Many of you will have seen the recent advertisement series run by Google Chrome. It really is something. The punchy commercial, fronted by Julie Deane of Cambridge Satchel Co, never ceases to fill me with wonderment and inspiration.
The ad recounts in glorious fashion the story of how Julie Deane went from unknown married mum of two to worldwide fashion sensation. In 2008 she began making handmade, bespoke satchels for children; however, the unique item hit a nerve in fashion circles and quickly her product was hitting the run ways in Paris and Milan.
How did she go from zero to fashion hero? Well, obviously there's a whole confluence of factors behind her meteoric rise. But as the recent advertisement series suggests, the internet had a massive role to play.
Think about it: there's a near-unlimited audience in the digital world. And with Twitter, facebook, gmail, Google+ and many other social media platforms at hand, you can connect with them. However it's in your hand the extent to which you engage with the global audience.
Do things right and you could build a strong online presence and even have commercial potency. All you have to do is follow best practice. Julie Deane and her team are the embodiment of how to do digital well. She is someone who leveraged the internet and all the digital tools to build and promote her personal and professional brand.
She listened, engaged, interacted and influenced. She created a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a gmail address, a blog and more. And through this she was able to do the basics and market her products to her intended audience: children. However Julie pushed the boundaries. She contacted the makers and shakers in the fashion industry and made them aware of her unique product.
She tingled their fashion taste buds and soon after her satchels jumped onto the front pages of glossy magazines. The rest is history.
I took a lot from this success story. In fact, I'd say it's changed my life. When I first saw it I was an unemployed graduate with the dictates of fate slamming every door in my face. This was a very dark time for me but a light in my life was blogging and social media; I just loved the open, interactiveness of it all. Then I saw Julie's ad. I was utterly captivated. Over the succeeding days and weeks it began to dawn on me that my hobby and interest could be turned into a living, through the power of the internet. In a way, not dissimilar to the way Julie did.
After all, as Google says: the internet is what YOU make of it. So I stepped my blogging up a gear and soon I landed a job as a copyblogger working remotely. Yes it was uncertain. Risky? Most certainly. And the pay was modest, but it was a step in the right direction. Sure, every great oak starts out as a tiny acorn. And slowly but surely things picked up; traffic increased and so did the work.
Then I pushed the boat out and started to branch out and offer digital media training to small start ups. I took on one client, and then another, and another; and now I have a clutch of clients. It's still early days: I'm currently in the throes of setting up a website and capital is scarce. But, like Julie when she started out, I'm ready to take on the world thanks to the internet
YOU TOO can learn the lesson I learnt: the internet is what YOU make of it and YOU TOO can make it!
Follow Brian John Spencer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@brianjohnspenc