Monday, September 4, 2017

"March of the Goopies"/ "Share the story of your business to stand out"

Jun. 19, 2017 "March of the Goopies": Today I found this article by Alexandra Jacobs in the Globe and Mail:

Paltrow’s lifestyle-brand Goop has faced ridicule, but for devotees, crystal healing and gluten-free granola are no laughing matter

Mocking Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop, has become a national pastime
played on late-night television, the internet and, with the parody Glop, in bookstores.

But what about the many devotees who are keeping the Goop Ship Lollipop afloat?
At 8:30 a.m. last Saturday, about 50 of these true believers were sitting on round white tuffets in a darkened studio here, submitting to a so-called sound bath administered by Sara Auster, a meditation teacher and one of the many health advisers that orbit Ms. Paltrow like so many planets around a sun.

Hundreds more were lining up outside, awaiting clearance from Goop’s version of Oompa Loompas, identifiable by white T-shirts printed with the logo and name of the gathering – In Goop Health – and black trousers. The low hum of their excited chatter mixed with the sound of tuning forks hitting metallic “singing” bowls and the unrelenting click of camera shutters capturing the day for Instagram feeds.

“Adjust your outfits, your hair,” Ms. Auster warned. “You’re going to be photographed.”
A few participants lay over their tuffets, eyes closed and hair splayed like modern Ophelias, the better to absorb the waves of noise passing over them. Meet the Goopies.

In their number are Jarrad Hirschman, a catering manager, and Logan Brent, executive assistant for a branding agency, both of West Hollywood, found in a spacious hall next to the studio warily eyeing some gluten-free granola.

Ms. Brent, 32, had found out about the convocation on the radio while driving to work.
“These people were making fun of it and I thought, ‘Well, it actually sounds pretty cool,’ ” she said. “The things they were talking about, like aura photography and crystal healing – those are things I’ve been interested in all my life.”

Mr. Hirschman, 39, said he had long been partial to Goop staples such as bone broth, cups of which were being proffered nearby by bearded men, and intravenous drips of vitamin-fortified fluids, available beside chaise lounges in a courtyard.

“It just kind of appeals to my sensibilities,” he said.

An Oompa Loompa interrupted with a tray bearing probiotic drinks flavoured with peach and passion fruit, made by Tropicana, which is owned by Pepsi – showing just how thoroughly the philosophy of “gut health,” championed to some derision by Ms. Paltrow and several in her medical retinue, has infiltrated the corporate mainstream.

A cornucopia of fresh fruits had been laid out, but the Goopies seemed to prefer these branded potions.
Back in the studio, the tuffets had been cleared and replaced with spongy cylinders: equipment for a “foam rolling” class taught by Lauren Roxburgh, a fascia and alignment therapist.

“Give yourself a little hug,” Ms. Roxburgh told everyone, and they readily complied in this synod of self-care, this vertex of vigour, this … holistic hostage situation?

“Ouch,” said Eric Hefner, 52, rising from his mat. His wife, Margaret – “she is a Goopaholic” – remained on the floor, tilting her hips skyward, stretching out her arms like Supergirl.

“She’s trying to make the world a better place,” Margaret Hefner, 47, a stubborn fan since Ms. Paltrow’s 2010 movie Country Strong, said later. “Why the hell are you going to hate on somebody who’s doing that?”

Is Eric Hefner into Goop too? “My wallet is into Goop,” he said with just a soupçon of rue.
The Hefners had flown in from Macon, Ga., where he is a franchisee of Zaxby’s, a chicken fingers and Buffalo wings restaurant, and she tends to their four children.

They were among those who had paid $1,500 (U.S.) apiece for a first-class “Clear Quartz” ticket to the event – these sold out most quickly – granting them valet parking, preferred seating at presentations and lunch in the garden with Ms. Paltrow. The other ticket tiers were “Amethyst” ($1,000, including a cocktail party featuring martinis spiked with collagen powder) and the lesser “Lapis” ($500).

Much of the exploration here took place in a large auditorium filled with white chairs, under which bottles of electrolyteinfused water had been placed. Sitting there, attendees heard Ms. Paltrow reassure them she still occasionally smokes a cigarette at a party.

They watched a rambling if heartfelt presentation on “cosmic flow” given by Dr. Habib Sadeghi, founder of an integrative health centre in Agoura Hills. (“This is not a convention,” he said. “This is a pilgrimage.”) They flinched through a demonstration of a “10-Minute Face-Lift” involving an organic sugar thread inserted through a woman’s cheek.

Ms. Paltrow may be opposed to factory farming, but reporters were shunted to speak to her in short segments like cattle, although exquisitely fed. Her goal for the event, she said, had been “to create, ideally, a resonant experience for our readers to come and have a meaningful day.”

“Because of course when you read something on a website it can be impactful but to sit and listen to people answer questions,” she continued, “it’s another level of meaning.”
She had enjoyed the gasps at the facelift demonstration.

“I like the idea that wellness for us is a broader thing – it’s not just, ‘Oh go eat some quinoa in a corner and meditate,’ ” she said. “It’s like, ‘No, we’re modern women and we want to feel good and optimize our lives in a lot of different ways.’ ”

One of these will involve an oldfashioned magazine, released by Condé Nast in September, the presumptive heiress to the nowdefunct print edition of Self.

“I’m a real magazine girl,” Ms. Paltrow said. “I love the idea of creating meaning for people and there’s something about a magazine, where you’re taking 15 minutes for yourself:

You’re on a plane, you’re by the pool – if you’re lucky – or taking a second in bed.”

Which brings us to the 3:45 p.m. “dialogue about orgasm quality,” but – oh, never mind.
Back in the courtyard, ignoring a marketing representative pushing cannabis pens, I meet Gina Cooper, 38, of Atlanta and Emma Barry, 47.

“I’m a Goopie, yes,” said Ms. Barry, director of group fitness programming at Equinox gyms.

“To see Gwyneth here at this event participating with us – and we’re only Lapis, we’re the plebes. She’s mixing with us, mingling with us, to me she came with all her humanness – all her umm-ing and ahh-ing and normalness. She gets a bad rap, it looks like.”

My opinion: This kind of reminds me of the time that I accidentally offended one of my friends when I made fun of one of her interests.  It was a light and fun joke that I didn't mean to offend her.

When I read this article, there is a strong urge to make fun of Paltrow and her brand, and the Goopies.  However, I won't.  The rule for me is: "Any public person or thing can be made fun of."

However, the people (mainly women) like her brand and New Age products and practices.  As long as the people are happy and they're not hurting themselves, that's good.

"Develop and share the story of your business to stand out": Today I cut out this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Brian Scudamore is founder and CEO of O2E Brands Inc.

It’s no coincidence that we all love a good story: our brains are wired to communicate in a narrative format. Whether we’re having coffee with friends or sharing gossip around the water cooler, telling a story is by far the best way to make the message stick.

Ad execs have long since figured out the power of storytelling, and the most successful businesses use it to establish culture and generate brand awareness. Take Coca-Cola or Nike: they’ve leveraged the power of shared experience to bring the world together over things as ubiquitous as soft drinks and running shoes.

Stories have been the foundation of our company since day one. We’ve shared our “rags-to-riches” story so many times it’s become legend at our company: at 18 years old, I was sitting in a drive-thru line up, trying to figure out a way to pay my college tuition.

Waiting for a cheeseburger, I noticed a loaded-up junk truck in front of me — and suddenly, my future was clear. The next day, I bought my own truck with my savings (about $700) and launched 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

This isn’t just a story of how a business started; it’s the inspiration behind our ambitious, go-getter culture. It’s a reminder of what anyone can do if they trust their gut. With that in mind, here are three reasons every entrepreneur should develop (and share) their own story.

It sets you apart

Seth Godin said the only way to stand out in a competitive marketplace is to be the “purple cow” in a sea of Holsteins. That’s a theory we take to heart at O2E Brands, and by providing exceptional customer service in industries that are traditionally fragmented, we think we’re pretty purple.

But just because we know we’re different doesn’t guarantee our customers and employees do, too. That’s why storytelling is so important to us: it allows us to construct a narrative that showcases our company values in action.

By using specific, personal experiences, stories help us humanize our brand and create a deep corporate history that is easier to convey to our people and customers.

Airbnb has devoted an entire section of their website to telling the stories of their hosts and the people who stay with them. Dove set a new standard for beauty brands by sharing real stories from real people.

The best brand stories are intriguing, emotive and make a point that resonates. People don’t like to feel like they’re being sold to — they want genuineness and connection.

It strengthens your organization

In 1999, we decided to franchise 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and opened up shop in Toronto. Paul Guy, our fearless trailblazer and first franchise partner, borrowed $25,000 from his brother, bought a junk truck and drove across Canada. Within the first two weeks, he was profitable; now he’s a multi-millionaire.

Paul’s epic road trip combines the best aspects of storytelling – someone with a bold vision taking a chance to realize the impossible.

Everyone in our system recognizes this story as a milestone in our history. There’s much more to this narrative, though. It’s built a sense of community amongst first-time franchise partners, scared of starting out alone.

It’s inspired entry-level employees to reach for more in our organization, and it’s an example of what you can accomplish with hard work and dedication. Perhaps most impressively, this story has inspired action in others.

Last summer, 25-year-old Myles Reville followed in Paul’s footsteps with a road trip of his own to launch Shack Shine in Toronto.

Every business needs a great story to engage both customers and employees. A story is a concrete example of a your corporate values, and it creates a sense of history and consistency for your brand.

It’s straight-up science

Finally, the art of storytelling isn’t a soft subject — it’s a science.

Sharing compelling stories triggers empathy in others by releasing oxytocin (also called the ‘trust hormone’). It helps people relate to each other and feel more connected.

Listening to stories also activates the same parts of our brain, as if we were experiencing the events for ourselves.

Sensory activation improves recall and will make your brand more memorable than companies without stories. In short, stories are the easiest, most effective way to build trust with your audience.

So find your story, share it and harness the power of storytelling for your business.

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