Archive for the ‘COBE’ Category

Day 40: Help by HackFwd

Topic: The Internet is here to help

Shut up and do. Harsh words I know, but perhaps the most realistic. I’ve heard a lot from my friends who wish to start up their own company but very few do. They tell me they don’t have the skills or they don’t have the funding, but that’s just excuses. I know they’re excuses because I’ve definitely made a lot of excuses myself before and I still do till this day. Sometimes however when we just do a little bit of research we find that there are so many services online that can help us, and perhaps its just that little bit of help we need to get things started. So here’s what may help. If your excuse like mine has always been I’m not techie enough to do it, then here’s a website you should consider checking out. HackFwd are techies that help you launch. They provide support for what they wish they had when they were starting out. Think of them as mentors.

Perhaps companies should start an initiative like this where they consider what they’re good at and what they wish someone had told them before they got good at it. In other words, think of your company’s service as being a mentor who helps empower and helps his or her customers.

Lots of Little Love



Day 39: Star Wars Geek Sheek

Topic: Know thy niche market

When I came to Vancouver for the first time, I went to my university and was surrounded by anime characters and people with plastic swords. To say I was freaked out was an understatement. What I didn’t realize however was that Canadian’s weren’t in fact all like this but rather our university was holding an anime convention. When we think of anime lovers, we think guys who are serious computer gaming nerds with glasses and drool, but we can often overlook the fact that their are girls as well. In fact there are enough girls that Ashley Ekstein created her own Star War’s Merchandising Company called HerUniverse, that targets the niche market of females that love Star War’s.

I know I lumped Anime lovers with Star War lovers, but perhaps the lesson is we shouldn’t lump things into so called general customers, but rather see each customer as a unique group to target. If you find a niche market, create a program that caters towards them, otherwise someone else will.

For the source of inspiration for this blog post see: Star Wars Girl Taps Female Geek Chic Market by Austin Carr

Lots of Little Love


Day 37: Kickstarter

Topic: Funding the future

Imagine the project, the entrepreneurial venture or the idea we’ve all had come true. Crowd funding is when fans place money into projects or people, which are then used for investment or startup purposes. Kickstarter allows people to list their projects on their website for others to fund if they are interested. Updates, less formal versions of annual reports, are given to the followers who help fund the project.

Companies could benefit from their own Kickstarter initiatives. Imagine employees who get to post up projects they’d like to implement on their own initiative for the company and having their employers or fellow peers back them up. My university could benefit from something like this too. I have so many friends who have wanted to start their own entrepreneurial ventures. What if my university set aside some money and funded students who posted their projects and ideas onto a university Kickstarter platform? Students would get funding and the university would be investing in the future. It doesn’t even have to be just the university who helps with funding. I bet students would love the idea of being able to say: “Hey, I helped fund the next Bill Gates.”

I wander is this initiative was actually started how many more student ventures would be created and how many more students would love their university a little bit more.

Lots of Little Love


Day 36: The Observer

Topic: Understand how we buy

I’m currently reading Why We Buy by Paco Underhill and its all about the science of shopping, consumer behaviour in other words. Underhill is an observer. He watches consumers behave while they shop to try understand how best to increase sales through minor adjustments. Some of his recommendations include adding mirrors into hallways because reflective surfaces make consumers stay longer and the longer a person stays in a store, the more likely they are to buy. What I think is most important to learn from this book however is “Understand Thy Customer”.

If we truly watched how a consumer interacted with a store and its products we might gain invaluable insights. For example, when I went to Shoppers to buy hair wax I opened every bottle (don’t judge, you do it too). The ones I didn’t buy were the ones that didn’t allow me to see the goop inside because they were sealed. Another example is that when I go grocery shopping I don’t enter from the main entrance. I enter from the side entrance but I have to walk all the way to the main entrance to get a shopping basket.

Implement an observer in your retail store. Someone who just watches to understand how people move in your retail store. They should read up a little about consumer behaviour first though, because its not as easy as we would think. Remember ethics as well, consumers don’t like the feeling of being watched and manipulated. Find genuine ways in which to improve the customer’s shopping experience.

Lots of Little Love


Day 33: Eventnow

Topic: Service Sells

Instead of you finding services through things like the Yellow Pages, what if services came to you?

EventNow allows you to upload the type of party you want and party planners contact you with the services they are able to offer. You can look through their offers as well as their portfolios comparing and contrasting professionals that work best for you.

The idea behind EventNow is perhaps one companies should start considering. Most companies want to be like the restaurant with the line halfway across the block, but that’s not all that realistic. If you’re a service-oriented company, how can you provide a service for your customer by doing the extra step of finding them, instead of making them do all the work by finding you. I don’t mean advertising and other push strategies, but rather be a knight in shining armour when customers are calling in distress. Find websites or create your own where customers can demand what they want, and  see if you can provide it. I’d say this would work best for entertainment industries. There should be a website where I can cry out my tears of boredom and local entertainment industries pitch their plans to come save me. Boredom gone thanks to the handsome company that came and saved me.

Lots of Little Love


Day 32: The Whole Package

Topic: You are what you smell like

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom is a book about using science and brain scans to understand what stimulates our senses. This consumer behaviour book looks at what type of advertising and selling techniques actually work. Not often enough do companies focus on their whole package. Even as individuals we don’t brand ourselves very well in the sensory department. I have one friend however whose brand sense is off the chart. When I think of her I think of red hair (Sight) and cinnamon scent (Smell). If you think of yourself, do you have a signature scent and colour? Probably not a conscious one and neither do companies.

Big City Cupcakes is a perfect example of a company that doesn’t do to well. For a company that sells cupcakes their store lacks a solid brand sense. First of all they don’t have an in store kitchen, which means that their store doesn’t smell like freshly baked products, which consumers LOVE, just think of a bakery and the wafting scent of baguettes and croissants. My personal opinion would be for Big City to implement a Madagascan Vanilla scent into their stores because its unique and because its the type of vanilla they use in their cupcakes.

Implement a strong conscious brand sense in your company that sells you as a whole product, because if you don’t you consumers will.

Lots of Little Love


Day 29: Re:Factory Water Bottles

The Story: Re:Factory Water Bottles

Water bottles are bad. We know this, we’ve seen the ads and even more visible we’ve seen the mess in our own backyards. Just take a walk outside and there’s bound to be a plastic water bottle on the ground. What if companies decided to reinvent the water bottle and change our consumer behaviour at the same time?

Introducing the Re:Factory water bottle.

The product hasn’t actually been created as far as I know but the idea behind the initiative is something I believe worth looking at.

The Mechanics: How does this initiative work?

Purchase: You buy Re:Factory water bottles at your local grocery store, just like we do with biodegradable grocery bags.

Return: When you’ve finished the water in your bottle you bring it back to the grocery store who will then clean the water bottle and refill it.

Personalize: What I find most unique about this product is that when each bottle is returned it is etched with words. The plan is to etch news headlines of the day the bottle was refilled. This way a story accumulates on the bottle and makes for a fun personalized read. My only concern would be consumers like me who would collect these water bottles with their artworks and etchings rather than returning them to be refilled.

The Key Drivers: Why it works

Green: We all know about the green trend, but perhaps its our inherent nature to actually care for others and the society around us. I recently started reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and he argues that we do care about the world. We have a conscience. He talks about parents who were late to pick up their children at daycare and when the daycare implemented a fee for late parents to reduce the tardiness, parents came to pick up their children even later. The reason was because, when there was no fee, parents felt guilty and tried to pick up their children as early as possible. After the fee was introduced they could pay their way out of this guilt: “It’s ok if I’m late because I only have to pay $5” was the mentality. My point here is that introducing a fee on plastic water bottles would most likely decrease the demand in the short term but in the long term the demand would increase once again. By implementing a “pull” system where consumers want to reuse and refill their water bottles may be the best way to actually reducing our carbon footprint.

For my source of inspiration for this blog post see: Changing Consumer Behaviour One Water Bottle at a Time by John Edson.

Lots of Little Love