Even dogs have blogs these days

The phrase ‘blogging’ has a bad reputation these days.  It seems like everyone has a blog: your aunt, your overly intrusive neighbour, your best friends grandfather, and I swear, even dogs have blogs. It is this reputation that really put me off of blogging but luckily that has changed.

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Society is currently in a state of oversharing: the Internet and social media are mostly to blame.  The need to share every little detail of your life with the world, when deep down, no one really cares, is somewhat irksome to me.  This is why I struggled with writing a blog because I didn’t want to fall into the pattern.  But I realized that if I wrote about stuff that was important or relevant I could stay away from the ‘cliche’. 

Blogging in its simplest form is just writing.  Yes, your writing is being published for the world to see which can be intimidating but with intimidation comes honesty.  I am a bit of a perfectionist so the idea of my work being judged makes me feel insecure.  However, I have surprised myself; I never thought I would like the challenge of knowing that anyone at any time could read my writing. 

I have found this experience kind of liberating.  When I pressed the ‘publish button for my first blog post, I felt a sense of exhilaration, and I liked it.  There is a mystery to it all. Has anyone read my work? Are they enjoying it? Are they hating it?

As of now, my blog posts have been inspired by school projects.  I am faced with the dilemma of what to write about now that I am left to my own devices.  I want to make sure that I continue to write with meaning and relevance. Any suggestions? 

How does one start starting a business?

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Having my own business is something that has always intrigued me; I like the idea of the challenge, the control, and the creativity.  Starting my own business also terrifies me mostly due to the possibility of being a failure.  I choose to study StartUp as my thought leader so I could get a first-hand look at what it takes to start a business. 

StartUp is a podcast that details all the ups and downs of starting a business.  The show was created by Alex Blumberg, a podcast producer, who is leaving the stability of a career with This American Life to start his own podcast empire, Gimlet Media.  The first season of the show follows Alex as he finds investors, business partners, office space, and employees.  What I find the most interesting about the show is that it also follows how starting a business impacts him, his wife, his home life, and his financial stability. 

The show is currently in its fourth season.  I am halfway through the second season, where Alex and his co-host Lisa Chow follow Dating Ring, a mobile dating app created by two young women.  So far I have learned the qualities and skills it takes for a someone to start a successful and that it is not easy.

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You need to be dedicated.  Say goodbye to all your free time because you need to dive head first into your business.  All of your money, time, patience, and brain power will be used.  You need to be passionate.  If you do not believe in yourself then how are you to expect others to believe in you.  You need to be able to pitch your idea, your product, your service to investors and hope that they will give you their hard earned dollars. 

Communication is extremely important.  Starting a business with someone is very similar to getting married.  If you are not open and honest with each other than it will be very difficult to have a successful business and business relationship. 

If you have any interest in starting a business I highly recommend listening to StartUp.  It gives you a peek at the inside story you often never hear.  You can listen to start up through their website, Stitcher, SoundCloud, or the Apple Store.

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Adventures in shopping

People spend their whole lives working towards retirement, but once they get there they do not know what to do with all that time which is exactly what is happening for the Senior Generation.   From a marketing perspective, I find this generation very interesting because they typically have nothing but time to fill and money to spend; this is an ideal combination for marketers.

 I spent a morning at Chapters browsing through books and household products when I saw an older gentleman standing around looking like he did not want to be shopping.  He caught my eye because I thought why on earth would this man be at Chapters and 10 in the morning on a Wednesday if he did not what to be there.  I found my answer when I heard a woman yell “Carl!” and my target acted quickly and followed her throughout the store.

As I followed Carl throughout the store, it became clear that he was there because his wife was looking for a particular book, that Chapters, unfortunately, did not carry.  I overheard his wife say to Carl, that she would check the library which I found interesting because a younger generation’s next step would be to go to Amazon or another online store.  As he stayed longer and longer in the store he became more interested in the books and products around him; he paid particular attention to biographical books and books on cooking healthy foods. 

As a marketing student, I found Carl’s adventure in Chapters so interesting that I decided to create a consumer profile for Carl, with a focus on decision making and buying behaviors.  Here is a psychographic, demographic and geographic analysis of Carl:

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Shopping for Carl is most definitely a job, not an adventure.  He is a cross between an apathetic consumer and an economic shopper.  Carl does not like to shop; he has worked hard for his money, and he feels as though spending on unnecessary items cannot be justified.  However, just like everybody else, Carl has needs when he does decide to shop he is always searching for the best value and wants to make sure he is spending his money wisely.  Carl evaluates all of his purchases based on his needs rather than his wants.  There is one exception and that is the hardware store.

In terms of product disposal, Carl would get rid of the product permanently.  He would most likely pass the item down to one of this children or grandchildren.  As a secondary option, Carl would donate the unwanted item. 

I purchased a magazine that Carl might purchase called Saveur.  I felt as though this magazine would catch his eye because right now Carl is quite bored and is looking for new activities while at the same time trying to be more conscious of the foods he eats. This issue of Saveur has a focus on grilling, which is considered ‘manly’ cooking according to Carl’s values.  This magazine would align with Carl’s ideal self because he is currently interested in trying new things, and this magazine aligns with whom he wants to become. Here are two ads that I found in the magazine:

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Overall I found Carl to be a very interesting subject.  The golden years of retirement are a struggle for many, and I hope that Carl is able to find peace because he deserves it after all his hard work. 

Ikea and the self-conscious banner ad

Once upon a time, in a world where humans and smart phones are one, there was a girl, let’s call her Ikea, who was searching far and wide across the digital universe trying to find that special someone. Can Ikea woo the guy of her dream? Will the self-conscious shy approach work?

Digital communications is the future of marketing, and one major reason behind this shift is our co-dependent relationship with our smart phone. In 2013, there was a study that found the average user checks his or her phone up to 150 times per day, and those numbers have certainly increased in the past four years. Marketers need to be able to reach consumers while they are on their phones and one method being used is banner ads.

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Banner ads are everywhere but do they sell? In 2016, banner ads accounted for 47.9% of all digital advertising in the United States, but only 54% of those ads were never seen. In fact, banner ads cause the used a lot of frustrations and annoyance. This creates a problem; marketers need to reach consumers in a manner that leaves them with a positive impression. The Swedish agency Åkestam Holst and Ikea have come up with a rather ingenious solution to the banner ad dilemma.

Perceptive banners…what a brilliant idea. Rather than trying to sell products to the consumer or trick them into clicking on an ad Ikea has recognized the inconvenience. This type of ad will help consumers align themselves with a brand. In looking at Ikea’s mission statement it is obvious that they are a brand that is trying to make life easier for their customer, and now they have started to incorporate that idea into their ads.

Simple yet impactful, perceptive banners allowed Ikea to poke fun at themselves, banner ads, and the constant push of advertising while creating a brand that consumers will align themselves with. So in the end, Ikea and her humble approach was able to win over the guy of her dreams, and they lived happily ever after. 

Slogging n’ blogging

If you’re not a little nervous, you’re not really alive.”  This small but impactful quote from an old deodorant commercial has resonated with me and my feelings towards writing a blog.  Creative personal writing absolutely makes me feel anxious but I believe, in the long run, that those feelings will help bring life into my writing.photo-on-2017-01-19-at-11-59-pm-2I am a very closed off person when it comes to expressing my inner thoughts, I reserve that for my closest friends and family members.  The idea of writing a blog where I am to express myself and reflect upon my life in a completely public forum causes me a fair amount of anxiety.  Not to say that I am self-conscious in my writing skills by any means.  In fact, I very much enjoy writing and feel as though I can produce a quality piece of work but I am very used to academic writing as supposed to a more creative format.

When I was completing my undergraduate degree, in History, at the University of Ottawa I would write 20-30 page research papers without hesitation.  I would stand behind my writing; I was proud of what I produced.  I feel as though my writing abilities are fairly strong.  Although I do struggle with some grammar rules, as my elementary and secondary education was in French, I have the ideas, the vocabulary, and the sentence structure.img_0220I have always been confident in my academic writing but I feel the complete opposite when it comes to blogging because it is more honest and I don’t like to put myself out into the world.  I am not very active on social media, although, I do have Facebook and Instagram my presence is not very strong.  I need to take this sense of uncertainty and turn it into a positivity. 

I am looking forward to my adventures into blogging even though it will be a challenge.  I see it as a good challenge where I can learn and develop as a writer.  Any advice for me world? I think I am going to need it. img_0221