5 Uncommon Tips on Selling

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Gasp Pricing

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Why I Pay Too Much for Sandwiches – Williams Re-branding

In 1993 Bill and George Ginnakopolous opened a small little coffee house in Stratford, Ontario called “Williams Coffee Pub” the small coffee house struggled in the Canadian coffee market which is already a fierce battle ground between coffee giants Tim Horton’s and Starbucks. However, able to cling on to small demographics the over-price frappuccino became popular among student demographics by installing free wifi, having electrical outlets in all the booths and not enforcing a time limit on it’s patrons.

But in 2011 all that changed, Williams Coffee Pub was bought over by Dean Braund who made a brilliant branding play that would forever change the market Williams operated in. Rather than focus on Williams’ coffee Dean thought it was time to focus on the unique food that Williams Coffee Pub had become famous for offering, toasted sandwiches, all day breakfast, quiche, and fresh soups that kept it’s customers filled to the brim on unique taste experiences while drinking the over-priced and mediocre coffee. Braund re-branded  Williams Coffee Pub as “Williams Fresh Cafe”  rolling out new menus that would be changed each season to reflect fresh seasonal ingredients, and artisan delicacies created by a top chef. The food catered more to an upper-class demographic and Braund was strategic opening any new Williams Fresh Cafe in communities where a little extra expenditure would not be an issue. Needless to say it became an instant success.

The unique flare of fresh seasonal ingredients, unique food choice and presentation and the combination of fast-food counter-service and table service makes this upper-class fast food chain a great experience.  I often now find myself sitting in Williams with my work, ordering myself a coffee and one of their speciality sandwiches or quiche as it is something refreshing and different. It was only recently I looked at the price tag and realized what a brilliant branding play I had fallen for. This seasons speciality sandwich is the “Toasted Tuna Avocado Melt” – it’s delicious and refreshing, it’s also $14.50 for just the sandwich without a side (and let’s be honest if you have ever had their sweet potato fries with dijon honey mustard sauce – you WILL be getting a side). Here I am sitting in this  “fresh artisan cafe” paying $15 for a tuna sandwich. It just goes to show you the power of branding, the same play held true for Starbucks but Williams was smart and created a unique market niche a “fresh artisan fast-food cafe” and was able to be seen as upper-class and worth the few extra dollars.

So the next time you examine your brand or niche, don’t look at “how can I enter this billion dollar market” instead ask yourself how you can make one!

Savings Head North – Google Offers Canada

Google Offers Canada Another great titbit of news that managed to work its way out during the #anightwithgoogle event was that Google Offers is coming to Canada!

While Google offers currently offers American service in 13 major American cities and is rolling out to 28 more in the coming months.

But at the A Night With Google conference Ray Reddy let slip that Google Canada is getting ready to roll out Google Offers for Canadians. Many people questioned if Google offers would ever gain any form of momentum and be able to be a viable competitor for Groupon. It seems now however that with Groupon slowing down as it stumbles towards an IPO, Google is taking advantage of it’s massive resources and infrastructure and already gearing towards launching in at least one other country.

Needless to say Google offers will be well welcomed in Canada where Groupon is a popular savings resource. We’ll be sure to keep our Canadian readers posted!



A Night With Google Part 2 – Ray’s Advice to Startups

When it comes down to startups who better to dish out the right kind of advice than CEO Ray Reddy, Ray was able to take an idea and have it blossom into a $25 Million dollar sale to Google; but this success didn’t come overnight and it certainly didn’t come without headaches. Pushlife Ray recaps that there were things that he realizes his startup both excelled at, and had shortcomings in:

Things We Did Right:

Avoid Slideware: When it comes down to a startups, everyone has an idea, a product on the drawing board. What they don’t have is the actual product, or at least a prototype. Venture Capitalists (VC’s) love when you can approach them saying “This is what we’ve done and we’d like money to take it further” rather than saying “This is what we would like to do!”

Culture is Value: Many people will tell you that company culture is a nice feature but doesn’t add value, but when you look at places like Google, or other tech startups you can certainly see there is a value. With a culture people are willing to work harder, commit themselves to the long hours, and work together building on each other’s successes and combating each other’s failures. Even as a company continues to grow new people enter the mix and can feel and thrive on the culture. Ray suggests that he say a 20-30% increase in productivity when his company developed a culture.

PR Traction Locally: Gaining a local presence is a huge deal, when Pushlife first started out it was an unknown name in Toronto, when posting jobs for interns the response was 2-3 candidates each time and as Ray says “They were absolute crap!” but after getting in the local news, getting the name out there and doing talks at local tech Universities, Pushlife’s next job posting saw over 400 applicants (topping the applicants for RIM at that particular University Co-Op site)

 – Cash Efficiency is Key: Keep your cash flow positive, it doesn’t matter how much profit you make, or how many assets you own, if at he end of the week you don’t have the cash to pay your employee’s then your sunk. Go after every government grant you can. Especially in the technology and research fields.

– Merger and Acquisition prep: It’s important to be prepared for possible Merger and Acquisition at all times, and keeping this M&A level of preparedness is also just good business practice. Make sure your patents are in order and you have proper intellectual property assignments. It is important that the company your building owns the IP/Patent rights of the product it’s building; this is one of the key assets in any acquisition and any solid growth business model.

Early Focus on Business Model: No matter what your startup hopes to achieve it’s important to have an idea of a revenue model right from the get go. Even Google, from the moment it realized it was going to be a company rather than just a pet-project, had evolved to having a revenue model in which the user-experience focus would generate profits by using ads. If your business model can not support some source of revenue then you do not have a business you have a foundation. Free is not a business model.

Got a startup? Or a concept for one? Take a step back and look at your revenue model, your intellectual property and your culture, maybe you could stand to gain some valuable traction from Ray’s experiences.

A Night with Google Coverage – Entrepreneurship Part 1

On October 5th we at Brandspiel had the great honor of attending the #anightwithgoogle speaker series at the Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Over the next few days we are going to be releasing our coverage of this event, keynote lectures from the speakers and backstage interviews.

To get things started we’ve got  Ray Reddy, former CEO of Pushlife and now lead of the Google Mobile Commerce team discussing entrepreneurship and startups. Due to Ray’s lengthy presentation we are going to split our discussion of it into two halves. First we will have a look at Ray’s background and the journey to start Pushlife and then follow up later with the Google acquisition, what it’s like working at Google, and Ray’s advice to young entrepreneurs.

In 2008 Ray Reddy founded a company he called “PushLife” with the hope to start immerse mobile markets in which people could shop, play and communicate in this unrestrained market. While Pushlife started as primarily a mobile commerce platform for music (and ringtones) it quickly evolved and became the mobile sales platform for a major Canadian mobile service provider by the name of Bell Canada.

 After that the path was clear for PushLife, the mobile market offered unparalleled convergence in one vertical, you had advanced hardware systems that were subsidized by the carriers and could now offer users their home computer, camera, day planner and a store in their pocket for low competitive prices.

“To put it in perspective” Ray says, “there are 140 million Camera’s sold world wide per year. However, Android is pushing 200 million devices world wide this year and they are only one player in the mobile market but suddenly there are 200 million more cameras out there.” That’s 200 million more digital application compatible cameras ready to share, upload, sell and purchase, applications, filters and photos.

The simple principle that Ray followed with PushLife was one he had observed from innovation giants such as Apple and Google, in the “Camera Case” above it was simple, “Don’t compete with the Camera; change what a Camera is!” suddenly by adding mobile network connections and other tools to your camera you have changed the game and that is the innovative connection that Mobile Networks and Mobile Commerce could provide.

After continuing to expand the innovative mobile commerce platform and expand the profitability of this vertical PushLife was acquired by Google in 2011 for the price of $25,000,000 (We suggested drinks were on Ray tonight – but he just laughed!), Ray and his team now lead up Google’s mobile commerce network and continue to build on mobile sales and applications.

Check back soon where we will be posting Ray’s advice to Startups, Ray’s time at Google, the full audio interview with Ray and talks from other Googlers!

The Google Papers #1 – Theories of Human Meta-location in Search

ISBN: 978-0-9868505-1-6 (C) Adam Cochran

I’m proud to announce today the official publication of my first social media white paper.

This paper explores the concept of utilizing existing Google analytic data, as well as user entered data via Google+ to create a systematic method for Google to decide the current physical state and emotion of a user.

By discovering the physical state and emotion of a user Google would be able to tailor the search results in a more user-oriented manner rather rely solely on link authority and other current SERP concepts.

The Paper examines two case studies to show the practical nature of how this concept could be utilized and goes on to discuss what the logical query process would need to be in order for Google to use this concept.

The book is available free of charge here on http://www.brandspiel.com/research/  or can be purchased in Kindle format on Amazon for only $0.99

The paper can be used, shared and referenced in any means so long as credit is given to the original author and a backlink is placed to the website at http://www.brandspiel.com/research/

I hope you enjoy the first of many research papers put forth by myself and Brandspiel.

Feel free to create a dialogue on this matter in the comment sections below! We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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