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BRAND STORYTELLING

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Here’s what I find happens.

When buying or selling things.

Clients that pay too low fees are generally a pain in the arse to work with.

And the project is destined from day one to produce a half-arsed sub-optimal solution that’s good for nobody.

Money & Trust.

Now, I don’t mean that people that pay too low fees are a pain in the arse all the time.

In fact, people that pay too low fees probably don’t like being a pain in the arse any of the time, actually.

But they’ll very likely be a pain in the arse on projects where they are paying too low fees.

Here’s why.

  1. When you pay the right amount of money for something or someone. You expect it or them to be fucking good. You ‘expect’ this in order to justify the decision you made about paying the right amount of money for something or someone. Because you trust your own judgement – and so you have to trust them. So you butt-out and leave them to get on with it. So that if your judgement was in deed good, you end up getting the best possible solution for the right fee. And with little or no effort or time from you.
  2. When you pay very low fee or fuck all for something or someone. You expect the results to be imperfect. Because they have shown you that they are the kind of people that are prepared to accept someone like you not paying the right amount of money for someone like them. So you are constantly questioning your own judgement – because you are questioning theirs. From day one. And as a consequence, you don’t trust them. So you constantly butt-in and undermine and interrupt them. So you end up with a shitty, sub-optimal solution that you could have done just as badly yourself. Plus you’d have a bit less money because you didn’t.

Here’s how to mend this.

  1. If you want something doing well, choose someone really good at doing it, and pay them the right amount of money.
  2. If you are really good at doing something, charge people the right amount of money for doing it, and no less. Then be really good.

That’s it.

I’m relaunching Always Wear Red soon.

Sometime in September 2020.

I really am focussed on creating the best hand knits in the world.

Why?

Because I can do it.

And if I don’t – someone else will.

So it may as well be me.

Left and Right.

When I talk about Always Wear Red jumpers to people.

I see two little lights on top of their head flick on and off.

The little light on their right flicks on when they start to desire what I am creating.

The little light on their left flicks on when they look to give themselves permission to have it.

Desire and Permission

The desire light flicks on when I talk about hiding.

Hiding inside a beautiful ‘hug’ of a jumper.

Like the child they used to be.

Hiding from the big, bad world.

The permission light flicks on when I talk about world class quality.

A jumper that will last lifetimes.

A jumper that so rarely needs to be washed because of the antimicrobial quality of 100% Merino Wool.

A jumper with a carefully developed genderless shape so it can be shared.

And the fact that they’ll be surprised by how much they love an Always Wear Red jumper as it wears in.

As opposed to the familiar disappointment they feel as clothing they’ve had in the past wears out.

Brains. 

When you’re building a brand.

Don’t forget brains.

The right part looks for something to desire.

The left part looks for permission to have it.

So talk to both.

Hold your breath and wait for the good stuff?

Or hold your entire future in the palm of your hand and roll the dice?

What’s it going to be?

Stay or go?

Sit tight or invest?

Stick or twist?

Don’t ask her or ask her?

Say no to him, or say yes to him?

Give up or try again?

Hold your breath and wait for the good stuff?

Or hold your entire future in the palm of your hand and roll the dice?

Questions.

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions really.

But I do know this.

In your final days.

You’ll look back at your ‘hold your breath or roll the dice’ moments.

And you will wish you’d have rolled the dice more.

Much more, in fact.

I have no doubt about that at all.

And how do I know?

Because of this sentence earlier:

Hold your breath or hold your enter future in the palm of your hand and roll the dice?

I know how holding your breath and waiting for the good stuff makes you feel.

I know how rolling the dice makes you feel.

And in your final days.

I know which feeling you’ll wish you’d felt more.

Because ‘excitement’ trumps ‘anxiety’ every time in this short life of ours.

Final Days.

In your final days.

You will finally realise.

That the rolls of the dice are the focus.

Not the breath-holding.

Because somebody else decides how many breaths you take.

But how many times you roll the dice?

That’s completely up to you.

Running a business can be paralysing.

You try something.

And it doesn’t work.

So you feel crap.

Forgetting of course.

That the reason you tried it in the first place.

Was to find out if it was going to work or not.

Forgetting that.

Until you try.

You don’t know.

And forgetting that the trying.

Is the point.

Coordinates.

There is a way to feel better about trying though.

A way to feel better because you’ll start to succeed more than you’ll fail.

And that its to set your coordinates better.

To make sure that.

Overall.

You are moving in the most-right direction.

And doing the most-right things.

Getting Before Setting.

Great coordinate ‘setting’.

Follows great coordinate ‘getting’.

Which means making sure you get your coordinates from the best possible place.

And that is.

Always.

Your target customer(s).

Obvious.

Its obvious really.

The better you know your customers.

The better you’ll set your coordinates.

And the more times you’ll succeed.

That bad work you did.

You remember it.

That piece of crap you would never put in your portfolio.

Because it is nowhere near your usual standard.

And because it is unlikely to have any positive effect for those that bought it.

Why did you do it?

How did you allow that to happen?

What went wrong?

Bad Work.

There will be a whole host of reasons in your head.

As your subconscious ponders the answers.

But there is only one legitimate response in my opinion.

Assuming you are good at what you do.

And assuming you do actually have the ability to recognise and do great work.

It’s because you didn’t say no.

2013.

  1. onebestway. Creative Agency. (Broad focus).
  2. Violet Bick. Brand Consultancy. (Narrow focus).
  3. ANGELFYSH. Digital Agency. (Narrow focus).
  4. Dunn & Dusted. Web Support Services. (Narrow Focus).

2015.

  1. ANGELFYSH. Digital and Marketing Agency. (Broad Focus).

2016.

  1. Always Wear Red. Clothing Brand. (Broad focus).
  2. ANGELFYSH. Brand and Marketing Consultancy. (Broad Focus).

2018.

  1. Always Wear Red. Clothing Brand. (Broad focus).
  2. 50odd. Publishing. (Broad focus).
  3. ANGELFYSH. Brand and Marketing Consultancy. (Broad focus).

2020.

  1. Always Wear Red. Hand Knits only. (Narrow focus).
    Works Class. World Kind. Hand Knits.
  2. 50odd. The everybody entrepreneur (working title)  (Narrow focus).
    The Diary of a Man That Stopped Waiting.
  3. mychael. Brand Consultancy. (Narrow focus).
    Building Braver Brands.
  4. ANGELFYSH. The World’s Best Ecommerce Stores. (Narrow focus).
    Effortless Ecommerce.

Stay Narrow.

I have learned the hard way.

But I have learned.

If you want this to happen to your business:

  • Matter and get attention.
  • Make more profit.
  • Authentic mastery.
  • True love (you and your customers).

Stay narrow.

That’s it.

Just stay narrow.

‘Sttarcattiecgsy’ is the words ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ merged.

Because I get them confused sometimes.

And I’m always looking for ways to help me.

Instinctively and once-and-for-all.

To know the difference.

This is part-two of a two-part story.

Strategy is Based on Research, Planning, and Internal Reflection.

Strategy is a long-term vision.

Tactics are short-term actions.

For example, if your Marketing Strategy is to improve your influence on social media.

Then your tactics will include carefully choosing channels and messaging.

Change.

Strategy can change to accommodate new internal or external factors.

But changes shouldn’t be made lightly.

Tactics can (and should) change based on the success of your strategy.

It is easier to adjust tactics to course-correct than it is to overhaul your strategy.

So make sure your strategic planning is thorough – and your strategy is right!

Strategy Needs Tactics.

If your strategy is to climb a mountain, one key decision inside your strategy might be which side of the mountain to climb.

Your tactics would be the gear you’d buy.

Who you bring with you.

Your complete trip plan.

How long it would take to get there.

What season you’d go.

Strategy without tactics won’t be executed or help you achieve your goals.

Strategy and Tactics Always Have to be Aligned.

You might be really excited about or drawn to a particular tactic or project.

But only do it if it aligns with your long-term strategy.

So your strategy should inform which tactics your organisation will execute or fund.

The Best Strategy and Tactics Still Won’t Cover Everything.

Because resources are finite, choosing the right strategy and corresponding tactics ensures your efforts are directed toward achieving your vision in the most efficient manner possible.

As David Ogilvy said,

Strategy is Sacrifice.

That’s that.

OK, that’s that.

‘Sttarcattiecgsy’ is the words ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ merged.

Because I get them confused sometimes.

And I’m always looking for ways to help me.

Instinctively and once-and-for-all.

To know the difference.

Adapted from the work of the excellent Rachel Smith, Clearpoint.

Once upon a time.

Chemistry sets were marketed only at boys.

Daft, that.

I always thought.

So it’s good that the balance is being redressed.

Experimental.

I am reminded of the appeal of boyhood Chemistry Sets when I help successful businesses.

Businesses I help to turn into brands.

(That means they want to focus down on the essence of why they exist.

Then point everything towards this North Star.

So people fall in love with not only ‘what’ they do.

But ‘why’ they do, too).

I am reminded of the appeal of boyhood Chemistry Sets when I help aspiring brands because aspiring brands are experimental by nature.

They are more experimental than they imagine.

So they are more interesting than they imagine.

And I encourage them to tell stories of their experimentation as much as possible.

Stories. 

Markets like reading about experimental brands.

Markets like reading about things that aspiring brands try.

Markets like reading about the ups and the downs of a business as they explore.

Because the ups and the downs show they’re human.

And that builds empathy.

Storytell Your Experiments.

You’ll sometimes wonder what to say across social media.

Or in your PR.

Well here’s the suggestion.

Talk about your experiments.

Talk about the fact that you take little risks.

On your time.

With your money.

Because you know it’s wrong to treat customers as guinea pigs.

And because you know your never-ending yearning to be better is real.

And you know it makes sense that your customers know too.

See what I did there?

‘Sttarcattiecgsy’.

It’s the words ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ merged.

Because I get them confused sometimes.

And I am always looking for ways to help me.

Instinctively and once-and-for-all.

To know the difference.

Rachel Smith.

The following is taken from.

Or adapted from.

An article by the excellent Rachel Smith from Clearpoint.

Here we go:

Strategy describes the destination and how you are going to get there.

Tactics describe the specific actions you are going to take along the way.

OK.

Got that.

So let’s expand a bit:

Strategy defines your long-term goals and how you’re planning to achieve them. In other words, your strategy gives you the path you need toward achieving your organisation’s mission.

Tactics are much more concrete and are often oriented toward smaller steps and a shorter time frame along the way. They involve best practices, specific plans, resources, etc. They’re also called ‘initiatives’.

Yep.

Useful.

So what makes a good strategy?

A good strategy reflects your core values. It listens to your organisation. It is realistic and actionable.

It is results-focused and specific. For example, Mychael’s Furniture Company wants to ‘expand market share’ by displacing customers from the competition.

So they set the strategic goals of:

  1. Improving sustainability credentials.
  2. Setting accessible, consistent, mid-range price points.
  3. Achieving faster delivery times.
  4. Achieving an exceptional, category-leading customer experience at the point of delivery and installation.

And what makes a good tactic?

A good tactic has a clear purpose that aids your strategy. It has a finite timeline during which specific activities will be completed and their impacts measured.

Good tactics for Mychael’s Furniture Company, each aligned to a specific strategic objective, would be:

    1. Analyse manufacturing processes to minimise waste, primarily by ‘designing out waste’ at the beginning.Also assessing the sustainability credentials of the entire supply chain and internal operation.
    2. Design for more efficient manufacture, reduce manufacturing inefficiencies with leaner making approaches, thereby decreasing cost and, by extension, the opportunity decrease prices for customers.This makes consistent pricing a more realistic goal.
    3. Design for faster making by (for example) standardising components across a collection. Change manufacturing shifts to be less people per shifts, but more shifts.So you’re making over longer periods (so moving from 8 to 16 hours of making in every working 24 hour period).That way, the  whole manufacturing operation can respond faster to specific orders.Increase borrowing or allocate reserves to 20% higher stock levels, levered against (sensibly) increased sales projections.
    4. Massively increased training to all delivery personnel, and/or procuring better courier options. Introducing innovations such as (for example) clear name badges, photography of the furniture in-situ by the delivery team and monthly performance awards for Net Promoter Scoring.Based upon a more sophisticated and answerable customer feedback infrastructure.

Mychael’s Furniture Company can then clearly measure the success of each tactic by comparing their costs and profitability and other KPI’s before and after the new tactical initiatives.

Keeping in mind that it is possible to assess too soon.

Thinking Versus Acting.

This is good, too:

Think Strategically.

Act Tactically.

Part Two.

I’ll leave it there for now.

I’ll create a STTARCATTIECGSY Part two, soon.

As a business or a brand.

If you want to win.

You have to be fucking awesome.

And fucking patient.

All of you.

Competitive.

Markets are so competitive.

There are so many good people out there.

Doing what you’re doing.

Saying what you’re saying.

So the care.

And attention.

And cleverness.

And patience.

And bravery that simply must be invested in your brand.

To get the behavioural change you want.

Is immense.

The Invitation.

Think about it like this.

You’re busy, right?

You want a great business.

You want a great family life.

You want to stay fit.

You want to buy amazing things every now and then.

You want to buy into and make a difference to causes you care about.

And you want to have a good quality and amount of fun and downtime too.

And so you should.

The Invitation.

Now imagine that against the balancing act of your business, family, fitness, trinkets, causes, fun and downtime.

Imagine you receive an invitation enticing you to take time away from all of those valuable things here listed.

Here’s what you’d do.

You picture the invitee and all you know of them.

You picture all the events of theirs you’ve been to before.

You picture the laughs you’ve had and are likely to have again.

And you remember the exposing fun and hangovers you’ve had and are likely to have again.

Then you close your eyes.

Smile warmly.

And decide.

Bad Mannered.

So how silly it is that so many bad mannered, pig-thick bloody business people are so quick off the mark to invite me to their party and buy.

When I’ve never even heard of them.

And I’ve never bought from them before.

And they’ve never helped me to understand what they are like.

And I’ve never shared anything meaningful with them on any level whatsoever.

Behavioural Change.

To get my behaviour to change.

In the way that you want.

When I have so much going on in my life.

You have to show me a little respect.

You have to build the relationship.

And, of course, you have to have the funds in place to allow you to build the relationship.

You have to be fucking awesome.

And fucking patient.

All of you.

Or else the only person at your party.

Will be you.