3 Crucial Social Media Tips To Reach Customers

FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, and other social media platforms offer access to customers that has never before been so embraced, inviting, and ubiquitous. It is a shame to watch companies squander this opportunity every day, as I ignore post-after-boring-post on each of these social megaphones. Here are 3 ways (of many) to use Marketing Mojo and reach your raving fans, helping them spread the word about your mission or company:

1. Show some character. If you have a single person or a few people in charge of your social media, let their personalities come through. This is the biggest miss for most companies. I am not interested in a generic question-of-the-day or blanket boring statement about your product or service or a recipe I can look up myself. I want to know what you are thinking about or what you find funny or why I should buy from you or visit your store (hint: a blanket boring statement about your product is not a reason for me to visit your store, nor is a sale unless it is a remarkable one–sales happen all the time, everywhere–boring). Check out the subtle differences between these posts and see how the posts your company pushes align:

BAD: “Summer’s here! What’s your favorite ice cream?”

BETTER: “It’s 80 degrees out! Perfect for ice cream. John’s fave flavor is Rocky Road. What do you feel like today?”

BAD: “Big sale today! All widgets 15-50% off!”

BETTER: “I don’t know what I would do without my widget. When I remember something important while driving, I just use the voice memo button to make sure I don’t forget. How do you use your widget safely on the go?” (In the comments… “That’s a great use for it John! By the way, all widgets are on sale today at our ____ location!)

2. Interact. FaceBook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and others offer nearly perfect ways to interact both publicly and privately with your fans (your most important customers). If your profile is set-up not to allow incoming messages or posts to your page, etc., then you are insulting the trust and integrity of your fans. You are essentially saying, “Not only do I not want to hear from you because you might complain or have a question I do not want to be bothered with, but also I don’t trust any of you enough to believe you can be polite and respectful on my page. So screw off. Oh, and buy my widgets.”

3. Diversify or Simplify. Choose one social media platform and lock in on it. Make it THE place to see what is going with your company. Or, choose several platforms but be sure each one has something different to offer. Do not make your FaceBook post the same as your Tweet, your Snap, or your anything else. Let each platform showcase a different side of your personality. For example, use FaceBook to ask questions. Use Twitter to announce sales and share industry articles. Use Instagram to promote pictures of your product. Use SnapChat to highlight short videos of your team outings. You get the idea. Use One for All but don’t use All for One.

 

I’m not a big fan of posts about timely topics, such as social media, but I love to see great brands succeed. Hopefully these tips help.

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Are We Disconnected?

I’m afraid we have created a fear of being fearless.

*****

“Hi,” the chat screen flashed on my phone, “How are you?”. The name of the sender was not familiar. I debated whether to respond. There was no context for the message, it was not from someone I know, and it was a vaguely worded but assuming a familiar tone–the marks of spam or possibly a virus or attempt at identity theft through a chat-bot, etc. On the other hand, I have a public blog and I am sometimes contacted by strangers (some have even become my friends). Or, perhaps this was a friend of a friend, or even an acquaintance I had met but whose name I did not recognize.

I chose not to respond, figuring if it was someone who really wanted to reach me, they would follow-up with another message explaining why they were contacting me or who they were. No other message followed.

After thinking about it, I realized my reluctance to respond was out of fear and that made me sad. Thanks to ubiquitous technology, media hype, unscrupulous marketing tactics, and a few legitimately bad people (out of six billion), we each live in a bubble. We are, each of us, essentially carrying a sign that says, “Strangers are not welcome here,” during a time when we can freely communicate with almost anyone in the world.

When someone approaches us in public, our immediate reaction is to seek safety. “Identify yourself!” our body language and eyes demand, “Friend or foe?” On the internet, it is the same. Every conversation, it seems, invites a troll or two. Yet, even though the trollers are far fewer than the engagers, many great conversations that would normally invite diversity and discussion either do not happen or are abruptly ended. I decided to turn comments off for my blog a long time ago, in favor of inviting commenters to interact with me and my core audience directly via email, FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, etc… places where it is harder to hide behind anonymity and spew hate or irrationality.

I am not saying caution is bad, by the way (after all, I never responded to the stranger myself), but maybe a little less caution and fear would not be too bad, either.

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Marketing Is Rocket Science

Today’s Lesson: The best results come from having fun.

*****

My friend and sometimes business partner, Chris Lucido, was discussing Marketing technique with me. I was pointing out the wild success of his company’s Astronaut showing up at the Tampa Bay Lightning games and giving the team’s actual mascot a run for its money.

It was never intended to be Marketing gold with genius execution. “We were just having fun,” he told me. “Ben bought the suit because all of our products were space-themed at the time. We took it to the game to have fun with it since we still owned it anyway after we re-branded. We hoped local fans would get a laugh out of it and visiting teams might be distracted by it.”

They didn’t expect it to become national news picked up by ESPN, USA Today, ABC, every local station and paper, and, of course, being blasted all over FaceBook and Twitter.

Sometimes the best way to run a business and become endeared to the hearts and conversations of others is to just let your company be itself (by letting its people be themselves). You do not have to attempt to create or demand “fun” as a core value, motto, slogan, or directive. Just have it. Other people will get it if they get it, and follow along.

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Oh What A Feeling…

Today’s Lesson: It’s okay to pay for the brand that gets you.

*****

The Prius 4 is not a cheap car to our pocketbook, but Nicole and I just bought one each. Of course, we are spitefully cute because we have matching cars now and we are dirty hippies because we don’t kill animals and we drive Priuses. Or Priai. Or Pris. Or whatever the plural of “Prius” is. Maybe it’s still Prius–like “deer”.

Anyway, there are three things that have already made owning a Prius the best car experience I have ever had. I am blown away by what Toyota has done right and stunned that other, particularly American-based, car companies have not followed suit.

1. The car leverages technology. The Prius comes with a suite of applications that pair up with my smartphone and come with full-blown subscriptions to popular services like Slacker and Pandora radio–no ads for as long as I own the Prius. Of course, it has hands-free calling and navigation included in the car, with a crazy floating heads-up display that only the driver can see. The locks and ignition are remote so I never even have to take a key out of my pocket to open, lock, or start the car, and that is just the beginning.

2. The savings on fuel is unbeatable. In its price range, I was unable to find a car to even come close to what a Prius obtains on gas mileage. Before we bought ours, Nicole and I rented a Prius and drove from Grand Rapids, MI to Savannah, GA and back. Our average miles per gallon was 55, well over the reported 48 on the sticker. I have already driven 80 miles and my fuel gauge has barely budged. I was spending about $80 per week on fuel; I expect that to be cut in half or better.

3. The customer service is unreal. This was the knock-out punch for me. Toyota takes care of their Prius owners like no company I have yet experienced. I will not pay a dime on service or maintenance on my car for the next seven years. Toyota will take care of everything, including oil changes, fluid top-offs, tires and tire pressure, dings, dents, roadside assistance, towing, everything. All I have to do is take it to any Toyota dealership anywhere every 6 months or 5,000 miles. Parts and labor is included.

4. (Bonus point, not for everyone) Toyota knows their target audience. In the Prius brochure, they show you how to use the cargo net to hold groceries. Prominently placed in the picture is a yoga mat. I had to smile. They know exactly who they are catering to. When we were looking at options, our sales rep (Brandon, who was great) showed us the “leather” upgrade option. We shrugged and explained we are vegan and he said, “I am so glad you said that. We call it ‘leather’ because it has that look and feel to most people, but it is actually a proprietary material called Softex that uses no animal ingredients. It is a synthetic ‘leather’ that is vegan!”

Toyota’s website not only confirms that but also explains the environmental benefits of this fabric over conventional synthetic leather.

 

Readers of this blog know I am well-versed in both Marketing and Salesmanship. It makes me practically giddy to see both done well. I have never blogged about a car but this one totally won me over. Looking forward to many years of driving. Also, I do not make recommendations lightly and because this blog is a labor of love running on my dime, I think it is important to note when I do it is because I was genuinely moved to do so of my accord. I do not get any perks for saying this, but if you are in the Tampa area and looking for a Prius, I can not recommend highly enough our salesperson Brandon Bailey at Stadium Toyota.

He did a remarkable job respecting our needs, helping us balance our wants and genuinely giving us a few laughs along the way.

You already know this but, you get what you pay for, so it is better to pay for people or brands that get you

 

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How Do People Know You?

Today’s Lesson: Know who your strangers are.

*****

I have been blogging a long time (about ten years) so it is no surprise that I my blog has an audience, despite doing virtually no promotion for it, other than sharing on social media when a new post goes up.

Other than my friends sharing posts they like, I have no idea how people find any of my articles amid the deluge of information on the internet. Incidentally, I do not think any other bloggers know where their audience comes from, either. Even those who do a lot of shameless promoting or advertising are usually just shooting in the dark and hoping something hits.

What is interesting to me, though, is where most of my audience comes from. Every day I post, I share it on Facebook and I can see when some people “Like” it, or comment, etc. WordPress (my platform of choice) and Google Analytics offers cool statistics, too, like how many times a particular post has been viewed and from what country the click originated (Brazil loves me for some reason–I’ll have to visit one day!). Sometimes (not very often to be honest) someone will +1 my post on Google or “favorite” it on Twitter.

Oddly, though, most people who like my blog do not come from Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. They come from Tumblr, where I do almost zero interacting. My posts automatically connect to my Tumblr blog, which I set up a year ago and have not looked at except in passing since. If you are looking to start your own blog or want to share quirky thoughts, art, or quotes, Tumblr might be a good place to start.

 

I am glad to have an audience. It’s cool that people like what I am doing and occasionally share it. It is even cooler, though, to learn how strangers learn about you and how far your life actually extends.

 

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3 Ways Leaders Sabotage Companies

Today’s Lesson: Know what you want. Know how you will get there. Treat your best people best.

*****

There are 3 ways I see leaders sabotage the success of their company:

1. Leaders want results, but do not know what “results” are (and do not have a legitimate path or plan to achieve them). Every company I know of has a goal, that trickles down as a never-ending demand, to “increase profits”. There is nothing wrong with making more profit except “make more profits” is a wish, not a goal. Cutting expenses, for example, would seem to help increase profit for a company but if the line-items being shaved are at the expense of employee morale, saving those pennies can actually undermine the goal of  profitability.

I once worked for a company that required a request form be completed when employees wanted office supplies, including standard disposable pens. Employees, of course, began bringing their own pens and other supplies to avoid the rigamarole. The policy worked. The company did save a few bucks, but also many employees eventually left for better companies that valued team members more than they valued disposable pens. No one cited the request form as a reason for leaving but former employees still bring the story up when they get together.

Results drive profitability; pens do not.

Leaders can fail at understanding which results are being driven or even how to identify a result. A result, I say, is the outcome (positive or negative) of actions taken to reach an objective. Knowing the results a company or team is striving to bring to life helps your team know if they are winning the game. So the first rule to defining a result is, there must be an end in sight or a way to know the game is over.

A desired result must be attainable, realistic, and tied to a goal. Imagine if marathon runners were told to run faster and faster (the desired result being to reach the finish line) but were never told where the finish line is or what path to take. They would lose steam quickly, not knowing when to tap their energy reserves to push forward. Some would run the wrong direction. Some would stop too often while others would never know if they should ever take a break. Many would quit after a short time. Team members need to know how to win, and what winning looks like.

A result must also be actionable. Running a marathon is obviously actionable. You strap your shoes on and run. But what about selling more widgets? The obvious action is not always present. A good leader reduces the workload and narrows the vision of the goal until the next action is so clear it seems stupid to do anything else. Telling your marathoners to “run that way really fast until I tell you to stop” is not clear. Pointing out the fastest, most direct route to the finish line, noting where a team should be at what point in the race, and encouraging them to move forward when they are tired (keeping updates on where the goal is, how far they have come, and how close they are) creates an actionable map to success.

The criteria for a result, then, is: it must have an end; it must be attainable, realistic, and tied to a goal, and you must be able to take clear action to achieve it.

What kind of map does your organization provide when asking for (or demanding) results?

 

2. Leaders have goals that are not actually goals. I have yet to come across a high-performing team that has met its primary objective. As my ROWE friends will tell you, many leaders and business owners operate under an archaic notion that the appropriate reward for work done well… is more work.

If you do not have a resting spot or reward zone for your high performers when they achieve results (which presumes the results are defined, reachable, and actionable), then your team is in jeopardy. Your true goal as a leader at that point has become simply to burn out your best people–to drain every ounce of effort from your top team members until they finally give up (and become middle or bottom performers), move up (being promoted so they can start the cycle over) or move on (to another career altogether). If that is where you are headed, then that is a goal worth re-thinking.

Many leaders I meet believe that “More” is itself a goal. “Our goal this year,” they say, “is to do even More sales than last year”. I challenge this by asking, “When is ‘more’… ‘enough’?”. Rather than create a goal for your team of “increase profit and reduce expenses”, define the terms. Set a profit goal of 30 million dollars and provide regular updates on which team members are helping most and how close you are to the goal as a team. Even better, add a clear incentive: “If we reach 30 million dollars in revenue by September 1st, the top 10% of our employees as judged by (X metric–widget sales, maybe, or customer return rate, etc.) will receive a one-time bonus check of $4,080 (or a two dollar-per-hour raise paid out in October if the goal is hit by September 1st). Does your team know what the stakes are and what the payoff for winning is? Perhaps most importantly, are the stakes and payoff commensurate to the effort you are asking of your team?

 

3. Leaders force top performers to work in the same cookie-cutter rule set as bottom performers, but continue to expect top performance. One of the biggest fallacies in work culture is that everything has to be fair. All workers have to follow the same rules, the same way, or you will be making exceptions all the time. The problem with this should be blatantly obvious, yet nearly every company institutes this erroneous idea to a fault. If every employee were the same and every work rule and practice were always the same, then results would always be the same… but they never are. Some weeks or months are more profitable than others; some employees are better at some tasks than others.

Leaders often refuse to acknowledge the reason “fair” does not work is because some employees are better than others. Go ahead and pick your cup off the floor–I said it and it is true. Some employees are better than others. If you prefer more politically correct phrasing, you can trade that for, “some employees provide greater value to the organization”.

I remember my first day working for a consulting firm that hired me for my innovative ideas on how to achieve the company’s vision and bring their mission statement and values to life. I watched the leaders of the company give a 3-hour power-point presentation to a large group. Afterwards they asked what I thought. I said, “I would get rid of the Power-point presentation or reduce the number of slides to 10 or less and remove most of the bullet points in favor of eye-catching pictures.” I was told the power-point has to stay as it is and I needed to learn their way instead of create my own. Although I gained invaluable experience, I did not last long with that employer because I was not a good fit for their cookie-cutter role. Within only a few months, they realized they did not know what to do with me. In the end, I lost a great team and they lost one of their greatest advocates and a committed employee… that might have become a great employee.

Effective leaders, I think, are effective because they know the distinction between a goal, a result, and a wish (a result, as stated previously, must exist in time and space–that is, a result is the measurable end of a cause/effect relationship in reality). A goal, on the other hand, is the desired end sum of results. It is what the results amount to. Great leaders understand that “More, Better, Different” are not goals (if your goal starts with any variation of those terms–“We need to make more widgets this year… we need better materials… we need a different approach…”, then you can stop there because you do not have a goal).

Goals set the end-point of results just as the finish line sets the end point of a marathon. The reward for meeting results and achieving goals should not be a never-ending raising of the bar. Top performers want a moment to enjoy their victory and look proudly over their kingdom–they need rest and a comfortable spot from which to observe their achievements once in a while.

Finally, great leaders throw out the cookie-cutter. Just because a company has done something the same way for 40 years is no justification to keep doing things the same way (“old” does not mean “effective”). Allowing your team the freedom to experiment and fail, and rewarding top-performers by treating them differently, with ever more freedom to do things their way, is a sure path to victory. Even if it seems crazy and no other person or team is doing it like your top performer… if he or she is producing the agreed-upon results and moving you toward your goal, don’t knock it; find a way to leverage it and improve it. Not forcing others to follow suit creates a little chaos, but it is exactly the right recipe for growth and innovation.

But don’t take my word for any of this. Ask your top performers what they think. Then listen, and step to the side of these 3 pitfalls.

Define results. Remember, the sum of defined results should lead to a goal. Reward your top performers with more freedom instead of more assignments.

 

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You Can Save 70 Years Or More On Your Insurance

Today’s Lesson: Just because something has survived does not mean it is the fittest.

*****

I have been hearing these commercials for Geico Insurance lately, stating that they have been doing business for 75 years. I thought that was odd because I certainly do not remember their brand name from when I was a child and I am not 75 years old. In fact, I only recently heard of them, within the last 10 years or so, along with most everyone else.

It is true, it turns out, that they technically incorporated a long time ago but only catered to government employees. They say they have even been selling to the public since the mid-seventies. Regardless, most people never heard of them until their famous Cockney-accented Gecko lizard commercials became a hit around 2010.

I was trying to figure what bothers me so much about these commercials, and I think it is a few things…

1. As the inimitable George Carlin has famously said, “old” does not mean “good”. Who cares if they are 10 years old or 1,000 years old? We only care if they deliver a great product at a fair price with decent service.

2. There is something a bit deceptive about trying to leverage your entire history to validate your credibility. My blog has been running something like 7 or 8 years and only about 5 of those years has it had an audience outside of people I have physically met. Nonetheless, I have been writing seriously since I was at least 18. Although it would not technically be a lie, I do not promote myself as a “writer with nearly 30 years of published works”. Most people would only know my work over the last 5 or so years.

3. It is a cop-out for quality. Let the work stand on its own merit. When J.K. Rowling had her first Harry Potter book published, nobody said, “She only has 0 months of screenwriting experience. Let’s not turn this great story into a movie.”

 

Using established tradition to defend present practices never holds water for me and I think the recent Geico commercials are a variation of that.

Because something has been around a long time is not proof that it is credible or correct. It just means it is old.

 

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Paying For Average

If it does not sound too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.

*****

I received a very casual email from an Amazon.com marketer who “noticed” (you know, just by chance) I bought a particular product and, based on that, thought I might be interested in a “very special” offer. The offer, of course, was to buy the product the marketer was shilling for at a supposedly discounted rate in exchange for reviewing the item.

I thought about the offer for a second, then responded to the message. “No, thanks,” I said, “I am not interested in the offer. In fact, I believe buying and reviewing a product on Amazon.com is not normally considered a special offer. They just call it ‘purchasing’, but thanks for thinking of me.”

Undeterred, the marketer asked if I might be interested in buying a different product in the future, in exchange for a review. Needless to say, I was also undeterred.

 

Today’s Lesson: Just because someone calls something “special” does not mean it is. Do not be fooled into paying extra to do what you would have done anyway.

 

 

 

 

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Food Boobs

I’m thinking about changing my blog title from simply my name to “Sexy Celebrity Who Knows Everything You Can’t Figure Out For Yourself”. What do you think?

***

If you are at all interested in the debate over healthy eating, then you have probably heard of the “Food Babe“.

She is the latest in a long line of conspiracy theorists and uninformed non-scientific critics trying to lambaste vaguely identified corporate entities.

(If you do not know where to point a finger when it comes to food, just say “Monsanto” in an accusing way and you will sound like an informed advocate on the side of would-be underdogs who believe they are defending food… because they saw some documentaries. As we know, that’s pretty much the same as becoming an actual scientist and Hollywood can always be trusted.)

The problem I have with people like Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”), Dave Asprey (“Bulletproof Coffee” and now also the “Bulletproof Diet”), and Loren Cordain (“Paleo Diet“) is they prey on fear. They exploit the ignorance of others and spread bad information to create panic for profit.

Here is the real deal. I have been vegan and studying the food debate for more than a decade and I can tell you, unequivocally, there are no good answers, no easy answers, and no shortcuts to health. Genetically Modified Food has never been proven unsafe or less nutritious in any rigorous scientific study, whether you choose to eat it or not (I choose not, usually, but not because I pretend to understand the intricacies of the science and agendas on either side of the debate). The base of corporate conspiracies falls apart at the doorstep of any company. Monsanto is comprised of normal working people, just like you and I, paid to do their jobs, just like you and I. No one I have ever met goes to work at any company with the intention of destroying the world. It is, on its face, ludicrous.

Just consider the base logic of nearly all of the anti-food / pro-fear arguments. They advocate eating like we did centuries ago. They say if we go back to eating the way we did more than a hundred years ago, then we will live longer and be healthier. The only problem is, just a hundred years ago our lifespans were shorter, our access to food was more limited, and our understanding of how food works was a hundred years behind today’s knowledge. Would you drive a hundred year old car and expect it to run better, faster, and with fewer emissions than one made today? Food has advanced and improved like nearly everything else. It is not a singular exception to society’s movement forward.

Farmers have always selected for the best food genes, cross-breeding and splicing plants to create better breeds, since the dawn of agriculture. Genetically Modified Food used to just be called “food”. We likely would find the corn our ancestors consumed virtually inedible. Through generations of selection, we now have sweet corn that can be eaten plain and is delicious!

The worst part with conspiracy celebrities like the Food Babe is, they are smart. Vani Hari understands marketing and social media. She has a degree in computer science. She may have good intentions, too, but well-meaning charlatans are still charlatans.

Again, the Food Babe has a computer science degree, not a food science degree, not a degree in nutrition, not even a Chemistry degree. She (and people like her) rely on gullible sycophants to support them, not on their earned credibility in the field they are advocating for or against. These predators are becoming increasingly easy to spot, too, and I encourage you to consider a simple fact before buying into their scare tactics… Associated with all their “miracle cures”, “breakthrough” diets, and generous sharing of information is always, inevitably, a product, service, or subscription they want you to buy.

Shockingly, the Food Babe has a book (and a second one on the way) that she wants you to buy, so she can keep working from home and paying for travel and the costs of maintaining fame and celebrity by finding an ever-increasing (and ever-profitable) audience to fund new panic-invoking articles, interviews, media events, and “research”. The Food Babe relies on two essential things to make a living: her boobs and your fear (she was not given the moniker “Food Babe” by her audience–she gave it to herself).

Actually learning the science of food, studying peer-reviewed literature, and talking to actual scientists who are actually informed does not help her pocketbook or her agenda. Talking to Good Morning America, staying in the news, and finding a way to reach Oprah’s audience does.

It saddens and frustrates me when people, trying to make good decisions, are held captive by sensational marketers, fear-mongering, and exploitation of their own ignorance. No one has the time to study every facet of food production, food science, or even to learn how to discern the hype from the known facts. Sadly, it is at our own peril if we do not start making the time to learn how to think and make decisions on more than a recommendation from a celebrity.

Today’s lesson: Marketers are too good at manipulation now and, for better or worse, your brain is the main tool you have to navigate ethics, morality, and Reality. Do not rely on blogs (not even mine), television, social media, or celebrities to do your thinking or live your life for you. Raise your sleeves and get to work finding out how to think skeptically, how to trace information to its sources, or just how to understand the basics of living a logical life. Be in the driver’s seat of your life. Don’t let these idiots get behind the wheel.

 

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Delightful Fashion Design

The biggest delights are sometimes the easiest things to miss.

***

I am absolutely enthralled by great engineering in the world, mostly when I see it built into products. Clever design is one of my favorite things and I could point to thousands of examples where I have been delighted but I just bought two shirts that really set the bar on fashion design around buttons for me.

How many shirts do anything new, special, or different with buttons? I mean, really game-changing. Buttons are almost always flat, round, attached with thread loosely wound through 4 little holes. The engineering of a button is fairly straightforward, you would think, until you see someone truly show the potential of such a simple, ubiquitous, and traditionally designed item.

Enter 2 new shirts I bought from a company that specializes in higher-end travel wear, Royal Robbins. I have zero affiliation with the company but I have found its origin to be pretty interesting (“Royal Robbins” was an actual person, an adventurer of sorts) and its clothing line is pretty top-notch, with a couple notable stand-outs.

Check out this button design on what has become one of my favorite shirts:

 

Royal Robbins red shirt collar

When I put this shirt on, I was immediately impressed with the buttons.

It seems silly, but take a close look at them.

Whoever designed them really did a great job.

Obviously and foremost, they are attractive.

But they are also brilliantly designed.

The Royal Robbins people chose metal over traditional plastic.

Even better, the metal is curved slightly forward (away from the shirt), which does not seem like a big deal  until you try it on.

The curvature makes the buttons easier to grasp while allowing the thread to be wound much tighter, holding them secure.

Finally, notice the eyelet under the collar. How has no one else thought of this already?

Having the eyelet there allows you to hold the collar down with the appearance of a rigid collar stay but with the flexibility of a casual-looking collar. Kind of genius.

 

Royal Robbins gray shirt

Or check out this example… hopefully the picture does it justice. Notice there is no traditional threading through the four button holes.

Instead, all the buttons are set in to one tough strip of vinyl cord. As you can see, they still use the rounded metal grommets for buttons, this time

with a single pass-through instead of the traditional button holes. Again, easy to button with some give, but rock-solid attachment.

The cord the buttons are on runs the length of the shirt and each button has plenty of space to adjust for a comfortable fit (for your “fat” days).

Each button can slide up or down or away from the shirt as needed for fit, but also notice the stitching above and below the grommet to keep it from sliding too far away to reach the eyelet.

A well-made shirt can be tough to find and these two from Royal Robbins fit the bill (but they will cost a bill or two–they might be the two most expensive shirts I own). I should point out how delighted I was by the buttons but the rest of these shirts are great, too. They are durable and soft, wrinkle-free and built to look great in the office and feel great while climbing a mountain (I do not climb mountains). I did not intend for this post to be a product review, but it appears it went that way.

I have other great shirts by other brands that consistently knock it out of the park (PrAna is probably my all around favorite go-to brand) but I could not help but share my delight for the engineering of these two shirts. I marvel at clever design and engineering everywhere, though. I notice the functionality and user-friendliness of things like soy milk cartons, microphone placement on cell phones, cat trees, shoe laces, and just about anything else.

 

Today’s lesson: Notice the little things that delight you, Consider that somebody probably designed it that way with that intention. Also notice the things just begging for better design and think of ways you might do it better, even if you never do. It might seem lofty, but the joy of Marketing and Design is in seeing, and appreciating, a better world.

 

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