Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

oh canada

July 1, 2010 1 comment

For the first time since 2007, I’m in Canada on Canada Day!

I always imagined that it would be the perfect opportunity for Pearl Kreations to make so much money; and I sort of regretted not being around every July 1st.

Remember how I’m now officially a CNBC junkie? So finally, the big “payday” is just around the corner and then I learnt on Tuesday through a documentary presented on Coca~Cola, that more customers are gotten through a Company’s participation in local events and sponsorships than through marketing.That is one of the reasons why Coca Cola is an official sponsor to almost every major sporting and cultural event worldwide! Painfully following queue, I decided to do a giveaway. There was just a little problem, since we’re still in the process of designing new Pearl Kreations cards and my personal business cards, there was no way to advertise Pearl Kreations as the Sponsor 😦

I spent the better part of yesterday brainstorming with a colleague on what to do. Finally, we came up with paper. The next issue was how to attach 35 Canada National Buttons to the pieces of paper; then it hit me – pin them! So after satisfactorily designing and printing, I cut out the miniature greeting notes. I made two (2) types: color and black/white versions, for variety.

I thought about putting my name, but I remembered my 2008 experience. While advertizing USA National Buttons in Arizona, I honestly answered a question by mentioning that I was the one to gain from the sales. The result – I never saw someone change his mind so fast! Since then, I decided to work behind the scenes. That’s one of the reasons for the two different cards: Pearl Kreations cards and my personal business cards – just incase you were wondering.

I pinned all of them from 2:30am to 2:57am and called it a day!

I just hope I give them to the right people who would appreciate the buttons as well as those who would contact Pearl Kreations for some business and/or buttons in the nearest future!



March 21, 2010 Leave a comment

It goes without saying that advertising & marketing are important for the success of a business.The right advert could make or break a business. I believe that an effective ad has to capture and engage the mind of the potential consumers. For example, because of the effectiveness of the Old Spice Body Wash’s smell like a man, man ad of early 2010, the body wash’s sales quadrupled! I’m part of the cause lol.

I just read in an article on that celebrities are good marketing tools. Well not just celebrities, but the ones who would best deliver the services provided of the company. The same article says, “The Foreman grill has become a textbook example of how enduringly valuable a high-profile spokesperson can be when that person is carefully selected and wisely deployed in the scheme of a marketing strategy”. I guess this means I’ve got to go get me a celebrity lol!

On a more serious note, the brands are beginning to have trouble reaching more people. For example, over the course of two years, Pearl Kreations has processed about 2,000 orders for over 200 consumers all across the world, but it never feels enough – well, there are over 2 billion people in the world, so one can’t afford to be satisfied knowing there could always be more. I decided to get more, I’ll need to put myself and the companies out there.

The plan is to go out there for companies and lure them with my buketing initiatives – these involve promoting the advantages of choosing Pearl Kreations’ products. By the way, Buketing is a word I coined from Buttons and marketing. The All-Me Buttons are very good for marketing; and since our button-badges are high in quality and innovative, I had a gutt feeling that they would be very attractive to big companies. This is a sample suggestion out – this was sent to Coca Cola Canada:

“…We would love to know if we could be of some service by supplying a couple of buttons using the attached Coca Cola logos to be given out as prizes during promos; or during and after events such as shows and luncheons as souvenirs to people.
Alternatively, they could equally be also sold to raise money if you intend to sell them at fund-raisers.
That’s the idea. Our proposal is to make them at a discount so as to market your Company through another innovative means as your Company is noted for.
It is also a new, creative and inexpensive mode of advertising.
The idea is definitely impressive, but will obviously require time for discussion with the necessary organising/managing bodies”.

As God would have it, a couple of companies actually did like it! I mean it is a great idea even if I say so myself lol. We offer different suggestions to different companies depending on the advantageous applications I think our buttons can offer them. If it’s really good, they usually get back to us.

You know what? It’s working! Right now, even small & medium enterprises seeking to grow their business and increase sales, contact us for custom buttons. They usually request for buttons with their logos…it’s a marketing initiative they can use to get their names out there!

One of my favorite is the upcoming Nigerian label, Gidi Culture. I must say, they’re really good, have awesome designs and aggressive in their marketing! I personally got to know about them in the summer of 2008. The went off the radar and returned with a bang in summer of 2009. I’m very sure they’re stewing something up for 2010. The Gidi Culture story will be covered in inspitories very soon.

n word

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Networking is the word…Networking! Were you thinking it was something else? lol

The power of networking and its potentials are highly underrated! Running a business would open your eyes to so many things that we never would have noticed! The dot-com age has even made global networking a lot more easier with sites like Facebook, My Space, Hi5, Twitter etc.

Let’s take the biggest of them all and the one I’m most conversant with- Facebook. Facebook has over 20 million users world-wide. It is like a resource begging to be discovered. It has three (3) very useful marketing applications.
Groups where people with like minds & ideas meet and discuss or businesses invite people to communicate.
Pages where fans of actors, athletes, business people, celebrities, comedians etc get to communicate, get updates of special sales/concerts, giveaways and future appearances.
Marketplace where individual(s) can post items up for sale in any category.
I utilize the three because they help and because they work!

I’ll start with the groups. I started with three (3) groups- Pearl Creations, The All-Me Buttons and The National Buttons. I invited all my [then] 200 friends to all three groups when I started in 2008. Later, I started inviting new friends to only the last two (2) groups and customers to Pearl Creations. Now, recently I was looking through the button groups each with over 330 members half of which I didn’t even know or invite! Some saw the group on a friend’s page and joined. Others saw it in the mini feed, some read about the concept and joined. Now, when I send a message about new buttons, all these known and unknowns get them and word gets out easy!

Later, I changed “Pearl Creations” to “The SKA Group”. Then when I decided to stop spamming; and changed “The All-Me Buttons” to “Pearl Kreations”, added the photos of the National Buttons tot he group. Then I changed The “National Buttons” to “Suave Clothing”. Recently closed the latter two (2). Now I have just one: Pearl Kreations.

Next, the pages. People get to read about me. How? When a page is generated, it is automatically advertised on the page sides of facebook and in the mini feed. And with a catchy name like Mr.Buttons, African sounding name like Kay-Adade or even seeing a young man’s face on either, it is bound to attract attention. Once people like the page, it goes to the first tab according to your setting…mine is personal info. And mine begins with my lineage and birth date which attracts people in my cohort/generation – they coincidentally make up a big part of Pearl Kreations’ consumer base. More exploration of my page will lead you to the links to the websites, blog site and Facebook group, which some end up joining. That’s how I get more people! You can also send short updates to your fans/likers.

Right now, there are 2 pages: Sylvester II O. Kay-Adade and The SKA Group. I closed Mr. Buttons because that was a phase. Now, I’m not only into buttons anymore. I’m older, diversified and now totally business-oriented so I want to be known by my real name. I have one for The SKA Group so that each subsidiary can have its own album – making everything organized; rather than having numerous groups and having to an email numerous times, everything pertaining to any of the subsidiaries is sent through one avenue!

Finally, the marketplace. Facebook users can use the application like eBay. The only difference is when you post an item, it’s free! I started using it to sell textbooks I used in past semesters and it proved to be very effective except for the occasional fraudsters or scam artistes. When I started making buttons, I used to put up the photos of the special, limited edition buttons we had available (for like mothers’ day buttons, valentine’s day buttons, a showing movie’s buttons).

From all this you can tell I did my homework…regarding networking via Facebook. Now, I’m diversifying. Opened twitter accounts too. One for me and one for the business. Got to separate the mind of the man from the mind of the business. I like Twitter because everyone sees you message in their time line, people can re-tweet it and then people on their timeline see it…it’s just terrific!

The SKA Group always advertises new products and with photos too. I re-tweet the good ones.
The only problem is getting followers! I have to be interesting for people to wanna follow you. And @SuaveSly presently has more followers than @TheSKAGroup does 😦 . By the way, another cool thing is you can also use hashtags (#). They enable people with a passion for a common cause and interest find each other. So when communicating, you can get a target market. For example, a message from Pearl Kreations could contain: #buttons and #ironmanmovie. Put that together in an update and you have “buttons, iron man”! That attracts the attention of Iron Man fans, movie buffs and button collectors! 😀

Funny story…so a friend helped me get three (3) buttons sold one day in spring last year. The previous day, he had his watchmen movie button on, a guy saw it on his jacket, told him he liked it and asked him where he got it from…and I got contacted! That guy bought three (3) buttons, but also gave me a partnership offer…because believe it or not, he’s also an entrepreneur. He thinks we can work together because he run’s an online trading site. We’ll meet sometime after our finals are over to talk business. Right there was good networking. I know I only stated technological networking advantages, but clearly, people also help! Making friends and getting acquainted with people is another way to grow and network.

I have an expressionless face which makes it hard to tell what I’m feeling or thinking (not necessarily a bad thing). Now,  apart from that, I sometimes have a dont-talk-to-me-if-you-dont-have-something-sensible-to-say aura about me (now that could be bad for business), so these days, I’m working on myself and learning to:
– Smile.
– Be friendly and meet new people – in the flesh, and not just on Facebook or Twitter.
– Introduce myself not only as a student, but also as an entrepreneur.
– Tell/talk to these new people I meet about what I do and possibly give out my business cards! 🙂

Sometime ago, I also decided to be not too formal with clients and customers as well. I tried, but I can’t do it. I just like keeping business, business. If we meet outside the business circle, we can be friendly. Anyway, while being informal, I actually got some orders! Most of them came from people who ordered just because I decided to talk with them on an informal basis. Others had previously planned to, but had forgotten to, but when I said hi and they remembered!

Networking is key!

die hard

July 27, 2008 1 comment

Back home in Canada, I finally successfully exhausted all my fliers by the midnight of July 13th, and contentedly waited for orders to come in. Amidst the wait, through God’s inspiration I came up with a couple more marketing strategies.

I started by making forwarded email messages with info on Pearl Creations, like other companies do. The first one wasn’t too cute so I made another that beat it hands down and made another about 3 weeks later that had some of my info and stuff. Hopefully, the friends and family I sent them to, read and forwarded them as well.

Next, I started reading a really good magazine- black enterprise. It’s a magazine that publishes the success stories of black executives, big & small time entrepreneurs. It also had tons of hints and advice for upcoming entrepreneurs. I followed their methods closely and it was super helpful. I learnt how to draft a good business proposal and how to make a good company information script- a document that had the information about my company in a clear, precise and attractive form.

I got a lot of help from black enterprise. I also read an article about what makes a good website and quickly updated mine. I actually got a lot of help on the improvement of the website though. I got a customer from West Africa who liked the idea, but just didn’t understand what exactly the buttons were. He thought they were like shirt buttons. I found that very amusing, but then I figured he might have not been the only one who wondered. So I first of all, I took the pains to explain to him in detail although, I got frustrated a couple of times. He eventually placed an order 🙂 so it was worth the trouble lol. That same night, I made a “product” page that explained what the products were especially the buttons; and then put in some extras as well. I read about an article about a good “about us” page. Got the proper format, applied it and modified mine…I also got some help with that from God and my uncle as well.

My uncle said nothing beats word of mouth, which I agree. So along with the lesson I learnt from my mistake at the Tiara festival, I decided to get business cards. I designed a business card and ordered a couple. At least with that, I could walk up to people, talk to them about my business and give them my card to contact me…it’s also kind of cool as well giving out cards….”here’s my card, you should give us a call sometime” lol.

The next strategy was probably the best suggestion I had gotten yet. An uncle of mine in the U.K. advised me to send emails out the organisations. I tried it earlier, but I kept my focus very low. I emailed literally hundreds of ethnic student groups and got about 3 replies. It was quite discouraging. I hadn’t look at the big picture or realised the business’ full potential. I visited the websites of various ethnic and multicultural groups, got their contacts and emailed them one after the other. I told them about myself, how I started, what I do, how I could be of service, sent pictures of buttons that would interest them, and also, just to prove my authenticity and I wasn’t a fraud, I added the link to the write-up on me in the news- the Hamilton Spectator.

Surprisingly, I got feedback from a lot of them. I’d say about 35% of the emails I sent were responded to. I began to see how much work working is as compared to school. You know you have to do it to survive, while with school, well it’s sort of negotiable.

After doing that, he also suggested I emailed international organisations such as Wimbledon, the Olympics and U.E.F.A. etc. and tell them I was seeking contacts with them…that way I sell in bulk, make more and get more publicity. This meant my emails were going to be contractual applications/emails. I thought it was a long shot and going to be a big leap, but I did it anyway. Since these were big organisations, I decided to email and write them. I sent my emails in the same format: introduction of myself and then of my company, my products, my services, usefulness to them, my plans, attached pictures of buttons that would interest them, and the news link. I also applied the same format in the letters except that I had to make them very formal (obviously), brief and precise. I couldn’t attach pictures or the news link. This is where the company information script came in useful. I was so happy everything fell into place. I addressed one to the Olympics Committee in Beijing, China; one to the 2010 winter Olympics committee in Vancouver, Canada; and several to several European organisations and groups. I gave the uncle I was staying with the finalised letters to proofread…lucky for me he’s an English language major. He made some minor corrections and I necessary adjustments. Next, prayed over them, I attached all of them in an email and sent them to my uncle in the U.K. He also proofread them and then mailed them for me.

All in all, I’m sure I emailed and/or wrote about 60 organisations and groups! My fingers were burned out! Within weeks, I was almost losing hope and contemplating re-sending emails and letters. Eventually, I got very positive feedbacks from the first two and the go! I was so excited and thankful to God! I think I even blacked out cuz I can’t remember what I did besides beaming all over the place lol. This was a good sign and a good beginning – the dawn of $$$ lol.

Less I forget, I also decided to make a survey. I read in an online business article that surveys help you better your company’s productivity, customer service and makes the customer feel important and like part of the company. After about 2 days of learning how to make one, planning questions and editing, it was ready. I emailed all my former customers, all my facebook groups’ (pearl creations, national buttons and all-me buttons) members and announced it in my status message…I’m presently still announcing it. I also continued with my emails to organisations, companies, groups and event organisers. I dwelled a lot on Canadian organisations especially those in Ontario. After all I discovered Ontario was one of the top 5 places to do business in Canada, so what did I have to lose?

I put my printer to a second good use and printed out my 2 fliers/sheet posters. I made about 50 color and b/w copies. I made a few adjustments too. For example, the Canadian fliers have the national buttons of the major ethnicities in Canada, like China, India and Italy; and also included the company’s telephone number. I did that so people could call instead of waiting till they got home before they could order. And I bet by then, most people would be tired and would have forgotten about the flier, talk less of the website or ordering.

The first day, I began by pasting my fliers between the hours of 3.00am and 5.00am in apartment buildings, shopping complexes and light posts. Later that morning, I woke up to a message on the answering machine. I was like wow, an order already? I got my order booklet, a pen and pressed play. It definitely wasn’t an order. It was the superintendent of my own building saying he didn’t like the fact that we posted fliers all over the place, he had taken all of them off early in the morning and we shouldn’t do it again. Thank goodness he didn’t know it was me lol. I figured no one got a chance to see them. I didn’t get calls from all the others, but I guessed it might have been the same case cuz not one order came in 😦

I decided to take a different approach. I emailed my friends in different colleges across Ontario asking if they knew of places in their schools where students could put posters/fliers without hassle. They all replied positively. I asked if they wouldn’t mind printing out the fliers for themselves and pasting them for me, and they all agreed. So now I have the fliers in some colleges across Ontario :). Plan to contact some friends in the states soon. Next, I decided go to places and ask for permission to post the fliers in their offices, apartment buildings etc before doing so. I’m yet to begin that though lol.

My most recent endeavour and leap of faith was my approach to the Nigeria High Commission, Ottawa, Canada. I sent an email in the usual format: my name, company name, products, services and contract permission. I made a letter in the usual formal format and attached the company info script. I was extra nervous because I was going to send this one out myself. This was the embassy I was sending this to, not just anyone, and I addressed it to the High Commissioner for that matter. I proofread my email and letter about four times, and sent both email & letter out the same day. I sent the letter by XpressPost so it could get there the next day and so I could also track it. To my greatest delight, I got a call from him in the “flesh” about 10 days later. When I heard my cell phone ring, I picked it and saw the caller ID – Nigerian High Commissioner. I was shocked, cleared my throat and sat up straight lol. I guess I was more surprised cuz I thought he’d tell his P.A. to call or something. I was respectful and tried to sound as calm and business-like as possible. He asked me to explain the types of buttons and how much they were. He was particularly interested in the Canada/Nigeria blend. After my explanation, he said he’ll keep in touch, but one of his colleagues would contact me soon. He also said he was going to keep the company information script in his files. I was so happy, I was like thank you sir and have a lovely day lol and he said you too :D. See how I’m all psyched about the call lol. It took a while, but true to his word about 2 days ago (Tuesday), a minister contacted me via email. She said she was requested to ask me to send a sample of a Nigerian button and a Nigeria/Canada Button. I replied that I would immediately. I got 2 samples, packaged them and headed for the post office. I emailed her when I got back home that I had sent them and thanked her. She got back to me and said she’d get back to me when she received the package at the embassy. I also sent it by XpressPost. I hope to keep you posted.

Based on the feedback from the survey, I had to be more explicit in my information, improve the color and size of the buttons in the slides, send reminders of independence days, increase shipping costs, change the free delivery criteria, improve delivery time, make the website more colorful and interactive. I basically had a lot to do. I spent 7 hours (8am to 3pm) straight in front of my laptop editing the website- general info, changing pictures, altering shipping prices, contacting Canada Post and a lot of stuff I can’t remember right now. I also had to improve and edit the company information script. It was then I realized why the Ambassador had questions about the buttons, I talked about everything except explain what the two (2) buttons I was blabbing about were! I added a concept subheading and explained what buttons were and the concepts behind mine. After I did all that, I had to back up all the information as I usually do. When I thought I could finally rest, it dawned on me that I had better send a new copy of the company information script to the ambassador. Since he was going to save it in his files, he might as well have the new proper information. So I drafted a new letter. I also used it as an opportunity to thank him or his call, and that I appreciated his interest. I also added that as he had said, a colleague of his did contact me. I contemplated calling his mobile, but I figured that might be too forward and it might seem like I’m trying to be familiar. I printed out the letter & new script, and headed for the post office again.

All that was yesterday! I spent today chilling, uploading pictures of new buttons, taking down new orders, packaging buttons, making calls to the customers and of course, blogging. I contemplated putting all this info on my blog, but one faithful blogger told me, in her own words, “Everything is bloggable”. I decided it could help encourage other young entrepreneurs as myself, but I blotted out names and financial figures for security purposes. That’s all (for now) folks! It’s the end of the month, so I’ve got to go do my accounts!

button up

June 27, 2008 1 comment

I’ve been really busy for a while now, but I’m back! I didn’t realize I had faithful readers. Thank you for all your Qs lol…thanks though!

Updates? Yeah, fortunately, I went to the states for the holidays to chill, get a new perspective of things and of course, I didn’t go without my buttons. I had a batch of U.S.A. ones so I could expand my clientele. The whole buttons thingy was almost a totally bad idea eventually, but I’ll get to that.

When I went through customs/security, all in the name of being a good law abiding citizen, I declared the buttons. Accordingly, my box was run through the x-ray machine or whatever. Too bad the buttons looked like a big cluster of metal which must have been alarming, but weirdly, the officer didn’t even say anything. His colleague just gave me a slip and directed me to a special glass room. There, I discovered that image had alarmed the whole security team and I was interrogated a little while my box was searched thoroughly. When they didn’t find what they were looking for, they finally asked. I told them it was my buttons and showed them all 50 Ziploc bags of the buttons I had. All 6 or 7 of them felt so silly, I could tell. An Indian woman and Mexican guy wanted buttons, but they couldn’t get them while on-duty…shame. They apologized, put my stuff back and I went on my way.

Now back to my main story. After about a week of just chilling, I decided to start some form of advertising to inform people about my buttons cuz the 4th of July was coming up. I was already burnt I was going to miss Canada Day (July 1st) so I decided to make up for it with selling out on USA Day (July 4th).

My first step/point of action was to work on fliers and posters. The ones I came up with were very whack cuz all I had was information on the buttons on them. Later, I sort help and expert advice from my uncle. He’s an excellent professional advertiser so yeah, he was good for the “job”. He cancelled it and gave me some great ideas of the top of his head….I was astounded lol. He told me to try something like, “button up” for the caption, and then something like, “it’s the all-me & national buttons y’all…buttons so cool, you can’t be since without ‘em”. And being a sharp guy, I wrote those down. Next, he said I should play around with it by putting pictures of some of the buttons around the words to make it colorful and catchy.

With all the tips, I went to work. I made the poster and I was proud of myself lol. It took me almost all night but it was worth it eventually. I playfully wrote BuTtOn Up! in orange comic sans font, then “it’s the all-me & national buttons y’all…buttons so cool, you can’t be since without them”. Then put in the website and all that good stuff. I also threw in about 12 button pictures. I put the American, Canadan, Nigerian, Mexican and a couple other national button pictures. I also put in a couple of cute all-me buttons. It was really good, I think.

I showed my uncle, he liked it, but later we decided to take out the “y’all” ‘cuz it sounded too hippie. We didn’t want to get the attention of a certain group of people. I needed everybody to be interested.

We went to some store , called Office Max, and changed the posters (A4 size) into smaller posters/fliers (2/sheet). I got 200 of them for less than $20. The fliers were actually double-sided. On the reverse side, was a picture of an enlarged USA national button with the caption: “celebrate this 4th of July in style with USA national buttons!” I got my cousins and uncle to help with the distribution. We put them on doors, car windshields in parking lots etc. My uncle got embarrassed once ‘cos a car’s alarm went off once while he was helping me out and he quit lol. Well, for all the trouble, I went through walking under that hot Arizona sun, not a soul ordered one button. My only break through was at Wal-Mart, but since I wasn’t resident they weren’t interested anymore. And I forgot to get a reference from them to provide buttons to the ones here, but I doubt it though. It’s probably entirely different managers with entirely different goals and mindsets.

I left after about a month, and on my way back to Canada, I took a detour to Vegas. It was nuts, even the airport had slot machines lol. I gained two things during my vacation – a very good flier & poster design/format and lots of “encouragement”.