Not all marketing needs to be "great" to get attention but even being interesting can be enough. Here are few items that caught my eye recently.
#Concept: Intro to campaigns around customization
Notes: This is really interesting as its a ramp up to their campaign around customization of cell phones and accessories. Very simple. Different but interesting background and simple branding. Well done.
Placement: Grocery Store
#Concept: Wine on the go
Notes: This is really interesting as there are not many products like it. Considering its illegal to have an open container in the U.S I wonder the purpose of a to-go cup of sorts of chardonnay. Really interesting.
Also the colors and label work well with looking clean and having contrast. Every the glittery label seal matches the colors of the wine and label.
Curious what this brand grows into...
MOST GENIUS PLACEMENT EVER:
While browsing CVS I saw the notable "Ghilardelli" holiday chocolate squares near the registers.
I'm not sure who at the chain was bribed but this doesn't appear to be a mistake as the Hershey bars resemble the branding of Ghilardelli, are price about double (and appear to be more than double in size). Also the Hershey bars are rather neat while the little squares are not and its almost impossible to see the brand of the square.
Total genius. Looks like Hersheys is finding a way to take the market share of Christmas back from Ghilardelli.
So much of marketing out there influences how we think and feel about product placement and buying. Periodically I will try to upload some examples.
Here's some examples of items that caught my eye and personal thoughts:
Product: Storage Units
Placement: Train / Public Transportation
#FAIL: Too political
Notes: Regardless of how you feel about the GOP, recent U.S Government Shutdown or what party you are associated with this add is not funny and here is why:
Product: TV Show (reruns)
Placement: Train / Public Transportation
#FAIL: Self Depreciating
Notes: Seinfeld is a known TV classic, reruns can often generate revenues as they can draw in new and old viewers. The problem here is that it highlights "nothing" and is confusing about the times:
Product: Corporate Campaign
Placement: Train / Public Transportation
#FAIL: Too wordy
Notes: The images and coloring schema of this Ad is fairly nice, however its in response to a corporate campaign and has too much explanation.
Product: Art of Shaving
Placement: Train / Public Transportation
Notes: The product is placed perfectly in the middle. Logo and branding could be more prominent however the Ad is sexist as it implies that men being taken over by their wives with a undertone enough to make men and women both uncomfortable
Most women I know found this ad to be sexist at worse, odd at best. A couple male friends of mine thought it was either odd or "okay." My suggestion would have been to phrase the ad something like "All the power you need for a real shave" or "Your weapon this holiday season."
The most popular suggestion:
"if the ad wanted to market to women they should have shown a man laying his head on a women's lap saying, "be ready" and a image of a shaving kit."
Well okay I'm not sure if I'm "exactly" employee number #102 but I do know that the company I am joining was founded by a good friend of mine six years ago, who I have worked with on several large and small projects, and has over hundred employees at this point.
I'm officially coming on board as an Advisor.
When you have to move on from something you loved (my former start-up baby of over three years) all you want to do is work and be part of something that you love even more. I thought about going to a large corporation to be an "intrapreneur" or perhaps get a cushy executive job or maybe even just write a book or go somewhere tropical to de-stress but ultimately I wanted to work with people that I admire, who can challenge me and become something even larger and bigger and successful than I've encountered before. While Koombea is no longer a "small" company by any definitions, I believe in their founder Jonathan Tarud and what the team is working on at Koombea. I want to be an important part of its future- my first startup never IPO'd and I would like to get as close of a feeling of what that might be like and now seems like the perfect time.
So for everyone that needs help or ideas around product design or marketing still ping me. Koombea is giving me lots of freedom to help others and contribute to the software and start-up communities and for those of you who don't know what Koombea does: they build amazing apps and web solutions for early stage startups and enterprises. They even work with some large corporations and can build very creative mobile apps. The way that I see it is that Koombea helps entrepreneurs and innovators get their product out the door with high quality. Koombea to me is the next 'Pivotal Labs' and I couldn't be more excited to join the team at this very stage in my personal life and professional life. Koombea has offices in San Francisco, New York, and Barranquila, Colombia.
More questions or information feel free to shoot me a note: e (dot) cachette (at) gmail.com or a tweet @ecachette.
Koombea is coding apps and taking names so I guess I am too!
Well not exactly today but the process is pretty far along and we will be done soon. It is sort of sad, passionless rouse that also makes sense: I am the most expensive asset to my startup, but my startup is becoming too expensive to be an asset.
I feel like I should make a Medium post-mortem detailing how I feel and go viral or be the top blog post for November but there's a week left in the month and I am so focused on the future that I barely have time for yesterday let alone for the past few years which are already gone. I thought about making a Slideshare with lessons learned in 'snackable' bites of information, but then realized those hours spent helping a startup or non-profit execute would be better spent. My energy cannot be contained. After pouring hours of blood and tears and airport layovers and tough decisions I can actually breathe for a minute and execute on other ideas and do it well. I owe a lot of people a lot of favors but its nice to know that I now have the time to do so. What a blessing.
So what's next? I don't know. There's a couple startups that interest me, there are a few positions on the VC side of things that have sparked my neurons. At the end of the day I can UX / UI wireframe like a beast and love overseeing integrations between old and new systems. I also have a much deeper understanding of markets than my previous successes could allude to. I also like to write and would like to dedicate more time to that.
Next year I have a slightly different set of priorities but I still plan on dedicating time to health and tech communities.
For some reason it feels good to make changes before holidays and before a "new year." Knowing me this makes sense as I always like to get a head start.
R.I.P ConsumerBell, it has been one wild but amazing time.
(Note: my blog posts always have typos. They are free and mostly open to the public for reference and learning.)
As companies build out and grow marketing becomes a more powerful component to user acquisition and branding. Just in the last week several startups have reached out to me about how to make their first marketing hire or how to come up with a marketing plan and ultimately the two main factors that come up the most are 1) how to hire the right person and 2) how to pick the right marketing plan. The most important influences are if a proper structure is in place and if the person or team that is executing it are a good fit. By “structure” I’m referring to an actual plan for press or marketing: do you want more users, more developers, more customers or more investors? What is your main story? What is it that you want to communicate to the world and what mediums should be used? For execution you need to know how you want to market: email or news or press or video. Knowing the channels and execution first can often help select the right person for execution versus the other way around. Picking a great marketer is key but great marketers often have specialties just as some engineers are better at building certain types of products.
When interviewing a potential PR or marketing person you should be able to answer these preliminary questions internally:
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER PRE-MARKETING
1) Why do you want marketing coverage and what do you plan to gain? (i.e users, traffic, brand)
2) How will you know when a marketing campaign is successful? (i.e how do you measure ROI or is online VS. offline more important?)
3) What is your budget? How much a year do you want to dedicate to marketing? (this will decide how many people or events or even if an outside agency or writing makes fiscal sense)
4) Is there someone that represents your brand that can be brought on as an Advisor? (Sometimes an Advisor and Equity situation can make more sense than a junior level PR manager and provide the structure needed)
WHILE FINDING THE RIGHT CANDIDATE
After answering the questions above you should be able to better understand if you are looking for someone junior, senior, outside (like an agency) or just a consultant for some tips for the existing marketing team. Here are some steps and questions when interviewing additional people to help with marketing to gauge an example of their skills:
1) What is your claim to fame? Meaning, what was one piece of media that you were most proud of coverage and why?
2) What’s the biggest PR disaster than you can think of?
3) What is the largest project or marketing budget that you have managed?
PICKING THE RIGHT MARKETING PLAN
Once you think you have the right candidate or couple candidates to help with marketing, try to find the plan and style that fits your company. Are you a SaaS company requiring coverage in technical outlets? Are you a consumer app and need the credibility of super-users? Are you trying to attract senior executives?
Here are some other things to think about:
- Company Roadmap and Content. Is there an existing schedule for content regarding blog and press in the works?
- TV / Video / News: What priority are outlets for the company and are there relevant materials to support them? (like headshots, new logo designs, existing footage)
- Conference lists and dates: what is the current schedule and activities already planned that will have a company presence? How does this tie into product launches and schedules?
- Social Media: what are the current efforts and who all has access to the mediums (like Twitter)
- How much support is there: Who can support content generation, design materials (like posters, fliers images)
- Are there any drop-dead deadlines: is there print coming out or a large conference that will be taking up a majority of resources and how does this affect the other items of
- What are the current items on file: templates, designs, assets, what can be re-used or repackaged? (new content and items pushed out don’t necessarily have to be “new”
- Is there a main document with all the previous press and mentions? If a journalist asks can you send other references and links quickly?
SETTING UP FOR MARKETING SUCCESS
Once the right candidate and marketing plan is in force or fully drafted figure out who the marketer knows and respects, this will often show you which media outlets will be easy to execute and other areas that might require consultants or more work. An example of this could be making sure the right “assets” or flyers are in place and if the website matches the branding which matches the type of marketing that needs to be done. If a marketer drives traffic to your website but it doesn’t explain the product in the right light or is incomplete then all marketing efforts are moot. Marketing is about taking logistics, product and sales efforts and getting them in harmony and on the same schedule. If product launches happen outside of marked dates or dates that marketing is aware about all other customer facing items can appear out of sync and affect the brand.
Some other items to consider:
- Information, FAQ and content: are there relevant links and materials that reflect the product and approved by marketing?
- What promotional items need to be ordered or created? Sunglasses, USBs, banners (likely not, but good to know) and what dates as to not spend on rush orders or overnight shipping
- What is the action item? A signup? A Facebook like? What is the ultimate goal
I hope this post was helping and if there’s something I missed or other questions I am more than happy to do a follow up post. After several similar requests in the same week and questions from founder friends I decided to map something out that could be printed and even help other start-ups find the right marketing situation and solution.
If you have any questions feel free to email me: e (dot) Cachette (at) gmail.com
There comes a time when every entrepreneur must face tough decisions but even the right and fruitful decisions can feel nerve-racking the same as when someone asks, "What's the price?" and the voice in your head says, "everything."
Sometimes its a moment of desperation or a moment of jubilation. The Goosebumps come, popping up on your arms and legs because as much as you can trick your mind you can't trick your body. Your body probably knows more about the future than you do. The way that animals can sense an earthquake.
While some founders try to burry their Goosebumps with long hours or medication I embrace them as signs of something new to come, something changing and if we weren't in it change things, if not everything then what's the point? No matter how calm the surface or hectic the Goosebumps come, as signals that you are alive and can make it. They are the a needed physiological symbol, a reminder of the strength hiding beneath the skin that cannot be controlled.
Just as the feeling of taking that very first customer payment, or first investor check, or the first time giving a grand speech. Its about saying and doing what you think is right and the Goosebumps know.
I like Goosebumps, they remind me I'm on the right track.
(Disclaimer: there’s going to be typos in this. I’m taking a brief break from working on a Sunday to clear some thoughts. This is my personal blog not a company website)
Recently at an unnamed CEO forum most of the founders discussed how to maintain control and their worries and concerns about VCs “not knowing what its like” or trying to steal control really bothers me that there is so much hatorade going around recently for VCs. I feel bad for them, in a world that is getting more and more competitive and capital less crucial as it used to be for starting a company it seems insane to me that founders would still be thinking that VCs are “evil” and here’s why:
· Most VCs would prefer you to run the company. Their job is to make money and protect it. If they wanted to be getting their hands dirty they’d have started their own company but to efficiently make money they cannot be dedicated to one idea
· VCs usually only want the amount of control that is warranted by their investment; ie they want as much as they need to feel comfortable for the risk. True some angels have ridiculous requests but its in their naivete and also in knowing their dilution of some kind is inevitable (again, a theme here in risk management)
· By definition if you are taking a VCs money then you need them, so try to also get ideas and worth from the situation not pretend as though they are valueless
In a case of something like "Where in the world in Carmen San Diego" I find myself back in NYC. While my family and yacht club, not to mention America's Cup activities begin, I watch from afar in a city that has challenged me but always been good to me. When I first left San Francisco for the Big Apple back in 2011 I left almost abruptly. Okay, entirely abruptly. I left a fully furnished apartment, a half dissolved personal relationship and garaged car to chase Esther Dyson and try to get legs to my idea of what ConsumerBell would be. I likely skipped too quickly on the relationship I was in (he is now married) and definitely left things hanging with my family. When I eventually flew back to SF I simply packed my apartment and flew back to NYC within 48hrs. WORK TO DO.
Flashforward to last fall, I was coming to SF often; mostly to be around the smartest founders I know (Isaac Hall, James Tamplin, James Smith, Kathryn Minshew, my CTO Wing Lian and VC Gus Tai) and maybe to help lick some wounds too and find another co-founder per the urging of Mitch and Freada Kapor who only invest in local companies.
I found myself getting locked into a lease for an awesome SOMA apartment which wasn't all that bad, and by locked I mean my apartment in Gramercy had no power and I was under the siege of Hurricane Sandy with no cell or power but I knew my landlords in SF were forcing me into a lease. Okay, time to move.
1) It gave me a place / home to be in SF and
2) I lucked out with an awesome NYC ex-pat female founder roomie Cheryl Yeoh. The stars seemed to align to my ignorance and I was so quickly "back" in SF that it was all of a sudden it was a permanent move. After announcing I was back in SF, I spent tons of time with family and catching up with the yacht club, and in hindsight closing some personal chapters that were needed. I gave myself a couple years on the west coast before heading off to grad school abroad or some totally drastic life change.
But life changed.
I still spent a good amount of time flying back to NYC often sometimes even every few weeks and for weeks at a time. Some of our biggest leads and potential acquirers on the East Coast and then I wanted to be with my "friends" kept me coming back. All my friends in SF were either having babies or running startups. All my friends in NYC were exactly were I was: still hustling. So after all the drama of being locked into a lease I was quickly released and my solid SOMA lease became un-renewed in a month that was packed with traveling plans and all of a sudden my "couple year plan" turned into a brief stint without time to find the next place. I had dreams that I would meet "Mr. Right" out in San Francisco but it turned out that I knew everyone in SF and any awesome exs were already hooked up. Add my traveling and time spent back east and its true: you cannot build a life where you are not at.
My "soulmate" was not presenting himself in my hometown as I had expected. Instead there were flakey, peter-pan offers of happy hours and tech meet ups but nothing substantial that involved a sleepover or meeting my family. Granted me flying away every other week didn't help either, but I also didn't want to stay for superficial SF-style plans which like the rain forecast generally fell around 9% of occurrence. NYC was guaranteed to be there. I once even flew back from LA in time for a concert (date with someone) only to have him show up 2 hours late complaining about his own job. Another time I flew back from NYC for someone bugging me about when I would be "in town next" only to have him schedule something a week and a half after I got back in SF.
Why couldn't we have calendared that from NYC? Why did I have to be "back" for a date 9 days away? I wasn't getting it and that's okay.
Kathryn after finishing Y-Combinator moved back to NYC and just as I saw my routine in SF it wasn't exactly something worth living or expanding my reach: Monday thru Thursday I woke up at 5am PST to answer emails and requests from back east including our investors, and worked out close to 3 hours a day, which meant by night I didn't want to "party" nor could I anyways as I was exhausted from getting up early. Then there were the weekends: If I wasn't on a boat for Race Committee for St. Francis Yacht Club, I was with my family out in Discovery Bay usually thursday or friday night. My "life" was something like a healing mode of normal, to remind me of what I have but it started to inspire me once again of what I needed: more professional traction and while Silicon Valley is the mecca of fundraising it is not the mecca of hustling, NYC is.
So while "living in SF" I spent most of my time in NYC.
May rolls around (count the months: "technically" I was back in SF Nov '12 til May '13) and I'm losing my SOMA apartment right before America's Cup with zero time to find a new one and my first true vacation ever lined up (St. Maarten) and my NYC apartment is gone. Okay universe. I get it, I will stop planning. But is NYC where I need to be? Maybe I just need a road trip. And similar to a road trip I took with Leslie Bradshaw a year earlier I decided to pack up my things, put them in a guest bedroom in a family members house and hit the road. Why not? I'm single, un-attached and as long as I am available during EST hours my startup should be fine.
I was only suppose to be in NYC for a week.
Then my cousin in Orlando broke up with her boyfriend. Then our sales team in Orlando started to fall apart, then my flights to other cities were worthless and the idea of going to Miami to visit Leslie seemed less appealing when I had shit to figure out. I did have an AMAZING offer to participate as a Fellows for Cisco Live in Orlando which I kept on the calendar but as the dates got closer one of my investors ushered me to an annual Product Liability conference in Chicago I attend every year. By this time I had a sublet in Midtown West and was working on opening our Park Ave office as well as some other not so fun business items for ConsumerBell and after I got back from Chicago I realized I needed to focus: all traveling cancelled. Even Cisco Live which I sorta regret.
Since then its been one miracle after another. Another opportunistic door opening and I find myself signing more and more important things on behalf of ConsumerBell. One particular founder has been blogging that his startup is dying in 30 days, yet I feel like I'm the startup that won't die. No matter how many hours I spend in yoga or how many breaks I need- I still work more than the average bear and our mission still very compelling.
I've had bouts of suicidal thoughts. I have a couple physical health issues too from working too much going on. But guess what, all my doctors and therapists are here in NYC.
Yet, its different this time back in New York. I'm not afraid to call it home. I'm not on an airplane every other week and I'm not pretending to have two lives. I have one, it is here. I have family, it is there. They are not in the same location but I am not trying to be in two places anymore or two people.
I have spent so much of life planning, planning for all the right steps and even though I seem to always make my goals they never happen in the order that I predict. So I stop being a project manager and start being a person.
Big step. A year ago I would have told you I was miserable in two cities.
Sometimes I paint, nothing fancy just whats in my head. Here is the process:
1) Step One: scribble vision on back of a boarding pass while on plane
2) Step Two: Add base colors or "inspiration." For me I was initially inspired by lime green but I wanted to accentuate it with something and yellow seemed appropriate.
3) Step Three: finally add that green in the hues I had been envisioning.
4) Step Four: add accents, in this case dark blue inspired by something laying around. Smear existing color swatches and add patches of white paint to empty space to give depth.
5) Step Five: give context to the colors. I like to frame things, box them because the shapes themselves pour out of the lines, thats the beauty. The lines are more or less pointless.
There he is, in all his tulip-lime green-no line following-beauty. His name is "Arne"
5/27/2013 1 Comment
This April it was an honor to accept Humboldt State's Distinguished Alumni Award. It was such a flattering experience and something that has been a goal of mine for some time and much earlier in life than expected.
Back in 2012 Humboldt announced I was under review for the award and in early 2013 officially announced myself as a recipient. (read more here: Humboldt State Distinguished Alumni Award: Ellie Cachette 2006 Alum). The whole experience has made me proud of my alma mater and of the things I have worked most hard at.
Below is my acceptance award speech given April 20th 2013 at Humboldt State University.
INNOVATION AND ACCEPTANCE