Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Superbalist.

I love my photography job. I cannot tell you the goosebumps and adrenaline I get before and after each and every session. However, there is one thing I dislike about them – and that’s how frumpy I look when I arrive for a shoot – especially as the people I’m arriving to photograph always look magnificent!  I’ve ruined enough pumps and sandals to know that only flip flops will work when leopard crawling for that perfect angle, and most of the time I simply end up barefoot. However as we approach Winter it’s pretty cold and stupid to have naked toes in 7 am frosty grass.

I also always arrive looking like a slob in the clothing and hair department (thanks partly to early mornign call times, a very bad ombre experience and the lack of enthusiasm to have it fixed for the 4th time). Just last week I said to my hubby that I wanted to invest in a new pair of funky and stylish sneakers to wear to shoots. And then we laughed and laughed because his bank account has been hacked and we had to spend elevently million on prepping my son for potty training (more on that coming soon) paraphernalia.

So, it was with serendipitous timing that Superbalist.com contacted me about their new range of sneakers that have just landed on their site.

They’ve asked me to pick my top 3 pairs from their website and envision how I would wear them. So basically, this is the couch potatoes version of window shopping and the grown up version of ‘dress-up’. Winning all round!

I have been obsessed with the Nike Roche range since it was launched. Obsessed. And have always wanted a pale pink pair for myself. And then I saw them on Superbalist. I’m so excited I could plutz and I cannot wait to order them in my size!

I’d pair these feminine beauties with a dark pair of skinny denims, rolled up to the ankle, a slim fit white t-shirt like this Annie Tee which I’d tuck in the front. To accessorize I’d keep it simple with a brown skinny utility belt  and this khaki anorak (the pockets are perfect for lenses, car-keys and a cellphone). Naturally I’d also look like a supermodel and people would stop and “ooh” and “aah” at my beauty.

Because this is my shoe fantasy I’ve selected anther Nike Roshe pair – this time in a gorgeous olive green with the distinctive Nike tick in a pale pink.

Not all my shoots involve trekking through the Suburban jungles – some require me to be a little smarter, but still be comfortable. I’d use these shoes for this sort of shoot and pair them with this gorgeous, soft and seemingly flattering dress from Noisy May. I like how the front wrap bit looks like it would hide my not-so-new-mom-but-still-very-much-there paunch and the grey and green combo would work beautifully together.

To keep track of the time, and because it’s shit-hot, I’d pair the outfit with this oversized watch from Daniel Wellington.

Lastly, and it was hard to choose a 3rd winner, I’d select these old school classic Reebok sneakers in white. You can never go wrong with white shoes and they dress really well up and down.

I’d wear them with these khaki green Pop Trash joggers and this environmentally (made from recycled plastic!) denim jacket from Raw for the Oceans.

So, now that my Winter shoe wardrobe has been decided on – what would your picks be? head on over to Superbalists site and let me know!

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Would the real social media influencer please stand up?

Here’s an idea: “take this product and send this to some online influencers and get them to tweet about it.” Yes, that is a common brief to an agency, and no, you should not simply go ahead and get that done. Unless you’re the Reserve Bank and your product is money, simply sending stuff to an influencer is unlikely to achieve the campaign success you had hoped for.

This type of brief makes me wonder who thinks of of these promotional items, and how well they researched the recipient? It’s becoming an all too familiar scene on the ‘socials’, scrolling down your Twitter feed and catching a glimpse of a generic ‘thanks brand X for Y gift’ followed by a customary Instagram of said item. People can smell an obligatory punt from a mile away. It’s not uncommon for my timeline to be filled with repetitive brand mentions. I see them, and move on. Nothing about that sort of tweet would get me to stop to consider the product being mentioned, or make me want to go out and purchase/buy/drive/taste it.

It’s rare for a mention like that to connect with anyone but the recipient which defeats the purpose. There have however been many times when I have stopped to read a post, purely because the nature of the mention evoked some emotion in me. Take a recent incident for example: a well-known blogger tweeted about his beloved dog falling ill and a few hours later Vodacom had sent him a care pack for his beloved pooch. Something about that made me go all, “aaw, shame” and so I became engaged in the story. Turns out his dog recovered and most likely the gesture brought a smile to more than a few faces.

You could say it’s because I’m a hardcore dog lover, and that’s why it evoked an emotional response from me, but I believe it’s such a great story because the owner, clearly a dog lover himself, received an appropriate gift that would not only resonate with him, but also make his sick pup feel better.

I’ve experienced a few incidents of brand love myself. One of the most applicable being a few years back; it was a slow Monday morning at the office, the coffee machine was broken and I was nodding off at my desk. I tweeted how my day could really use a caffeine kick and about 30 minutes later a hamper of assorted coffee arrived on my desk. Very clever, very smart and very quick.

It’s the same principle as the Nordstroms ‘urban legends’. If you haven’t heard why this company is known for its killer service – read here. The reason this super store has got such a great reputation around customer service is because each and every one of the stories sound too good to be true. Yet, they aren’t.

Most of us in the media and communication industry have at one time been guilty of the ‘spray and pray’ method, whether it’s sending out a mass press release or generic gift to many in the hopes of catching a few nibbles. I would like to challenge us to change this mass approach. Firstly, cater your gestures to the individual, and secondly, when next targeting a person, take into consideration a bit more than their Twitter followers or Klout score. Look at who they are as an individual; identify their hobbies, likes, dislikes and environment. I can guarantee that an average person who is active on the ‘socials’, yet who is obsessed with food, baking and blogging would be far better suited to receiving a ticket to a food show, than a digital ‘guru’ whose hobbies include music, fast cars and woman.

South African agencies have a tendency to continually target the same people over and over again. Take dried up soapie actors appearing on most TV shows, radio DJs hopping from one station to the other and 20 online influencers receiving every free gift under the sun. Unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle, which only serves to exacerbate the problem – if these people don’t tweet about it, they dot get free stuff, so they do and the gifts keep arriving. Why not invest some time, take a step back and identify a new range of people to target – people who have passions, dreams, desires and a voice. Just because someone doesn’t have thousands of followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean that they have no voice.

Often it’s these stories that spread faster and wider because they’re more genuine than a simple product drop to the usual suspects.

*First published on www.cerebra.co.za

Engage with your influencers as people, not prospects
Too True
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