese comes a blend of Irish, Welsh and English.  My grandmother used to call us the "Heinz 57 of the Commonwealth" (that was when Hong Kong was still part of the commonwealth). 

It is funny looking back on how much this day has changed with my life. This year I almost forgot about it. I was lucky to read someone tweet about it yesterday so I could change out of the green top I had on and keep it for today.  Then we celebrated with an "Iceholes" beer and some burgers and fries out tonight as a family. 

Then I rewind 11 years and remember the craziest St. Patrick's Day ever!  We arrived at the Irish pub a few blocks from my office in downtown Toronto at about 11:30am.  We had planned ahead and made reservations, but we still needed to get there early.  The whole office was there (we were a small firm with an average age of 20 somewthing) and had planned a fun lunch.  I stumbled out of that pub sometime around midnight that night.  About half the company never made it back to work that day.  And some were even late the next day.  Other than when I worked in a pub I don't think I've ever spent half a day in one. 

Now - burgers with a 2 year old.  Then - a week's grocery budget spent on beer and a few pissed off clients.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things I Learnt as a Volunteer

Today I finished my last smurf shift. In case you've been avoiding any Olympic news these past few weeks, a smurf is a Vancouver Olympic 2010 volunteers in the turquoise blue jackets (You see them everywhere). Some of the volunteers starting calling themselves smurfs and the name stuck.

So I know little to nothing about curling, but I learnt a little spending 10 of my 12 volunteer’s shifts as an Event Services Team Leader at the Vancouver Olympic Centre - the curling rink (the other 2 shifts I did at BC Place for the Dress Rehearsal and Opening Ceremonies). On each of my shifts I had a team of 4-10 volunteers’ hosts who held all sorts of positions like marshals, ushers, ticket scanners, access monitors, etc. Generally we dealt with the public to ensure they got where they needed to go as quickly and as easily a possible.

I learnt a few interesting things from my experience and I thought I'd share them....

1. Hydration is a double edged sword - you need to drink, but that means you have to pee... usually when you have several thousand people standing in front of you at the security gate. Lesson: time you’re drinking carefully.

2. I did two shifts at BC Place for the Opening Ceremonies. It rained. I was outside. Lesson: My running shoes aren't waterproof.

3. Your job is to help run the event. Lesson: PVR it and watch it when you get home!

4. As volunteers we are happy to provide feedback to our supervisors about something that is not working as it should, or if someone has a particular grievance. But when someone doesn't like that particular "rule" (that the volunteer didn't create, but has been asked to enforce) and starts yelling at you don't take it personally... it only proves they are the ass. Lesson: be nice to volunteers.

5. It is raining on us too! And we've probably been standing in it longer. Lesson: Consider the other guy's POV.

6. Wearing your radio on your belt might feel like you've become a Grade 10 AV club geek, but it far better on your back, shoulders and jacket. Lesson: Learn this lesson before Day 5

7. I was so proud of learning how to pee without taking off my radio, backpack or jacket. Until I realized #6 and had to move the radio to my belt. Thankfully the bathroom floor was dry when I dropped my radio (actually I should be thankful I only dropped it on the floor). Lesson: hook radio on stall door not smurf vest.

8. Everyone gets excited about getting their picture taken with Quatchi. Lesson: There is a kid in all of us.

9. When they warned you not to forget your accreditation because it will be pain they didn't lie. Lesson: Don't forget your accreditation.

10. Don't get too cocky if you don't get selected for a random security check for a few days in a row. As you WILL get "blue" four times in a row on the day you have volunteers working the security gates and you are in a hurry. Lesson: Taking off your radio, backpack, accreditation and jacket is a pain and the wire in my bra makes the machine beep.

11. The day you are supposed to ensure the bathrooms are secured and locked outside the spectator area 30 minutes before the game ends, the game will end suddenly while half your volunteer team is still on lunch and you will be stuck trying to lock bathrooms with a large crowd proceeding at you full speed ahead. Lesson: There is a cop there when you need help.

12. My body feels like it has just finished a swing dance camp. Except at swing dance camp I'm up dancing until 4am, and not getting up at 4am. Lesson: Start taking Ibuprofen on day 1.

13. If people show up 20 minutes before an event it is likely a lot of other people thought they could do the same thing... so there will be a line up for security and they will miss the beginning. Lesson: It isn't the volunteer's fault that you didn't plan better - get there earlier.

14. Getting into a uniform everyday makes it easy to get dressed everyday, especially at 4am. Lesson: See my fashion blog for discussion on merits/challenges of uniforms.

15. We had lots of training, but really until you do the job you know nothing. And the first day you do ANY post it is ALL new. Lesson: Fake it until you make it.

16. Volunteers love snacks! Lesson: You can buy the adoration of your volunteers by bringing them cookies, snacks and candy!

17. You will forget at least one volunteer host on a particular post for too long. Lesson: Remember you are also a volunteering trying your best and get over it... if that doesn't work try candy.

18. The Olympic EVS Team Leader Diet of 8 hours of walking supported by cookies, sandwiches and soup works. It may not last but my clothes fit great! Lesson: I won't be eating any sandwiches for a few weeks.

19. You WILL run into someone you know, usually as you are loudly explaining the "express" lanes to a large number of people.  They will recognize you in your smurf uniform. And it will likely be a former boss or boyfriend. Lesson: Laugh and tell them how much fun you are having.

20. Things aren't always named accurately. Lesson: "Express" isn't necessarily faster.

21. The Madonna headset on your radio will mess up your hair. Lesson: Get over it.

22. Life goes on while you are at the rink. Lesson: Return library books and pay bills before Olympics.

23. With the exception of cold, wet, late people at security EVERYONE in Vancouver was nice for 2 weeks. Lesson: Keep it up.

24. My 2.5 year old will say to Daddy every morning "Mommy no go volunteer Olympics. no go work, come home". It makes my heart break. Lesson: My husband rocks for watching a very active toddler while I volunteered!

25. Volunteers, supervisors and event management at Canadian Olympic Centre are AWESOME. I had an opportunity to work with some truly fun, unique and smart people from all across country (and the world). Each brought their own unique talents to the role. And anyone who can be friendly and still smiling after 8-9 hours standing on concrete (sometimes in the rain) is one hell of an awesome person!!! Lesson: Never judge a book by its cover.

I did have tickets to a couple of events to watch Canada win gold (Free Dance and Women's Hockey). And I did get to stop by one or two of the free Olympic events on my day off. But in general my Olympic experience was different than many others and in some ways I felt disconnected to the actual games as I was 'back of house' helping things run smoothly. But I wouldn't trade the experiences or the people I met for anything.

Now bring on the Paralympics!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Adventures at 5:30am

I was woken up this morning at 5:30 am by the door bell.  You know a 5:30 doorbell is got to be bad news OR something crazy. 

So my husband had gotten up just before 5:30am to go to the bathroom, he found my Mom was in the bathroom. Not knowing how long she would be in the bathroom and being in rather desperate need he went out into the back yard.  My Mom came out of the bathroom to discover the back door wide open. She closed, locked it and went back to bed.  My hubbie dressed only in his housecoat was now locked outside.  So hence the doorbell!   At least 1 person in the house slept through all the fun and that was the 2yo.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where did I go?

I have not abandoned this blog.  I intend to continue blogging about my life in marketing, as a mom and as a tv addict.  But I might be doing it a little less.  I took on a new marketing contract a couple of days a week and I started a new blog focused on fashion after turning 40.  I hope to continue to post here at least once a week... it just might take me a bit of time to find my balance.    Thanks for your patience.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Lilli'Q Cafe and Playhouse

Had a playdate today at the new Lilli'Q Cafe and Playhouse in Yaletown.  Great idea considering the number of parents living downtown and the number of truly kid friendly options in the area.

I had a nice chai latte - disappointed my 'to stay' cup was paper - and a couple of mini muffins. Nice quality products but would like to see more selection of food for both young and old.  Just a wider range of baked goods would be great. 

Was offered a free massage - great, but not the right day for me as I was there to meet and chat with my friend.

My son happily played in the toys amongst the other kids.   Which was a nice break for me.  My friend's son who was older at 4 was quickly bored as most of the other kids were between 0-2.

We didn't need a potty break while we were there, but saw a lovely open change area with a stool to the sink.  And it worked well with multiple people in the area at one time.

The biggest challenge I saw was the space for strollers.  There is a great stroller parking area but you have to go all the way through the space to get to it.  And it is a skinny space.  I watched about 10 minutes of stroller traffic jam when a number of people were arriving and leaving at the same time.  This is a challenge that will only get harder as more people frequent the cafe. 

Will I go again - absolutely.  Will it be a destination for a morning out - probably not. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spring has sprung

January 6th, 2010 Vancouver

Looking for fashion survey - look to next article below!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I'm developing a business plan for a new entreprenuarial project.  I would love if you would take the time to complete my little survey about fashion.   If you feel I missed a question or have something to add please feel free to add it in the comments below.