Rogue Dairy Queen has been ignoring corporate HQ since 1949

Rogue Dairy Queen has been ignoring corporate HQ since 1949

July 25, 2015

Brand Language: How Do Real People Use Your Brand’s Buzzwords?


My friend (Jenn Cusick of Luminate Wellness) and I got into one of those crazy Facebook thread conversations about the word “authenticity” the other week. She’d just read a blog post I’d written about Elon Musk and she had a question. In the post, I said Elon had real “authenticity” even though I thought that word had become “terrible.” She wanted to know what the word meant to me. So I explained that

I find it’s a buzzword that people want to associate themselves with without contemplating its meaning too deeply. Are people really that honest when they have strategic intent? Also, can ‘too much honesty’ be a professional liability or even just plain bad for your team/workplace/life? In general, I prickle a little bit when marketing lingo seems to appropriate moral concepts glibly.

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July 8, 2015

The Best Customer Service Story Involving A Sweaty Stalker Ever


I’m not a big shopper. I’m not someone who typically geeks out about brands. I don’t have favourite stores. I can remember watching commercials as a child and thinking, “There’s no way this works on anybody.” (And that was just one of the many incorrect assumptions I made in my childhood.) But I do feel what can only be described as a strong sense of consumer loyalty for one establishment: Bikram Yoga Abbotsford.

This is a minor miracle because everybody knows that “hot yoga” studios are places of humid anguish. I only manage to go once a week because my appetite for staring dead-eyed at my own clumsy reflection is only so keen. But I go faithfully. I am a loyal customer. I love Bikram Yoga Abbotsford because I actually truly feel that Bikram Yoga Abbotsford loves me.

This is a story about the best customer service I have ever experienced.

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June 17, 2015

A ‘Keeping It Real’ Lesson From Elon Musk

For the last few months I’ve been buried neck-high in a book-writing project with some very intelligent, very interesting clients. In the course of researching content for the book I’ve been watching quite a few interviews with various entrepreneurs and industry leaders. (You know you’re a researcher when the makeup of your YouTube recommended videos list takes sudden hairpin turns. They used to recommend videos of kids dancing to Beyonce. Now it’s all Richard Branson and direct mail marketing.)

Anyway, last night I watched this video, featuring Elon Musk being Elon-Musky: all buttoned-down eloquence and even-keeled charisma.

“Authenticity” has become a terrible word, but he has it, and I appreciate it. Listen to what he says from about minute four to eight about navigating a period of acute anxiety. It’s real talk about making a hard decision and a huge investment and then waiting to find out whether the roof is going to fall down on your head or not. Nobody is so intelligent and strategic that they can bypass moments like these.

As the group therapy people say, “Thanks for sharing, Elon.” I really mean it.

[Author: Kristin van Vloten]

June 10, 2015

Targeting Done Right!


I do have to give it up when targeting is done well. I just got the above sponsored post in my Facebook feed and, hey, I am legitimately a woman who goes on lots of outdoor adventures and hangs out with other women who also go on outdoor adventures. For a second, I even considered complying with the post’s call to action because, dang it, I AM inspired by my female friends in outdoor contexts. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time I have ever had such an enthusiastic response to branded content. It certainly helps that my perception of the Arc’teryx brand is quite positive. If Nike posted something similar, I’d be pretty meh. But still! Targeting well done.

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April 22, 2015

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