Category Archives: Marketing

Take Your Blinders Off

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What do a sheriff, a bandit, and a reality show have to do with ranchgrownlogic?

It all started simple enough. It had been a good day, a full day not unlike any other. I had left work late and was headed home with the sun setting in the West over my shoulder, my radio was turned on high, and I settled in for the drive home.

It’s a short 20 minutes, depending on road conditions, today the time seemed to slip by. My mind was wondering back and forth about work, family, and a million other thoughts as I made my way down the road.  I was looking forward to roping that evening, a little time in the saddle, for those of you who ride know what I mean, it’s good for the soul.

I don’t know if this happens to you but my mind was still racing from the day’s activities and was dancing from one thought to another as I tried to unwind from the busy day.

I love my truck, I call it Big Red Truck, a Dodge dually that commands the road and has earned a reputation of its own among my friends and family. I was rolling along when just down the road ahead of me on the horizon was my home. I could see the arena from the road, and I could see my family out at the barn, a sigh of relief came over me as the stress of the day seemed to melt away, I  was home…time to  rope!

I turned my blinker on and adjusted my seat to look in my rear view mirror. Dang, there he was a cop, lights and all. I really was not sure why, I must have been speeding, but for whatever reason I was being pulled over, right in front of my house, and worse than that with everyone watching.

I knew I was going to get teased over this one; I could hear them already in my head. Oh well, I thought I will take what’s coming …I just could not believe I just got stopped right in front of my house with family watching.

They had heard something from the barn, a siren racing towards the direction of our home. They looked to the road to see what was happening. What in the world? Over the mound in the road barreling down the road was BIG RED TRUCK followed by lights a flashing, siren a blaring, and a sheriff in high pursuit. They did not know what was going on but it had to be big, it was mom, what the heck?

Meanwhile, in front of the house, I had stopped the truck and started to roll down my window. “Get that smirk off your face, he commanded, get out of the truck I have a gun drawn on you.”

Ok, now that’s not funny, what the heck? Sad part was I did not even realize I had been speeding. I wear hearing aids, Pete and Repeat, and obviously they had let me down with the radio on high. My thoughts had been at work, home, and my eyes fixated in the road ahead, I did not see him for 3 long miles. I was speeding 20 mph over speed limit…. But I did not stop, I had not seen him. He thought I had stolen the truck.

“Get, out of that truck now, and puts your hands on the tailgate.” What are you hiding in that truck” nothing I said, “I just wanted to get home.” “You have been speeding since town, why didn’t you stop?” “Well, I said, I ‘m sorry; I just wanted to get home, I did not realize I was speeding.” “Stay here he said, I called in reinforcements, I need to call them off.”

The sun was in my eyes and I know I squinted and trying to see if what he said was really true… Unbelievable… it was, now it was starting to get real, while everything seemed to go into slow motion.

I thought to myself, holy smoke, imagining if they had showed up coming from the other direction, I know I would have wondered what was happening, never dreaming they would be looking for me!

Luckily my family never saw him with the gun drawn, as my husband came around the corner at a fast pace, he said “what’s going on here?” The sheriff told him and he set out to find my papers etc in the truck. Around the other side of the house came my son, dressed as he always does, western shirt, corporate patches, and packing a rope.

My husband was struggling as he tried to locate the papers, “they are here he said, I put them in there.” My son was standing on the road with us now, spinning his rope to one the side of him as if we was about to throw an underhand loop, “what’s going on he said?” I said something and then he told the sheriff, “she can’t hear”…. Well that made the sheriff mad again and told my son to step back or, “I will site you for impeding an investigation.” So literally he stepped back one step on to our lawn but continued to swing his rope as he watched the sage unfold.

A little late to the action, my daughter made her way around the corner of the house. She found a lawn chair picked it up and set it in the middle of the lawn, and sat down, crossed her legs, and proceeded to watch the reality show play out.

I am convinces everything happens for a reason. I was to be taught a lesson. Along with the importance of safety on the road is also a lesson for life and business.

We can get so wrapped up in “the now and our own worlds” that we fail to see what is around us in the moment.

A good idea for example can come from anywhere, but if we lock in and become too focused we can miss out on the beauty alongside the road, or he opportunity to take a idea from good, too better, or even great if we would only take the blinders off.

And as for my family, I love them all for their support when I was in trouble  in my ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ kind of moment. We laughed, not at what I had done, but at ourselves, you can’t make this stuff up.

As for me and Big Red Truck we will keep on trucking… eyes wide open, lesson learned!

  • Good ideas can come from anywhere
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Be willing to engage over ideas
  • Learn to live in the moment.
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Pinterest; Circle of Influence

Riding the herd on the ranch or riding the herd of “pins” on Pinterest I have discovered a great truth, it’s personal. Pinterest is an experience that can both surprise and delight developing both passions and influence, while introducing new interest and trails to explore.

Ranch work often requires separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, transport and is done by cutting into the herd, this can be done in open fields or in the sorting pens. Cutting cattle into groups or pens, is part of rhythm of ranch life. Pinterest has a similar rhythm of sorting and pinning visually pleasing, message bearing, information and inspiration. Once you ride a cutting horse and experience the big stops and hard turns, there is no going back; it gets in your blood. The same can be said for the Pinterest participants, once you experience and share items of value on your boards of home, arts and crafts, style, fashion, and food  to name a few, there is no going back, you can are hooked; it gets into your blood.

Pinterest popularity comes from its image driven visual component. Pinterest is an easy to use melting pot of interests which is driven by participants and caters to those who like to tell a visual story.  Participants “pin” items they value and “like” photos or graphics that inspire them and will in turn “pin” to a personal board they create. Pinterest is entertainment powered by passions. Like any social network, and even maybe more because of this enthusiastic, growing demographic, Pinterest requires an investment in time that is both enjoyable and relaxing.

Pinterest is an ever changing assortment of interest thus keeping the field open for fresh, new experiences. A “pin” found and posted on a board is branded by the visuals, pin by pin, boards begin to share a story. Pinterest is a place to herd and corral what speaks to your heart that is fueled by inspiration, common interest, and the fun of the hunt. It’s instant gratification, discovery of a pin and then the experience of pinning and sharing what is treasured.

Pinterest  is a melting pot of value based, advocators and influencers. It is a holding pen for personalized wish list, holidays, kids, parenting, teaching tools, recipes, weddings, events, books worth reading, and how-to and more which is limited only to time and discovery. Pinterest is designed to curate and share the things you love while avoiding self promotion. Pinterest is an open range for those who enjoy sharing ideas, creating a circle of influence among followers that is easily organized to access at any time. The joy found on Pinterest is a platform of interest, sharing ideas and things of beauty through visually pleasing images, creating boards that are uniquely you, while avoiding blatant self serving advertising.

Although Pinterest is invite-only, it is not difficult to get an invitation. You can request an invitation from Pinterest home page, or have a friend who is already using Pinterest send you and invitation, that is faster.

For individuals, business, brand, nonprofits, sports teams, or publications to name a few, Pinterest establishes a “herd” of opportunity to meet and to get to know markets, best customers, future customers, and future friends. Pinterest is a place to study values and to delight customers. Pinterest is a place to tell stories while offering things of beauty and be helpful, it is an enjoyable gold mine of discovery .

doWIT: Increase your ‘Circle of Influence’

Be Authentic

•Share your story, share your promise, create and or utilize images and pictures that are relevant in your customer’s lives. It is tempting to promote products, but that can be obvious, opt instead to share insights to your company and products, share the history, and tell the story behind the story. Post other interest that make (you) your brand unique; related topics, educational items, info graphics, and inspirational things; teach and inspire.

Be a Value Creator

•Pin inside and outside your industry. Analyze how people follow and  share your images opening a window into what your customer’s and followers value, what they relate to, and what they view as relevant. Discover who is pinning your pins and follow them back. Add a Pinterest follow bottom to your website and promote your presence on other social networks to encourage followers.

The road to discovery started out like any other ride, Will Rogers said “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, the other by association with smarter people.”  Over the horizon is Pinterest, a frontier of opportunity; it is a growing community that thrives on authentic, inspirational, visually appealing content. It is telling the stories through photographs and graphics, creating a lifestyle, value based snapshot, of personality, brand, and aspirations. Pinterest is a circle of influence that can be as much or as little as you like, it’s depends on how far you want to ride.

http://pinterest.com/ranchgrownlogic/

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Ranch Grown Logic


Saddle Up

“The West –the very words go straight to that place of the heart where Americans feel the spirit of pride in their western heritage-the triumph of personal courage over any obstacle,whether nature or man.” John Wayne.

The term Ranch Grown Logic is hard to explain until you come face to face with the common sense of it all. Ranch Grown Logic is just that, the logic that I grew up with living on a ranch is western Montana. It is not rocket science, but a common sense approach to life, branding and marketing, that is best explained by saddling up.

Back at the ranch the ride today is shipping day, one of the best days of the year for ranchers, its pay day! There are also other great days to be championed on the ranch, like the last day of haying, or the day you turn the cows out to green grass, or come to think about it just about any other day you find yourself in the saddle and loving what you do.

We began this day in appreciation of  the value of this day, celebrating not only a rancher’s work year cycle culminating in pay day, but also celebrating a job well done for a year’s hard work and dedication to family, land, and livestock. The joys, sacrifices, and the passion that fuels a lifestyle become a reality on shipping day, a family affair; this day stops and starts the year.

The day began with words of instruction as my brother Joe headed out of the house, talking while walking on. “Be patient, wait till 8:30 then come to the corral.” Dressed to go to work we remained patient and had another cup of coffee.

The  “be patient” directive came in reference to timing but also bringing in the heard. Bring the heard in a quiet and orderly fashion; the words not said, but understood. The plan was methodic in the approach and strategic in application. We met at the corrals, our horse trailers in a row, cowboys and cowgirls made up of relatives and neighbors joining forces in a common goal to get the job done, our task to bring the calves in without a hitch.

Riding for the brand, we headed out on a cool brisk morning towards the cattle which were separated into different pastures of steers and heifers. That part of the preparation for shipping day had been done in advance so we could bring them into the corrals in bunches, the heifers would come first.

Horses are often “fresh” on mornings like this, cool, crisp, frosty, it takes a little time and miles to get them warmed up. In all honesty they can feel the anticipation as much as we do its horse sense. Your horse is your partner and no truer words have been said that “the best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse,” but no one ever said it was going to be easy.

About 30 feet inside the gate, where the heifers were pastured, was a swampy ditch to cross. Not a small one at that, it was about 3 feet wide and deep with swamp and rock on one side and swamp on the other. As I followed the other riders across the ditch my horse balked, after a little coaxing he jumped the ditch almost propelling me into next week if you know what I mean. Oh great I thought, I have a jumper and on a fresh morning like this a good jump sometimes lends itself to “let ‘er buck!” But luckily all went well and my focus went to splitting the heard, creating manageable numbers for sorts and trip to the scales.

The first cut went smooth and the cattle were moving out nicely, but now it was my turn to cross the ditch once more, and in rides trouble. My horse “G” short for Gentleman was going to have no part of it. I made the attempt and nothing. Looking at the crossing and assessing the distance, rocks and swamp, I determined in my mind that it was not looking pretty. The clock was ticking in my head; I did not want to be one to let the crew down. I made another attempt and nothing, and as fellow cowboys saw what was taking place my brother John took his horse over the ditch as to show my horse the way, but no luck-no way. Another place to cross I thought, I looked for options, whatever it takes (WIT), ride the ditch till you find a better crossing but this ditch provided no options, and time was moving forward, this was it!

There he was frozen in his tracks, reminding me a lot of business ventures and life when we sometimes get frozen in our own tracks. Afraid to take the step, looking for reasons why we can’t do something instead of reasons we can, and the route to make it happen.

I heard my brother on the other side say “Look at me, look up.” That was it, Ranch Grown Logic; I knew it when I heard it. Look at where you want to go, not down, not at the issues that threaten, that you think are deep, swampy or rocky. Focus on your vision. Begin at the end then make you plan and work that plan. I took a deep breath of confidence for me and my horse and I looked ahead.  I looked up at my brother on the hill. One small leap for my horse resulted in one giant step for my appreciation of Ranch Grown Logic! I smiled at the common sense of it all and I headed in with the heard.  With the leap of faith I froze that image in my mind.

“Sit tall in the saddle; hold your head up high.

Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky, and live like you ain’t afraid to die.

Don’t be scared, just enjoy the ride.” Chris LeDoux

Come along on the trail of stories that journey into the heart of the ride; marketing, branding, motivation, inspiration as told through stories built on a collection of experiences. Ropin’ and rooted in the spirit of the West, Ranch Grown Logic is a common sense approach to marketing utilizing authentic, motivational, passionate, branding insights and stories of the West.

doWIT: “Don’t be scared, just enjoy the ride.”  

  • Focus on your vision
  • Utilize methodic and strategic planning
  • Make your plan, work you plan
  • Do whatever it takes: WIT
  • When Ridin’ for the Brand, “Keep your eyes fixed where the trial meets the sky.”

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NO FEAR

Road Warriors

This morning I was thinking about all my friends, family, and colleagues that attended the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and how Facebook had linked them to me.

I knew almost instantly who was winning an event, receiving images as they posted the action.  It was an honor to see my nephew, Tyler Erickson receive his PRCA Rookie of the Year in Steer Wrestling buckle and title in the arena.  Thanks to my Facebook friends postings and what I saw on GAC, (side note, they did a great job with the WNFR- TV coverage) I was there!

I thought back to last year at the WNFR as I did some posting from the finals. New to the game, I did not know whose voice to use, business or personal.  I was tentative; my postings were more like whispers as I tested the water. That is unusual, because my voice, around our house, is sometimes known as “Judith Gap, “an inside family joke!

I was learning the ropes of social media, looking back now it was more branding than conversation, and frankly found myself lacking the confidence and the guts to go all in.  Truth be told, social media waits for no one. It is an instant conversation where I found myself frustrated by what I thought; I could not, instead of focusing on what I could do.

Social media started out as a trickle that has turned into an ocean. I admit I was afraid to put my toes in the water and just jump in. But as I have learned this new wave is waiting for no one, and to be relevant an online presence is a necessity requiring guts and time.  Social media is the new frontier, breaking trail for expression, business, value and connection.

Back some 20 years ago the Wagner family had a white 4-horse stock trailer that we used for everything and that we jokingly put a decal on the front of that read: NO FEAR. I loved seeing that trailer go down the road. Then it came to me, thanks to that memory, spend less time defining who you are and more time being who you are. NO FEAR I am, who I am.

I have always enjoyed marketing and telling stories. Story telling by nature, I write like I talk. I admit my wordsmithing leaves a little to be desired but I write with a passion that is heartfelt.

It came to me ….It’s WIT, Whatever It Takes; I am going to start my own blog and business Facebook page centered on WIT using Ranch Grown Logic. My goal, through this platform, is to build a network of likeminded people in the western lifestyle and western industry connected through stories, mentors, and leaders, with emphasis on value based marketing, branding, motivation and inspiration.

I am who I am, a marketer and a cowgirl who enjoys telling stories. Now is the time to pull my boots on, grab my hat, get on my horse, and ride the trail. Social media is the new frontier changing the way, the story, and the ride of the future.

All trails start with the first step: NO FEAR. You are invited, come along for the ride.

See you at the ranch.

 doWIT: NO FEAR

  • Break Trail:
    • Utilize social media for expression, business, value and connection
  • Fine Your Voice:
    • Start a conversation
  • Got Business: Create a business Facebook page/Blog  
    • Attract people by creating value.
  • Brand “U.”
    •  Social networking is effective and personal and business branding platform for online presence and online outreach.

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Be Good For Goodness Sake

How To Get Big Things Done In Your “Workshop”….All Year Long

Are you feeling the tug on values, leadership, and common sense in your workshops? Good news, please accept this gift with helpful tips as told in the leadership secrets of Sana Claus. I came upon this little book with big ideas that entertained and shared some great insights as to the business mind of Santa.  Excerpts adapted from Innovative Leadership by David Cotrell as told through Santa. Take a moment and enJoy.

It’s Not Easy Being Santa Claus

Believe you me, having a smile and be jolly every day when you’re wearing the same thick, hot, red-wool is no picnic.

This is a job that will definitely strain your sanity and drain your ego if you let it. Seems like everyone wants a piece of me. Yet many people I serve question mu existence…or just plain don’t believe in me at all. And those who do believe often expect me to do the impossible-rarely caring about what all I have to do, or go through, to meet their expectations. And they all have expectations!

Give people exactly what they want. And Ho, Ho, Ho, everybody loves good Ol’ Santa. But miss one or two items on the list, and you’d better be ready for the alligator tears, the fat jokes, and the “I could do Santa’s job better than Santa” remarks. It’s not easy being me!

There’s no doubt that my biggest challenge comes from two roles that people rarely associate with the red –cheeked, bag carrying sleigh driver: Santa the MANAGER and Santa the LEADER.

I am, after all, running a business here. I am boss. I have responsibilities-both the gift-getters and the gift –makers. There are workers to lead, orders to fill, processes to manage, stuff to buy, stuff to make, standards to maintain, new techniques to adapt, skills to develop, elf problems to solve, and reindeer droppings to scoop(although I delegate that one). Trust me; I’ve got some big and not so easy fitting boots to fill.

Like most managers, I have to deal with marketplace fluctuations (Dear Santa, I thought I wanted that, but now I want this.”) And I have seen more than my share of budget cuts, technology advancements, increasing demands for higher quality and better service, fluctuations in the economy, competing priorities, and a whole lot more. Whew!

Think you job is tough? Try recruiting in, and for, the North Pole. You try retooling your plant and retaining your people every year to produce the newest fad toys. You try delivering tons of presents on a route as big as mine-all in one night.

No, it’s not easy being Santa Claus. But is spite of it I love what I do. People need me…they depend on me. We’re doing something important here. And knowing that gives me the energy to carry the slack, lead the pack, and keep coming back.

By now, you may be wondering how I meet all these challenges and responsibilities…how I manage to bring everyone and everything together to complete our mission. Some people think I use magic, there’s no magic about it.

So, if it’s not magic, what is my secret? Actually there are eight of them-eight practical strategies for leading others and getting big things done all year long. There called “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus,” and I wish to share them with you.

Santa

Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

By David Cortell

  1. Build a Wonderful Workshop
    1. Make the mission the main thing.
    2. Focus on the people as well as your mission
    3. Let values be your guide
  2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely
    1. Hire tough so you can manage easy
    2. Go for the diversity advantage
  3. Make a List & Check It Twice
    1. Plan your work
    2. Work your plan
    3. Make the most of what you have
  4. Listen To The Elves
    1. Open your ears to participation
    2. Pay attention to how you are perceived
    3. Walk awhile in their shoes
  5. Get Beyond The Red Wagons
    1. Help everyone get the reality of change
    2.  Remember the customer really is in charge
  6. Share the Milk and Cookies
    1. Help everyone see the differences they make
    2. Do right by those that do right
    3. Expand and reinforce the possibilities
  7. Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice
    1. Confront performance problems early
    2. Coach the “majority in the middle”
    3. Don’t forget the “Super Stars”
  8. Be Good For Goodness Sake
    1. Set an example
    2. Establish guidelines and accountabilities
    3. Remember that everything counts! 

DoWIT: LEAD

  • All Year: Getting things done all year long isn’t about magic, its leadership
  • Santa’s Leadership Gift :
    • Throw it in the back of some closet and never think of again
    • Use, appreciate, and enJoy,
    • Look for ways to pass along the favor to others.

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