Lil Blu Dragonfly Pocket Change



Welcome to the Pocket Change section of Lil Blu Dragonfly. This blog is where I share what's spinning in my brain in regards to all things marketing and branding.  

I'm a blogging, tweeting, facebook posting, fool whose brain is usually spinning with all sorts of ideas.  I believe great marketing is all about telling stories - short stories that combine into a page turning novel. 

I love having great conversations about all aspects of this topic! Text, Facebook, Tweet or heck even call me and I'd be happy to talk to you about any of my ideas or philosophies! 



Show AND Tell – the Mabel’s Labels Way

Written By: Jennie - Mar• 11•10

There is an old saying in business – “You can’t sell it if you don’t show it.”  Let’s look at this in relation to the photography business.  A majority of photographers will find that their clients gravitate to the 8×10 and smaller print sizes.  It’s what they grew up with – in their head they carry a picture of what that looks like.  Now say you really, really want to sell 20×24 and larger wall prints.  They are featured in your pricing brochure yet no one seems to buy.  To make those sales happen somewhere in your studio you have to display that size print in a way that your client can envision it in their home.

A few weeks ago this was brought back home to me when I was reading a post called Show, Don’t Tell on Jonathan Fields’ blog – Awake at the Wheel.  He was commenting on how the ipad that is being released by Apple won’t have flash.  I had registered that the new ipad wouldn’t have flash but I hadn’t really pictured what that would mean.  In his post Jonathan posted an image from The Flash Blog that showed me quite clearly what that meant.  Before it was words and talk that I heard but didn’t connect.  With this one visual I finally got it.

Where does Mabel’s Labels fit in all this?  Not long after I read Jonathan’s post the crew at Mabel’s Labels posted this fun video.  One of the benefits they tout is that their – “labels are designed to stick – no matter what!”  To prove this they started creating fun videos challenging that statement.  They attach their labels to something and run it through its paces.  One such challenge is to run the labels over with a car, another to drop them off a roof, but my favorite by far is when they attach them to a hockey puck and have kids use the puck in practice.  Love it!!  The Mabel’s Label crew completely understands the show it to sell it theory and put it into action in a fun creative way.

*Disclaimer – I know I’ve mentioned Mabel’s Labels in the past.  However I have no connection to them.  Well.. my sister does buy them for her kids, which is how I found out about them in the first place.  Or maybe it’s just that I have a thing for Canadian companies.  Looking at my twitter followers – I’m HUGE in Canada.  Possibly it’s all my connections to North Sydney, Nova Scotia… Nahh really don’t think so. :) *

Lululemon – Their Message is Tight!

Written By: Jennie - Mar• 03•10

Lululemon, Lululemon, Lululemon!!!  There I said it!!  In the last few weeks it seems that every time I get into a conversation about marketing and social media the words “Lululemon – their message is tight!” comes out of my mouth.  Let me explain.

I knew of Lululemon, but they didn’t really hit on my radar until I did some research for my Inner Girl Athlete and Under Armour post.  In that post, if you recall, I mentioned how Under Armour had a position open for a Women’s Marketing Manager and that I had applied for the position (still no word there).  In doing my homework I researched other women’s athletic apparel makers, including Title Nine and Lululemon.  I also started following their Twitter feeds and became a fan on Facebook.  Not only did Lululemon blow me away, but I’m quickly becoming a super fan when I’ve never spent a dime with them or own a single piece of their apparel!!

When it comes to having a clear vision of who they are and how to communicate that vision with their “guests” they have it nailed!  A quick visit to their website and you will find the words – goals, outgoing, upbeat, energetic and fun – permeate the site.  Here’s the really cool thing – had I only ever gone to their Facebook fan page, blog or Twitter feed I still would have received that message.

Their message isn’t just about putting out the word but actively living the lifestyle they preach.  Lululemon runs challenges that they not only promote but actively engage in as well.  For the month of February they ran “A Challenge a Day”.  A couple of my favorite challenges were #21 – leave a positive message in a public place and #22 – hold downward dog for 5 minutes.  They posted the challenge with images of themselves participating in the challenge.  Fans then participated by commenting on how they met the challenge.  The challenges spread Lululemon’s overall message in a fun, upbeat way.

Here is how Lululemon knocks the socks off with their Social Media efforts.  They very, very actively listen and take part in the conversation people are having about them.  They are constantly looking for feedback on their products.  You can give your input in several different ways – a form off their website, an in store form or comments on their Facebook fan page.  And I know they are listening.   Look at their fan page, someone from Lululemon almost always comments on the customer feedback.  They let the commenter know they will pass the word on to the designers, etc…  Usually Whitney does the honors.  I love that I know Whitney is taking care of me should I have an issue.  I now no longer feel like one of many but like I have a personal connection – an inside line so to speak.  Mind you I’ve never met Whitney but I know she hears me.

Lastly, in terms of using Social Media in a way that I love, Lululemon posts on their fan page new products.  I know many people do that, but here is where Lululemon stands out – they attach a small story to it.  They give you a review – what the product is – ie rain jacket etc.., an image of a real person (usually someone in their office) with the person’s measurements so you can envision how it fits on you and then they tell you why they made it.  I love knowing their thoughts behind the piece – it lets me feel like I have a peek into the inner works of the company – I then can feel like I own a piece of the process – especially if some part of the new design came from feedback I gave them! (check it out here)

There are so many other ways that Lululemon makes a complete circle with their message and I urge you to check out their site, blog and facebook fan page to make the connections for yourself.  Now I’m off to find one of their retail stores to experience the message in real time!

Organize Your Ideas to Move Forward

Written By: Jennie - Feb• 15•10

This post is not the one I planned to write next.  It was on the list of post ideas, but not slated to be the next one up.  However, three recent conversations with other photographers made realize now was the time!

Over the past two months I’ve had conversations with other photographers about what’s working, what’s not and just general frustrations that go along with running your own business.  What really surprised and stuck with me is in three separate conversations I heard -

“I have ideas, lots and lots of ideas.  I just don’t know how to wrap my head around them and figure out what to do with them!”

I so get it.  There are times that my brain is spinning with so many ideas I can’t seem to think straight.  What I’ve learned to do is to grab a piece of paper and write them down – just get them out of my head!  I write down every single idea – now matter how silly or grandiose it may seem at the time.  Sometimes it’s just a quick sketch and I always write my ideas in pencil.  Why pencil I don’t know, it a feel thing for me – it feels better to leave it loose and in pencil.

This system worked but not as well as I hoped.  You see I would write on what ever random piece of paper I could find.  Next I learned I had to put them all into one binder so they didn’t get lost on my desk.  Then I was finding that I’d wake up in the middle of the night with this incredible idea but no paper was by the bed.  I convinced myself it was such an awesome idea that there was no way I’d forget it in the morning – yeah not so much.  Finally now I have a small red sketch book that I carry everywhere with me – even if it’s from the bedroom to the kitchen.  I’ve also learned that if the book is in the room but not next to the bed at night… you guessed it, I won’t get out of bed to get it…

So now what do I do with all these ideas?  Periodically, I take my idea book and start writing each idea individually on 5×7 index cards.  Once I get them all written out I categorize them.  Does this idea belong under sales or management?  My main categories are management, marketing, sales, products/programs and what is the experience.  What is the experience can be – what do I want my packaging to look like and how do I want my clients to feel as they are opening the packaging or how do I want my business cards feel in my clients hands.  You get the idea.

The reason I love the index cards so much is, now I can shuffle them – move them around in order of importance or see that one has to happen before another.  I can see that x marketing idea is perfect for my new y product, etc… Because I have an overall vision of where I’m taking my business I can now also see what isn’t going to bring me forward to the next step.  Alternatively, I can see ideas that are ahead of me.  I’m not ready for them yet – be it financially, technically, whatever the case may be.  They now become goals and I can set mile markers for me to reach them.  I never ever trash an idea completely, if I don’t think I can use it now I put it back in the pile.  I may later see it in a different light or maybe it’ll spark something completely new.

In closing I have to restate – you need to know what your overall vision of your business is.  Without out knowing my vision I can still organize my ideas but I won’t really know which one is going to bring me closer to where I want to be.  Ideas without focus are ideas that don’t have a clear action plan!

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