Miss Glady Sym Choom shopfront

Review: The Branding Activity of Gladys Sym Choon

Steve reflects on the empire of Gladys Sym Choon, a fashion and gift store with a long history in Adelaide.

In particular, he reflects on the intuitive (and most likely deliberate) branding activity undertaken by the store’s namesake, back when being Chinese in Australia was a fraught situation.



Not everybody feels comfortable “selling”. In fact, most of us feel darn right uncomfortable at the thought of “working someone” so you can get them where you want them.

But, of course, that’s all based on a fairly narrow definition of selling; the forced selling of a huckster.

In reality, every time we want to “advocate” for a choice of restaurant or TV show, or recommend a book, or strive to hold attention at a dinner party, that’s a form of selling.

David Olney riffs on insights from Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human, in the Principles section of this episode.

In the mailbag segment, Steve shares a question about domain names and business names and whether the twain should meet.

And for a dose of perspicacity (the sharpening of our minds), David and Steve revisit the bomb of all bombs from the Australian car scene, the mishappen Leyland P76. Yes, a fuel guzzler released at the height of the oil crisis of the 1970s. Could it have been avoided?

We hope you find this helpful.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

02:32 Person This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.Embody Your Brand

In 1928, Miss Gladys Sym Choon was the first woman to incorporate a business in South Australia, opening her mini emporium, adjacent to the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Market, at age 16.

Many decades later, Miss Gladys Sym Choon is still a going concern and Steve believes that part of the brand’s staying power can be traced back to the way Gladys embodied her brand.

In a lot of the early advertisements for Miss Gladys Sym Choons, Gladys is seen holding Chinese lanterns, or wearing exotic dresses, but in her private photos, she never wore any of those things.

According to Steve, this is a clever way of “living” the brand, whether or not is was deliberate or intuitive.

He discusses this with David Olney in the opening segment.

14:38 Principles This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.To Sell Is Human

To Sell Is Human, by Daniel Pink, takes a close look at the art and science of selling, dipping into social science to unearth some counterintuitive insights.

In our discussion, David Olney picks up on Pink’s model of Attunement as an importan element of selling.

Attunement means you can’t just sell to people, you need to build a relationship with them, so that you understand what they need/want in future, and what they will say about the brand to other consumers.

This is the entry point into our discussion that will hopefully excite you about selling by finding an authentic, human way to go about it and understand it.

24:56 Problems This segment answers questions we’ve received from clients or listeners.Do premium plugins need updating?

Steve shared an email from Kylie, who had just started a business and had registered a domain name that matched her rather obscure business name.

When he asked her why she didn’t choose a more search-friendly domain name, she said thought domain names had to match business names.

As Steve explains, that is not the case, and they were able to snare a perfect domain name for her fledgling venture.

29:35 Perspicacity This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.The Leyland P76

Leyland Australia thought the tagline, “anything but average” was perfect for their muscle car in the early 70s, made to go head-to-head with those big Holdens and Fords.

Only problem was. There as an oil crisis running wild during the production process and the car that boasted you could fit a barrel of oil in the boot, hit the stores just as everybody was clambering for 4 cylinder Japanese cars.

Steve and David discuss the car the lessons we learn from not adapting to changes in the marketplace.

Hop in and learn whether or not this conversation is Super or Standard!

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