Show Your Customers Love.

I interact with a few of my very favorite brands and thinkers on various social media platforms. These are brands that share similar values and world view as myself. I enjoy receiving useful bits of information about various topics from them.

What distinguishes these brands is that I like to extend to them my support. I like things they post on social and I participate in conversations they initiate by posting comments, answering questions, retweeting, repinning.

But recently I’ve started to question this interaction. Because if I’ve taken the time to like and comment and engage with a brand then I believe the least the brand can do is recognise this relationship/support.

Brands as friends.

If we imagine that a brand was a person, would this be the way a person would treat their friends? By ignoring them? Until now social media has been used as an updated form of push marketing rather than a genuine attempt to connect with people (albeit brands push their messages out to people who have opted in to the messages).

Social media is such a great way to connect with people but when not used properly, it just highlights a brands opportunistic and selfish tendancies. Any brand employee can be given the tools to connect, but very few brand custodians or employees really understand how to talk and how to treat people.

Here are some points I’ve thought about:

Why don’t brands link their customers online and offline interactions?

Why don’t brands reward customers who support them online?

Why don’t brands use social media as a form of customer support and customer service?

If I was a brand owner / custodian I’d make sure that I connected the people who most commonly interact with me to some sort of loyalty or ‘appreciation’ program. I would send them a little note “Dear friend, next time you’re *at the cafe / at the mall / shopping for shoes* we’d like to shout you a coffee, because you’re special to us!”.

It’s time we built databases or eCRM programs that connect people’s social media activity to the real world. Databases that value people, not numbers and interactions not transactions.

That’s how I’d treat my friends and supporters.

~ Brenda.

To the Bluebird inside us all.

Nice animation of Charles Bukowski’s poem ‘The Bluebird’


Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Bluebird,”

There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you. There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke and the whores and the bartenders and the grocery clerks never know that he’s in there.

There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay down, do you want to mess me up? You want to screw up the works? You want to blow my book sales in Europe? There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too clever, I only let him out at night sometimes when everybody’s asleep. I say, I know that you’re there, so don’t be sad. Then I put him back, but he’s singing a little in there, I haven’t quite let him die and we sleep together like that with our secret pact and it’s nice enough to make a man weep, but I don’t weep, do you?

Great ideas come to those who work on them.

Photo by Stuart O’Sullivan

To succeed in today’s world requires creativity and open mindedness. Opportunities and innovation come from connecting previously unconnected ideas or improving current systems and closing gaps.

Great ideas start small. They need encouragement and support. The initial thoughts, sparks, designs are little pieces of brilliance and creativity and one must be willing to nurture them, follow a plan of action, yet be ready to modify it as conditions and information change.

The rise in nimble and passionate small businesses and entrepreneurs, the growth of social networking and content sites (WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest) and the penetration of technology – have helped people collaborate, design, create and solve. The resulting solution doesn’t need to be a massive shift, just a small yet potent improvement.

If we honestly seek to change our condition, or our business just 1% each day, that’s 365% of change in a year. So here’s to open-mindedness, encouraging ideas, collaborations and changing our condition and the world one small step at a time.

Food is a finite resource when we don’t manage it sustainably.

johnny... abegg

‘Spindrift’ is the short story of acclaimed Chef Ben Shewry, who during a transitional time in his life, had the fortune of meeting Victorian Mussel farmer, the Sea Bounty‘s Lance Wiffin, through Ben’s late friend Jason Jurie.

The encounter formed a unique bond between Chef and Fisherman, the tale emphasizing the importance of sustainable food practice, compassion and friendship.

‘Spindrift’ is the second food based film from Ben Shewry and Filmmaker Johnny Abegg, following on from the success of their first short film together called ‘Kobe and the Sea’, which won the Chef Directory‘s “Best Internet Food Film” for 2011 –

The video was shot on a Nikon D7000, with the 50mm 1.4 and 18-200mm lens. The underwater was shot on a GoPro. Photos by Colin Page.

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Easiyo, now that’s customer service.

Easiyo yogurt sachets

A while ago my friends bought me an Easiyo yogurt maker. Needless to say I love it – the made-from-scratch feeling, and I love that it’s so healthy with no added artificial or preservative anything, and it’s taste is creamy, smooth deliciousness.

And now I love it even more. Why?

The thing is that the results of my yogurt have been inconsistent at times – sometimes it doesn’t set properly. But that all changed when I emailed the friendly folks @Easiyo with my issue and asked if they could help me out with some troubleshooting. Within 2 days a nice person had emailed me back with lots of helpful tips, that I’ve tried and so far so good 🙂 And, the best part is that she asked for my postal address so that they can ship out replacement product…from New Zealand…to Dubai.

That’s wowing the customer.

Action Brands

The brands that pique my interest and win my loyalty are those that care about my health, wellbeing and intellect and that of my family and the world around me.

They tend to be products and services, publishers (magazines, journals), personalities (Jamie Oliver), places (bookstores and museums) that have an inclusive and empathetic view of the world and give back to the community or world at large in an honest and transparent way.

I am loyal to brands that I can interact with, and if they can help me benefit or serve a noble cause or organisation, even better.

Here is my formula to grow modern conscious brands:

Purpose + Relevance + Omnichannel Presence + Engagement + Honest Conversations + Postive Social Impact = Loyalty and Action.

That’s not much to ask for is it?