Alibaba, the largest online business company, does not manufacture or stock products on its own; Uber, the largest transportation network company globally, actually owns no vehicles; Airbnb, leading hotel and travel company, does not own any real estate. One thing they have in common is that they all create evolutionary ideas to disrupt and reform competitive landscape. Owning no inventory nor product doesn’t stop Alibaba being the supply chain management guru. In fact, in April 2016 Alibaba Group has officially surpassed Walmart and become the world’s largest retailer. This set the milestone when the world’s largest retail market shifted from offline to online. “We used 13 years to demonstrate the power of a different business model compared with brick-and-mortar retailers,” the Alibaba Group said. A key success factor for Alibaba is to delivery comprehensive while tailored digital supply chain process to customers.
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.
Eight years ago, Brian’s Custom Sports occupied a vastly different space than the one they currently hold. A hockey goalie equipment manufacturer, Brian’s was known as a custom graphic company. They made high end equipment, but customers were drawn to the custom designs they could put on the pads, rather than the specifications of the gear itself. Brian’s changed the game in 2008 when they did something no other company was doing at the time, they created a Facebook page. The introduction of this page not only gave the company a massive new following, but also started them down the path of becoming the leader in technological innovation. Brian’s used there social media reach to innovate products for the high and low end markets.
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.
If you were using social media for personal or business use in Canada during the summer of 2016, you will have no doubt heard at least something about The Tragically Hip. The favoured Canadian band was touring in what likely would be their last, due to frontman Gord Downie’s onset of brain cancer. Concerts sold out and media of all sorts took note of what was developing into a notable time in our country’s music and lifestyle history. As the final concert came to pass in August – complete with the attendance and interaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – an influential social media phenomenon was occurring. Ensight Canada reported, “In addition to multiple trending topics throughout the weekend of the concert, social media posts about The Hip and (Gord) Downie’s First Nations comments generated roughly 20 million potential impressions across Canada over the past week. What’s really telling is that Canada has about 14 million daily Facebook users, so when we look at the impressions generated, we can conclude almost everyone in the country who used the internet or social media came in contact with the story in some way.”
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.
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 »
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.
In a rapidly expanding town that has seen its farm fields disappear under housing developments and many small businesses go under due to the influx of nearby big box stores, Victoria Hunt, owner of Carousel Kids, a children’s second-hand clothes & new toy shop in Waterdown, Ontario, has discovered that utilizing social media to connect with the community can have a profound impact on the success of a business. With a Facebook page and an unapologetically authentic personal social media account, Ms. Hunt has shared the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur with a huge heart and a desire to succeed in what some would say is a difficult sector of the retail industry.
Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.
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?
When William Booth founded The Salvation Army back in 1882, he based much of its mission on the concept of “adapting to attract.” Employees of the Ontario Central East Division of The Salvation Army have recognized that utilizing the social media communication methods of today is in keeping with that concept, which is one of the reasons they are looking to Facebook Groups to help employees plan their 2016 Christmas Kettle Campaign.
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
In the last decade we have watched the birth of social media, and are continuing to watch it grow and mature. In times like these, where Trump and Clinton are in a tight race for the U.S. Presidency, The UK has just voted to leave the European Union after 23 years together, and we are facing something reminiscent of the civil rights movement with #BlackLivesMatter…there’s a lot to talk about. Opinions and commentary fly free on the internet and political opinions in particular are abundant. Networks like Twitter are so full of posts, following issues in real time, that it’s not uncommon to see something on Twitter before an official article is written about it. A lot of people find it annoying to open up their Facebook pages to find the opinions of their old high school acquaintance’s neighbour’s sister on their Newsfeed. Others love engaging in a good old fashioned political debate within the comments section of a post. Trump and Hillary themselves are tweeting their way to the White House, using it to stay relevant and connect with their audience. There’s no denying, our social media world is becoming more and more political whether we like it or not.
Marketing strategies have shifted, grown, and developed greatly over the course of history. From DeBeer’s age old “Diamonds are Forever” campaign in the early 1900’s and the Lucky Strike ads which had everyone picking up a bad habit in the 60’s, to the modern day “Just Do It” Slogan that defines Nike, we’ve seen a lot over the years. The channels of communication for marketers has changed over time as well. The game changed for marketers again and again, challenging them to come up with new and innovative ways to promote their products and services as the technologies and trends changed over time. In today’s world the internet reigns supreme, and marketers have quickly adopted web advertising as a part of any self-respecting ad campaign. Social Media is the most important aspect of this. A campaign that doesn’t have a #hashtag, YouTube video, or searchable Facebook content, may as well not exist at all. The companies that are realizing, embracing, and integrating social media into their campaigns are the ones who are seeing the most success. Many modern brands are doing a great job of combining social media with their marketing strategies, but one in particular really stands out.
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.
Social Media has proven to be a great tool that companies can use to research their target market. Traditional market research can be expensive, but with social media companies can now reach out to a vast audience for feedback and opinions. The benefits of using social media to gather information include low/no cost, instant results, and simultaneously creating another channel of communication with customers that make them feel valued. One downside is of course the potential for customers to provide negative feedback on something as public as Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms, but negative feedback is still very valuable if not more valuable than the positive.
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.
Organizations are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach out to consumers and drive loyalty. Social media is used for a lot of different things when it comes to business, from receiving customer feedback to advertising new products. Recently, companies have started to involve their customers in a very crucial part of their business, the product development and design of their products. Some companies are using social media platforms for the company’s advantage in order to enhance the development of the next great product, while making customers feel valued by listening to their opinions and ideas. In 2013, Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer decided to do something different. This organization had an amazing initiative to get their whole social media following involved in the process of creating a new wine, mainly through Facebook.
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.
Even though Ford has been around for over a century, it is still creating great content to engage present and possible future customers. It has been engaging with customers using a multi platform content strategy and creating authentic social interactions. There is a big difference between marketing and posting advertisements on social media, compared to engaging with the customers and using social media as a line of communication. After a closer look at Ford’s online social presence, it is clear they have it all figured out!
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.
In North America, many employees are disconnected and disengaged from their work, making them less productive. When an employee is engaged in their work, they are more focused and motivated, allowing companies to stay ahead of their competition. Internal social media platforms for employees to stay up to speed have become increasingly favoured in organizations and this will only continue to increase.