How to understand your fridge noises

22 July

Today I found out that we’re not the only house that has a speaking fridge. A pic from Lottie Crumbleholme bounced into my Twitter feed today and it made me laugh. I was fed up clicking links like ‘The 5 best ways to optimise Pinterest shares’. This happy infographic made me stop and smile. The fridge manufacturer obviously knows how boring white fridge manuals can be. And they know that we need daily humour in our lives!

My big passion is for helping business owners to be human on the web. Why should chatting online be any different to chatting in person? Why do we get caught up in jargon? I believe that we should forget about our awards and benefits and look at how we can help make our customers lives more healthy/fun/adventurous/secure/delicious/meaningful… {or ‘hissy’?!} What do you think?


Are you tired of ‘Top 5’ format posts? What sort of content appeals to you? Let’s get to know and think like our customers – that way, we can create content for real people. I now give one-to-one training to help businesses understand their customers and what they need help with. Let me know if you’d like some help and support – I promise, we’ll have fun!

Image credit:
This image is from Lottie Crumblehome – She is a Graphic designer / researcher at the Royal College. You’ll find her on Twitter or her website.

Irish butchers are blogging brilliantly!

25 January


Alex Franzen dropped that perfect idea into a blog post about how to get noticed in the noisy, super-saturated world that we live in.

I never imagined I would be featuring butchers’ blogs on my site! And yet, I discovered two Irish butchers who have have found a way to chat and help their customers online. My message in this post is simple; you can write a blog about any business once you learn how to excite your audience.

It all goes back to what Alex says in her post

If everyone else is emailing … don’t email.
If everyone else is cold-calling … don’t call.
If everyone else is doing purple this season … bring back neon green.

Be strategically contrarian.

To this I could add, if most butchers only exist in the 3D world, you have an eager online audience all to yourself!

First up are McLoughlin butchers, based in Dublin.

mcloughlins craft butchers2 1
McLoughlins butchers

McLoughlin Butchers have been trading since 1965.  Their website proudly describes how their high standards and the traditional butchering methods are still in use today. They talk about the strong links between themselves, the farmers and their customers.

To encourage interaction, they even have this great resource to allow customers to “Ask your butcher a question”. Anything you ever wanted to know about meat…

The rest of the site is set up to answer questions their customers might have; “Get the best cuts” and “Tasty recipes” as well as information on all of their meats.

mcloughlins craft butchers

Next I discovered James Whelan butchers, with shops in Dublin and Tipperary.

James Whelan butchers are based in Tipperary and also promote high standards and traditional techniques. They are passionate about sourcing quality meats in Tipperary and offer a home delivery service. Pat Whelan tells us how each product is “hand selected, tasted and tested by me”.

Customer service is also key to this business. How about this for a promise of quality;  If you are not completely happy with your order, simply contact us and we will go to extraordinary measures to make things right…

The site and blog are packed with an encyclopedia of helpful content and resources. Dip into recipes, video guides or a day in the life of a butcher.

Something that caught my attention was a butchery demonstration – This is a live event where master butchers talk you through some knife skills and meat butchery. The line-up includes ‘Knife play‘,  ‘A celebration of pork‘, ‘The sweet secrets of beef‘, followed by ‘Nibbles and natter‘. Sounds fascinating, even if I’m not a huge carnivore! These evening classes take place in Avoca Food Hall, Monkstown as well as the Avoca food market in Rathcoole.

pat whelan butchers collage
James Whelan butchers

These two butchers understand that their customers don’t just want to buy meat from them. They are looking for information and inspiration. The aim of both sites is to develop a strong ongoing relationship with their customer.

So what can the blogging butchers teach any business that is considering writing a blog?

  • Focus less on your products or services and zone in on what your customers need help with. For example; show a busy parent how to create quick, mid-week meals. Or educate them about the different cuts of meat, so they can experiment more when cooking.
  • Replace the concept of a ‘blog’ with an ‘interactive website’. Give meaningful words to blog-style sections that will appeal to your audience. Be playful with your words.
  • Use language that talks directly to your audience. Show that you understand their needs.

Are you thinking about writing a blog but are unsure about what to write about? I can help you do that! I give small workshops and one-to-one introduction to blogging classes. Read my post on the 5 common fears about business blogging and how to tackle them. I’ll give you the confidence you need to launch.

What do you think of these charming and helpful butchers? Can you see how friendly and interactive an online site can be? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Connect with these butchers online:
McLoughlins butchers
James Whelan butchers

The power of storytelling in business with Andreea Wade

28 October

I’m back after attending my first Askaton event and I am truly hooked! Imagine a room filled with passionate business owners (or those on the brink of launching) who are interested in sharing ideas and inspiring each other to succeed. One of the taglines of the group is to ‘Ask, Share, Laugh’. I did all three of these things and met a bunch of inspiring ladies to boot! This group could help you too…

askaton dublin adreaa wade science gallery

Andreea Wade is one of the co-founders of Askaton and also owns a marketing company called Brandalism. She gave a talk about Storytelling in business. As you probably know by now, this is something that I’m really passionate about. It’s certainly not about making up stories (which is what most people think clever marketing is about). It’s about getting to the core of what you do and why you love it. Some of us get lost in the doing and making and we forget about what it was that got us started in business.

My mission this year is to connect with all sorts of new people; to seek out adventure without knowing exactly where it will lead. This is what blogging teaches you and what I’m passionate about sharing. You come to realise that sometimes the unexpected encounters are where the best things happen. They can happen online, but really, the magic happens when you get out and meet people face to face.

Andreea talked about the power of “Once upon a time”. She reminded us that, once upon a time we had a passion that led us to set up a business. This is something that we need to capture and never forget. And she reminded us that stories are about things that matter.

Andrea also spoke about how confusion is one of the greatest enemies of any marketer. As business owners, we need to be crystal clear about the message that we put out into the world. If we are not clear ourselves, how can we expect our customers to know how we can help them? The purpose of your blog is to be like a window into your business. It’s your space to chat with and educate your customers; for you to get to know them and for them to get to know you. To share what it is that you love to do and tell others why they should consider spending their money with you.

Ultimately though, people buy from people they like or can relate to. We hear this again and again but do we really understand how it works? In the chaotic, frenzied, online world, we need to find a way to make people pause and feel something. We’ve been telling each other stories for centuries; it’s how we all make sense of the world. This quote from Ira Glass, that Andreea shared, sums up the idea perfectly;

Great stories happen to those who can tell them.

So, are you interested in telling your story or finding new ways to tell people what you do? I’d highly recommend the Askaton group as a way of meeting like-minded business owners. The other thing worth mentioning is that there is a really relaxed vibe to this network. There is no power dressing or stuffy formalities. It’s about people who are into doing stuff as well as talking about it!

I give a number of different blogging courses and workshops to help business owners to learn how to talk confidently and passionately about what they do. My one-to-one classes focus purely on you and my group workshops allow for lots of interaction and cross-pollination of ideas! Would you like to be notified of my up-coming events? if so, just drop me an email or leave me a comment below. And I’m always up for a 3d coffee and chat…

Let me know if you’re a member of any collaborative business group; I’d love to put together a list that we can share.

‘Askaton’ – a talk about business stories at The Science Gallery, Dublin.

16 October

brand story

I’m going to what sounds like a really interesting talk tomorrow, (17th October 2013). ‘Askaton‘ are a Dublin based Meet-Up group. The talk is entitled ‘What’s your story” and it will focus on brand identity concepts and strategy – something they say, is relevant to anyone who runs a business or is considering setting up one.

I’m excited to meet others in the group and hear what Andrea Wade (from  has to say about business storytelling. That’s what Three Thought Bubbles is all about; helping people to share their business personality online. I like their message in this graphic too; Ask, Share and Laugh!


Askaton was set up by Andrea Wade from Brandalism. Here she is to tell you more about her talk.

Hello hello,

Our next event is on the 17th of October, on a Thursday, starting from 5:45pm, in the Science Gallery. As usual, the event will end at 8pm (when O’Neills awaits).

Event Details

Speaker: Andreea Wade of and

I decided – after a long chat with my Twitter followers – to speak at this event. I won’t do it very often.. perhaps once a year, but I promise to make it a good one.

The event on the 17th will be divided into 3 parts:

1. Intros and improv talks. We will select 2 people from the RSVP list and will ask them to give a 5 minute talk on what they are doing. 🙂

2. My talk (Andreea)

The talk is entitled ‘What’s your story” and it will focus on brand identity concepts and strategy – something relevant to anyone who runs a business or is considering setting up one.

3. Google Developer Group Dublin are looking for female speakers for their DevFest, 2-3 Nov 2013. It would be great if we could find a speaker or two from amongst our meetup group and perhaps we could spend a few minutes on looking at approach angles for a possible talk.

4. We can have a closer look at businesses that are in the room and help with improving their own brand story. This, I feel, will help all those present in the room, we can all contribute but we can all also learn.

This is an open invite group and event. So you can sign up over on the Askaton Meet-ups page or read more on their website. I’ll be writing a follow-up post about the event if you can’t make it!