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.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats is the oldest professional sports team in north America. The Hamilton Football Club was formed on November 3, 1869, and played their first game on December 18, 1869 against the 13th Battalion (now Royal Hamilton Light Infantry). Some of the early history of football in Canada and Hamilton is a bit vague, but by 1883, there are records of the Hamilton Tigers playing in the Ontario Rugby Football Union playoffs. The decades and the game have changed but the Ticats commitment to community and fan engagement has not. Being active, accessible and current with their fans is critical on and of the field even during off-season times. In the ever changing landscape of professional sports and out-bound marketing, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have kept up with new technologies and successfully tackled challenges to reach their fan base.
When asked to name a business which utilizes Social Media to effectively reach out to new customers and maintain contact with existing ones, I immediately thought of The Furtado Group. Operating under the Rock Star Real Estate umbrella, they are a Real Estate Team based in Oakville, primarily servicing the West GTA. The Furtado Group is not your average Real Estate Brokerage and this is evident across their unique branding efforts. And, they surpass any expectations one may have for effectively using Social Media to interact with their audience. Each of the Team’s members has their own Social Media presence. The Team is led by Ruben Furtado. He is considered “a true expert in his field, a trusted advisor and mentor to many in the real estate community” (The Furtado Group. 2016). They have a dedicated Art Director & Brand Communications Manager and each member of their team contributes to content for all social media platforms. Mary Da Rosa has her own blog in which she writes about her business life and market trends. And, there’s Austin Furtado who shares his personal and business goals on his own You Tube channel, Auzzy TV. Clearly this Team has made Social Media a priority in their communication strategies.
What is your impression about a credit card with $450 annual fee? When first hearing about the new Chase Sapphire Reserve, I had to make the assumption base on its annual fee that it could be another fancy luxury credit card for a small group of customers. It turned out that Sapphire Reserve started a credit card frenzy, Chase application page is swamped by tens of thousands applications and the company ran out of actual cards in the second week. “It significantly exceeded our strongest expectations,” said Lauren Francis, Communication Director – Chase Card Services
Even if you’re not in the market to buy or sell a home, you’ve likely had your eye caught by a realtor’s face on a bench sign, bus stop ad or other billboard-type promotion. It has been a successful exposure-gaining method used for decades by people in the real estate industry, one that has often been a strong step to gaining contacts for potential deals. But did you know that according to Realtor Social Marketing, 90% of home buyers begin their search online? Nicole Bafaro, Sales Representative with Sutton Group Heritage Realty in Ontario’s Durham Region, has successfully built her real estate career by venturing beyond the goal of simply making contacts; she is building and strengthening relationships through online client engagement within her community through her use of social media.
In 1872, long before the invention of social media, Mildmay’s Commercial Hotel began it’s first days of operation. It has since welcomed thousands of visitors to the small town located in Southwestern Ontario with its country charm and welcoming flare. In 1919 the the business was bought by the Schmalz family and has remained with them ever since. In 2006 the business was bought by Nicole Wise (Schmalz) and became Harleys Pub and Perk. Harleys Pub and Perk has proven that some things will just never get old with it’s almost century old charm, Grandma Schmalz’s Ribs and Kraut, and even with a few of the regulars; however, the functionality of the pub and it’s marketing tactics have had to be changed with their times.
Going to the dentist for most of us can be a stressful visit and many patients suffer from anxiety before going to the dentist. At a visit to Gardner Dental Group (Burlington, Ontario) they do their best to make the patient visit a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the moment you step into their office you are greeted with a friendly smile in a modern environment. You have the choice of three waiting areas; a quiet reading room, a TV room or an arcade room that actually includes retro video games! This made me think …the patients are likely at peace in this setting…but how does the practice maintain the morale and engagement of the employees?
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.
In search of a product strategy as its stock plummets, GoPro’s CEO keeps a shaky but steady hand at the helm. Wall street analysts are gleefully beating up on the young company because they dared to shatter the image that GoPro is/was the next Apple (as soon as a company is likened to Apple it becomes a target for haters). I have to admit that I have a soft spot for underdogs and for early stage companies that have customers that adore them. Exacerbating my GoPro Problem is that I use the company’s products, I love them and I regularly fan-girl the GoPro stars on YouTube.
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.
ModCloth comes from humble beginnings in a dorm room. The company, founded in 2008, has grown in leaps in bounds since its inception. Including a 600% growth rate over the last two years and an annual revenue of over 150 million in 2014. One of the mainstays of ModCloth’s expert marketing strategy is their customer engagement. The company leverages their brand advocates and creates inclusive social media communities where fans can review products, post pictures of themselves wearing Modcloth apparel, take part in the design and purchase of inventory, and discuss all things ModCloth.
What is BaubleBar? Fashion jewelry – a must have in any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear it as the final touch to a wedding ensemble or to add some visual interest to jeans and a comfy t-shirt; the point of it is to make a statement and take your outfit from great to spectacular! BaubleBar has been helping women since 2011 with their on-trend fashion jewelry needs and at affordable prices to boot. A strong and unique customer engagement strategy is pivotal for a strictly online store to thrive since they can’t deliver a tailored in store experience for their customers. The co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky realized this early on. They knew that to create the customer base that they needed they would have to be highly data driven as well as provide a pleasurable and exclusive shopping experience.
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.
As we get closer to crowing another Stanley Cup Champion, take a look at some of the teams that have competed for the cup since 2006. Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, San Jose and Carolina. I would categorize those teams as non-traditional markets vs a traditional market such as Pittsburgh, Chicago or Toronto. So how does the NHL and markets such as Tampa Bay continue to be so successful on and off the ice and engage their fan base who would generally be watching baseball or sunning themselves on a sandy beach during the playoffs? Today’s fans are intelligent, mobile and closer to their favorite team and players, and this “closeness” or “engagement” is how the NHL has grown its fan base and continues to grow the game in non-traditional hockey markets.
I asked my son to go for #FroYo with me today, “I’d kinda rather hang out with my friends Mom” was the first response. So, I pull up the @menchies_ca twitter feed and pass him my phone. “Ooooh! I do want to go to Menchie’s though!” was his response after one glance at the header photo and a quick scroll down the Twitter feed. The scroll revealed a current promotional event “The Italian Festival” featuring three flavours: Nutella, Sweet Almond Amaretto and Iced Cappucino. The moment we read about this festival of flavours, we were on a mouth watering mission to the nearest Menchie’s location! The first station you come to inside a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop offers little cups to try every flavour. If you wish, you can make a fully informed decision about what taste you want to spend your money and calories on. If you’re like my son, you try every flavour at least twice (shhhhh!) and self serve up a heaping portion of your favourites into the pay-by-weight bowl. At the last station, you can top off your concoction with any kind of candy or fruit you can imagine. My son ended up with a hodgepodge of crunchy, chewy, sour and salty toppings, tasted it and declared it “The bomb!”
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.
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.
The advent of social media opened so many doors for businesses. It also brought about opportunities to build new doors or alter the old ones. Product innovation has changed rapidly in recent years, as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest exploded to become the social media titans they are now. Brands are becoming more and more daring with their innovation initiatives, bringing about bolder and bigger campaigns every year. Kalypso notes that many of the companies they polled on the topic don’t use it for sweeping changes or big projects – it would seem many companies are just dipping their foot in to test the water. Or maybe they are waiting to see how their peers succeed and/or fail?
Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Founded in 1971 in Seattle, WA (USA), the brand has built a strong reputation worldwide since its debut. With nearly 23,500 stores around the globe, the American coffee corporation has expanded its brand with specialty coffees, an increasing market since the late 1980s. Whether you are more of a frappuccino, espresso or latté kind of consumer, the brand carefully listens to its customers and constantly develops new products to make us want another cup of that black elixir. There is a product for everyone at Starbucks, and the company makes sure we are aware of it… With millions of dollars invested in publicity, its best brand ambassadors are still its loyal fan base. Everyone knows the in-store customer experience is pleasant with nice decor, good smell, attractive food displays… now let’s take a look at how the coffee company is extending the experience online by engaging with its customers.
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.
Hello and welcome back folks! In my last blog – Shopify’s Custom Built Unicorn Platform Takes Employee Engagement to a Whole New Realm I looked at how Shopify’s amazing business culture fosters their exemplary employee engagement. Next, I focus on how Shopify as an organization exudes the same passion when connecting with their customers. “We want every single minute of interaction with a customer to be a minute of true value,” says Richard Hall – Director of Revenue Operations  “We strive for happiness — not satisfaction! The customer service industry is obsessed with “customer satisfaction”. We believe that’s too low a bar. Satisfaction is not a measure of success — it’s just enough to get by. We want our customers to be happy. Happiness is success. Happiness is our goal. “  – Mantra spoken by Shopify’s customer support team Let me be honest, my first exposure to Shopify was actually through my husband. He recently joined Shopify’s free two-week trial, for his online store: Essential Oil Labs. Lately, all we seem to do is talk about growing his business. So I decided why not engage with him and get a first hand look at how Shopify really interacts with their customers. I was marveled at the amount of times they have reached out to him. He’s plugged into all sorts of forums, “How-To” videos and not to mention he gets a “gazillion” emails. What really struck me is the way in which they deliver this material. It’s timely, entertaining, and pretty darn addictive.
Everyone has at least one bad habit. The definition of bad being loosely defined from “unfavourable” to “incorrect” to “harmful”, all of which are subject to interpretation. A bad habit can range from sneaking into the cupboard in the middle of night to chow down on some cookies to a full blown gambling addiction where you lose your house and every material thing you’ve ever owned. Speaking of every material thing you’ve ever owned… Have you heard of Confessions of a Shopaholic?
While engaging your audience is usually not a bad thing, giving up total control for one of your most prestigious annual events can be. Which is why the NBA is rethinking the process for how All-Star votes are cast.