A great giving proposition. How 'made to stick' meets social gifting.

How do you get a product to appeal to a certain market, get your brand to stick at once, and then make people proud to wear it? One of the better reads I had this year was the book Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, who also write in Fastcompany monthly. The book focuses on how to make ideas ‘sticky’ and memorable. The authors would love the business model being followed by the company, TOMS Shoes.

The company sells great looking shoes, but then again, so do many cobblers. The key ingredient in the success of the TOMS Shoes brand, is the great social affirmation that comes from buying a pair. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company’s owner, Blake Mycoskie, delivers a pair to a needy child.

Simple. Emotional. Concrete. Winner.

Buy these shoes, and a poor child no longer walks barefoot. It is incredibly sticky, and a great badge of honour for those walking around in the Western world sporting a pair of TOMS.

We deal a lot with the idea of ‘badges of honour’ at World Vision – trying to find a way to give people a feeling that they belong to a tribe when they support one of our causes. The white armband is a good example of this, as ripped from the Lance Armstrong ‘Livestrong’ from years ago. (Do you know they sold 52 Million of those LIVESTRONGS!!!! amazing!). The TOMS messaging will re-appear I’m sure in a world where social conscience is a key pillar of a persons image. By social gifting, in return for purchase of a product, companies can allay their customers world guilt whilst at the same time, create a tribal community feel to their brand. ‘I’m a TOMS wearer…therefore I am.’

Livestong…52 million times!

Biomimicry in action: Sour Grapes and the wine industry

How does a winery use Biomimicry to great effect to continuously keep soil quality, and thus wine quality, high? It lets weeds run rampant!

I was watching Uncorked, the Stuart MacGill show on Lifestyle, the other day (yes, hold your laughter) and was happily shocked by how much the wine industry has begun adopting biomimicry techniques in an effort to create full bodied, great tasting wines.

The winery Battle of Bosworth, deliberately lets the weed, Sour Sob (oxalis pes caprae), grow between it’s wine rows to ‘out-compete’ other weeds and then turn into a nutritious, organic mulch in the summer. The plant grows in reverse season to the grape vines, which means that when the Sour Sob is growing, the grapes are in the off-season, lying dormant. When the grapes begin maturing, and enter into the growth season, the weed naturally dies off, providing the excess nutrients the vines required to produce the grapes which eventually go into one of the better wines in the region. The owner loves the weed so much, he has adorned his bottles with it’s image.

Battle of Bosworth

Fantastic! No chemicals. Less water use. Better product. Using something that…shock horror…grows naturally WITHOUT COST. I’ll be buying a bottle or two – call it research. 😛

Dopplr = Interesting concept, but not for hobbits

So, Ross very kindly invited me to Dopplr the other day, which allowed me to have a little looksey at what the concept was for the new venture. I quickly came to the conclusion that I like the concept, and think it has the potential to further let people gain access to an organizations staff and brand. Basically, it allows you to log where you are going to be in the world, and at what times. If you have other friends who travel quite a bit, it allows you to compare schedules and hook up with them in foreign places.

Very cool…but not for hobbits such as myself.

It looks like they have opened up the API, so hopefully we’ll begin to see some orgs use it to map their travelers and possibly give people the chance to further interact with the people normally ‘behind the curtain.’ Or, Imagine being able to follow your new pair of shoes or T-Shirt around the world as it was made…

Early thoughts. Any more? If you want an invite, leave me a comment or fling me an email and I’ll hook you up with the good stuff 😉

Dopplr – is anyone part of the top 100?

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Check out this post this morning from the folks at Dopplr. I’m not cool enough to be invited to anything like this, and to be honest, I am no global traveler (would like to be, but still working on it). I am more interested in seeing what the marketing/PR potential is for a Web 2.0 product like Dopplr, especially to better connect supporters of different brands and companies together when they are out and about around the world. It’s the Twitter principal, only global.

Not really sure what’s going on with the product, other than it is yet another, more niche, social network – aimed this time at Global Trekkers and their friends. I would love to have a looksy – is anyone employed by the list of 100 companies and if so can you sign up and give me a blow-by-blow of what the bloody thing is!!!

I got this screen shot from flickr…can anyone do better?


A stranger, from the outside!!! Pixar and the Brand Me world…

Yes, continuing on from yesterdays post, I thought it would be worth talking about the Pixar a little more.

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From the Mavericks at Work book I wrote about before, there was quite a good section which looked at some of the inner workings of the film company (valued at somewhere between 7-10 billion USD!).

“It’s fine to have wildly talented individuals. The real trick, the higher degree of difficulty, is to get a bunch of widely talented people to make productive partnerships, to produce great work”

Randy Nelson, Dean – Pixar University

Pixar seem to focus much more on the creation and preservation of partnerships than other film companies do. They employ their people, a marked difference from normal film companies that hire everyone on contract for different projects, then disperse them after the film is made. Normally, I prefer this kind of work style. I love the idea of swinging in and out of different, funky and creative projects. But, I gotta say, the Pixar model makes sense too. Because everyone is employed at Pixar, they can build on each project (film) they do. Team’s get used to working with each other, are obviously happy and consistently challenged, well paid and so choose to stay on and continue building great works.

It’s an interesting difference, and one I am always contemplating…Sheeds alluded to the benefits of people committing beyond contracts a few months ago…

“Part-time people, get part-time results”

Kevin Sheedy

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Now, whilst I am a big fan (hell, I’m trying to live the brand me life!) of the project worker ideals, the thought does consistantly cross my mind that big things do tend to happen after a lot of effort and hard work being committed to achieve them. How do you juggle this tension between committing to a company or organization for a long period to achieve great stuff, and experiencing a great many different and varied projects by not-committing to anything?

Pixar vs Tom Peters??? Business Celebrity Guru Death match #1 Comment who you think would win 🙂