Tag Archives: Canada

Media. Monitoring. No one understands the utility of social media in the development of products better than than those in the thick of the media monitoring industry, the champions of multiple products which, like digital butterfly nets, capture curated data from the far corners of the online world, with the aims to organize, analyze, and report on that data in an impactful way. In effect, social media research in this industry IS the product. In Canada, a competitive set of top industry players, such as Cision Canada, have made the monitoring, organizing, and analysis of traditional and social data their full-time business by developing digital media monitoring/analysis platforms and bringing them to market. And, given the nearly daily shifts in digital technologies and modes of communication, pushing out new user-friendly, contemporary communications products for clients (mostly those in PR, marketing, advertising, and communications across an expansive list of industries), and meeting the demands of the market in a timely and effective way,  are vital in staying relevant to the needs of the communications and PR professionals who’s primary need is to keep their fingers on the pulse.

Papa John’s Pizza has been using social media channels to help educate customers where products and ingredients are coming from, and creating time effective ordering options available on channels. Aside from social channels, the company has also used a collaborative technology solution to help support the efficiency of the supply chain. The company outsourced the supply chain needs to Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company, to help create more time effective and cost saving inventory management. Eric Hartman, Senior Director of Logistics said, “Manhattan solutions allow us to manage inventory levels accurately, efficiently and more dynamically based on actual need—and that has resulted in our being able to reduce overall inventory levels (Manhattan, 2013)”. Using the collaborative software has also provided better solutions to inventory transportation. The software can optimize routes, improving on-time store deliveries, and the overall performance of their fleet (Trebilcock, B., 2014, October). Customer service relies on the speed of the supply chain to help get their products to customers in an effective way that will save time and money.  “Implementation of Manhattan’s solutions has provided unprecedented visibility along with reduced expenses, improved efficiency and productivity in every part of the supply chain (Manhattan, 2013)”. Papa John’s wants to ensure that its “fast food” moves just as quickly throughout every level of the supply chain.

Copper Branch: Continuous Improvement Via Social Media

kbarrett   October 31, 2017

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Are you on board with the food revolution? A growing awareness is spreading  and the demand for plant based meal options is growing. Studies confirm the link between eating animals, especially processed meat, and the link to cancer and health conditions such as diabetes. Environmental impacts of a meat based diet have been demonstrated, and the ethics behind factory farming are being scrutinized. People are reading labels and choosing organic, non-GMO and local ingredients more often. Copper Branch, a quick serve plant based restaurant, is fulfilling the gap in the food industry and is well timed with this growing lifestyle to ride the wave of popularity and expand across Canada and internationally with their brand. Social media has played a major role in Copper Branch’s business development and continues to help them evolve and tailor menu items to their customers. Copper Branch opened its first location in Montreal Canada, and has since grown to twelve locations across Quebec and Ontario. By the end of 2017, fifteen locations will be in operation. The first launch outside of Canada will be in the city of Boston, USA. Copper Branch operates under the franchise model, for any curious investors who may be reading this.  I was lucky enough to speak with Andrew Infantino, Director of Marketing, who has been with Copper Branch since the early planning stages. During the initial planning and research phase in developing the concept of Copper Branch, Andrew transitioned over to a vegetarian diet. He could no longer ignore the link to diet and health and he states he will never go back to his flesh eating ways. In his own words Andrew states: To work at Copper Branch it is not a requisite to be vegan per say, because again our mission is more health focused. But I’d say the majority of our team at the very least is very much inspired by the plant based movement and have incorporated  a lot more into their diet or have even transitioned into a vegetarian or vegan diet… And so for myself. It has been a journey or stance that I have taken, have held and I think I will hold for the rest of my life. The founder of Copper Branch is Andrew’s father Rio Infantino. Rio has an extensive 22 year history of work in the fast food industry. He was a multi unit franchise owner before he  liquidated… Read more »

After being listed as number five on Fast Company’s Most innovated social media company of 2017, Taco Bell is making a way for itself by focusing on the customers for product development and research. To reach customers in a more personal sense, Taco Bell has been using social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to review customers complaints, ideas, and creativity. “Instead of sitting behind glass and listening to a focus group, we now have access to 20 million consumers and can be inspired by them and connect with them and have real relationships with them (Lacy, L. (2016, November)”.

It’s one of Canada’s largest – and oldest – retailers. And for nearly a century, Canadian Tire used good old fashioned advertising methods to reach millions of loyal customers – weekly newspaper flyers, TV ads and the annual catalog were promotional staples for the retail giant. Today, the company still pushes its products through these time-tested methods. But through a multi-million dollar investment in technology, it is augmenting the way it develops, promotes and sells everything from snowshoes to truck tires to pet food.  Social media is playing an increasingly bigger role in the company’s product development reboot. Take its Tested for Life in Canada program. Canadian Tire has put the product development process online and in the hands of close to 15,000 Canadians who have signed up to put the retailer’s merchandise through the ringer. The reviewers test products at home and openly share their reviews and experiences with Canadian Tire, customers, and with other testers, through various social media channels. By developing a unique social media component to its bread-and-butter product development process, Canadian Tire is putting the fate of dozens of popular products – and perhaps its reputation – directly into the hands of everyday Canadians.

Social media (as its name suggests) seems to function best for customer engagement when companies bypass the impersonal and take the customer firmly by the (digital) hand. This courting is difficult to do, yet Lay’s Canada (a PepsiCo company), a brand which largely relies on *actual* consumer consumption of their products, recognized that giving the customer agency, or the feeling of ‘a say’ in the design or production of a product is a highly effective, person-to-person way of engaging consumers, relying on them to buy Lay’s products with the subtle feeling that they have had a personal investment or stake in the brand. As a marketing tool, this kind of consumer-business enmeshment is prime territory for social media, which functions largely (and hopefully successfully) as a means of engagement. By researching a consumer’s stake in the product offering, companies like Lay’s assess which viral topics or trends are meaningful to their customers, and follow suit with an effectively-designed interactive digital campaign to increase daily or ongoing engagement with the public. And the outcome of this kind of campaign can be unprecedented.

Were you aware that a small staff of six are working to save the lives of LGBTQI people all over the world? As the name Rainbow Railroad implies they work to discreetly move people out of dangerous circumstances into safe houses, and often on to a safe haven in a new country. Their name is intended to pay homage to the Underground Railroad that began in the 1780s. In April of this year, the abduction, detentions, torture and deaths of 200 plus LGBTQI Chechens were documented by the media. What you may not realize is that this is a global problem. Homosexuality is illegal in over 70 countries, several of which impose a death sentence. Living in a country where homosexuality has been decriminalized does not guarantee one’s safety. Rainbow Railroad has grown to a team of six employees (five in Canada, and one in the United States) and obtained charitable status in 2013. The inspiration to begin Rainbow Railroad came from a homeless Palestinian youth during World Pride in  Tel Aviv in 2006. Supported by an active board of directors and countless volunteers, this organization has assisted more than 300 individuals to date.

As one of the biggest international beauty stores, Sephora has managed to surpass retailers by increasing the number of engaged online and instore customers. After winning the 2017 The World Retail Congress’s International Retailer of the Year, the company has been able to enhance the in-store retail experience by letting customers take the in-store experience home with them. “Sephora has more than 20 million customers that shop and interact with the brand with thousands of products and 100 brand partners who bring these products to life (Forte, D. (2017)”. Now all of these customers have the ultimate online shopping experience.

It’s a warm and bright Sunday afternoon. You’re carelessly strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets of a small village tucked into the Tuscan countryside. As you pass by the rows of homes, an inviting aroma of freshly cooked pasta, rich tomato sauce and hearty Parmesan cheese floats through the air. You peer into an open kitchen window and notice a man adding a sprig of basil on a heaping platter of pasta he’s about to serve his family. He notices you, he smiles  … and he waves you in! You go in, sit down and enjoy the best plate of pasta of your life. That’s exactly the experience global pasta maker Barilla is hoping to emulate here in Canada – whether you’re creating  your own Tuscan food fantasy at home or just trying to feed a hungry family on a Sunday afternoon – through a new social media campaign designed to engage customers in a memorable and lasting way.

Welcoming employees into your digital content strategy isn’t always easy, especially if your company represents a niche product or service that might not lend itself to community-building on social channels. For Penguin | Random House Canada, however, demonstrating employee engagement appears easy enough. Like many successful shops, Penguin recognizes that the core of their business is a widely-celebrated object, for customers and staff alike: the book. Through its recent content strategy, followers have come to understand that Penguin employees are a fans as well.

TELUS Corporation, is one of world’s largest telecommunications companies that offer services to individuals, small businesses, and large corporations. As a leader in the telecommunications industry, the company employs around 39,000 people. In 2007, the company was realizing that they were suffering with employee engagement. The results of survey that participated 4,000 employees, only 58% were only engaged with the work environment (So, C., 2013, October). The lack of engagement was starting to show amongst all sectors of the company. Now today in 2017, TELUS was awarded as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Achiever’s 50 Most Engaged Workplaces  . By modernizing their leadership philosophy, TELUS has increased engagement and remaining high level interest.

  Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) is a not-for-profit organization based in Leamington, Ontario. OGVG was formed in 1967, representing approximately 220 members who grow greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers on over 2,500 acres in Ontario, Canada. OGVG works hard to promote and connect its growers with government agencies, consumers, retailers and foodservice operators across North America through various government lobbing events, research, marketing initiatives, trade shows and community activities. As a whole, OGVG strives to support the Ontario greenhouse vegetable sector and its growers, however possible, to ensure success for today, sustainability for tomorrow, and fresh, nutritious, quality produce for all!

Back in 2001, an event changed the landscape, not just locally, but for the entire world. The event in question took place on September 11th, 2001. With all that has gone on since then, Muslims in North America had to bear the brunt of the backlash, the scrutiny and in some cases, violent acts of Islamophobia. Muslims then recognized that there was a problem in their community, such as radicalism that could creep into the younger generations. Also, a lot of the outreach and connection to the public at large, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, was either non-existent, or hasn’t possessed more of an impact. In 2003, Taha Ghayyur – Organizer of Muslimfest – along with his team thought of ways in providing a positive image of his community to the broader public. Over the course of history in such parts such as Turkey, the Middle East and now in China, Islamic Art has caught the eye of the world with the intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns and shapes that make up its artistic canvas. This was the selling point that Taha and his team would use to formulate an idea that has grown to such a level that it is now known worldwide, and has just completed its 13th year in existence. Muslimfest is a community festival held out of Mississauga, Ontario and was designed to bring about the Artistic and Creative features of Islam to everyone with its educational classes, bazaar environment to shop, eat and enjoy the atmosphere for young and old alike. One of the biggest parts of the marketing strategy for Muslimfest was their social media component. Over the years, Muslimfest has welcomed and encompassed new and improved methods of social media and has effectively engaged people young, old, living in the city, outside the city and making it accessible for people all over the world, Muslim and non-Muslim. We sat down with Taha to discuss how his strategies evolved over time and what he may see in the future when it comes to his social media techniques.

After 15 years of toiling in the Market Research industry for major corporations in the Toronto area, Mustafa Khaliq decided that the 9 to 5 grind just wasn’t for him. Rather than looking for another job out in his industry, he did notice (in the mirror of course) that he possessed a gift, and that was the gift of Men’s fashion flare. Usually you can see him walking the streets or sitting in a restaurant in his slim-fit patterned shirts, rocking some neon coloured socks with a set of pastel flavoured glasses adorning his always clean-cut head. With that, a lot of his closest confidantes suggested that he offer his ideas and ‘Muse-like’ creativity to the world of Men. “I’m my own best billboard. Men, generally appreciate looking good, it’s just that, its not a priority.” – Mustafa Khaliq In 2013, Mustafa set up a small consulting business called Style Counsel that helped men acquire the guidance in bringing their clothing game to the next level. With Mustafa’s love of discovering new and chic items that men could incorporate into their wardrobe, the service he was offering started to become popular as did the fashion industry for this particular demographic. The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020, up 14 percent from $29 billion in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. ~ Business of Fashion Offering a consulting service to help men with their shopping needs and fashion sense however, just wasn’t enough for Mustafa. He knew that men – especially ones in fields of professions that required a look of utmost sharpness – just didn’t have the time anymore to shop store to store to gather products and ensure what is right or wrong for them. So in 2014, along with his partner Mike Mossallem, a new idea was born to provide menfolk the products they need packaged up and sent to you directly without all the hassle. Items such as laptop bags, ties, bowties, shirts etc were neatly put into a kit, displayed online and marketed so clients can customize and choose whatever they require. Viktor & Muse being only just a month old really needed to engage their social media prowess to get their marketing engine going and we sat down with the founder of V&M Mustafa Khaliq to get his take on the challenges he has to face in such a tough competitive environment. Marketing in… Read more »

The media itself has been the news lately. The Trump campaign has made the press headline news. This conversation is not new. Since ancient Rome when important announcements were carved out on stone tablets and placed in busy squares, the public has measured the quality, delivery and merit of information/content. We are a society obsessed with being “in the loop” and up to date with news that is important to us. This is evidenced by the ubiquitous and near-constant use of electronic devices.  I chose The Hamilton Spectator, one of Canada’s oldest newspapers and media outlets, for this week’s case study. I wanted to know how TheSpec.com measures their performance using web and social media metrics.

One of the largest segments in the consumer spending industry is the Lifestyle segment. This segment basically focuses on the well-being of an individual and also gives importance to rest, relaxation with modern day flare. It encompasses such things such as art, home decor, fashion, health, education and of course, confectionery. The Modah store located in Mississauga, Ontario however, went further by tapping into a segment…of this segment. Modah focuses on being the largest Canadian lifestyle store catered to the people practicing the Islamic Faith or people who have an affinity towards Middle-Eastern design and flare. According to a report by Thomson Reuters, Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle products and services was estimated at $1.8 trillion (USD) globally in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6tn in 2020. Major brands such as Mango and DKNY have begun to adapt to this audience by introducing more modest clothing ranges, but it has also inspired a raft of new start-ups from within the Muslim community. Just from this stat alone, many businesses are popping up especially in the Greater Toronto Area. The one issue they all face is how and where can they be able to showcase their products and generate sales? Back in 2012, Samir Aziz’s wife, Nafiza, possessed a small home-based business selling women’s clothing. As her success and publicity began to rise in the community, many other people who sold various other products always approached the couple to find ways in marketing their goods as well. From that, Samir & Nafiza had an idea to actually open a brick and mortar store not only selling the women’s clothing they initially ventured into, but also engage other fledgling entrepreneurs to take part by displaying their products to sell. The store needed to be in a prime location where Muslims frequent quite often and finally settled on a 4,500 sq ft unit in 2014 in the Dixie and Eglinton area of Mississauga where numerous other restaurants and various establishments currently reside. Due to the large space, just having their clothing business and one or two other branded products wasn’t enough to alleviate some of the overhead costs. So Samir and Nafiza had an idea and that was to beautify the store space to mimic the stylings of a Pier-1 Imports or a Homesense and invite vendors to be part of a business trade show at their grand opening. The… Read more »

The Halal food industry is a booming industry especially in the Toronto area. The technique of Halal used by Muslims worldwide mirrors the Kosher methods in Judaism whereby Islamic blessings instead, are imparted on the animals right before they are slaughtered. It currently accounts for 16% of the entire global food industry and projected to go up to 20% in the near future according to SGS Solutions Experts. According to SGS, this industry now accounts for CAD $1.87 Trillion in business worldwide on an annual basis with people following the Muslim faith soon expected to represent the largest share of global consumer spending and widespread acceptance of the halal slaughter methods in major grocery chains. In 1971, Ayub Qureshi may have had the foresight of this industry when he brought out one of the first halal meat butcher shops in Toronto on Lawrence Ave called Al-Qureshi Meats. He has since retired, but with growing up around his father’s business and exposure to the retail meat environment at such a young age, son Asim Qureshi has recognized some of the trends of today’s general public and wanted to carry out the family legacy. With this, he and his partner introduced a new line of products that would help families to indulge in the traditional Indian and Pakistani flavoured meats, and at the same time, saving them the long and sometimes arduous process in preparing them. Today’s growing trends moving towards more ethnic dishes due to the high immigrant communities in Toronto, even the demographic that don’t associate themselves with being South Asian are getting on board in the consumption of such spices and delicacies. Time is slowly becoming quite the valuable commodity and so are finances. With people trying to eat more at home and finding ways to avoid eating out at restaurants on a regular basis, Tandoori Oven was the flagship product under One World Foods Asim and his team conjured up to fulfill that particular need. The food has to be fast, Consumers lack the time and the knowledge to develop the flavours at home. You have to balance the authenticity of the traditional flavours, but tone the spice down. It needs to be authentic, but not overpowering. (Asim Qureshi – Toronto Star Oct 12/2012) With an already competitive market, food suppliers that are new to the industry need to find cost effective ways to manage their business and social media has been an effective method. There are many stages of the supply… Read more »

One of the biggest concerns in today’s society is the exposure of electronic devices towards small children such as tablets and video games. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology and 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day. The attempts to preserve the traditions and enjoyments of yesteryear have become a monumental task for some as the growing demand for ‘screen time’ from children are becoming more and more difficult to overcome. Aneesa Bozai, a former Montessori teacher, educator and ardent supporter of homeschooling recognized the trends parents are instilling in their households by bringing in more electronic devices to mollify children’s tantrum-like nature. With her experience in the Montessori world, she was responsible for the purchase and procurement of learning tools, visual aids and play mechanisms for the schools she had worked for. Because of her passion for homeschooling and traditional educational methods, that gave her an idea to bring in products that would not only enhance a child’s learning experiences at such a young age, but also help them connect with some of the traditions of old in toymaking and toy interactivity. In 2011, she launched Eastern Toybox offering “Western Treasures, with an Eastern Twist” as per her Facebook page. Hearing the growing needs of environmentally conscious consumers, Eastern Toybox brought about toys and learning tools from her own design and has also established a platform for artisans and organizations to showcase their own products that fall in line with the same theme. Aneesa hopes to inspire parents to share with their children the origin of their material possessions, and to help raise a generation of thoughtful children. With the mere fact that this organization is product heavy, the use of social media in her product development and produce acceptance strategy was a critical part in ensuring the items she is involved in are at high quality and carry the theme she wishes to showcase.

How does a graduate in Software Engineering with an established career in his field, all of a sudden tell his parents that he no longer wants to continue doing that, and instead wants to get into the sporting events business? Burhan Ehsan who is founder and president of theFanchize had to experience just that. Being born to South Asian parents, that was probably his toughest hurdle in life. But with a venture that has reaped the rewards by getting into the Toronto Raptors-ticket selling game early, being called on by many media outlets due to the craze amongst Toronto sports fanatics, and now boasting over 4,000 clients – which most of them are recurring – breaking the news to his parents went fairly smoothly. Back in 2004, Burhan already a rabid Toronto Raptors fan, decided with a friend to purchase season tickets in the upper bowl of the Air Canada Centre (ACC). Something the Toronto Raptors organization wholeheartedly welcomed as the NBA team just wasn’t performing well on the hardcourt, nor in ticket sales at the time. Burhan utilized his time wisely while at these games and during ho-hum affairs, or breaks in between games, he would coolly network and schmooze with anyone affiliated with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment – owners of the Raptors – such as Ushers, Security and also ticket sales representatives that worked directly under management. The sales reps took a liking to Burhan and made him a deal to try and attract more visitors and put bodies into the empty seats at games. He took up the challenge. With no social media outlets at the time, he did use what he was good at: Word of mouth. Talking to his family members and friends, Burhan showcased the Raptor ticket as valuable as a Toronto Maple Leafs ticket. When he needed to get more exposure, he resorted to an obscure mass texting application as the growing use of cellphones was apparent at that time. The phone calls then started to come in. Perks were given directly to Burhan from the Raptors such as playing time on an NBA floor at the ACC, meet & greet with players and also receive gifts such as jerseys and t-shirts using this as leverage to bring in more customers. With the client base growing and time becoming more and more scarce, people had to be hired to man the phones, the former website Raptorfan.com had to be designed… Read more »

Aecon has been voted one of the Top Employers in Canada for 8 consecutive years. This is an enormously significant accomplishment because the winners are determined by employees. It is a delicate balance to have the company and its employees continuously support each other to ensure success for both parties. Like any good relationship, this balance relies on communication.

Marketing The Mandate, Jesus Style!

Jaye Torley   November 10, 2014

ORGANIZATION NAME: Forward Church (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) INDUSTRY: Not for Profit (NFP) & Charity NAME OF CONTACT: Jenn Pent, Director of Communications   The CHURCH received its mission/mandate from its Founder some two thousand years ago. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15). The mandate can be reduced down into one word, “GO”. This new… Read more »

IDEAL Brake Parts – Breaking The Automotive Industry Status Quo

jeffdbaldwin   October 20, 2014

Title: IDEAL Brake Parts – Breaking The Automotive Industry Status Quo Organization Name: IDEAL Brake Parts Industry: Automotive Parts    Name of Contact: Jason Janssen (General Manager) Who Are They? IDEAL Brake Parts Inc. is a relatively new automotive parts company located in Guelph, Ontario. It was founded only a few years ago as there became a growing demand for auto parts made entirely… Read more »

Burke Cleland: Exercising social media muscles

joanne.kiskis   July 11, 2014

Organization Name: Burke Cleland Personal Training Studio Industry: health, nutrition, fitness, personal training, kickboxing, boot camp Name of Contact: Burke Cleland, Personal trainer burke@burkecleland.com I am all for physical fitness… well… in theory. I try my best to eat well, and get in some exercise where I can, but like most wives, moms, marketers, I am riddled with to-dos and… Read more »