6.28.2006

Creating A Movement

Vanessa and I were discussing the great future of the Glo to Sleep last night over some frosty beverages and got really excited when we started talking about a recent blog about
campaigns vs. movements by Spike Jones over at Brains on Fire.

If markets are conversations, then movements are the markets talking in unison. Correspondingly, campaigns are individuals trying to talk over others, desparate to be heard. Campaigns can be great, they can be exceptionally well done but raising above the other voices often takes big money. Big pharmaceuticals have that kind of budget, we don't. But that's fine - because we're not interested in a campaign, we're interested in movements and as Spike talks about - they're more organic and rooted in passion.

This is exactly how we think about the Glo to Sleep. This isn't about an ad campaign with a beginning and end. It's not about selling a product, its about giving sleep - a considerably more personal experience. Each time a problem sleeper becomes a Glo to Sleepyhead we are building a movement, not just a campaign.

From the beginning, we've wanted to see the person, not the customer. And, I think that's how you create a movement - real people making real connections.

6.26.2006

Oops!

There is a an old saying, "Say whatever you want about me, just spell my name right".

Well, the good news is we were in the National Post on the weekend.
The bad news is they didn't spell our name right.

In the first part, of a three part series, by Anne Marie Owens at the National Post, about a growing sleepless society, Owens asks the reader to consider the Go to Sleep as a tool for a good night's sleep.

Yes, a "Go to Sleep".

We, at Go to Sleep, are "peddling" a breathable sleep mask. Where do we "peddle"? You'll have to figure that our for yourself . . . there's no mention of that in the article.

We did send the National Post a quick, polite and gracious e-mail suggesting that perhaps they could run an update with our official name (that would be GLO to Sleep) in the third part of the sleep series. But they said it was okay . . . if you Google 'go to sleep mask' - our website comes up!

Excellent! Thanks, Google!

Have a great sleep!

Vanessa





6.22.2006

5 Star Review

Fall 2005 - Product had arrived. Booklets were printed. Boxes were delivered. Website was up and running. E-mails had been sent to everyone in our address books - announcing that we were officially up and running.
Now what?
How were we going to let the world know that we were here and ready to do business?
Our marketing plan was to send out press releases, and then if they requested, we would send them a Glo to Sleep to try.
I sat down at the computer with a comprehensive list of contacts at Canadian newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV stations. It seemed that the majority of contacts wanted to be reached by e-mail.
Okay. I'll send the press release by e-mail, but I need something in the body of the message.
What do I write?
And who do I send to first?
After an agonizing two hours, fussing over every word, my sweaty and shaking hand reached for the "send" button.
I had done it.
I had sent my first press release.
Alright!
I got up and walked around, stretched out a little, went and made myself a chai latte, and was feeling very proud of this accomplishment.
I had sent an e-mail to the assistant health editor at Canadian Living.
Now, I would go back, copy what I had sent to her and start sending out more.
I was on a roll!
I returned to my computer, hit the "get mail" button and watched my inbox as the "receiving mail" bar blinked across the screen.
New message.
Oh my! It's from Canadian Living!
I open it.
"Please send product."
Please send product?
Oh, yeah!
Send product!
I called Jamie - thank goodness he was on speed dial!
"I did it! I sent my first press release and she wrote me back and she wants me to send product!"
Jamie is silent.
"Jamie! Did you hear me? I sent an e-mail to Canadian Living and she wrote me back already and she wants me to send product!"
"That's really good."
How could he not be more excited?
This was going to be a piece of cake! The world was about to beat a path to our door. I just knew it!
"Vanessa, I don't want you to get too excited. I mean, it's great that they want to see product, but in my experience, what just happened is very unusual."
"Well, maybe it's 'unusual' for other people, but we have something really special here. People are going to recognize that! Not only that, but it is such a great story! People love inventor stories!"
"Yes, we have a great story and a great product, but it's not going to be that easy. I just don't want you to get your hopes up. What just happened is unusual . . . trust me."
Whatever!
I went back to sending e-mails. Loads of them.
I took a little break and got a Glo to Sleep ready to be shipped to Canadian Living.
Back to the computer and checked e-mail.
No new messages.
No new messages.
(I almost want to cry when I think about how many times I went to the computer and saw 'no new messages'.)
Yes, Jamie was right. What happened was unusual.
99% of the e-mails I sent out garnered no reply at all. (And I was always changing it up. Getting more creative. Sometimes more bold and even a little cheeky other times.)
Once in a while I would get this back:
"No."
Love that one! Talk about rejection.

Two months later.
(Yeah, you read it right . . . two months!)
I got a phone call from the editor at Canadian Living.
I was so excited, and shaking so much, I nearly dropped the phone.
She said that her health editor really loved her Glo to Sleep and that they wanted to put it in "Great Ideas in Health" in the Feb. issue.
Finally! Some good news!

After that, more media coverage came our way - but never easily. And every bit of coverage came after someone actually tried it and saw for themselves that this was not a joke.

In the meantime though, people were buying the Glo to Sleep and getting back to us that they really liked it. Some people have been so enthusiastic! Hearing back from our customers has become the most rewarding part of this process.

So . . . (I'm finally getting to the POINT of my story!) in a continuous effort to let people know that we are here and that we have a great answer to people's sleeping problems, I continue to send out press releases.
A little while back, we really started to think about how we could get some "web" coverage. I mean, we are on the web, selling on the web, but people on the web don't really even know we are here.
We were aware of a lady that writes about sleep disorders on About.com, so I contacted her to see if it would be alright if I sent her a Glo to Sleep and press kit.
She was open to the idea and sent me her address.
While I like to remain optimistic (and I am the most optimistic in our bunch), you still get to a point where you just don't want to get your hopes too high - only to have them squashed like a bug under a big boot (okay, the last year may have scarred me a bit).
So, I sent her a Glo to Sleep and tried to put it out of my mind.
Just kept workin'.

Then, last week, I got an e-mail from her. She said that she was "impressed" with the Glo to Sleep. That she wanted to write a review and could we please send some product shots.

Time to get excited?
Hell, yeah!
She was impressed. She was writing a review. It was going to be posted on the web. What was there not to be excited about?
It almost felt like maybe things were going to start going our way.

We waited a couple of days and then I started checking her website (like every two minutes . . . like a bloody maniac). At last, about 5:00pm, it was posted.
"Go to Sleep with Glo to Sleep".
Five stars.

Wha . . . huh - huh?

Five stars?

Oh, baby! Five stars!

I read on.
It was well-written, it was concise, it was descriptive. But the best part?
She got it.
She totally "got" the Glo to Sleep.
She got why it worked. She got how Tim figured it all out.
And something else she said: "It worked for me."
It has worked for everybody that has written about us, talked about us - but nobody has stepped up and said, "it worked for me".

Florence stepped up.
Read our FIVE STAR REVIEW.

Thanks, Florence.

Have a great sleep!
Vanessa






6.16.2006

Marktd.com

As I continue to educate myself on marketing, looking for the best ways to increase our presence online, I have discovered some really great sites and they have quickly become my favourite haunts.

One of my most visited sites these days is psfk.com - a resource of consumer and marketing trends (I'd love to see the Glo to Sleep featured here someday!). From the psfk team is a new site call Marktd. This is a marketing website where marketers can submit stories and links of interest and then the community 'votes' on these stories. Much like Digg . . . but better.
So, after visiting marktd.com day after day, I thought, "Hey! Why not submit a story about the Glo to Sleep?!" So, I did. And as of this moment, we have received 15 'marks' and we are sitting on the "Top Marktd Stories" page. This has generated quite a bit of traffic to the website and most people are taking their time to read more than just the submitted press release - weaving their way around the website. Our marketing peers taking a moment to read our website and then give us a mark on Marktd - very rewarding! This experience is really energizing me.

Some more of my 'new' haunts:
www.dailycandy.com
www.joshspear.com
www.boingboing.net
www.sethgodin.com (LOVE his blog!!)
and more

It's such a big world - I love it!

Have a great sleep!
Vanessa




6.10.2006

PR is not dead
If I read this one more time I just might scream. But since few people will hear that I'll blog about it instead. If your only notion of public relations is that it is media relations then, yes, we can certainly enter into a discussion about how the Internet and, in particular, blogging has not only changed the rules of engagement it's changed the whole game. I whole heartedly agree that people's ability to gather information through means other than the mass media has changed things - but PR is not exclusively media relations.

PR is the two-way, symmetrical communication between and organization and its publics. With this definition - the advent of the Internet and the blogosphere makes PR more relevant than ever. In fact, traditional manufacturing companies who did nothing more than create the occasional brochure or data sheet for products are now media outlets too. Small example: a few years ago I was producing an interactive media installation at an arts centre and needed to source out electric motors. I did the official thing and called the procurement department with the specifications. While I waited for an answer, I searched for the motors online. I found the manufacturer's web site and was able to determine they had 14 motors in stock in Kentucky or somewhere like that. I was able to find the Canadian distributor and then called to get a sales rep. The rep says - I'll have to check and see if the manufacturer has any in stock. I said: they do. 14 of them. I need 6. In three days I had the motors and the artists were installing them. The procurement department called me back to tell me they couldn't find what I wanted.

PR isn't about hucksterism and smoke and mirrors. It's about being the eyes and ears of an organization and it should function as a strategic management tool. The definition I used for PR is an old standard but there are two aspects that are explicitly relevant to today's Internet driven world. Communication has to be TWO WAY. That's right - many of us PR folks have been talking for a long time about taking in messages not just sending them out. Then comes the symmetrical part - there is equality and parity to the messages coming in and out.

Businesses of all types have been radically affected by the Internet and so too has much PR practice but the essential concept of PR remains the same.

6.07.2006

Sleep is Always in the News

Sleep is a popular subject - probably because there are so many people out there that aren't getting enough! Tim and I always Google sleep and insomnia articles in the News and Blogs. I came across this great piece yesterday about the madness of Big Pharma convincing the world that sleeping pills are the only answer. It's on Planet Chiropractic - and reading it reminded me of one of my favourite articles, written for the Sacramento Bee, that linked the big multi-million dollar launch of Lunesta with the "non-profit" National Sleep Foundation.
I'm not trying to be political (I'll save that for when I run for P.M.) or make bold claims of conspiracies (no need . . . it's already so transparent), but I do like to be informed as to what we are up against. And so, I hang on to what I hear from our customers every day - they want to do everything they can to avoid the sleeping pill prescription.
That's why we're here.
Have a great sleep!
Vanessa

6.06.2006

The Glo to Sleep Website: An Evolution

Thank heavens we have an in-house web designer! Between our abundance of creativity and our incessant need to have everything perfect - we can't stop improving on the website.
Tim has become a self-taught web guy - learning Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop and more. So, when we come up with an idea for a website change and put him on task, he exceeds our expectations every time.
We learned, very quickly, that our website would always be evolving and we are comfortable with the fact that we always see room for improvement, no matter how hard we have worked on a page.

I'm very excited that today is (finally!) the day that we'll be uploading our new "how it works" page. We've put so much effort into this page so we could better address the 'wants' of our web visitors. Every conversation with our customers (and potential customers) becomes a lesson, for us, on how we can improve to make a visit to our site more interesting and more informative.

While we all love the look of a clean and minimal website, there is just so much that needs to be said about the Glo to Sleep. So, we have to create something informative while still keeping it tight. It's a fine line, believe me!

Visitors to our site really seem to love to read the stories from our Glo to Sleep users (or as we affectionately call them . . . our Glo to Sleepyheads!). So, we decided to incorporate more of their quotes on more pages and I like the way it turned out. With their pictures and their own words, it is our goal to 'keep it real'! I'm sure there will always be people that are skeptical of the authenticity of our Glo to Sleepyheads, but we feel really confident that we have done what we can to establish that these are indeed real people being honest about how the Glo to Sleep has helped them. We love adding new Glo to Sleepyheads so we are excited to say that we will be adding FOUR new ones in the next week. (The great stories just keep coming . . . the most rewarding part of our job!)

Enjoy the added info on our site and the new look of "how".

Have a great sleep!
Vanessa