Author: Blanche R. Fernandez

4 Things You Need to Sell Change

It was so tempting to put a clickbait title like “4 Secrets to Selling Change” on this piece but nothing’s really a secret anymore, and readers would know that two paragraphs down. People have become smarter consumers in the past two decades. As a marketer, commercial or social, it is crucial to recognize and understand this. Whether you are selling a product or behavior, your market will know–and know quickly–if you’re giving them a load of crap. With social media, consumers or in the case of social marketing, the target audience, are no longer just the market–they have become the marketers as well (French, 2011). This evolution of roles must be carefully considered when planning the 4Ps for social marketing. Now what do you need when developing a social marketing mix? Authenticity (product). While fake luxury items may have a market in surprising segments of the global population, fake social products don’t. Some people may pay some money for class A bags, but most people will most likely not bother changing their behavior for a …

Social Marketing: What it is NOT

I betray my age with this but reading through the first module of Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good by Nancy Lee and Philip Kotler reminded me of a popular series of TV ads in the 1980s. The commercials were about mothers shopping for soap to address their teenagers’ pimple infection, and just as they are about to pick up a beauty brand, their konsensya appears, telling them that Safeguard is the best protection against the skin germs that cause pimples. This is, of course, commercial marketing at its finest—something that skeptics like me have come to easily identify and doubt. And so to learn that marketing has historically been used for purposes nobler than to build the wealth of the already-wealthy is a revelation and a relief.   Social marketing, I believe, puts the conscience in marketing. To shift from marketing for profit to marketing for public gain is a kind of poetic redemption for those of us who at one time or another have served corporate interests over common good (no judgment here, …

What I did on the last day of the most surreal year (so far)

Nagising nang maaga dahil malakas mag-cellphone ang nanay ko kahit akala niya tahimik lang siya; Naghiwa-hiwalay ng dikit-dikit na lumpia wrapper (my most significant contribution in the kitchen); Nakinig ng daily devotion ng Victory (Psalm 120 ang topic); Nagkape at naghanap ng vintage Coach bags online; Nag-brunch ng lumpiang shanghai, kasabay ang buong pamilya; Naghanap ng yellow dress para umawra ng Color of the Year sa gabi pero walang nakita, kaya nag-ayos na lang ng damitan (muntik na ako maiyak at the sight of my travel/seasonal clothes na parang mga Cebu Pacific tickets lang din–hindi nagamit); Nag-pass sa playground trip with Nami para makapag-me time; Nag-shower at nakaisip ng Word of the Year for 2021 habang naliligo (may scientific basis why we get our best ideas in the shower); Nag-prepare para mag-journal sa kwarto ko pero naunahan na naman ako doon ng tatay ko na seryosong nanonood ng lumang tennis match sa YouTube kahit alam niya naman sino ang nanalo (ganyan din siya sa boxing); Naghanap na lang ulit ng vintage bags sa US (wala …

A Place of Yearning

Wherever we are, we are always, it seems, in the same place–a place of yearning. Yearning to rest, yearning to work; yearning to be someone better, yearning to do something great. Yearning to be relevant and yearning to be invisible, unburdened. Yearning to finally start, yearning to finish. Yearning to be free and yearning to love. Even in our moments of supreme happiness and contentment, there are flashes of how it could be better if… Exhibit A: I was lying down on my yoga mat on the terrace, sunbathing as I do every morning now (vitamin D vs COVID-19, people), when I heard the determined singing of a bird. I scanned my mother’s plants, then the spots where my two-year-old niece Nami leaves biscuits for her bird friends; I finally found it perched on our metal sliding door–the little sparrow belting out like it was in a karaoke bar. I don’t know if it sensed a human watching but it stopped singing, glanced at me, and flew off. And I laughed at such snotty behavior. …

Lessons from a Lockdown

I’ve been working from home for seven years now, so when the Philippine government announced a month-long community quarantine beginning March 15, my first thought was, “Pfft, I do lockdowns like a pro,” followed by “I’m an introvert; I invented social distancing,” and finally, “We’re going to need a huge supply of food, toiletries and donuts.” Three weeks later, we all know what happened here: 3,018 COVID-19 cases, 136 deaths, and thousands more under investigation or monitoring, many of them dying without even being tested because hey, VIPs first, then their families, and then their staff, right? It has become clear that this new coronavirus is serious (even if many elected officials are not). Health care systems are collapsing even in the most advanced countries; people are losing jobs and losing hope; families don’t get to see or hold loved-ones on their death beds, receiving them only as ashes later on; and tensions are high everywhere, especially on social media. People are beginning to wonder: will this be the new normal? To keep me sane …

The gift of sameness

The thing with new years is that people tend to look for the big things when they look back — better jobs, financial breakthroughs, new romance, bucket-list travels, dreams fulfilled. Any milestone that could mark the year as “good” or at least different from years past. I’ve been around four decades now (which suddenly makes me sound old). I won’t pretend to be wiser than I was 10 years ago, but I do know this: the non-events of our lives are as important as the “highlights.” The series of actions that make up our every day is no less special than the special occasions that we like to dress up for. In fact, the older I get, the more I find comfort in sameness: waking up in the same bed that knows my sleepless nights; spending Christmas in the same house that has been our home for nine years; seeing the same weathered faces with the same old jokes in family reunions; wearing the same shirt and nightgown that were among the last gifts from …

For Tatay

On days like this when I wake up to the view of a calm sea, and summer music breaks the quiet of the morning, I remember similar days from over 35 years ago, when I was but a tiny hand clasping the rough, reassuring hand of my grandfather, a fisherman. Back then, there was no music from bluetooth speakers, just an old man’s voice asking if I was ready to pick up my grandmother from the market and get ice cream afterwards. And then we would walk or ride the tricycle. That was the joy of my childhood mornings. Oh, what I would give to hear that voice again and hold those weather-beaten hands. To sit beside my grandfather and tell him about the life I’ve lived so far, the parts he missed. I would ask him if there was anywhere he and my grandmother wanted to go so I could take them there, and this time, mine would be the guiding hands. But I sit here, and there is nothing; the twinkling eyes had …

Bringing old wood back to life

In another time, and perhaps for another generation, this company’s name–Silya, Elektrika, Atbp.–would have conjured images of pain and punishment. But today, in an age that values sustainability, Silya, Elektrika, Atbp. is all about giving life to things that have been left for dead. Silya, Elektrika, Atbp. is a Nueva Vizcaya-based company that collects scrap materials from demolition and construction sites, and turns them into unique pieces of lighting and furniture that are straight out of Pinterest. “People sell us old structures that will be demolished to make way for new ones. In the province, where we’re from, they don’t want wooden houses anymore; they want cement, so they just sell us their wood,” says Gariel Peros, the 26-year-old owner and manager of Silya, Elektrika, atbp. On good days, Peros gets an entire house for Php 20,000. “Most of the time, what we still find useful are the floors, stairs and pillars. These are usually made of teak wood, molave, narra. Most floors are narra,” she says. “Some houses also have Capiz windows.” Peros hails …

Upcycled Plastic Waste Goes to Paris

Plastic trash from the Philippines’ Taal Volcano will soon be traveling thousands of miles to the City of Lights, all dressed up as chic upcycled furniture. Interior designer and eco-activist Wilhelmina “Willie” Garcia will join a select group of new and emerging design talents from all over the world who will showcase their innovative creations — everything from fashion to furniture to gastronomy — at the Paris Design Week on September 8-16. Garcia, co-founder of JunkNot Eco Creatives, will bring her bestselling Bangko stool to the Now! Le Off exhibition, one of the highlights of the design event, which will be held in 180 venues across Paris. The Bangko will also serve as her entry to the Rado Design Prize 2017. “There was a call for proposals early this year. I submitted, and I got accepted. I’m really excited,” Garcia said. After Paris, her Bangko will be off to Belgium for the eco-festival Conscienza 2017. Dubbed by a design magazine as one of the “Creatives to Watch,” Garcia is a familiar figure in the country’s …

Knitting the Passions of Ifugao’s Women

Somewhere between the UNESCO-inscribed rice terraces of Banaue and Hungduan, the passions of one woman converged to make a colorful venture with a farming community. Candice Reyes Alipio, an avid knitter and mountaineer, runs Knitting Expedition, a social enterprise that aims to augment the income of women farmers in Uhaj, a little-known village in Ifugao that remains dependent on rice farming. Located half an hour from the drop-off point for visitors to Banaue, Uhaj itself is not much of a tourist draw. At best, it is a rest stop for trekkers on their way to Hungduan and a place to sleep for those who seek the comforts of a charming inn in the village. Work is scarce – if there is any at all, outside farming – and more and more women are abandoning their rice fields for the big cities, where they often end up as household helpers. The men work as laborers or miners in neighboring provinces. “The purpose of Knitting Expedition is really to keep them in their lands,” Alipio said. “Rice …