Tag Archives: lifestyle branding and messaging

Feng Shui: Do You Have the Energy for Business Success?

I recently interviewed Feng Shui Master, Edwaard Liu, for an article I hoped to publish on another digital platform. Unfortunately the publishing deal didn’t work out but I still wanted to share the article – because Master Liu had some really great insights, especially for an uninitiated person like me. He is also a terrific person, so keep him in mind if you want some Feng Shui advice, be it professional or personal.

Initially I was apprehensive about publishing a Feng Shui article on this blog, but then, having the right environment for business is a core part of successful communications as well, so here is my interview with a Feng Shui Master on how to fully harness the energy of your business environment for success.

Feng Shui: Do You Have the Energy for Business Success?

When Donald Trump famously said“I don’t believe in Feng Shui but I use it because it makes me money,” he helped shine a spotlight on an ancient Chinese practise. However, he is not the only famous person or institution embracing Feng Shui – the White House, Virgin Airlines, The United Nations, Ford Motor Company, Charles Schwab, Citibank, Coca Cola, Disney Studios, Mariah Carey, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey, amongst others – are all embracing Feng Shui for success. The media has also taken it into the mainstream, with coverage regularly appearing on the BBC, and in the NYTand The Wall Street Journal.

Impressive endorsements indeed, but what is Feng Shui and can it really make a difference to the success of your business? “Feng Shui (风水) literally means wind and water,” explained Feng Shui Master Mr. Edwaard Liu of Singapore-based ‘The Classical Feng Shui Consultancy’. “Wind and water is used to describe energy and the dynamism of energy. It is a 3000-year-old art form used by the Imperial Family of China to bring in auspicious energy and circulate it throughout the premise. Essentially, Feng Shui is a way of managing energy to ensure you live in harmony and balance with the environment, because if you can achieve this, you can enjoy good fortune.

“There are different types of energy in our environment,” continued Master Liu. “Some are good, while others are undesirable. If we live [or work] in an area with good energies, our health, harmony and wealth will improve. If we live [or work] in an area with undesirable energies, our chances of encountering misfortune will increase. By rearranging our working space and managing our surroundings we can tap the auspicious energies, or Qi (气).”

Growing up in Australia, Feng Shui certainly captured people’s imaginations, but it is challenging to believe it can make any difference at all. “I believe Feng Shui makes a very big difference,” said Master Liu. “If a building is designed on Feng Shui principles, the businesses in that building should do very well, including retailers. However, if a business plan is flawed, Feng Shui may help it to do better, but it cannot solve the problems of a business that has been badly planned.”

According to Feng Shui teachings, when auspicious energy is activated and enhanced, people may experience:

  • A flow of abundance and wealth
  • Good health and emotions
  • Stronger relationship(s)
  • Levels of fame, popularity and leadership
  • High study and academic performance

Feng Shui is also used to avoid, suppress or turn around inauspicious energy to ensure minimization of:

  • Illness
  • Loss of wealth, fame and status
  • Bad relationships
  • Poor academic performance

“Another important aspect to consider is every 20 years there are significant changes in energy and this impacts Feng Shui. For example, if your office was built between 1984-2003, it will have different energy alignment to a building constructed from 2004-2023. Therefore, speak to a Feng Shui Master, because they know this and will ensure your alignment is based around these different energy cycles,” suggested Mr Edwaard Liu.

“It is important that people understand it is very difficult to give generic advice for Feng Shui. It is actually a very scientific process, with a lot of calculations to take into account, and you need to be able to factor in the whole environment – inside and outside – or the things you can control, along with the things you cannot control.”

Some of the simple things a business can do to improve their office environment, according to Master Liu, include:

  • If you are building an office from scratch or looking to rent, make sure all of the rooms are standard shapes – square or oblong. Any unusual shapes, curves, missing corners, and so on, are bad for capturing energy
  • The office space should always be kept clean, neat and tidy, and there should be no bad smells
  • Water features, like fish tanks and fountains, are good for Feng Shui but placement is important. Also the water must be kept clean
  • Doors, windows and balconies must be kept clean. Many people use balconies as storerooms, but if you clutter up this space, it is bad Feng Shui
  • In Asia, it is common to take off your shoes before you come inside, but leaving shoes outside the front door is not good. Make sure, if people have to take their shoes off, it is away from the front door
  • Staircases near the front door – inside or outside – are also something to consider. As a general rule, you should avoid an office (or home) with stairs immediately inside or outside the front door. If there are descending stairs, you will have trouble accumulating wealth. If there are ascending stairs, you will attract volatility
  • The position of toilets is important as well. If the toilet is in the centre of the building, attracting wealth becomes an issue for your business. If there is a toilet in the centre of the space, Master Liu recommends keeping it clean and closing the door at all times. Or better yet, close it off and don’t use it.

When seeking to understand how you recognise a good Feng Shui Master, versus someone not effectively trained in the discipline, Master Liu offered this advice:“There are two very simple ways to identify an excellent Feng Shui Master. The first is to make sure they are an accredited master of the International Feng Shui Association (IFSA). To become an accredited master of the IFSA you are assessed by grand masters, both locally and internationally. This is the first step.

“Secondly, when a Feng Shui Master enters your business, they should be able to tell you how your business has been performing, the past events your business has faced, and the different experiences your employees have had based on where they are sitting in the office. There are nine sectors in every office that need to be planned according to Feng Shui influence. These sectors influence illness, wealth, reputation, conflict and failure – very important in a business environment – and a qualified master will know this by undertaking a proper Feng Shui audit and analysis of the business premise.”

“If you want to maximize the energy available to you, you must ensure your Feng Shui professional is certified, as this is how you can succeed. A true Master will assess layout, lighting, colours, placement of furniture, what they can see outside, where people are sitting, where you place the air-conditioning unit or fan, placement of mirrors and water features, as well as much more, and then they will undertake a very scientific process, which is a calculation of the energy, and make recommendations for your business to maximize this energy.

“But you’ve got to get professional advice and do it before you build a new building or rent or buy an existing premise. Many professional and successful businessmen have their own Feng Shui Masters, and they always seek advice before making a decision. Why shouldn’t everyone?”

Living in Singapore for nearly 10 years, I have heard many times that the entire City-State has been designed on Feng Shui principles, which is why I wanted to explore this topic more by meeting with Master Liu. Practically every Singaporean I speak with knows about Feng Shui and follows its principles in some form or another. I’ve also heard it said that Singapore is considered a shining beacon of success due to its long-term commitment to the principles of Feng Shui.

“Whether or not Singapore has been completely designed with Feng Shui as a core design principle, it is definitely important in this City-State,” said Mr Liu. “For example, when you look at all of the significant buildings around Singapore you will notice fountains. This is good Feng Shui practise, because moving water activates good and auspicious energy if placed at the right location.

“But for Singapore, it is more than how the buildings are designed. Singapore is located in a very favourable position geographically. With the Malaysian land-form protecting it from behind (giving it favourable “support” from the Feng Shui perspective), and the Indonesian archipelago extending the full length of Singapore, we experience gentle oceans. What I mean by gentle oceans is we don’t experience massive waves crashing into our coastline and dispersing. When people live near raging oceans, the waves bring the energy in and take it away again, which is not great for capturing energy. Because we have land masses protecting us on both sides, Singapore’s energy is contained by our neighbours and this is why I believe Singapore has been so successful.”

I guess that means my dream of living by the ocean might not be a good idea? “It is definitely not that straight forward. Around the world there are many cities – some facing open oceans and others protected by land masses. But it’s important to remember that energy changes over time, so a lucky city today may be energetically different tomorrow. With that said, as a general rule, it’s best to live by the ocean if there is a landmass protecting the disbursement of energy.”

If you want to learn more, according to ancient Chinese beliefs, there are 12 aspects to your life and Feng Shui is considered the third most important behind destiny and luck. You can read Master Liu’s thoughts on his blog “How to Change Your Life?”  Alternatively, he provided “Predictions for 2012” if you are interested in how your year will look in the Year of the Water Dragon.

Whether you believe in it or not, Feng Shui has entered the mainstream. Some of the biggest brands in the world are on board, as well as the world’s richest and most successful people. Yet some still struggle to come to terms with the mystical aspects of this ancient art. All I know is, when I came back to my office after meeting Master Liu, I closed the toilet door facing onto my office, and when I went home I covered the mirror overlooking my bed. I also plan to engage Master Liu’s services next time I move house – because if it works for Donald Trump, I’m good to give it a go.

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Lorna Jane – a Core Message and Fantastic Product

Lorna Jane messagingI’d never heard of Lorna Jane and then, about 18 months ago, it started entering into the peripheries of my awareness. It happened simply enough when, on a couple of occasions, I found myself complimenting people’s outfits, asking where they got them from. I was told “oh this is Lorna Jane.” Mmmmm what is Lorna Jane I asked? Then the stores started opening up everywhere and I knew.

Why am I writing about Lorna Jane, a fitness brand? Well because I think it is a truly remarkable business and because there is no doubt in my mind it is going to be huge and it will be an international brand all women know.

Another factor is Lorna Jane stood out to me because they are getting bigger and bigger in a market that I thought was pretty much saturated by the big brands – like Nike, Reebok and the like. That alone was impressive to me, as it is refreshing to see there is always space for new brands in the “big brand-owned” markets. I think the challenge for the big brands is they don’t always keep in touch with the real needs of ALL of their customers. Also, the big sporting brands aren’t always in tune with women and their needs, often making men’s products and then feminising them, but they’re missing the mark.

I think Lorna Jane is a great lesson for anyone with a great business idea to find the “gap” in the market they want to target and get in there with something special and unique. Lorna Jane has done just that – great clothes for women, living an active lifestyle, made from a patented fabric that enhances the product (essentially taking the sweat away – women are going to love that), and with a whole culture of health and lifestyle wrapped around the brand…. it really is very clever.

It has the usual humble beginnings story and as its progressed, Lorna Jane makes activewear with a simple goal of making women look and feel great. It’s a brand where fashion meets sport and the goal of the business is to motivate women to achieve their best through active living. A good message with obesity on the rise at an alarming rate, in Australia and worldwide.

Here’s an example of some of the messaging from the Lorna Jane Website

Mission – Active Living is our Core Focus “

Driven – the Lorna Jane Business is driven to create products that will ignite the nation’s enthusiasm to live a more active lifestyle.

“Our passion to achieve this wakes up our cells every morning.

“It’s what makes us want to dance. It’s the energy that moves us from the status quo to something grander and more expansive, something that makes our hearts beat faster, our minds and our eyes open wider than ever before.”

I like the brand, but I love their message. It’s honest, it’s targeted, it has a motivational and spiritual mix in line with their products, and it motivates the target audience not only to buy their products but to live a better life, and if you are living a better life you’re going to buy more of their products. I don’t think this last point was their intention (they certainly don’t come across as conniving) but it’s definitely what they have achieved with their total company positioning. The reality is if you make something that people want and deliver quality and a motivational message in line with the product, people are going to keep coming back right? Lorna Jane has hit this right on the head and it all feels natural, as opposed to some big marketing guru coming in and telling them how to do it or say it. Refreshing in itself.

Lorna Jane is a great example of successfully selling lifestyle brands into a market “owned” by the “big boys” and again, an example of remaining true to yourself in positioning your company for success.

Girls stay tuned for a store to open near you, where ever you are.

Andrea Edwards

Managing Director

SAJE

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“Practise Goodism”

Nudie smoothieThere is a cool brand of juices in Australia called “Nudie.” Nudie are awesome because they’ve developed juices with absolutely no preservatives, additives or any other crap in them. We loved them.
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The reason I highlight Nudie on this blog is because it’s a brand that not only became very successful in Australia against some very established and big competition, but they have continued to stay true to their start-up message. The crew at Nudie (including Tall Tim) haven’t gotten caught up in “appearing” to be something that they’re not. The messaging is engaging, honest and true to the people that started it and the lifestyle they are promoting. It’s also a fun message and there’s lots of cheekiness in their marketing.
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If you check out the Website, they’ve put the story together in quite a unique way, but more than that, the Website has become a hub for social marketing activities and they’re good activities – the sort that will keep people coming back again and again. I am not a consumer expert – business to business has always been my bag – but I think the B2B world can learn a lot from the ingenuity that B2C companies like Nudie demonstrate. Let’s face it, when you’re in the consumer space, you’ve got to work that much harder because the competition for attention is so intense. People have only so much time for “extras” and Nudie seem to be on a winning streak in every sense of the word.
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But it is their message that is great, and it’s on all of their products, their Website and in their marketing activities. It’s informal, perfect for an Australian audience and it makes you trust them. Pretty unique in today’s world I reckon. Nudie is a great example that you can remain true to yourself and just because you’ve set up a business, it doesn’t mean you have to “grow up” and be something different. One thing I assure all of my customers is the more honest and relevant your message to market, the more people/businesses will trust you and buy from you. Something to keep in mind. Oh and remember to “Practise Goodism.”
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Andrea Edwards
Managing Director
SAJE 

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