Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Business Expo 2015 - Follow-Up

There was an article in The Hutt News this week that this year's Business Expo has been "deemed as a success", with 91 exhibitors and just over 900 visitors. This was a pleasing turnout despite the bad weather of the day. The Hutt News reports that there was a diverse range of businesses on show: catering, insulation, entertainment, fitness, graphic designers, funeral directors, live radio station, payroll, security, solar, tastings, real estate, media, virtual assistants and video were showcased alongside more typical business services such as banking, legal and accounting. The article also says the general feedback was that many business leads were generated - vital for boosting business. There was also a new, free APP developed for smart phones that scanned QR codes on exhibitors stands. There was even a function at the end of the day where people on their way home from work could drop by. Plenty of stalls offered prizes, while the show had awards for The Most Innovative Stand, Top Stand and People's Choice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Business Expo 2015

It is always good to go to the Business Expo. It is a great venue where you not only find potential services, clients but also finding new businesses, organisations and even new technologies, some of which you may not have known about before. These days it is held at the Working Men's Club Rooms at Petone, which I find a more cozy venue than the Horticultural Hall it used to be held at, plus you have plenty of counters for drinks, food and a rest.

I was very surprised to see Wellington Zoo having a stall at the Business Expo for the very first time. It was a reminder that the zoo is not only a place to see animals but can offer venues for entertainment and functions. And 3-D technology has made its way to the Business Expo; the Hutt Libraries stall, for example, was demonstrating a 3-D printer that was making plastic bookmarks. And there were plenty of prize draws, such as a trip for 2 to Nelson, bottles of champagne, hampers, and free offers of business services.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Guerrilla Marketing

Lately my local library has been showing its support for local business by hosting a series of lunchtime business seminars called Lunch & Learn. Today's seminar was on guerrilla marketing.

I signed up, having some vague idea that guerrilla marketing must mean an aggressive form of marketing. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that guerrilla marketing means unconventional systems of promoting a business on a low budget. Time, energy, imagination and out-of-the box tactics are what are used to grab attention and a competitive advantage. This one captures my imagination and attention immediately.

And the powerpoint showed us a host of surprising, imaginative, and even amusing examples of guerrilla marketing that range from a bike painted up in gold and the store logo and chained to a lamp post to promote a bike shop to a ladybird painted on the pavement to draw attention to a baby clothes outlet. Billboards and posters have been similarly manipulated in Photoshop and other software to produce out-of-the box advertising campaigns, such as an oversized bottle of twink out in the street to promote office products to a picture of roll of sushi superimposed on the spare tyre of a car to promote home-delivery sushi. Sound too can be used for guerrilla marketing. The sound of the ice-cream truck is a classic example.

I have even seen examples of guerrilla marketing myself. One example was a tyre firm out in Petone making a recycled Christmas tree out of old tyres. A mountain of tyres stacked up in a pyramid and painted to look Christmassy. It not only promoted the company but also the concept of making Christmas trees out of recycled products, hence the Retree Festival (making Christmas trees out of recycled or craft products) last year.

We were shown slides of how simple things can be turned to creative advertising at low cost. One was the aforementioned painted up bike to promote a bike shop. But how about vehicles? Paint your hubcaps, make something out of plywood and put it on the top? Or how about a wall or window display? Another example I saw was down at Knitworld. They have a window display that advertises the upcoming Yarn Garden (making a wool garden out of knitting and crochet down at Andrews Avenue to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day). The window display has a garden fork and spade turned into works of art by being all covered in colourful crochet work. At the bottom are knitted and crochet squares of garden patches filled with lettuce, carrots, radishes and flowers, all made from wool. Such a display not only advertises the Yarn Garden but Knitworld itself, and cannot have cost much to create. 

Spam can be irritating, but apparently it too can be guerrilla marketing. Type in a keyword for, say, plumbers, and you can find an ad that promotes a product for cleaning drains. Even controversy (such as one campaign that said buy one pizza, get one condom free) can also be used for guerrilla marketing. Controversy may range from bad taste to outrage, but it has the upside of polarising public opinion between those who turn away and those who are curious and want to check it out. It is no wonder that rent-a-crowd outfits have become a business as bad publicity can be good publicity.

Our host gave us examples of how guerrilla marketing is not only used to promote businesses but also to get messages across. One was painting streets with flowers to reduce road rage and trouble with traffic wardens. Another was using speech balloons on a beach to encourage people not to litter.

Once we had got the idea of guerrilla marketing we were then given a plan of how to draw one up. It went as follows:

Objective: What do you want to achieve? 
Example: Tell people I'm the best plumber in Petone

Target Audience: Who are you talking to?
Example: Everyone around the Petone area

Target message: What do you want to say? And remember - it must overlap with what your audience is interested in so it will be relevant to them.
Example: When you need a plumber, ring the best!

Guerrilla idea: What is the idea to get attention?
Example: big cut-out tap with sign hanging from it

Impact Zone: Where are you going to put it?
Example: On van, on property

Creative Execution: What do you need to bring it to life?
Example: make the tap in plywood and bolt it to the roof rack

Cost implication: How much will it cost?
Example: $75 for painting and cutting out, $25 for sign

Duration: How long is it going to last?
Example: use every day

Surround Sound: What else will draw people?
Example: put picture on invoices, send to newspaper

This was one of the most rewarding business seminars I have ever been to. Use the tools of your imagination and creativity to create an advertising campaign out of everyday products, computer graphic software, and objects you see in everyday life to get yourself noticed in ways that turn heads and save money!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I was cruising the web for new social and business groups to join and I came across Meetup. I was immediately impressed with this site because you can not only find new groups to join in Wellington but you can set up one yourself! Groups range from writing web content to tramping around Wellington, and if you have an idea for starting your own group, this could be the site for you. Meetup can be found at http://www.meetup.com.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Community Volunteers & Charity Afternoon Tea

Friday the 13th was supposed to be unlucky, but I spent it on an enjoyable afternoon at the Community Volunteers & Charity Afternoon Tea over at Petone Working Men's Club in Udy Street. This was another event hosted by the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, this time a charity event inviting charities and volunteer organisations to come and network and participate in raffles, prize draws and other good causes. It was a great pleasure to find prominent councillors among our guest speakers, including the Deputy Mayor. They clearly see the value of charities and volunteer organisations to our community.

I was there as part of my Petone Toastmasters group and promoting Toastmasters speech craft. But there was nothing to stop business organisations coming too, so business cards were exchanged as much as the information on charities and volunteer organisations.

Many familiar charities and volunteer organisations were there, including St Johns Ambulance, Volunteer Hutt and Te Omanga Hospice. There were some surprises and things I will bear in mind, such as Coffee News, a newspaper edition to enjoy over a cup of coffee, and Skylight, an organisation that offers counselling and professional services for when you are going through tough times and emotional crises. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all was St John's pens - the pens come out with pullout banners of first aid tips!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fringe Festival

It is always good to expand your skills into public areas outside business. So I have been expanding my creative skills into the Fringe Festival. The Fringe Festival is Wellington's "biggest little arts festival". It runs from 20 February to 14 March 2015, and has over 50 venues in the Wellington area. More information can be found here.

One of these 50 venues features my own contribution to the Fringe Festival. It is on the traffic island in the CBD on the corner of High Street and Andrews Avenue Lower Hutt. The traffic island has been decorated with frames of flowers that are made from either wool or plastic bottles. Five frames are on the island, plus clusters of standing plastic flowers. But mine is the only frame that features wool flowers; the others are all covered with plastic bottles turned into floral art. My frame appears on the right of the photograph below. The flowers are made from my own handspun wool and they include roses, daisies, poppies, carnations, sunflowers, and products of the imagination.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Program or Programme?

The use of "program" and "programme" is one of the most common confusions I encounter in proofreading. One of the reasons it is so common is because of the increasing intrusion of US spelling, which uses "program" differently from UK spelling.

The rules governing "program" and "program" in UK spelling are:
Use "programme" except when referring to computer software, in which case it is "program".

But in US spelling, French-based spellings from UK English, such as "programme", have been eliminated. So in US spelling, "program" is used in all contexts of "programme" and not just when referring to computer software.

And what with US spelling becoming increasingly frequent on the Internet and being used as default language on computers, it is not surprising that Americanisms are permeating non-US English and leading to what would be spelling errors in UK spelling. One such is incorrect use of "program" when it should be "programme", and I have seen this in many walks of public life.

However, what was once incorrect can become increasingly acceptable. For example, the American "z" spelling is becoming more acceptable, although "s" spelling is still more traditional and correct in UK spelling. Indeed, the American use of "program" has been accepted in Australian spelling - something I must always bear in mind when I proofread a document that uses such spelling. So it is possible that the use of "program" will eventually overtake "programme" in UK spelling as well. But in the meantime, the traditional use of "programme" and "program" stands in UK spelling.