Tag Archives: Blog

Over the last ten years, the marketing world has changed drastically with the ever evolving world of social media. As a result, marketing plans featuring television or print advertising as a primary mode of promotion have given way to marketing plans that integrate customer engagement, branding and more targeted promotion through social media. Some businesses may certainly survive clinging to old school marketing practices but for those in the computer and technology field, it is essential not only to market through social media but to do so effectively in order to gain an edge on the competition. Bluespark, has truly found their niche in social media marketing while at the same time not appearing to be marketing their services at all. In addition to social media metrics, with clients that include big names like Ralph Lauren, Roomify and Trip Advisor, it’s a sure sign that you’re doing something right.

On the day I read the content of this case study I had a nasty headache. As I reached for my bottle of Tylenol I wondered how does the manufacturing  industry use social media and the resulting supply chain management ?  Having close relatives in this industry and for confidentiality reasons I decided to look into the manufacturing/vendor side as opposed to discussing a large well-known pharmaceutical company.  What I learned at this level of this industry was it has various levels of complexities of graphs, processes and disconnected communications.

If you’ve played sports or watched almost any team sport you know the sound of the referees whistle. Those 3 different tones are clear and identifiable and their source is a Fox 40 pea-less whistle. What you may not know is that the pea-less whistle was developed and designed by Hamilton Ontario basketball referee  Ron Foxcroft. His turning point came when he encountered the failure of his standard  cork-pea whistle. Worst of all, it occurred during a game he was officiating in the Montreal 1976 Olympics, with 18,000 booing spectators in the stands.  This event changed his life and the sports world forever. The complete story of Fox 40 whistle is on the company’s website.  

When you ask an old person what their biggest regret in life is, an overwhelming majority lament that they wish they had travelled more in their youth. They often cite a lack of funds, or life’s responsibilities as reason for postponing their plans. Contiki was a company that was created to address this issue. Contiki is a tour company that connects like-minded people, by offering affordable trip packages for ages 18-35. The organization’s slogan is “No Regrets” which shows that they know what note they need to strike with their customers to encourage them to book a trip. Contiki uses social media effectively to encourage their customers to tell their story, and by doing so, market the service to all of their friends. While not the only marketing technique they use, this is one of the many ways Contiki keeps their customers engaged.

No matter which social media platform I’m on, there it is…. No matter which conversation I join, someone brings it up…. Turn on the news and there is again… Pokémon GO. Pokémon GO is officially the biggest mobile game in the United States, with 21 million active daily users.1 According to Wikipedia it is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company. It was released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, train, and battle virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of the GPS and camera of compatible devices. Although it is free-to-play, the game supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokémon GO Plus, is planned for future release, and it will alert users when Pokémon are nearby.2

Social Media Metrics can be used to benefit virtually any business, but are even more beneficial for small businesses and those in the early stages of growth and establishing themselves. Metrics help to illustrate and clarify which aspects of the business are gathering the best response and most traffic over various social media platforms. This allows marketers to select and focus more attention on the platforms that are getting the best response rate, to keep doing what’s working, and to improve upon what’s not.

DB Schenker supports industry and trade in the global exchange of goods: in land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and supply chain management.1 Globally they employ over 66,000 employees at over 2000 locations.  Their Canadian operations account for over 1600 employees at over 40 locations.  Roughly 3 years ago, DB Schenker started to utilize social media as part of their marketing strategy.  

To take a picture is to capture a moment in time. Each captured image has the potential to carry its own unique feeling through time, and bring you back with happiness and wonder to the origins of that moment.1  “I grew up around lenses, my dad worked in television and seeing life through a lens seemed more real to me” 2 says Paula Capella.  Paula Capella Photography not only captures those precious moments, but uses social media to capture important information to help grow her small business.  

Global companies are continuously communicating and collaborating with a broad community of people.1  Social media can help bridge the communication gap and help collaborate information more effectively and more efficiently.  Eyewear By Olga is a luxury eyewear retailer carrying top crafted frames from around the world.  It is located in the heart of Mississauga, in Port Credit.  Olga Trentin, Owner of Eyewear by Olga utilizes social media in every aspect of her business, whether it is for her retail store or online boutique. “Social media has definitely helped my business, from visibility to purchasing to inventory management.” says Olga Trentin.

“Steaming” Ahead with Product Development and Design

Catherine Mills   June 14, 2016

In Spring of 1998 after recently being fired from a brewery, three friends set out on a canoe trip.  That canoe trip would lead to a campfire conversation that would change all of their lives. Greg Taylor, Cam Heaps and Greg Cromwell “The Three Fired Guys” wanted to make a Pilsner that would compete with the best in the world. They did just that! Their brewery is named Steam Whistle, drawing from the inspirational sounds of steam rushing from factory whistles, signalling the end of a fulfilling workday and a time for personal reward.1 The Three Fired Guys built their company with a retro feel, when marketing of goods relied on the trust between manufacturer and consumers. Steam Whistle understands the importance of listening to their consumers and makes ever effort to do so by utilizing social media.

When it comes to purchasing makeup products today, the first company that typically comes to mind – and even conversation – is Sephora.  Approach most women and men who have carefully applied a swipe of indigo eyeliner or a dusting of rose-gold eyeshadow where they bought the product from, and you’ll almost always hear, “Sephora!”  In a world that is so obssessed with image and beauty, Sephora continues to build their customer relationship based on a simple ideology – understanding customer wants and needs, and connecting that customer with the right product.  

Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, and with it, the way we engage with our customers.  It is no longer about selling a service or a product; now it is all about the customer experience.  Companies like T by Daniel, a Brampton based tea house, strive to provide a genuinely exceptional experience for each and every person they meet.  Lovers of tea, fashion and especially people, Daniela and Renata Lewis had a vision to start something that could speak to all generations and could bring people together 1. It began when Daniel Lewis overcame a tragedy and used his new found passion for life to follow his dream with his loving wife by his side.  “From the moment a person walks into our store, our immediate goal is to wow them” says Renata Lewis, co-founder.  Their friendly staff focus on getting to know their customers, whether in person or online.

Employee engagement is a vital element of a successful and productive work environment. 1  Companies like Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (herein referred to as “O&B”) have been empowering their employees for years, which has helped them become one of Canada’s top fine dining restaurant companies. Their employees are passionate, energetic and have a sense of pride when speaking about their employers. O&B operates a portfolio of unique and innovative restaurants across Ontario3.

When you go out for dinner with family or visit friends, it’s easy to see the obligatory question of the night creeping up: “So how is work?” For some, this question is followed by a very short answer, which, in turn, is followed quickly by the introduction of a new, more likable topic. But for others, that question is answered with great pride and joy in the work they are doing. So why don’t we all look forward to that question? Well there could be many reasons but in general terms it all boils down to company culture and employee engagement. A company’s culture is evident in how people get work done, how they communicate, and in the stories they tell their friends, family and followers. Culture and engagement are impacted by everything you do and start with the core of any company: it’s employees.

When someone says the words “social media” often the first thing that comes to mind are sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. While these social networking services are definitely an extremely popular— and important—part of social media, the true definition of encompasses much more than just social networking. “Social Media is the future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information.“ – SocialMediaDefined.com It is undeniable then that as social media continues to grow and adapt, it increasingly presents new opportunities for businesses to engage with their customers. Companies are always looking for new ways to market their products and sometimes the opportunity exists to reach to consumers in a way that puts them in control of the interaction.

In today’s social media communities it can be noisy, even annoying, to see sponsored and promoted messages, have products clamouring for your attention, and marketing departments from companies of all sizes try their best to stand out in the chaos. But for one ABC television show, they’ve successfully approached social media in a different way. To listen. The show itself (The Bachelor) is a marketing goldmine. The quest for love, smothered in manipulated drama, to appeal to the hopeless romantics, or provide an endless parade of judge worthy material for the cynics. Its hard to deny the vapid nature of the show itself, but what the show has done with it’s social media offers a lot of lessons for the marketing community.

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar market and social media is becoming a beauty battleground as companies compete for their share of the pie. Companies are constantly looking for new ways to engage their customers, build brand loyalty and of course increase sales through their social media efforts. With a number of major players in the industry thriving in the social media landscape, beauty companies constantly have to come up with new and innovative ways to garner the attention of their sometimes fickle target market. One company that has been very successful in accomplishing just that is L’Oréal. Not only has L’Oréal amassed an impressive base of followers on their social media accounts but they have also been praised for their innovative campaigns that continue to raise the bar for competitors and inspire companies in other industries as well. “Globally, L’Oréal has an objective of building 100% love for our brands, and social media is crucial to driving engagement and affinity for the brands that sit under the broader L’Oréal group banner.” – Emma Williamson, Manager, Consumer Affairs and Social Media ANZ The following video provides a quick look who L’Oréal is and at some of their social media successes to date.

Do you have a favourite advertisement on TV that just grabs your attention every time its on? Or perhaps a campaign run on Twitter, Facebook or another social media platform that lights a fire within you and inspires you to share it along.  Businesses have sure changed the way they market products or services to us.  In the past marketing campaigns were solely focused on selling their products to us post production, now companies are turning to social media from the inception of a product all the way to its delivery on store shelves.  However the challenge has now become how to use social media platforms to reach customers in new and exciting ways while providing real time experiences for them to comment on and share, thus making companies more likeable and trustworthy in the eyes of their customers. I asked Ed Rush, Global Marketing Executive at Elemica to share his thoughts on this subject, “There is an old saying – “you have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you speak.” In my experience in business to business, it seems most forget that rule when it comes to social. Too many marketers are eager to post their message and speak to the market and attract likes, comments, and follows. However, so much more can be learned when you refocus your attention from social “speaking” to social “listening” across your networks. When the primary objective is to learn about the challenges, priorities, and/or objectives of others in your community, you can then approach your outreach with a much more strategic and tailored communication. Ultimately, facilitating a buyer’s journey is more about understanding where they are at and expertly facilitating them through the process. You can’t do that if your speaking twice as much as listening.” There is one company that I am excited to share about which is taking its social media marketing campaigns to new heights, and that is HP.  Keeping in trend with the latest platforms, HP launched the #BendTheRules campaign that blew customers away and resulted in much success socially. So what is Social Media Marketing and what are its the benefits? How are businesses currently working with it and what are the new trends that companies should embrace?  Let me begin by answering the first two questions.  According to Wikipedia, “Social Media Marketing is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.”  In… Read more »

How the Communitech incubator in Waterloo ON, is leveraging social media to market its services to Silicon Valley North start-ups in need of just the right guidance to get their big idea off the ground.

It’s safe to say that when German brothers Adolf and Rudolph Dassler first founded footwear and apparel giant PUMA in 1924 the world was a much different place. Computers, the Internet and social media were obviously not of concern whereas merely having reliable electricity to manufacture their shoes was. Fast-forward to nearly a century later and the game has changed in ways that would have once seemed unimaginable. In order to compete in today’s global marketplace companies need to have an online presence. While initially it may have been adequate to just have a corporate website, it is now becoming increasingly necessary for companies be active on social media. But merely participating in social media does not ensure success. Companies need to be analyzing their social media traffic and taking advantage of the insights that it can provide in order to ensure that their time and effort is providing them the optimal return on investment.

With the intentions of partying like it’s 1999, the Hamilton bar scene is leaning heavily on social media to pop-off their next hit event, in addition to gaining some insight into what the local competition might be spinning up.

To infinity and beyond. Why the desert, and not outer space could be the next great frontier for a company looking to push it’s supply chain into HYPERDRIVE!

Okay a show of hands… who doesn’t like chocolate? Anybody??? Didn’t think so. Perhaps one of the most loved foods in the world, chocolate comes in so many forms it’s virtually impossible to find someone that doesn’t like chocolate in at least one form. I don’t actually have any data to back that up, just my own theory that you’d have an easier time finding a unicorn or a Sasquatch. Perhaps I’m letting my own love of chocolate cloud my judgment but I can’t be that far off considering that the average Canadian consumes 5.5 kilograms or roughly 12 pounds of chocolate each year. Ferrero SpA is the fourth largest manufacturer of chocolate and confectionery products in the world, behind only Mars, Mondelēz International (makers of Cadbury, Oreo and many other brands) and Nestlé. The Italian manufacturer is probably most recognized as the makers of the famous Ferrero Rocher chocolates but are also responsible for bringing us Tic Tac, Kinder and Nutella. Ferrero is responsible for using about one quarter of the world’s hazelnut supply and have almost single-highhandedly caused the hazelnut industry to soar.

  Through its innovative My Starbucks Idea, the company known for fresh roasted beverages, wholesome food on the go, and the decadent Iced Caramel Macchiato, is looking your way for their next great product idea.  

I will admit that until very recently I was not familiar with the brand Chobani. You see, despite being the number one Greek yogurt in the United States, Chobani’s line of all-natural, non-GMO products aren’t currently available in Canada. However, when I started researching companies using social media as a means to engage their customers I kept seeing the Chobani name come up, so I decided to explore this brand and its strategy a little deeper. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a road trip south to see what all the fuss is about. Founded just over 10 years ago by Kurdish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has quickly risen to the forefront of the yogurt industry capitalizing on the market shift towards the creamier Greek-style of yogurt. In a 2013 interview Ulukaya stated that at the time of Chobani’s product launch in 2007 “Greek yogurt market share in the United States was less than 1 percent. And today it is almost 60 percent.” Becoming the top brand in that marketplace is quite the accomplishment, and proves that the company is doing something right not only with its product but its marketing strategy as well.