How shaking things up affects productivity – both personal and professional

Time for change

Productivity is one of those words that have different meanings to each individual. For example, I never feel ‘lazy’, I simply strive to find quicker, more efficient solutions to problems. I never used to mentally go through my tasks of the day, I simply try to accomplish as much as I can, as fast as I can. Some might not understand my definition of productivity, but I’ve recently found a formula that works for me and I think it just might work for you too.

A couple of months ago I made a life-changing decision, which had an astonishing effect on how I go about my activities. I stopped smoking. There’s a lot of health-related research on the continuous effects of smoking tobacco, however I must admit that the psychological and behavioural effects of quitting took me by surprise. Suddenly, a habit that took up to 25% of my day was eradicated. The result was a dramatic shift on productivity and efficiency, both professionally and interpersonally. I believe you can draw your own conclusions based on my experience:

Week One:

  1. I started counting my time, I was more aware of the present. Result: I was able to efficiently draw mental notes on how much time it took me to complete specific tasks.
  2. I began noticing ‘gaps’ in my time – those were the times I would stop and have a smoke. Result: I tried to fill these gaps with errands or small tasks, so I wouldn’t have the time to think about the habit.

Week Two:

  1. I became more eerie about what I put in my body. Result: Started a cleanse that cleared my mind and boosted my concentration on the work place.
  2. I stopped drinking coffee, because I associated it with the habit. Result: After a couple of days of adjustment I was able to achieve better sleep in less time.

Month One:

  1. I noticed a continuous growth in energy. Result: It started taking me half of the time to complete previously tiresome tasks.
  2. I started wanting to do more, to be more. Result: The ‘additional’ time allowed me to focus on other projects, grow my partnerships and my client base.

How to step out of the box:

We all have our vices. I’ve begun to understand that our habits are an embodiment of our com
fort zones. They seem like essential parts of our being, until we decide otherwise. 

Shaking up those habits forces us to step out of the box we so comfortably inhabit. Now I try to change small routines on regular basis, because that keeps me on my toes. Being on your toes, especially when you are running your own company is essential. So why not try to change something in your own routine?

  • Take a different route to work one day of the week
  • Change a regular drink (let’s say coffee) with something you wouldn’t normally get for a couple of days
  • Try the YES approach for one week – whenever someone asks you to do something (go out to a party, meet new people, do a task, etc.) simply say YES!
  • Talk to a complete stranger at least once this month – gives you perspective on your own life and your path to personal success
  • Get out of your regular circle – go out of town, take a hike or a walk alone and use this time to contemplate

In the end, my simple advice to you is – Keep growing, keep aspiring to do better and don’t be afraid to shake things up. You never know how changing smaller details can help you gain sight of the big picture.

Playing the Marketing game the smart way

A good marketing campaign is like playing chess against the whole world. If you’re in it to win it, you have to think at least 3 moves ahead. So why is it that some companies keep on wanting to play on the whole board? We all strive to get brands noticed on the market, but I believe genius ideas are born in simplicity.

I’ll give you an example. If you’re familiar with the UK market you will know who Innocent is. A couple of guys had the idea to create natural, vitamin pumped smoothies and juices to be enjoyed by everyone. And instead of giving loads of money on extensive market research and analysis, they went to their potential consumers and conducted the simplest form of a taste test at a music festival way back in 1999. Essentially they asked the question: ‘Do you like our smoothies or not?’ If yes, people had to put the empty cup in the ‘YES’ bin and vice versa, of no was the answer they had to put it into the ‘NO’ bin.  And that was the breaking point for these two fellows to decide to quit their jobs and get to cracking. Now why was this move genius?

  1. The brand is 100% relatable. It has a great story behind it that people can appreciate. It’s staying away from the cold corporate image and striving towards your ‘next door buddy’ kind of vision. Simple, relatable, efficient.
  2. They went straight to their clients. No fuss, no big charts with market shares, projected data, etc. No big budget to get that wow factor. They spoke a language their potential consumer would understand and want to listen to. Hey, we’re one of you guys, what do you think of this smoothie? And voila! The magic was born.

The moral of Innocent’s story is that to get your brand where it needs to be, it’s not always about how complex your marketing strategy is or how many communication channels you’re gonna hit to toot your own horn. A brand always starts with the consumer. The era of push marketing has been dead for a while now. It’s all about valuable interactions with your customers and letting them pull the chain. And that’s why you have to choose your battles carefully. As the wise CEO of a very successful marketing communications agency in Israel once told me: ,You can’t be everywhere! You don’t have the time and you don’t have the resources!’

So my advice to you would be to figure out who your consumer is first. Figure out where they live both online and offline, what their habits are, what their needs are and most importantly, what kind of problem your product/ service can solve for them. Only then is it appropriate to discuss a communications strategy and channels. Don’t only play chess, but learn to play it the smart way. That’s how you stay at least 3 moves ahead. Simplicity is the new trend and my friends, it’s here to stay!

 

Till next time,

 xo

Teddy T

When enough is enough – 8 steps for getting out of the start-up rut

Ger out of the Rut

I’ve never had the urge to celebrate successes. For me those mark the end of a road, rather than the beginning of another. I enjoy them, but I believe tooting my own horn about it is redundant. Failures on the other hand are another story. I love them, and as of lately, they seem to love me back.

In my modest experience both as a human being and as a struggling consultant, there is no balance between good and bad things that happen to you on daily basis. It’s either raining frogs, or every problem you have miraculously sorts itself out in a blink of an eye. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because balance is boring.

Balance = comfort zone = no growth (both personal & professional)

We all welcome the good times, but how we get back on the horse after a fall is what truly defines our capabilities and motivations.  When it comes to business, here’s some of my tips for getting out of the rut:

1. Never doubt yourself – constantly repeat to yourself that you believe in your skills and that you are 110% committed to achieving your goal. Sometimes it’s harder, because people will try to put you down, but you can’t let a random individual define you.
2. Make sure you find the right people along the way – support systems are crucial when you are starting your own thing. Even though you always need an objective opinion, sometimes the ‘mommy’ appraisal gives you the extra push you need to keep going.
3. Select your partners very VERY carefully – think you can make it on your own? Great! If not, make sure you take the time to find the right partner. And if you find yourself in a scenario where you thought you had one, but things go south, don’t be afraid to let go. It’s just business. Look up and move forward.
4. Dream big, but scale with a realistic pace – dreams are sometimes what truly keeps us in the race. However, don’t make the mistake of having 20 great ideas that just rot around in your brain. Pick 1 or 2 and focus all your energy in realizing them. If that doesn’t pan out, at least you have a list of 18 more to try out.
Get out of Rut!5. Don’t be afraid to be yourself – a lot of people start doing their own thing because they saw a model that works and think they can duplicate it at their local market. Do something you are truly passionate about and the model will build itself around that.
6. Network, network, network – worn out, but can’t emphasize it enough. You can’t expand your contacts, potential clients, etc. if you’re not out there mingling. Put your best smile forward and see what happens. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
7. Have your priorities straight – especially when dealing with clients, you have to have a defined working model or a plan of action, because without one, you end up losing your focus of the big picture and end up wasting time solving irrelevant minor details.
8. Play a little make-believe – I am young enough as it is, so when I am trying to book a new client, there is no room for doubt. I make sure the client knows I mean business and if I have to exaggerate a bit to grab their attention, so be it. Earn your respect.

And if all of the above don’t work, sometimes I just look at myself in the mirror and say enough is enough to snap myself out of it, only to come out stronger. That’s why I’d take raining frogs over unicorns and rainbows any day!

xo,

Teddy T

What if Santa went corporate?

‘Tis the holiday season and as a marketer I can’t help but pay attention to all the holiday ads, ATL & BTL promotions and other consumer gimmicks with which I am currently being bombarded on daily basis. Some naively done, some over-exploiting the same run down holiday spirit mumbo jumbo, but some flawless in their creativity and innovative in their design.

One particular creative piece brought to my attention was the mock-strategy pitch for a corporation called ‘Santa’, created by an UK based Communications agency ironically called Quietroom. See, what the team has done is to create a whole corporate communications and consumer communications strategy for.. well… Santa. And this is no joke! The pitch is complete with brand analysis, communication channels, tone of voice and even a ‘Curve of credulity’ explaining the phasing of belief-in-Santa distributed by the age of the consumer. I have only one word for it: EPIC!

The rest of the presentation you can find here. Trust me, it’s well worth spending 5 minutes on browsing through it and I guarantee you’ll be grinning by the end.

A very creative way of showing the rest of the world what your agency is capable of, kudos to the whole team behind the Santa Branding Book!

Happy Holidays Everybody!

xo,

Teddy T

P.S. Special thanks to a dear friend and a brilliant social media marketer – Gergana Tyaneva, for showing me this great advertising piece, go and check her out.