Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.
From Lisette D & Danielle Bowen, Knitique, A Yarn Boutique, via email.
Dear Chris (she’s our Chief Soaksperson),
Thank you again to Soak for your donation of the Soak samples for our fund raising event for Louisa’s charity Macmillan Cancer Support.
Our event was an overwhelming success and we raised over $1, 400.00 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The attendee’s loved that their Louisa Harding hat kit came with a Soak sample!
Thank you again for your donation and thank you for being a company that cares.
It’s our pleasure. If you are a Soak retailer and you’ve got an event. We would be honoured to hear about it. Thanks Lisette!
We’ve been busy, and a bit out of touch with the blog. Thankfully it has been all in the name of good things and lots of work! We’ll be more on top of this moving forward.
Yesterday, as you may already know, we had our debut on the Shopping Channel! It was a very exciting day, full of new friends, new activities and selling Soak!
We are very pleased to share with you the link to the great gift set we made, exclusively for them (you have to click to see it), as well as some awesome photos of the television that Chris took in the green room (the nice place where guests wait when they aren’t on air) and Jacqueline’s Dad took from home (the nice place where parents watch proudly as their children sell stuff on TV). We love the grainy look of the shots, combined with the TV buying information. All scents are available online, so get them now! Thanks for watching. We’ll let you know our next air date as soon as we have it.
Oh, and did we mention, you can even watch the video of our on-air episode too! (you have to click on the video link above the image on the Shopping Channel page selling Soak…)
Check it out! Thanks again for choosing Soak. We wouldn’t be where we are today, without you.
Everyone thinks that if you just make a better mouse trap, you’ll be rich. Each business discipline has its own priorities in terms of mouse trap function and profit. As designers, we want to understand it all.
Sales thinks… that without them, there is no business- your mouse trap is nothing, if I don’t sell it.
Marketing thinks… if nobody knows there’s a new mouse trap, who cares?
Finance/business thinks… if it’s just about the bottom line, the trap isn’t important.
Designer thinks… if I design a better mouse trap, it will sell.
Design must be all encompassing. One must understand all aspects and priorities in order to create useful products.
In the second part of the design strategy course, we dive into marketing. We talk about marketing as part of the strategic mix, not to become professional marketers, but to be able to understand what marketing is all about when in a business or client meeting.
We skim the surface of famed marketing terms such as the 4 P’s, (Product, Price, Place, Promotion), we look at types of products (core, functional, augmented, potential) and try to define the ‘true’ solution a consumer is seeking when they look at goods or services. We stop for a while on pricing products, understanding how value compares with price (why starbucks can charge 4x more for coffee than say, Tim Horton’s or the local gas station) and why people pay more for certain things. We close off understanding how to define consumer needs and target markets. When we move towards the world of understanding brands, we look at product lifecycles, adoption curves and a few other marketing fundamentals.
It’s important to note that this marketing research is done in the context of the business strategy (which we learned how to analyze in the first part of the course). If we don’t have context, all the marketing research in the world won’t help our products succeed. That’s just my opinion, based on lots and lots of experience.
You might have the same glazed over look my students did this week in class as you read over these topics. I’m okay with that. It’s not that our designer/ students need to master brand strategy. If they did, they’d go get degrees in Marketing. They need to be familiar with the concepts and terms, so they can work well alongside marketers and agencies collaborating on client projects.
Should you feel the need to understand these points further, I would direct you towards our course text book, my favorite marketing book for non-marketing majors, ‘Marketing a roadmap to Success’ by Ajay K. Sirsi. Professor Sirsi was one of my MBA Profs at Schulich School of Business and he wrote this book to help simplify marketing terminology for us mere mortals, who don’t have the time for four inch thick text books. Happy reading.
The Design Strategy course at George Brown is neatly divided into three sections. First, we look at the context of business, then we get into the details of marketing and finally we end with integrating the design process into the business process.
This week we’re going to talk about the context of business. We all interact with a variety of businesses on a daily basis. Whether you pick up your morning coffee at a Starbucks, local independent coffee shop or by fresh beans at the grocery store to brew at home, by 9am, you have interacted with a wide variety of businesses. Someone made the coffee maker, someone pays rent and hires people at the coffee shop and someone hooked up the electrical outlets in your home. Each of those functions comes from a different business and each business has a history, vision, strategy, core competencies and operational plans. Each business is also affected by what is happening in its specific industry, the economy and the external environment.
We start with giving the students an understanding of how businesses operate and why they operate the way they do. We look at the driving forces of the organization. Then, we look at the businesses strategy, core competencies and operational functions. From there, we analyze the internal strengths and weaknesses, relative to the above mentioned strategic plan. Finally, we explore the external forces affecting business- the economy (how many of you buy less coffee on the go since the recession?), the environment and other social and regulatory factors affect and influence the business.
Essentially, we can all go on designing stuff, based on client briefs, because our bosses told us to, or because we just feel like creating new products. If we take the time to understand the business environment of our client, our industry or our own company, we bring an entirely new perspective to the design process. We not only design, but design in relation to the functioning business which gives us greater capacity, knowledge and insight that ever before. If we work from the corporate vision, focusing down through the organization and then widening back to the industry and external environment we can get an all encompassing view of what is really going on in business, allowing us to produce and manage stronger designs.