Plenty of sticky ideas at first Localist Jam

Localist Jam panellists: of Qijing Wong, Ronald Biddick, James Kemp and Ed Cruikshank

Localist Jam panellists: Qijing Wong, Ronald Biddick, James Kemp and Ed Cruikshank

Heading to the first ever Localist Jam this week as part of the Social Media Club Auckland or #smcakl crew, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Localist promised a panel of ‘wise business people, digital gurus and successful entrepreneurs’ who would inspire our digital appetite.

I’m not sure about the digital appetite part, but the speakers certainly did offer some inspirational nuggets about staying true to your vision and the power of good communications.

The panel consisted of Qijing Wong of Borderless Productions, Ronald Biddick of RJB Design, James Kemp of GrabOne and Ed Cruikshank of Cruikshank Design, with broadcaster Wallace Chapman doing an excellent turn as MC.

Each sought to inspire the audience by sharing their paths to success, which were as varied as their backgrounds.

For example, GrabOne’s Kemp shared that offers don’t only work for impulsive, one-off purchases and can be equally effective in engaging customers in longer term sales cycles. He explained that offers have always been part of doing business – and aren’t just a relatively recent phenomenon due to daily deal sites.

I particularly liked his comment that the best way to initiate an interaction with a potential client is to make them an offer to engage. For instance, offering for someone to read your latest insightful blog post, can be the start of a longer relationship.

Meanwhile, Biddick shared a great story that demonstrated the power of delighted customers, as well as letting the quality of your work speak for itself.

RJB Design has been making Prime Minister John Key’s suits for the past eight years, and Key wore an RJB suit to the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

At the wedding, Prince Charles, himself a fabric connoisseur, took note of Key’s suit and commented on the quality of the cloth, which, by the way, was Super 160 fabric woven from merino and washed with greenstone!

Upon hearing of Prince Charles’ admiration of Key’s suit, Biddick gifted a shipment of the fabric to the New Zealand Government, which in term gifted it to the Prince, whose tailors whipped him up a suit from it.

So while RJB Design did not get any direct financial benefit from this exchange, being able to say a suit you designed for a Prime Minister inspired a Prince is a fantastic story for your brand!

One of the more memorable quotes from the evening came from Wong, who gave this unequivocal piece of advice for anyone hesitating to follow their true passion: “Don’t be afraid, just go for it – what’s the worst that could happen? Bankruptcy?”

Some of the lasting messages from the night however came from Cruikshank, whose Cruikshank Design designs and sells bespoke furniture across the world from a store in downtown Arrowtown.

As a designer of customer-made and beautifully crafted pieces, Cruikshank often gets flak for the high prices of his furniture.

However, his philosophy is to make items that last – not just a lifetime, but several lifetimes. Doing that is expensive and Cruikshank’s learned to be completely open about that fact and to communicate his vision clearly.

After all, he adds: “Once people see the banged-up car I drive, it is clear I’m not getting rich from this!”

Cruikshank’s drive to encourage open communication even comes across in his work. He incorporates Braille messages into his furniture as a way to emphasise the power of communicating and that despite our different backgrounds and languages, all people are essentially the same.

His thoughts on staying true to your ideals and communicating your vision openly and truthfully is something we should all strive for as individuals and organisations.

As he summed it up – it’s about being true to yourself and telling your story truthfully.

That’s certainly underscores the philosophy behind Pravda Communications – helping clients tell their story as authentically as possible.

Localist is hosting around 100 Jam sessions across the country in coming months. If you get the chance to go, my advice, as Wong said, is to go for it!

About Louis van Wyk

Director of Pravda Communications. View all posts by Louis van Wyk

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