Beep. Ding. Swoosh. Those are the sounds that fill our office spaces, coffee shops…or any place that has people for that matter. There is no denying we live in a world where most of us have our eyes buried in our phones, are constantly on the go and can admit that taking our phone to the bathroom has become normal practice – we don’t want to miss a thing! Because of this need to always be connected and have information right at our fingertips, customers have, now more than ever, a stronger, louder voice – and depending on who they are – a big influence. In an effort to keep customers happy or informed, quick response rates have skyrocketed and started to become a vital practice in social media management and an integral part of an overall social media customer service strategy. “In fact, 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service.” – Sprout’s consumer survey, 2016. It may sound like a time-consuming task, but it shows customers that their inquiries are important and a company cares about what they have to say or share. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Next, according to freelance writer and Business News Daily Contributor, Danielle Corcione, building real customer relationships, using a hashtag, focus on creating a customer advocate base, and creating an opportunity for referrals are four ways a business can use social media for customer service success. Obviously, the goal of a company should be to increase the bottom line, but it should not be the focus. Building a solid, loyal customer base that will continually come back (maybe even for generations), who will advocate for your product or service, and make them feel like they are part of a ‘brand family’ should be a close second goal. In my own experience, when I shared a post or tweet about my favourite product and tagged the company, and the company interacted with me, I was positively impacted and now inclined to go back or share their information on my social media channels. I felt heard and like I had some influence.
This past week, I travelled to the Communitech building in Kitchener-Waterloo to interview co-founders, Jesse Lubin and Andrew Ringer, about one of Communitech’s most promising start-ups, Alaunus, currently headquartered in the Communitech Hub in the heart of the innovation district in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. Alaunus is a 3 ½ year-old startup, founded by UW computer science grad, Jesse Lubin, and Laurier BBA grad, Andrew Ringer. Alaunus has been formally involved in the Laurier Launchpad, Accelerator Centre, and Communitech’s Rev programs, and is described as an emerging leader in technology-enabled homecare solutions, and is keen to disrupt the $227.5 billion in-home health care industry. Alaunus is a next-generation practice management platform, reimagined for today’s mobile homecare Personal Service Worker (PSW) providers. Lubin, the Chief Technical Officer, has designed the technology that innovates at every step how mobile healthcare is coordinated, delivered, and managed. The proprietary software offers its (for the most part, Temp) agency client base across Ontario the abilities to operate highly efficiently, differentiate their temporary-tenured homecare PSWs (aka contingent workers), and to grow the respective agency’s customer base. Alaunus’s complete, simple, and revolutionary platform becomes the backbone of the temp agency’s back-office. Alaunus’s technology manages day-to-day client files, scheduling/rostering, and billing for the temp agency. Alaunus accurately tracks time and visit verification at the point of care, automates intelligent invoice generation and payroll, – all in one place. Patient privacy has strict compliance mandates and Alaunus adheres to them all. Alaunus is built from the ground-up with industry best-practice encryption, user management, and privacy. The official Alaunus App is “bring-your-own-device” friendly. Its platform infrastructure boasts state-of-the-art security standards, redundancy, backups, and is 100% PHIPA, HIPAA, and HITECH compliant. PSW customer feedback about its mobile app has been enthusiastic: Andrew G I really like the phone app of Alaunus. It works very well with the desktop software. Highly recommend it. Ben Fluter Great resource for caregivers and makes work much easier. This app makes it so much easier to get to clients, take notes, and it even states safety precautions.
Traditional marketing isn’t what it used to be. Most people are no longer as susceptible to, or trusting of what they’re being sold. According to a recent study, 84% of Millenials do not trust or like traditional advertising. Yet, everywhere you look, almost any and every little available space tends to be plastered with an advertisement of some kind. So how do you break through this resistance and connect with your target market in an authentic and lasting way? Ipsy has found a way. Ipsy is a personalized makeup subscription service available online that sends users monthly bags filled with different and personalized cosmetic products. Here’s more about what it is and how it started: “Michelle Phan has inspired countless women around the world through her beauty video tutorials on YouTube. Every day, the question Michelle gets asked the most is: “What are the right products for me?” With infinite beauty product combinations in the marketplace, choosing the best items for your needs can be a challenge! That was why Michelle created ipsy. Michelle and her team of stylists have selected products they love, for you to try. Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using.”
Recently I was invited over to my Friend Jeff’s for dinner. He mentioned that he recently had purchased a new VR (Virtual Reality) system and thought, while the kids were playing after dinner, the adults could take turns exploring his new toy. I was hesitant at first, as some of the POV video games makes me feel light headed and unbalanced. I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to try new technology, so after setting up all the proximity sensors, I slipped on the Oculus system and was immediately transported to another world. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) are two technologies that are changing how social media adapts and individualizes experiencesfor consumers. While the experience wasn’t tailored to me, I did get a first-hand look at how realistic the experience can be through VR. The individualization of experiences for consumers is setting the tone for new ways to use technology. One company in the hospitality industry that has done this is Marriott International. A massive hospitality and entertainment company. They have long been using social media to help drive business performance but they also use it to help create experiences for their guests. Listening to their guests’ needs helps Marriott ensure that the guests’ every wish is fulfilled while they are in their care.
Markets are conversations. Trade routes pave the storylines. Across the millennia in between, the human voice is the music we have always listened for, and still best understand. — The Cluetrain Manifesto, 1999 In 2014, Sephora, a world leader in beauty retail, joined the 6 percent of brands on SnapChat, blasting their followers with special deals on new beauty products. In 2015, the beauty powerhouse teamed up with women’s lifestyle publisher, POPSUGAR, to do what no makeup brand had done before: attach a mobile shopping function to customers viewing fleeting photos in Emoticode, an app similar to Snapchat. On June 6, 2016, Sephora was the big winner for small-screen commerce on mobile devices at the Internet Retailer Excellence Awards, dubbed “Digital Innovation”. In M. Penn’s University of Waterloo SMBP case study, Sephora – A Pretty Digital Face, the author explained the essence of digital innovation behind Sephora’s award: how smartphones and tablets contributed half of Sephora’s digital traffic, and how Sephora was one of the first to launch Apple’s expedited mobile checkout platform, Apple Pay, as a payment option in Sephora’s apps and in-store. For years, the retailer had tested beacons, small sensors that track consumers’ smartphones and send personalized messages in its stores A year later, on June 6, 2017, Sephora’s Senior VP of Digital Marketing, Mary Beth Laughton, gave the keynote address at the same Internet Retailer Excellence Awards. Laughton offered insights as to how Sephora, by partnering first with Kik Messenger in Spring 2016, and then Facebook Messenger six months later, introduced its chatbot messaging apps to leverage the power of smartphone mobile by delivering an immersive retail experience that goes beyond mobile commerce and empowers shoppers to learn, be inspired and play through the power of chat. Why the move to chatbots? According to Brian Honigman, a content marketing consultant and the CEO of Honigman Media, a consultancy focused on helping marketers and entrepreneurs see results with content marketing and social media, chatbot apps are mobile’s sleeping giant because they also embrace the power of platforms. That is why the original iPhone succeeded. It was not based on product alone but also leveraged the power of the app-store ecosystem. Messaging apps provide the perfect ecosystem for the next generation of applications. It only makes sense that a chatbot, whose ancestor was exclusively used for communication, and which was dubbed by Steve Jobs in the iPhone keynote as an “internet communicator,” would… Read more »
How would a museum know if it is successful? How would it measure success? The Mission Statement of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”), founded on April 13, 1870, and the largest museum in the US, states, “to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction”. . Daniel Weiss, president and chief operating officer of The Met, believes museums must remain relevant to a contemporary audience while upholding a mission to preserve human culture for posterity. In an interview with Yale Insights, Weiss articulated the challenges of steering America’s largest art institution, “We have to change with the times but not so much so that we lose our way … if no one is interested in our programs, then they are not meaningful programs.” . Part of the challenge managing a cultural legacy like The Met is its non-profit structure. From its 2016 Annual Report , philanthropic contributions have endowed the museum with about $2.5 billion. The building is owned by the City of New York (NYC), but the collections are owned by a private corporation, totalling about 950 persons. The City approved a pay-what-you-wish  admissions’ fee back in 1970 ($25 per visitor is recommended but a penny would comply with the City’s policy) which contributed only about 13% of 2016 revenue. However, The Met’s operating budget is about $250 million per year. Its use of performance metrics (measuring overall attendance, the number of museum members, the marketability of exhibits, the percentage of the collection on display, the ratio of adult to child admissions, etc.) are not used to plan for an increase in ROI; instead, they are used to measure its kinds of connections with the public. “Museums create social values, for which they are not compensated in monetary terms.” . The Met is deeply integrated within the life of New York City, its donors, and the art world. It plays a substantial role in New Yorkers’ leisure activities and is one of NYC’s most important tourist attractions. As visitors have a strong effect on local economies, especially in touristic locations, The Met monitors the number… Read more »
“I think that [social media] will be more integrated into everything. As you think further down the road, I don’t think that there’s going to be something called social media that people will be talking about in 30 years. I’m not even sure if people will be talking about it in five years.” – Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft Partners, Principal Social Media’s future is being shaped by such emerging technological trends as wearable electronic devices and activity tracker applications. Both FitBit wearable activity tracker device and iFit fitness application for treadmills are actively engaged in building social communities on-line, making them an integral part of the overall experience.
WebiMax is an internet marketing company that was founded in 2008 by Ken Wisnefski. According to Wisnefski, the company was founded on the principle of providing a service that would actually help clients succeed “by working with them more as a strategic partner than merely an outsourced vendor.” WebiMax boasts that since its founding in 2008, the company continues to evolve as the internet marketing industry evolves. The company claims to have the largest number of internet marketing professionals in the US, with over 100 marketing specialists on their team to help their clients reach their organizational goals. The company provides a wide range of services to their clients such as: Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Marketing Web Design Social Media Marketing Reputation Management Conversion Optimization PR Marketing Lead Generation E-mail Marketing E-Commerce Solutions Mobile Websites Link Removal Services
On February 4, 2005, YouTube started a revolution by giving us a seemingly endless stream of content, on demand. You could watch videos by celebrities, tutorials by up-and-comers, or movie trailers released by studios. Over the years, videos continue to be released, creating new stars and streams of content from global contributors. But no more is YouTube the only major player in the game. With over a billion users generating billions of views and hundreds of thousands of hours of content watched, it is only natural that other players would want to capitalize on this captive and attentive audience. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter are getting in on the action by promoting real-time engagement video capability aimed at engaging the attention of global audiences.
In recent years, the popularity of CrossFit seems to have sky rocketed into orbit. The first time I heard about CrossFit was in 2008. At that time, I assumed that it was just another fitness fade that hardcore gym enthusiasts did to look cool. Undoubtedly the shine would wear off and its popularity would dwindle. I had the same thought process regarding the future of social media in a marketing for business capacity. I was wrong on both accounts. I think it is safe to say that social media has played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the CrossFit brand since day one. In today’s business landscape, staying progressive when it comes to new advancements and technologies in all areas and aspects of business is vital to the future success of your organization. The CrossFit brand does just that. From a marketing perspective, CrossFit has excelled over the years at identifying and incorporating new methods of social media as a way for them to reach the masses with their message. This trend appears will continue into the future as new innovations and technologies continue to develop. From YouTube channels, blogs, podcasts, CrossFit TV and nationally televised CrossFit competitions, they understand the value and importance that mainstream and social media outlets provide to the future growth of their brand.
DoSomething.org is one of the largest global organizations for young people and social change. They mobilize their members “to make the world suck less” by by participating in campaigns impacting causes from poverty to violence to the environment.
The Canada Science and Technology Museum opened in 1967 as part of Canada’s Centennial celebrations. The idea for the Canada Science and Technology Museum was born out of the Massey Commission. In 1951, the report recommended that the Canadian Government do more to support the arts and sciences in Canada; further emphasizing the need for a Canadian Museum of Science. Between the time the Massey Report was issued and Canada’s Centennial year, many proposals were submitted for this new national institution of science; many of which were costly in a very uncertain funding environment. Finally, at the beginning of 1967, Dr. David Baird was appointed as Director for this proposed national museum; set to open at the end of the Centennial year. Due to time constraints and funding uncertainty, Baird decided to house the Canada Science and Technology Museum in a former bakery and distribution centre in Ottawa. The bakery was meant to temporarily house the Museum; however it remained in the same location until 2014 when it was forced to close due to the discovery of mould. As unfortunate as this reality was for the museum, it finally received the funding it initially deserved. The Canada Science and Technology Museum’s facility will be renewed to ensure the continued education of ‘Canadian innovation and to inspire the next generation of great innovators’, as stated in their mission. The renewed Canada Science and Technology museum is slated to open in November of 2017; and appropriately so, as it is Canada’s Sesquicentennial year!
Before we are born, we are already getting measured. We enter this world with a measurement of weight and length. Through no decision of our own, we are thrust into a world where the measurement of virtually everything is embedded into the fabric of society. We measure blood sugar levels, job performance, life goals, height, intelligence, and so forth, and the list of possibilities is endless. In fact, I am even getting measured on the quality and content of this blog. “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination.” Andrew Lang, Scottish Writer Today’s business world provides a prime example in which our obsession with metrics is evident on a voluminous scale. As it relates to the business world, without analytics, a company is vulnerable. However, just owning analytics tools and methods of measure is not enough. While data in business is important, being able to identify the right data that correlates to your overall growth as a company is essential to achieving your longterm goals. This too can be said of the social media for business environment.
Role of Innovation in Consumer Packaged Goods Developing innovative products for consumers is considered as one of essential marketing functions at Parmalat. Product innovation usually plays an important role in life cycle of any consumer packaged goods company. Innovation is tasked to drive incremental volume for the company, keep consumer delighted with its products and provide retailers with increased profits opportunities. In Food Industry, major players, such as Parmalat, are literally expected to come up with new products every year to inject news and dynamics to the category and “protect” their shelf space at retail.
Background Parmalat is one of the largest food companies in Canada with $2.2 billion annual revenues. The company is a marketer of such popular retail brands as Black Diamond cheese, Ficello Cheese Strings, Astro Yogurt, Lactancia Milk & Butter and Balderson cheese. The company has a large and diverse work force of 2,900 people, operating a large corporate office in Toronto, 2 major sales offices in Calgary and Montreal and 16 manufacturing plants across Canada. Challenge Given the scale and complexity of its work force, Parmalat Canada has been searching for effective ways of promoting company’s values and increasing employee engagement across many branches with their unique geography, organizational culture and regional dynamics. This challenge is especially magnified by the company’s work force composition – only about 30% of work force is full-time employees working in main offices or plants, whereas 70% of workers are part-time hourly workers at various plants. The HR Department has turned to Social Media to increase employees engagement. The idea was to encourage company’s employees to share new ideas on improve various aspects of company’s operations ranging from work processes, life balance, health & safety and even new product ideas. Social Media Solution The choice of social media tools that will allow for maximum participation in the initiative was difficult one. The company’s digital culture has been defined by work force average age (40+), and a long practice of using IBM Lotus Notes as a major source of all inter-company communication. As such, the HR department has opted for finding new ways of using existing technologies, expanding their ability to function as social media tool as opposed to creating new social spaces on Intranet or developing dedicated digital applications modeled after popular applications like Facebook, My Space etc. Towards that end, the corporate Lotus Notes was re-designed to give birth to a large digital project called “Parmalat’s New Ideas” that allowed employees to integrate social media functions with their regular activities on the Intranet. The new platform provided capabilities to share and discuss ideas on various topics and select the best ideas by employees voting (15 votes required to put the idea for the Senior Management consideration). Real Life Roll-out/Early Wins In 2015, the Communication Manager, Ambra Sultzbaugh , led the roll-out of this initiative to employees in a series of in-person meetings across different regions. Since then, the program has significantly exceeded initial expectations… Read more »
Bronzeback, Bucketmouth, Football, Lunker, Chunker, Toad, Hawgs, whatever word you choose to define fish, angling for those elusive trophy wall-hanger’s has been part of the human DNA for thousands of centuries. According to National Geographic ” Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic period which began about 40,000 years ago”. So it should come as no surprise that this popular past time continues to remain a popular activity in the 21st century.
Toronto-based Lulu et Elle Photography specializes in stylized newborn imagery. Owner and principal photographer Lana Polashek is at the top of her game on account of her innovative and personalized approach to documenting the arrival of newborns. Her success lies in the ability to produce photography shaped by client-driven narratives and share the studio experience through social media. “Being a newborn photographer allows me to document intense moments of vulnerability. The fragility of the baby, along with the vulnerable state of the parents, are all essential parts of the story. This is where my brand is – excuse the pun – born. Customer engagement starts at the most fundamental level – the photography session – and continues through my social media strategy.” Lana Polashek Customer engagement can be understood as the psychological state emanating from a collaborative customer/brand experience. Engagement reflects a motivational state which occurs through an individual’s interactions with a particular product or service. Engagement differs from satisfaction, as the former is focused on consumers’ cognitive, emotional and behavioural patterns during specific brand interactions, whereas the latter may only develop thereafter.
A new approach to employee involvement The L’Oréal Group developed a two prong social media strategy to engage existing employees and compete for top talent. L’Oréal is the world’s largest beauty and cosmetics firm with its head office in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France. Offerings include hair products, skin care, sun protection, make-up, and perfume. With increased employee engagement through social media, L’Oréal has been able to demonstrate the benefits of its corporate culture to a broader audience.
Throughout history, The Church has been challenged with continuing to share its unchanging, relational message of the love of God in a world that is constantly changing. Many churches are embracing social media as part of society’s undeniable move towards digital communications, in an effort to build relationships and maintain their voice into the future. In his article, Communication In the Church of the Future, Christopher Harris states, “As the church we not only need to be mastering the tools of social media to connect with and communicate with society, we also have to be studying how these transitions in communication will transform how we are community and how we exist as church.” Glebe Road United Church, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a history dating back to 1851, has found great benefit in utilizing social media not only as part of building relationships through today’s ministry, but also in looking to their future.
Rolling around on a skateboard is a right of passage for most children growing up in North America, many of them dreaming of becoming the next Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston. While many of these people will never attain these goals, they will still have a blast pushing around town on their boards. Skateboarding is a wonderful tool for transportation, but it has a few key limitations. The main problem is hills, and everyone who has ever stepped on a skateboard has a deep fear of the dreaded “speed wobble“. While going down a hill on a skateboard, you don’t have many options for braking and going up hills is also an issue, as it becomes a battle against gravity. Boosted Board is a company that was founded to improve some of the issues that have plagued skaters for years. Boosted Board is an electric skateboard controlled by a small handheld remote. You can adjust your speed and even brake! Skateboarders everywhere now have a solution to some of their problems. Boosted Boards has turned to social media to showcase their product to the skateboarders of the world and get everyone skateboarding again.
In our age of digital marketing where there are so many social media options to choose from, one community library is finding success through their development and use of videos. In addition to using Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, the Pickering Public Library is including short, in-house created videos in their Facebook Page, YouTube channel and website to communicate upcoming events, new programs and services, fun facts and promote client engagement. These videos have become quite popular in their community and beyond. Donna Moritz of Social Media Examiner attributes the rise in popularity of short video social media content to how “snackable” they are, as a quick visual method that grabs our attention, “Short videos suit our busy lives, brief attention spans and the need to consume content easily and quickly. Because fans are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, the shorter the content is, the better.”
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.
Coca-Cola has found a way to stay relevant in a market that is slowly turning away from sugary drinks like soda. Coke’s integrated marketing strategies utilize both traditional and new media to create unique ads that tell a brand story across multiple channels. Coke employs social media as a way to invite consumers to be a part of their story. Using social media as a marketing tool allows Coke to onboard younger generations and creates a call to action. Personalized content and an innovative delivery system are what make Coke so popular. No matter which way you slice it, Coke is winning the social media ad game. Because after watching these videos, you’re probably going to be thinking about having a Coke.
Timmins, Ontario is experiencing a cultural renaissance. Young entrepreneurs with lofty goals and a high tolerance for risk are spurring a revolution in this mid-sized mining town. The organization that served as the catalyst for this change – Radical Gardens. Radical Gardens (RG) is a multi-faceted company that is comprised of a Certified Organic farm, a LEAF certified farm to table restaurant, and an online market that distributes to the region.
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.