A Lesson In Style and Marketing

Always a leader in style Tory Burch has recently launched a promotional video on YouTube and her blog that is pure brilliance.  Tory Burch says their bow-blouse is a fall must-have, and a Tory Signature.  This unique piece of clothing can be tied three ways and the YouTube video asks the simple question:

Playing on the familiar slogan associated with the best-selling cookie of the 20th century, “How do you eat your Oreos?” Tory Burch’s campaign tugs at the heartstrings of the memories of days gone by.  Who doesn’t remember a time when it seemed that things moved much more slowly?  Sitting on your porch, or on a dock, on a park bench or under a tree on the schoolyard, having this same conversation with a close friend, a sibling maybe, or your mom or dad.  It’s that connection to a memory of the past that makes the Tory Burch video so memorable and makes it something you want to comment on or share.  In a nutshell, that is great marketing.

The tools we have at our fingertips today, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the like simply allow us to share our message with the masses more easily.  However, the lesson today is not that, the lesson today is that the message must still be a notable one or the tools digital marketing has granted us will be of little use.

As Scott Stratten so eloquently put it, “People don’t spread ‘meh’, they spread awesome!” and he couldn’t be more right.  As soon as I saw the Tory Burch video I wanted to share it with other fellow fashion lovers that I know and I wanted to do so for two reasons the first because it is a gorgeous piece of clothing of course, but second and more importantly it struck a memory for me and I know it will for many, actually it already has, over 120 Facebook Likes and 17 people stopped to comment, not bad considering it has only been posted for a couple of days.

This is how we need to think of marketing messages and the messages we send out to the world via the various social media outlets.  When you are thinking of how you will spread the word about your business try to think of who your audience is and speak to them in their language, remind them of their past, target their emotions, either happy or sad memories will do, both will grab their attention.

My guess is Tory Burch’s clients are of a very similar demographic to those in the design trade.  Take the lead from Tory and create your own awesome message that people want to spread and if you are successful at making something that’s share-worthy let social media be your modern day tin-can telephone to spread it on.

And just in case you were wondering, I like mine twisted apart, I eat the filling first.  So…..How do you like your Oreos?

If you want to follow Tory on Twitter click for her profile.

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140 Conference Anyone?

Have you heard about the amazing conference that is coming to our neck of the woods this fall?  If you haven’t you should jump on board.

The 140 Characters Conference was started by Jeff Pulver in 2009 and although the name directly relates to the 140 character limit you can use for a tweet the conference is about so much more than that.  The conference is all about exploring what Jeff refers to as “The State of Now”.  It’s about exploring together the way that the social media landscape has changed the way we live, work, and consume, there is no denying that, this conference is a chance to get together with other like-minded thought leaders and listen, learn and share.

Instead of doing the usual conference style of planning where the planners choose the speakers and we pay to sign up and come and see them speak, Jeff took a new idea of asking people to nominate themselves or others to be the “cast of characters” as the speakers at the conference.

Ughh you say, more twitter nonsense, well I say nonsense to that.  This conference isn’t just for Twitter addicts like myself and millions of others who see the completely relevant place it has in our world today, it is for those of you who also want to know once and for all what all of the fuss is about!  And just as we do on Twitter the speakers at the conference will also keep things short and sweet.  Each speaker will have 10 minutes to tell their own story of how their lives have changed because of social media, and mark my words people, you will be floored!

Just a few of the speakers that have been announced are Brandie Weikle, the editor of the Toronto Star’s parenting and health websites, Ottawa-based DJ Neil Hedley, who has an upcoming book Radio Is Dead: Long Live Radio, and our own homegrown internet celebrity, Taylor Jones, who started the website www.dearphotograph.com.  Want to know who else is going to be speaking?  Well you will have to stay in the loop to find out!

Over half of the tickets are already sold and you can imagine what will happen tomorrow once the list of 5 speakers grows to 10!  There are some great pre-conference events to get you excited and allow you to get a feel for what this is all about and they are free, here are the links to all of the details.

Have I convinced you yet?  I hope so, now pop over and sign up here http://guestlistapp.com/events/59826.

The 140 Conference will take place on Thursday, September 15th at The Tannery in Kitchener. Tickets are also available through the event’s Facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

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Take It Offline

With all the talk about social media these days I think people have forgotten the importance of actual in real-life (IRL) relationships.  Social media is great and I am a huge social media proponent as you know, however it does not and should not replace the real-life relationships and relationship building skills that I believe everyone should have.

Our society is becoming more and more isolated because of the technology that has been given to us.  People and businesses are using social media to send out messages and share their stories and photos but many of these same people who are so open online do not even say hello to the neighbour they pass on the street or ask a customer how they are doing or what kind of service or products they are looking for when they enter their store or other place of business.

Social media should be seen as the gateway to building these ever important client and business relationships.  Think of it like this, at a traditional business open house, grand opening party or anniversary event clients come through and browse your products or use your services, people smile politely and enjoy their time, perhaps a free sample, etc.  In today’s world of social media you can build on the already established relationships that you have built online, and the polite smiles and small talk can be replaced with the warm handshake or embrace that you would make with an old friend.  If you are using social media right, your clients or potential clients feel like they know you, they know your brand and they feel comfortable buying from you, you have narrowed the gap of trust people have for companies and have put yourself at the top of the list when they think of who they want to buy from or work with.

We need to remember that the online relationships we are building are only authentic and honest if we are speaking to and listening to our friends and our clients offline as well.  If the voice you use online is one of openness and honesty, inviting clients to share with you what they are looking for in a company, but, when a client walks into your storefront or calls you on the phone you don’t speak with the same voice then all of the hard work you are doing via social media is pointless.

Here are a few great ideas of how to take the relationship you are building online, offline to reinforce the brand image you are working so hard to create.

  1. Host an open house – Use social media to promote the event along with more traditional methods of advertising and encourage those you know via social media to introduce themselves.  Reward them for doing so by giving them a special code to use that will grant them a social media friend discount.  You will be amazed at the conversations that will blossom with those who already feel like they know you via social media and will help you see the value in all of the hard work you are doing building those relationships.
  2. Host an informational seminar – Same principles apply as hosting an open house only this option is better suited for those who offer services to clients but do not have a physical location to invite them to.  Many local bars/restaurants/coffee shops love to support other local businesses and heck why wouldn’t they you are bringing guaranteed business to their door step.  Work together to promote the event and benefit from combining your resources and client pools.  You provide the information for the evening and they provide some refreshments.  The result, more client relationships for all!
  3. Attend local networking events - Your budding circle of social media friends is bound to already have some sort of social media inspired IRL events happening.  By watching your social media streams for information on times and dates you can join in the fun.  Try using # symbol (e.g. #Toronto) followed by your city name to find out what’s happening around you.  No luck?  Not to worry here is your perfect chance to start one up yourself.  Following my ideas from above connect with another local business who is participating in social media and host an event together.
In summary, don’t hide behind your computer, have fun and be real.  Make those online friends offline friends too and the value of your social media marketing campaign will multiply in an instant!
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Designing for Good

Though the field of interior design and decorating is amazing and very self-satisfying for you and your clients it can also be a way to do some good in the world.

I remember watching a Candice Olson’s Divine Design episode where she made over a group home and in true Candice Olson style did it beautifully of course.

A local designer is currently doing the same for a women and children’s shelter in Markham, ON.  Jennifer Brouwer of Jennifer Brouwer Design is currently working with the Yellow Brick House in Markham which is a shelter for abused women and children.  This Emergency Shelter will be the first of its kind in Ontario to use interior design as a psychological and therapeutic tool aimed at creating a safe, uplifting environment in which victims can develop the motivation needed to shape a new start in life.

A fundraising event will take place at the Markham Train Station on Aug 13 at 7:00 p.m. to generate community awareness and support for a new Yellow Brick House (YBH) Emergency Shelter being created to accommodate the growing needs of women and children who are exposed to domestic violence.  Click here for more information on how you can help.

The world of social media marketing is all about connecting with others and helping one another spread the love and the information about what you are doing in your business.  Take this opportunity to spread the word about this amazing project that is truly going to make a difference in the lives of so many.

Do you know of another designer who is designing for good?  Please post here so we can all spread the word about the great work that is being done.

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The 5th P of Marketing

I learned in business school over and over about the 4 P’s of Marketing.  At the time that’s all the information that was out there.  All of the text books referred to them and my marketing professors taught them over and over.  Recently as I have been working in the world of social media marketing it struck me that there is a very important P that was missing from the marketing lesson I learned years ago.  That P is for People.

The 5 Ps of Marketing

Today businesses are looking to get involved in the world of social media marketing because it is the new hot thing to be a part of, however the real reason that companies should want to be a part of social media is so they are able to connect with the people who are their customers.  Never before have companies been able to tap into and have personal conversations with the clients they are attempting to serve in real-time.

The 5th P is potentially the most important P of all yet many of us are not focusing our efforts on the people who make up our client base.  In the design trade we spend a lot of time listening to what our current clients want in a sofa, what colours they like, what type of a space they wish their home to be, but how much time do you spend figuring out what they look for in a designer, decorator, etc.  How do they decide which designer, decorator, stylist to hire?  Why would they choose you over another company?  This is where you can control your destiny and become the expert in your field and you can use social media to do so.

When building your social media presence here are 5 questions you should ask yourself.

1. Why would your clients want to “like” you on Facebook? Some ideas:

  • cool content
  • great contests
  • insight into the way you work
  • current and recent projects you are working on

2. Why would a client want follow you on Twitter?  On Twitter make sure you are:

  • listening to them when they talk
  • engaging in conversations with them not just pushing out a sales pitch
  • asking them what they are looking for, or how you can help them

3. Why would they want to continue to connect with you in the future? You should:

  • Share tips and tricks
  • Share the newest trends
  • Give them insight into your expertise

4. Do you give your clients a reason to share your thoughts and ideas with their own social networks?  Is the content you are providing worth sharing?

  • When you are creating content think about it from your clients point of view, make it something awesome they are going to want to share

5. Are you giving them reasons to come back to your site, your blog, your Facebook page?

  • Update, update, update, you don’t want to have a stale site and no one will revisit if there is never anything new
The idea is simple, when you are thinking about how to market your business don’t forget about the 5th P, People.  Without them the other 4 Ps won’t even come into play.
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Social Media 101 – The Heavy Hitters

Though the landscape of social media changes almost daily there are a few major tools that already take up the majority of the social media space.  Guaranteed you have all heard of Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.  Each tool has it’s place in the world of social media for designers, decorators, stagers, stylists and others who work in the interior design and decor industry.  Here is a quick bio on each and the role it can play for you and your design related business.


The largest of the three “with over 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with over 250 million of them (over 50%) who log in every day. The average user still has about 130 friends, but that should expand in 2011.

48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. The 35+ demographic is growing rapidly, now with over 30% of the entire Facebook user base. The core 18-24 year old segment is now growing the fastest at 74% year on year. Almost 72% of all US internet users are on now Facebook, while 70% of the entire user base is located outside of the US.”

Statistics above from Digital Buzz Blog.

Wow if those stats don’t impress you I don’t know what will.  28% of 18-34 year olds check it before even getting out of bed, now that’s some powerful stuff!  I am sure most of you are very familiar with Facebook and chances are you already have an account but just in case here are the basics.

The Lingo

Friend – the people you are connected with

Wall – think of  it as your personal homepage where people can read, post and comment

Tag – A way to connect comments, pictures, articles and videos to other people who appear or are mentioned in them

Poke – A strange socially awkward way (in my opinion) to get someone to notice you, my advice don’t poke people it is just weird especially when you are using it for business.


Twitter – AKA the mother

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A Blogging Good Time!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Design Bloggers event.  The evening was put on by Vie of Verdigris Vie and Daniella of Dress, Design, Decor.  The beautiful venue of Brassaii on King St. in Toronto was packed full of some of Canada’s most stylish blog writers, or as guest speaker Tommy Smythe called us “Blogging Bitches!”  This was 100% my favourite quote of the night.

Amazing sponsors made the night even more exciting IKEA gave a $1,000 gift card, Delta gave what seemed like an endless amount of faucets, and CIL who brought an i-pad 2.  These along with House & Home, Crate & Barrel, Sytle at Home, Kravet, and Rowenta meant some very lucky ladies went home with some amazing prizes and we all received fantastic swag bags!

(photo above courtesy of  Leah from Forever Moments you can check out the rest of her amazing shots of the evening at the Canadian Design Bloggers site)

It was so nice to spend the evening with others who have the same passion for design and decor that I do, and those that are using social media to share their love.  I came out of the evening with many new friends and so many new ideas.

Events like this are so important because I believe creativity inspires creativity.  Many people may think that the reason you would go to a networking event is to meet potential clients and drive new business, but in this case that was not the purpose.  The purpose instead is to meet other like-minded people who you can feel connected to and bounce ideas off of now that we are back to the grind.  So many of us work as lone soldiers, plugging away at design concepts, dealing with trades and handling client uncertainties, we never get to feel like we are part of a team.  Vie and Daniella did an incredible job of providing us the reason to get together and share, thank you so much ladies for all of your hard work!

The New Style Networking

For anyone who is afraid to attend a networking event probably in envisioning the old style of networking where everyone shows up business card stacks in hand and uncomfortably works the room handing out cards and making awkward small talk.  You can rest assured that if they you are part of the world of social media the networking events you do will be very different, you will be welcomed in with open arms…literally!

On this occasion there were many friends I know via social media that I had never met in real life (IRL for those who are new to the social media world is a common way to refer to this) before.  The moment I got close enough to read their badges and we realized we were friends on Twitter or Facebook, or had read each other’s blogs a big hug was in order just as two old friends would embrace each other after time apart.  You see, this is the beauty of social media.  Connecting like-minded people who can engage with each other daily and build relationships not just networks, but actual relationships, imagine that!

Think of Twitter as a 24/7 cocktail party and Facebook as the more intimate invite only after-party, all you need to do is show up and chat, cocktails at optional of course!  (I think I might get a few sideways glances if while I was tweeting and pushing my kids for the bizilionth time on the park swing that I also had a martini in hand, plus then how would I type?)

I chatted with a number of ladies who are avid bloggers but not such avid social media mavens and I found myself over and over explaining why they should be involved in more of what social media tools can offer.  Not only because this is what I do, but because I truly believe it.

So everyone, not involved in social media yet, jump on board, I’ll help you along the ride.  Off to write some intro articles for those who aren’t to sure how to get started.  I am here anytime you have a question..happy to help!


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