Homify

I have just recently discovered homify, an on-line image gallery which is free to browse and free to upload interiors images to, providing the quality is good.

“Andrew” called our office to say he had spotted our Laneve Style Gallery and thought our images were great, would be consider uploading them to homify.   Once we moved past the fact that Andrew was Australian we thought OK so we did..

It’s on the other side of this button..

150x32_green

We love being able to promote brilliant, quality carpets made from wool that we produced.

Screenshot from WNZ's homily page

Screenshot from WNZ’s homify page

Language

We are all experts at something, and we all have something to say.  Recently I was listening, for a change, and actually learnt something.  Well, I was reminded of something.

When you talk, speak in the language of your audience.  Wool people talk in textile terminology, which is fine if you talk to a weaver, but really dumb when you talk to a retailer.

When an IT consultant talks in jargon, do we trust her or wonder if we are going to be ripped off?   When a mechanic sucks air through his teeth and talks about machine parts we prepare ourselves for a shock.

I was listening to Jim Hanna of Starbucks recently and he could not emphasize enough how talking Business language to business people had made the difference in the internal battle to sell sustainability within Starbucks.

Talking about saving trees does not make an accountant happy, but talking about making more profit by improving staff retention, reducing energy costs and streamlining value chains – that’s gets the bean counters on board and the HR department and the store designers…

Language is too important to trust to the linguists.  Lets keep it simple and build some trust.

Jargon

image stolen form random internet site – sorry

Fashion Revolution

I don’t normally talk about Fashion, I am an interiors bloke.  But this is important.

April 14 2014 will be Fashion Revolution Day.

On the 24th of April this year 1,113 people were killed and over 2,500 people injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka.

All of us are going to change this situation,  It is time to get involved in a positive way.

On the 14th of April we will celebrate fashion as a positive influence.    It will simply ask “Who made your clothes”

Wear a garment in-side out , take a picture and post it, everywhere.  Use the hashtag #inside-out.

In the mean-time find your favourite garment and write to the manufacturer, ask the question “who made my clothes” and post the answer or lack of on your social media spaces

Only pressure from us citizens of earth can change the world.  What are we aiting for?

Go to http://www.fashionrevolution.org/

Of course It’s not just about fashion.  To be truly sustainable we have to aim higher than zero (waste).  We have to plan to  make a positive impact on the people who make our products and the people who use them.  There are plenty of low-cost furnishing retailers who also need to improve their game with regards to ethical trading.   Why not ask your furniture store who made your kit set coffee table?  Who grew the wool in your rug?

p.s.  No image on this post – try a google image search for “Rana Plaza”  It will shock you.

CSR, Facial Hair and Wool

A very strong trend right now is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and for a very small organisation of only 16 people, Wools of New Zealand does a lot in this area.   We put it all under the Wool for a Better World banner.

We do this stuff because it’s the right thing to do and because it gives our team of passionate people an element of pride to work for a socially minded company.

What I’m noticing is that everyone now has a CSR statement.  On the surface this is good, but I worry, jut slightly, that we are entering the next phase of green washing, or CSR-washing, as we may need to call it.

Are companies making a care statement because it is part of what they do, part of the culture of the organisation?  Or is the marketing department making a claim that has no real substance?

Green-washing became a marketing sin, and it looks like fake CSR claims might be next.

I’m really glad that quite a few of our partner companies are heavily into supporting their local communities and wider social and environmental issues.  A good cause often takes the focus away from business as usual and gets people working together, trusting each other and building partnerships that are good for business.

One of my friendly contacts reminded me about Movember so I decided to sacrifice my upper lip to help the campaign.  Now that I’m trotting about the UK sporting a fuzzy caterpillar on my face I’m getting a few sideways glances, but mostly I’m getting a pat on the back and smile from people who realise that its not an attempt to look like a Hawaiian private detective from the 80’s, its all for a good cause and a bit of fun.

Steven Parsons Movember

My hard to see Fuzzy Caterpillar

It is worth checking out Movember,  not only is it a fun way to raise awareness of men’s health issues, it a very well run digital marketing campaign and a brilliant example of the power of the internet to make things happen.

You can see my fuzzy caterpillar at my MoSpace here or click on my silly grin.

Give Me Reasons!

Give me a reason or just **** off.

I’ve noticed a surge in spam and general electronic clutter.  It is annoying me!   Rather than making a song and dance I thought I’d just blog.  It’s not just spam, too many people are generating meaningless content.

When we are the creator of anything we take on responsibility to create something that matters.  If it has no reason that will benefit the reader it should simply not exist.

Are you creating content to entertain, to inform, to rally for a cause, or are you just creating noise to get seen and to increase your fans and followers?

Don’t tweet unless you have a profound statement.  Only recommend followers that create brilliant content, and tell your followers why.   This will get you followers that follow you for your insights and high-quality connections.

Don’t ever send me an email to try and sell me something, especially not digital marketing services.  If you knew about marketing you would phone me (yourself, not your Asian call centre).

You probably get the message..  Junk gets ignored and puts you in the trash can.

Lets all strive to pull not push.   Create something wonderful and put it out there, followers and customers will come.   Don’t create beige content and spam people who don’t care.  It does you more damage than you realise.

This goes for real world stuff too.  Lets create lovely woolly things that people will cherish.  Lets create stuff that is worth re-tweeting.

Please leave your spam in the field provided below.

sheep spam protest

Please don’t create clutter.

The Finishing Touch

The Finishing touch is how one of our customers recently described the rugs they manufacture.  They describe what they do as part of the experience a customer has not just of their beautiful New Zealand Wool rugs, but also of the total experience of the interior.

This focus on the customer experience is exactly in-tune with how we need to position our lovely New Zealand wool.

We don’t breed sheep, or shear wool, or spin yarn, tuft carpet or weave fabric.

If we want to be successful we have to think not as part of a process but as part of what it means to the end user to own our wool.

Our job is to deliver the ultimate experience with wool.  The feeling of walking bare foot on your soft new wool and knowing you have made a wise and ethical investment.

We in the wool business know how amazing it feels to walk on wool.  The challenge is to make people aspire to have that experience for themselves.   We could put wool carpet down at airport security so people have to feel the luxury but it is not the time that people are focused on home decorating.

We have to communicate the experience of wool in an era when advertising is already dead, and to consumers dotted all over the world.  Thank goodness for Blogs and social media.

Increasingly we rely on wool ambassadors, people who love wool and can spread the good word.  Interior Designers and smart retailers have the customer’s attention at the right time, and they really know how to apply the finishing touch.

If you are wondering about the customer, its Nourison, You can experience them here.

nourison wool rug

A lovely New Zealand Wool Experience by Nourison

Digital Media and Kiwi Wool

New Zealand wool is renowned for its pure qualities and there is no doubt it is favoured by the world’s leading manufacturers.  Once people try our wool they love it, but we cannot leave it all to a shop floor sales person to do our job for us.  Part of our challenge is to sell people on our brand of wool before they begin their shopping experience or even touch the product.

We know that millions of interior designers and consumers are researching brands and products on-line and using the digital media channels to share great stories.

Sales representatives present catalogues on iPads, Interior designers use online pin-boards like Pinterest to learn about their customer’s preferences and influential designers tweet their fans with the latest discoveries.

There is a conversation going on in the digital world that if you are not part of then you are not doing business with the modern world.

By using various forms of digital media we are part of the conversation, but more than this we can establish leadership in sustainability, innovation and colour and design by using various methods of digital media to grab the attention of influential players in the digital realm.

This Blog on innovation and marketing is read by over 1200 industry people every month.  We know that this tool is reaching the right people as they tell us they have been switched onto our brand after reading woolblog.com.

We have produced iBooks for partners that tell all the advantages of branded wool in one easy and fun to use format.   Non-partner companies look on with envy when we explain that the iBook is only available to paying customers.

Our partner companies are telling the story of New Zealand wool on their own sites, producing videos to place on YouTube and working with our team to create inspirational and relevant communication tools with Wools of New Zealand leading the way and creating a culture of digital innovation within our network of partners.

Having a digital presence is now critical but you have to use the right tools.  The methods and the language you use with consumers are very different to how you talk to your trade partners.   Some tools are great for brand awareness, creating back links to lift your Google profile, or for sharing your expertise.  One thing is certain, you have to be doing something and it has to be meaningful to the people you are trying to engage with.

The WNZ Laneve iBook