If you’re like me and a fan of the television show Big Brother Canada, you were undoubtedly excited when it returned earlier this month for its fifth season. One thing they changed up however, was the live show following the eviction. In the past, the evicted house guest was interviewed on stage by the show’s host Arisa Cox and former house guests Peter Brown and Gary Levy. This year however, the format has changed and viewers are now asked to watch ‘After the Eviction’ live on Facebook. Every day when I scroll through my Facebook feed I notice at least one Facebook Live video posted by someone I follow. Whether it’s an acquaintance who as has begun using the social media platform to try and make a name for them self in the fitness community, or someone who has attended a concert and wanted everyone to get a glimpse into the show by posting their favourite song as it’s being played – live streaming appears to be here to stay.
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
Eight years ago, when my Dad told me that he had joined Facebook, I groaned. Being in my early adulthood at the time, when my social status meant a lot more to me, I was worried about what my friends would think. While I adored my father (and still do!), Facebook was a space for Millennials with Bieber haircuts and skinny jeans, not for Dads who wore Velcro sandals. In fact, prior to the public launch in 2006, Facebook was only available to users who were enrolled in a university or college. Fast-forward to 2017, and Facebook is a place everyone—Dads included! Most of us have grown so accustomed to social media being a part of our lives that it seems strange to think about it as a “new” phenomenon — but it is. In less than 10 years, a handful of niche sites catering to small populations have turned into thousands of apps and platforms that connect the majority of the world’s population. But where is social media and technology headed in the future?
Synchronized swimming is a relatively small sport when comparing it to sports like hockey, soccer, speed swimming, and gymnastics. Synchro’s numbers in Ontario, in Canada and in the world are a mere fraction of those of the larger, more popular sports. So how does a small club, in such a small sport get noticed? For the Waterloo Regional Synchronized Swim Club, located in Elmira, Ontario, the answer came to them this past summer. While most club’s take a break from everything for a few months in the summer, the Waterloo Synchro Club aimed to increase the club’s profile not only in the Waterloo Region, but across all 7 continents. Erika Lindner, president of the local club, noted that at the beginning of summer 2016 “our follower numbers on Instagram and Facebook were low, and limited to current and past swimmers and their families”. In the pool, the local club is top dog, having earned the Provincial title of top club in the Province for 7 of the last 10 years. “We’ve always been trend setters and now that our club was on social media we wanted to set ourselves apart from others in this arena too”.
In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low, affectionately called Daisy, started a movement. This movement focused on learnings she had gained abroad, in the form of outdoor and educational programs. This became a program of female empowerment and the Girl Scouts became a place where girls could truly participate in life beyond the classroom and home. Girl Scouts served as a community of girls who wanted to change the world, and build lifelong bonds along the way. Many years later, the Girl Scouts organization is synonymous with uniforms and badges, charitable endeavours, and of course, cookies! But in the same way that retailers have had to understand how to engage consumers online, so have the Girl Scouts. Starting in 2015, Girl Scouts USA launched user-generated Facebook, Twitter and Instagram campaigns that created massive upticks in online engagement and product sales.
At times we can all become the victims of a good trend. The next big things is always around the corner and can often times seem like the answer that we have been looking for. But is the appeal the concept itself or the popularity of the solution ? Will the solution work within the operating reality? In the world of social media the only true predictor is Social Media Metrics.
If you are like me, you were one of those people shocked to hear Donald Trump won the American Presidential election. Chances are – also like me — you weren’t putting as much stock into the predictions of social media analysts as you were to major media outlets and traditional election polling firms. If we had been looking at the numbers and analytics we may have been better prepared. Phil Ross, a social media analyst at Socialbakers told Techcrunch.com “Analysts monitoring the social media activity of both campaigns on the major social media channels saw the outcome of this election coming months ago, and kept talking about the massive silent voter base that was forming around the Republican nominee. Social media analysts continually sounded the alarm that all of the polls were not reflecting the actual situation on the ground in the pre-election landscape.”
In today’s highly competitive market, organizations must strategize to create avenues of innovation, efficiency, and increased productivity to hold on to their competitive advantage. An area with room for growth for many firms is more effective supply chain management. With a vast array of social media tools available, organizations can improve operations in several ways including but not limited to increased visibility, communication, coordination, and reduced costs. “Although a vast majority of people reference only the most popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn when thinking of social media, the true social media experience is much larger for companies. They can engage users through smart phone applications, RFID, IoT, Big Data, business social media (for sharing information between partner groups) in order to help information spread much more quickly.” Ranjan Sinha, Logistics and Supply Chain Management Professional
When you think of social media, popular networking websites like Facebook and Twitter may be the first applications that come to mind, however many companies are leveraging more robust social platforms to better plan and control their supply chain. Data mining, data sharing and online collaboration are just a few ways that social media can improve supply chain efficiency. The term supply chain management is relatively new and was first published in the Financial Times in 1982. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s when the term began to take hold. The term supply chain refers to the process involved in the production and distribution of a product or service. To explain the term further, I will use an example of an Oreo. The beginning of the supply chain starts with sourcing ingredients for the product such as sugar and cocoa. Other points of the supply chain of an Oreo include shipping, manufacturing, distributing, retail sales, consumption and finally waste disposal. Supply chain management strategies requires a total view of the system to optimize business processes. Having control over supply chains are essential for businesses as it impacts costs and risks, and because today’s customers are demanding transparency of it. For example, customers want to know where the foods they eat or the clothes they wear come from, and are asking companies to provide information about sustainability and ethical sourcing.
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.
Thirteen years ago Steve Brooks was a husband, and a new father, married to a synchronized swimming coach. As a graduate of Sheridan College’s Graphic Design diploma program, Steve had taken many photography elective courses and was now a camera and photography hobbyist. Steve enthusiastically took photos of his wife’s synchronized swimming teams to help with the local club’s promotional material. This is how Brooks Photography began. Recognizing that parents enjoyed seeing action photos of their athletes, then Markham Synchro president, Nancy Chan, suggested Steve take pictures of all competitors at the upcoming Central & Northern Ontario regional championships. The photos were a great hit, and soon Steve was at all Synchro Ontario competitions as the official photographer of Synchro Swim Ontario. Taking action shots at synchronized swimming events began to make Brooks Photography a household name in synchronized swimming households. Parents and athletes alike followed Brooks Photography on Facebook. Wanting to take the business further, Steve started as second shooter at weddings. Once he started sharing those photos on Facebook, he began getting phone calls requesting him to be the main photographer for weddings.
IBM is an American technology company with its headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware, middleware and software, and offers hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. IBM is also a major research hub that holds the record for most patents generated by a business enterprise for 24 years in a row. In 2001, IBM introduced the Jam concept in the form of a social computing experiment to engage its workforce. This was completed via a web-based, moderated brainstorming session. Starting in 2007, IBM opened the sessions to external organizations similarly intent on fostering innovation through online cooperation. IBM’s Innovation Jams have been used by governments, academic institutions, businesses and other organizations to address proposals ranging from employee involvement, urban development, to global community engagement through public service. “Jams drive IBM’s research mandate forward. IBM uses the most cutting edge technology to glean information from the data collected. Jams bolster organizational value as specific recommendations are provided to the participants upon completion. Jams are the most effective style of crowdsourcing as they target groups of people with common goals.” Christopher Murray, Technician in Development, IBM
A powerful component of social media from a business perspective is the ability to listen to what consumers are saying. Social listening technologies are available to track conversations around specific phrases, words or brands. As a result, companies are able to identifying new opportunities that may not have been on their radar, and many are responding with innovative product development or design. Twenty-five years ago, it would have been costly and time consuming to gather focus groups in order to gain feedback. But today, this valuable market information can be gathered in a matter of minutes—assuming of course that people are in fact talking about your brand. The food industry is a specific sector where product development is critical to success. There are a number of reasons why this specific industry is constantly creating new products or innovating existing ones. I chatted with my colleague, Karen Proper, who is a technical manager in the product and process development department at NSF International to gain more insight on this topic. Karen and her team work with clients in the food and beverage industry to help bring a product concept to life, overcome production challenges or to innovate an existing one. When asked why product development is so integral to business, especially in the food industry, Karen replied, “Product development keeps companies competitive in the marketplace, compliant to regulations, able to react to ingredient and manufacturing process changes, and also responsive to trends and consumer demands—all of which are critical to success in the food industry today.”
When it comes to credit cards, it’s no longer just a choice between Visa, Mastercard or Amex. Consumers are now tasked with selecting the reward program they want partnered with their cards ( Air Miles, Scene, WestJet, etc.). While the reward programs may be a nice addition, if you’re like me, you aren’t concerned with reward programs and you certainly aren’t willing to pay a yearly fee in order to receive them. You just want a credit card with a low interest rate and no bells and whistles. And this is how Barclaycard Ring Mastercard was created.
Are you familiar with Itty Bitty Ballers? I think they’re hysterical. When I saw the tv commercial last month, I knew I had to have one! I immediately went to www.ittybittyballers.ca and – to my surprise, of the nine original figurines, six were sold out! But what is the story behind this viral internet success? GoDaddy, the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to empowering small, independent business ventures, has just closed out their Itty Bitty Ballers campaign featuring Toronto Raptors center, “big man” Jonas Valančiūnas (JV). The campaign was focused around JV’s mythical business, www.ittybittyballers.ca. The site displays his nine lifelike figurines that capture him in action poses, such as riding a Raptor, dabbing, and giving high fives. GoDaddy positioned our 7’0 centre as spending his spare time creating these miniature works of art. This juxtaposition was amusing and intriguing enough to drive customers to want to adopt the itty bitty JV’s as their own. Two of the nine figurines sold out the day the campaign launched, and then once the campaign went viral on social media, the remainder sold out in less than 24 hours. From the outset, the advertising campaign (seen both on tv and online) seems comical, but through their product promotion, the team at GoDaddy managed to virally promote the ease of their solutions while supporting a small local business… all through the power of one itty bitty baller.
When I was a child, I remember eating my breakfast at the kitchen table each morning as my parents listened to the latest in local news and weather through a little radio on the counter. This is how many people would get their information to start their day, but now, there are other options. Now-a-days, I set my alarm 30 minutes before I need to get up to allow myself time to check personal email as well as scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and I’m certain I’m not the only one.
In 2006, I remember standing in line of a grocery store and noticing that TIME magazine had named You as the Person of the Year. At the time I was in grade 11 and I likely didn’t fully comprehend the cultural shift that was taking place, but I did understand what TIME was getting at. The Internet, and namely the adoption of Facebook that year, was giving a voice to anyone who wanted to engage and be heard. Individuals were beginning to wield power greater than companies and media outlets, thus requiring organizations to rethink how they talk to their audience. It has been over a decade and savvy businesses have learned that customer and client relationships are built on a two-way street, and traditional means of broadcasting messages in print or through television ads are no longer as effective. Today, customer engagement is not about how customers feel about a brand, rather it is about what they do, or how they act. Leveraging social media tools that cultivate dialogue allows for the opportunity to build positive, loyal relationships.
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the world’s leading museums in regard to natural history and world cultures. Given this fact, one might assume that an institution such as The ROM would want to keep it’s knowledge within it’s walls; however that is not the case. The ROM is arguably one of the most social and tech savvy learning institutions in the country. This is due by and large to their philosophy on social media and their social media coordinating team. Through online communication, The ROM hopes to build strong community connections and encourages individuals to engage in conversations and debates with their experts and employees directly.
If you rewind seven or eight years ago, many organizations prohibited employees from accessing social websites on company computers viewing this new trend as a distraction and risk to business. However, the rise of smartphones made it nearly impossible to block the use entirely. Fast-forward to today and you’ll notice times have changed as to how social media is perceived in the business world. Instead of frowning upon sharing thoughts and ideas digitally, businesses now invest in social media tools for internal use. After all, the benefits of having a highly engaged workforce far outweighs the risk. EY (formerly Ernst and Young) is one of the largest professional services firm in the world and specializes in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. EY is progressive in their approach to leveraging the power of social media to drive employee engagement. They have published performance reports such as Change 3.0: Using Social Media to Engage Your Workforce that discusses their research and the benefits of going social in the workplace. Currently with over 230,000 employees in over 150 countries, as well as an increasing number of Millennial employees joining the team, social media is a key part to building positive culture, engaging employees and delivering results.
Not long ago, company picnics, water cooler talk, bulletin boards and office memos were the biggest tools in a company’s “employee engagement toolbox”. Although business information eventually made it to every ear in the company, it’s dissemination was slow and arduous. Flash forward to today, where information is in your hands micro-seconds after it is made public by company heads, management and team leaders. As a result, companies have been forced to jump into the digital era or risk losing the opportunity to rally their employees and make them feel, not only part of the team, but part of the business family.
When you’re a global company with employees stationed around the world it’s easy to assume employees in one country know little to nothing about employees or happenings in other offices, but at Unitron, it’s quite the opposite. According to their global LinkedIn profile, it’s “a great thing to be a part of a culture that thrives on making the unexpected happen, and where team members’ work together to go the extra mile for customers.” The “company that designs and manufactures really great hearing instruments” has more than 20 offices around the world with their corporate headquarters located in Kitchener, Ontario.
According to Intercom, “The way businesses talk to people online is broken. Intercom is fixing it. Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for sales, marketing & customer service to one platform, helping businesses avoid the stiff, spammy status quo and have real conversations that build real connections.” Intercom describes its platform as “simple, personal, and fun for everyone”, and a growing number of customers obviously agree. According to Alex Konrad, staff writer for venture capital, startups and enterprise tech at Forbes, “Intercom is now adding 600 paid customers and $1 million in new revenue every 10 days.”
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.
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!
Upon embarking on this quest for an organization to represent in this final case study, it was suggested to me that I write about my business Value Vintage Fun (VVF). VVF is a small yet significant business that I have owned and operated in essence since 1991. It all started as a casual dinner comment from a friend visiting from Tokyo who suggested that I sell my collection of Anchor Hocking Fire King coffee mugs from the 1950’s; the Japanese market would be crazy for them, especially in Fire-King Cafes! To that end she connected me with an antique dealer in Tokyo. I used a fax machine as a method of receiving orders. My payments were sent by regular post. I sometimes think back to those days and wonder how social media may have first-handedly impacted the business back then. I have since witnessed many changes in technology and consumer attitudes on items that were once labelled old and dated to now being valued as retro and vintage.