Into the Middle of the World

I would never have known that when I was born in Singapore, Ecuador is directly under my naked bottom on the other side of the world. While there’s no practical reason for that piece of information known as antipodes, it makes for a good opener to this post, right?

World map showing location of Ecuador and Singapore

Now that you are back after having fun searching for other antipodes of countries you know, let’s get back to Ecuador and the connection I have with this country known as the Republic of the Equator (a literal translation from the Spanish name, República del Ecuador).

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My Affair with a Grocer

In 2017, I stepped into a Trader Joe’s for the first time as a friend and I loaded up on some road trip -type food for our 14-day adventure through the country of Mexico.

I was immediately intrigued by how different this grocer is. It goes beyond their highly addictive peanut butter pretzels, colorful hand-drawn signage, and the bell-ringing at the checkout lanes.

Visiting Trader Joe's in Oklahoma City
Before heading south towards Mexico, we decided to take a picture in front of Trader Joe’s, excited about our purchase of bread, canned smoked herring, peanut butter pretzels, trail mix, etc. for the road-trip.

There’s something about their staff Trader Joe’s call Crew Members. Besides wearing Hawaiian shirts or colorful tees with hibiscus motif, these people seem genuinely happy to be working there.

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Let’s Get Emotional

When one thinks about a company or business, all things visible (eg. logo, billboard, print advertisement) and tangible (eg. product, store-front) tend to be the first image that comes to mind. That’s a typical response of a consumer.

Wearing your consumer hat

But as a consumer of goods and services bombarded by countless “buy me” or “use me” messages whenever we are online or out on the road, the appeal of a product and/or service often goes beyond meeting a functional need and is associated with an emotion.

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It Started with a Bunch of Bananas

Small chalkboard signs promoting 19 cents bananas at Trader Joe's.

Take a picture of these,” said a fellow crew member after I put up my first two-sided chalkboard sign I drew for a banana tree at Trader Joe’s Oklahoma City.

Looking back, I do appreciate the advice as the side that says “We’re a Happy Bunch” pretty much summarizes my sentiment having been part of this grocery chain.

Here’s a sampling of the various signs I have the privilege of creating by hand; some of which are permanent while others are a figment of my memory (but thankfully captured on camera).

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What’s the Buzz?

The conversation happening on various social media channels is a form of word-of-mouth that cannot be ignored. However, that doesn’t mean that a business needs to have every social media account there is to engage in those conversations.

Take note that there are conversations happening between people offline, which in most cases may carry more weight than online word-of-mouth. So, how does one effectively manage and cultivate meaningful conversations?

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Your Logo is Just the Tip of an Iceberg

iceberg brand story and logo

What logo comes to mind when you see the double golden arches (or part of it)?

It wouldn’t take long for anyone to immediately recognize it as the logo representing Happy Meals and golden fries; a gateway to the promised land of McDonald’s. The fast-food chain even turned their logo upside down in honor of International Women’s Day; a clever twist to their iconic symbol.

Inverted McDonald’s sign image from Pop Culture. Billboard image from blogTo.

Wouldn’t you like a logo as recognizable as McDonald’s?  You may say you are not as successful as this global franchise with a similar marketing budget, but the development of a key identity piece like a logo deserves much more time, effort, and money than you feel it needs. Consider this; your logo will be front and center throughout the lifetime of your business! 

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