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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Tap into societal currents for marketing ideas"/ Larry Gibson

Jan. 16, 2017 "Tap into societal currents for marketing ideas": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Deep diving is on the upswing – the media will be happy to learn – as people seek more insightful articles. Women are expressing themselves through fierce femininity, while many of us are displaying side quirks. And companies need to be more alert to passive loyalty rather than continuing to believe customers are truly loyal, as their research suggests.

Those are among the 15 societal currents that marketing-trend expert Rohit Bhargava identified in his Non-Obvious Business Trends Shaping 2017. The Washington-based consultant, whose annual examination of trends we looked at last week, aims to find unexpected currents that will jar us and open our minds to unexpected opportunities. Here are some of them:
  • Fierce Femininity: As our definitions of gender become more fluid, fiercely independent women are increasingly celebrated as heroines and viewed as role models, with an accompanying shift in the role of women in modern society. We’re seeing remakes of movies with all-female casts. Priya, a village girl and survivor of gang rape, is the centre of a widely read graphic novel in India. He notes that Ivanka Trump, daughter of the incoming president, might be seen as an exemplar since she doesn’t back down and people seem to respond to her strength.

  • Side Quirks: A shift to individualism continues, people of all ages embrace what makes them unique, follow their passion, often start a side business and increasingly appreciate the quirky differences in one another. Online marketplace Etsy captured this with their “Difference Makes Us” campaign.

  • Desperate Detox: With the complexity of our daily lives increasing through technology and the availability of too many physical things, people are desperately seeking new ways to enjoy moments of reflection by simplifying.

  • Passive loyalty: With switching brands becoming easier, companies need to become smarter about earning true loyalty since many customers are only with them because of habit or discounts. The popular net promoter score can deceive when it asks if someone will recommend the brand. “If you bought a $3,000 laptop for $1,000, of course you will recommend it. But that’s not true loyalty,” he says.

  • Authentic Fame Seekers: A new generation of creators are becoming authentic fame seekers, turning to social media to establish their brands and become the next big thing. Oprah Winfrey, move over: These days, influencers are widespread.

  • Loveable Unperfection: More brands and creators intentionally focus on imperfections, flaws and personality to make their products and experiences more human and believable. The Swedish Tourist Association invited us to phone “The Swedish Number” and speak randomly to one of 2,500 citizens who offered to answer questions about their country, without a script.

  • Preserved Past: Technology offers new avenues for us to preserve history, changing the way that we learn from, experience and preserve the past for future generations.

  • Deep Diving: In a world of “instant media,” he finds hope in signs people will spend ample time with experiences and content that truly capture their interest. He points to the success for Wired in its online archive of longer stories from the past that attracts admiring readers.

  • Precious Print: In a digital era, we prize the moments during which we interact with print or physical objects. He cites as examples the resurgence of neighbourhood bookstores and the explosion of art collection.

  • Invisible Technology: The more sophisticated technology gets, the more it is able to anticipate needs, protect us and provide utility while blending unnoticeably into our daily lives. He is fascinated by new technology that fixes microscopic cracks on airplane wings by itself – “self-healing airplane wings,” as he puts it.

  • Robot Renaissance: Robots are moving into the home and workplace, with better human-like interfaces and even micropersonalities built in.

  • Self-Aware Data: The combination of artificial intelligence and better sensors allows data to predictably organize, identify insights and even take action with little or no human intervention.

  • Moonshot Entrepreneurship: More organizations are thinking beyond profit, trying to use business to make a positive social impact.

  • Outrageous Outsiders: In July, as he was formulating his trends, he picked up on the phenomenon Donald Trump tapped. Increasingly people believe it takes an outsider to transform a company or a country, “which may or may not be true” he stresses in the interview.

  • Mainstream Meditation: Meditation, yoga and quiet contemplation have moved from the fringes to become powerful tools to improve performance, wellness and motivation.
He urges you to consider each trend with your staff and determine which are most relevant to your situation. “Trends relate to strategy as a telescope to the stars. Trends can allow you to find and illuminate something quite specific,” he concludes.

The Ladder: Larry Gibson: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail

Larry Gibson, 61, is co-founder and president of Dartmouth, N.S.-based Install-A Floor Ltd, parent company of Floors Plus, Style 52 furniture and Dantra Specialty Products.

My father died when I was nine. He was a medic for National Defence. I still remember when I answered the phone. After the funeral, my uncles said, “You’re the man of the house now.” I was never the same, in and out of school. I ran away at 13.

I hitchhiked west. I couldn’t get a ride, then a couple took me into Quebec City. They gave me a room, drove me to the highway the next morning – a real act of kindness to a little black guy hitchhiking. I wish I could show them what they did wasn’t for naught. In Montreal, I was a busboy, staying at the Salvation Army. I looked older because I got jobs across the country. I got my pilot’s licence in Alberta but in 1982’s recession I came back to Halifax.

I worked for Eatons. They were closing its Halifax flooring division; I continued their projects [as the business wound down] while I started out but needed bonding and nobody would hire me. They gave me chairs and a desk – I was superstitious getting a new desk years ago – and vouched my bonding. [But still,] my premiums were double that year, 1988.

When we first started, I wanted to be on job sites but stay in touch [with the office] as sales is about communication. I’d be at sites until [wife] Patricia, in the office, left to get the kids from school. I bought a mobile phone for $2,000 – $15,000 in today’s money. It paid off as she cold-called a university, and the guy asked if we could quote in 30 minutes. It weighed a ton, maybe eight pounds. It had its own case; using it was like a movie scene where some military guy runs into a field to set up base communications.

Sales were an old boys’ club. I’d get a price from a supplier then call the rep in Calgary and get the same price. I (finally) told the Halifax rep I’d buy from Calgary and ship the product, or I could buy from him at a better price. That was a breakthrough. My first government contract I lost money, doing it below cost the first year just to get in the door and learn.

I didn’t look up until 1993 – we had 633-per cent growth in five years. We eventually bought our own buildings with no debt, bringing the latest fashion and technology to customers, and now have a private room for architects and designers. Without government funding, we’ve done millions of dollars in business, and because I consider us a service company, we’ve paid a minimum 30 per cent in salaries, and currently have 44 crews working.

Bacteria love to thrive in cracks. After bacteria killed 18 babies at hospitals in Jamaica last year, we went in. We used anti-microbial panels, thermally moulded to walls without seams. It’s even moulded around corners and to anti-slip floors. Before, our concentration was mostly hotels – we didn’t realize what we offered was of such human importance. We’re smarter now about the uses for products and we identified gaps – intensive care, operating and emergency rooms, blood collection – any health-care unit. There are 23 hospitals in Jamaica we’re in line to do, and we train local workers, creating jobs wherever we work. International sales are growing – we sell to China, Iceland, the United States, the Caribbean.

I was diagnosed with cancer years ago. My doctor clipped my wings as I’d asked for a pill so I wouldn’t have a knot in my stomach. He refused, saying I needed to delegate. Around that time Francis Chisholm, who’d started here after university and never gets enough recognition, took more responsibility off my shoulders – he’s a partner, and opened the business to other opportunities.

Human interactions in manufacturing have sanitation requirements like clothing and masks, what’s missing is the envelope, clean rooms in physical environments including food processing, laboratories – that’s what we focus on. I used to feel good when I left a person’s home, that I’d helped with their project. Now I help solve problems on a much larger scale, of a lot of lives, every day.


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