The Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario is the king of customer engagement! When you think of the people that flock to Stratford every year to see the theatre it is amazing. Stratford Ontario has a population of 32,000 people, but in the summer that number will swell to almost a three quarters of a million people, why you ask? The Stratford Festival of course! Tom Patterson first built the Stratford Festival in October 31,1952. Mr. Patterson saw a need to revitalize the city of Stratford after acknowledging the loss of the steam powered railway. The city of Stratford was facing a horrible ending unless something happened to keep it alive. Mr. Patterson also was an avid theatre goer who cherished Shakespearean plays. Since Stratford had the name of the birthplace of William Shakespeare, it made sense to open a Stratford Festival Theatre in Stratford Ontario. The first performance of Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well took place in July 1953 and the Stratford Festival was born!
Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain that features Tex-Mex-style cuisine. The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and is currently owned and operated by Brinker International. It wasn’t long ago that the words used to describe Chili’s was “It’s a place I remember my mom and dad taking me as a kid. There’s no growth and development around the company, and I never hear any buzz surrounding it.” Those were the words that Chili’s Director of Workplace Community Chris Ebbeler heard after surveying employees of other restaurants. They polled the audience to understand how Chili’s Grill & Bar brand was perceived by restaurant workers and whether they’d even consider working for the restaurant. In short, the responses left him and other members of the Chili’s brass disappointed. The company listened to those concerns as well as concerns from their own team members and made the crucial decision to turn their organization around and transform the old-school perception into something powerful, modern and attractive to the next generation workforce.
AdHawk Microsystems Inc. is a startup company based in Kitchener, Ontario Canada. The company grew out of a research lab at the University of Waterloo in 2015. The 7 co-founders, all from different engineering specializations, came together to create eye and gesture tracking technology. The eye tracker is really an awe-inspiring masterpiece because it does not depend on a camera and it even captures involuntary eye movements, possibly revealing one’s intent. The features of this technology could create new opportunities in Medical diagnostics, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Analysing Wearable Data. Since its emergence after its ‘Series A funding’ in 2017, AdHawk has focused primarily on their eye tracking technology. The company has raised US $4.6 million in funding in less than two years. One could say they are well on track to have a great 2018! Watch their video below to see the technology!
A great way to generate successful employee involvement and motivation is to promote everything employees love. Most employees love their water cooler talk and that is why UPI Energy FS created an online platform for employees to communicate daily, from different cities, offices, cubicles and even their homes.
Is it really necessary in 2018 to teach your staff and colleagues to be more socially engaged in social media? The quick answer is yes it is necessary, but it can also be risky at times. Social media is one of the strongest most powerful tools we have at our fingertips. It is the way that we now do business. 20 years ago it was mostly being used as an internal tool and many didn’t dream that it would become a part of everyday life for business in general.
Companies have long used social media technology such as Facebook and Twitter to reach more customers – but how are businesses using it internally? While business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are using social media to communicate with customers, less is said of the trend in businesses to use social media platforms to improve internal collaboration. In a technologically savvy company like Nokia, it’s no surprise that they’ve been successfully implementing social media into their internal communications. The company’s motto is connecting people and exploring ways to enhance communication. Nokia’s Social Media Communications team was established in early 2008 with the aim of improving inter-company communications and engaging employees. The objective of the Nokia Social Media Communications team is to: encourage the use of social media internally to bring out the company’s unique authentic voice and to engage in social media externally on behalf of Nokia, and contributing to product and service announcements by opening up a dialogue and driving online engagement. “What is the first thing that Nokia manufactured? Rubber boots.” “When did Nokia sell their billionth mobile phone? 2005 in Kenya.” These are just some of the facts that every Nokia employee knows – not just interesting trivia, but history, facts about where Nokia comes from and where it’s going as a brand. This is one of the things that unifies Nokia as a brand.
This blog post looks at whole enterprise social media – aka social media integrated throughout the entirety of an organization. I couldn’t think of anyone else than award-winning beauty blogger cross-cultural, cross-platform star: the 34-year-old is a millennial who instinctively knows what kind of content works on every platform, Huda Kattan. Huda Beauty is very similar to established brands such as Urban Decay and Anastasia Beverly Hills – in the sense that they all found popularity on social media. The makeup guru, who pretty much created the definition of a beauty influencer, has been on the scene since the start of her YouTube channel in 2007. It takes about two seconds of watching Huda Kattan on YouTube to understand her appeal — and watch how the beauty blogger-turned-YouTube turned Instagram star leveraged her influencer status to become one of today’s biggest online beauty sensations. #EmpireInTheMaking
Toronto’s Furniture Bank is in the business of doing good. As a social enterprise dedicated to providing gently-used furniture to women, children, refugees, and those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty, Furniture Bank has grown steadily since its inception. Over time, it has rallied a series of sponsors, donors, social agencies, and other partners to provide thousands of families in need with dignified furniture in the Greater Toronto Area. And most of this has been accomplished through marketing and outreach strategies outside the realm of social media. But as more people turn to social media and online publishers for their news, and overall exposure to products, trends, and “ways of giving”, over the past year the organization has begun to weave social media into its overall marketing strategies, particularly by creating an online-only silent auction and ramping up its social posts to promote its annual fundraiser, the Chair Affair. The incredible impact of this small change (surpassing previous fundraising targets, growing followers, and increasing brand awareness by leaps and bounds online) has set a course for the organization to follow suit with a more dedicated online strategy. With its goals of growing the organization to a national level, and reaching record-breaking fundraising targets in order to serve the most families it can, it is clear that social media lends itself very well as a marketing tool, not only in relationship to its future events, but for the organization as a whole. Below: Executive Director Dan Kershaw discusses Furniture Bank’s mission and functions.
You’ve likely heard the phrase “Internet of Things” — or IoT — at some point, and you might also be scratching your head figuring out what it is or what it means. IoT – the current ‘buzz’ term for connected or ‘smart’ devices, refers to rapidly growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. The IoT is connecting more devices every day, we’re headed for a world that will have 24 billion IoT devices by 2020. According to a recent report from Gartner, Inc., the number of connected IoT devices is forecast to reach 8.4 billion by the end of 2017 – up 31 percent from 2016. Here are some examples: Wearables (Fitbit) – that sends data on your daily activity to online servers, which could then be viewed on your smartphone. Smart Home (Amazon Alexa) – that learn and adapt to your lifestyle, adjusting temperatures in the home for comfort or energy efficiency. Smart TV (Samsung) – that can stream music, videos or photos from online services or other computers in the home. It can also interact with other smart devices, for example, displaying content from baby monitors and security cameras. So chances are, if your using any of these connected devices, you’re already involved with the ‘Internet of Things.’ These devices show how IoT can add convenience to our lives, and ultimately offer us more control over the things we interact with every day. How IoT devices work – Connected devices typically connect to the Internet through a home Wi-Fi network and router. These connected devices can sometimes talk to other related devices on the same home network and act on the information they get from one another. People can interact with the connected devices to set them up, give them instructions or access data, but the devices do most of the work on their own. All of this is made possible by tiny, embedded mobile components that allow almost anything to become ‘connected’. They rely on the always-online nature of our home and business networks, and often process data online via cloud-based software where huge amounts of data from many different users can be analyzed together. Internet of Things devices have an extremely broad range of applications across almost all industries, other benefits across a range of areas include: Engineering – An IoT device in an engineering plant can alert maintenance personnel to an… Read more »
Data collection and artificial intelligence can be very disconcerting to social media users. Regardless of how consumers feel about the common availability of their personal information, it is often unavoidable when one chooses to participate in online activity. There are many well-know negative impacts of the publication of personal information; however, there is an almost endless list of positives available to consumers when their information is made available to technology. Google’s ability to reroute drivers proactively in the case of an upcoming incident helps drivers get from A to B as quickly as possible. how does it work? It relies on Google’s ability to monitor the location, speed, and direction of travel of almost all drivers, anywhere in North America, by tracking drivers’ cell phones in a passive, undetectable manor. This is a great example of how personal information being made public, and it’s combination with powerful artificial intelligence software networks, can provide major benefits to those who can tolerate the risk.
Social Media Marketing has changed , more so then ever consumers are only communicating through facebook. Today Facebook is one of the fastest growing, most well known, most trusted, and most valuable companies in the world. Its only rivals may be Apple and Google. .there are only 24 hours in a day, and the average person sleeps for 8.8 of them. That means more than one-sixteenth of the average user’s waking time is spent on Facebook. – New York Times
Prior to Social Media one of the earliest types of advertising was through word of mouth followed by engraving or drawing images on a cave wall, those images told a story, and promoted ideas. Early printing in the 15th (1401 to 1500) and 16th (1501 to 1600) centuries created a mark in advertising and companies were able to reach a wider audience. In the 18th (1701 to 1800) and 19th (1801 to 1900) centuries advertising was expanded to newspapers. One of the first advertising agencies was set-up in Philadelphia in 1842 by Volney Palmer, the agency acted as a broker for newspaper space and later on they became a full service by offering ad-placement services and a full production that organized advertising by a target market and population. In the 20th (1901 to 2000) century the radio was born and was part of a new era on advertising it offered a complete new way of reaching potential audiences. Followed by television which introduced a new type of advertising that was more visual than the previous advertising methods, by the end of the 20th century the internet was introduced to the masses and it became a valuable communication tool for businesses to advertise in a complete different way. According to Visually technology and the use of Social Media and Internet has accelerated the pace in which people are able to connect, be engaged and be informed. Below is a list of the time frame it took for various modes of communication to reach 50 million users. Telephone: 75 years Radio: 38 years Television : 13 years Internet: 4 years Facebook: 3.5 years IPOD: 3 years Angry Birds Space app: 35 days Many organizations still depend on word of mouth as the main form of communication mostly used in marketing and advertising initiatives. These companies are considered to be in the stone ages as compared to organizations that are using Social Media in a big way. A good example of a company that is using Social Media very well is FIFA. FIFA was taken by surprise in the last World Cup in Brazil when 1 billion people attended FIFA’s Global Stadium, according to the current Deputy Head of FIFA Digital. Senior Manager – Social Media & Video, Alex Stone they began evaluating the data collected from the 2014 World Cup in 2015. Based on the 2014… Read more »
Domino’s is one of the largest pizza delivery chains in North America. After having success with their “tweet-to-eat” campaign, the company has created a way to have pizza anywhere and anytime. Domino’s Anyware ordering system now lets customers order a pizza through any app as quickly as humanly and technologically possible (Perez, S. (2016, April).With the new integrated system, customers can order through Google Home, Amazon Alexa, office chat app Slack, Facebook Messenger, text, in-car systems, smart TVs, smart watch, Tweet, voice, or Domino’s proproetary Zero Click app. And if that weren’t enough already, Domino’s also promises more avenues for ordering in the future (Haar, J. (2017, November). The ordering system is a great innovation system that creates customer engagement and gives the availability for sales at anytime and anyplace.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all free platforms in which business’ can promote themselves and engage with your audiences. Especially if your audiences is part of the millennials. Poo~Pourri, the brand that has designed a spray to eliminate odor while doing your business, and aims to target woman mid 20s to late 50’s and has managed create buzz with thier hilirous videos and get heads turning with its first ever social media marketing campaign “Girls Don’t Poop”. Poo_Pourri knows they’re target audience is a large portion of the millennial generation those born between the early 80s and early 2000s, Millennials live life online. Also known as Generation Y or Generation Me, this is a group that has become defined by the digital world and has prompted the huge cultural shift towards capturing every moment on camera phones. Poo-Pourri social media objectives where ; Create Media Buzz Gain Users Trust Build Brand Loyalty
HubSpot is a developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales. It was founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006 HubSpot offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer success, with a completely free CRM at its core. They’re powerful alone — but even better when used together (hubspot.com)
Media. Monitoring. No one understands the utility of social media in the development of products better than than those in the thick of the media monitoring industry, the champions of multiple products which, like digital butterfly nets, capture curated data from the far corners of the online world, with the aims to organize, analyze, and report on that data in an impactful way. In effect, social media research in this industry IS the product. In Canada, a competitive set of top industry players, such as Cision Canada, have made the monitoring, organizing, and analysis of traditional and social data their full-time business by developing digital media monitoring/analysis platforms and bringing them to market. And, given the nearly daily shifts in digital technologies and modes of communication, pushing out new user-friendly, contemporary communications products for clients (mostly those in PR, marketing, advertising, and communications across an expansive list of industries), and meeting the demands of the market in a timely and effective way, are vital in staying relevant to the needs of the communications and PR professionals who’s primary need is to keep their fingers on the pulse.
Social supply Chain management is becoming more of a success tool. It seeks to incorporate social network, social interactions and social data with customers, stateholders and business owners in resulting in an improved customer service. In most supply chains, the following factors are important; Cost Quality Speed
Xero is beautiful accounting software. Founded in 2006 by Rod Drury, Xero is a leading international cloud based accounting software company focused on the needs of small businesses. “It always upset me that big, financial software was so hard to actually extract information from,” he said. “We began to see what was happening in the consumer web—that you could start to build these really neat, engaging web applications and not have to install software. Yet we weren’t seeing that innovation happen in small business. So to me, there was a very obvious opportunity.” Rod Drury, Founder & CEO at Xero, quoted in “How Rod Drury Built Xero From A ‘Small Set Of Rocks In The South Pacific’ Into A Global Player” With a passion for accounting and technology, what product could be developed to help small business owners with accounting? In order to answer this question, according to an article on forbes.com, Drury followed a few hundred small business owners around. “We realized they would all kind of do the same thing: go to the office in the morning and click on the Windows XP computer,” he said. “They knew it would take five minutes to boot up, so they go and pour themselves a coffee. Then they’d get back to their desk, start drinking coffee, read the sports scores, and the first business thing they did in the morning was to go to the Internet banking. And we asked, ‘Well, why do you do that?’ Because they wanna see who paid them overnight so they could see what cash they had and what bills they can pay. And cash is the lifeblood of small business.” Rod Drury, Founder & CEO at Xero, quoted in “How Rod Drury Built Xero From A ‘Small Set Of Rocks In The South Pacific’ Into A Global Player”
Are you on board with the food revolution? A growing awareness is spreading and the demand for plant based meal options is growing. Studies confirm the link between eating animals, especially processed meat, and the link to cancer and health conditions such as diabetes. Environmental impacts of a meat based diet have been demonstrated, and the ethics behind factory farming are being scrutinized. People are reading labels and choosing organic, non-GMO and local ingredients more often. Copper Branch, a quick serve plant based restaurant, is fulfilling the gap in the food industry and is well timed with this growing lifestyle to ride the wave of popularity and expand across Canada and internationally with their brand. Social media has played a major role in Copper Branch’s business development and continues to help them evolve and tailor menu items to their customers. Copper Branch opened its first location in Montreal Canada, and has since grown to twelve locations across Quebec and Ontario. By the end of 2017, fifteen locations will be in operation. The first launch outside of Canada will be in the city of Boston, USA. Copper Branch operates under the franchise model, for any curious investors who may be reading this. I was lucky enough to speak with Andrew Infantino, Director of Marketing, who has been with Copper Branch since the early planning stages. During the initial planning and research phase in developing the concept of Copper Branch, Andrew transitioned over to a vegetarian diet. He could no longer ignore the link to diet and health and he states he will never go back to his flesh eating ways. In his own words Andrew states: To work at Copper Branch it is not a requisite to be vegan per say, because again our mission is more health focused. But I’d say the majority of our team at the very least is very much inspired by the plant based movement and have incorporated a lot more into their diet or have even transitioned into a vegetarian or vegan diet… And so for myself. It has been a journey or stance that I have taken, have held and I think I will hold for the rest of my life. The founder of Copper Branch is Andrew’s father Rio Infantino. Rio has an extensive 22 year history of work in the fast food industry. He was a multi unit franchise owner before he liquidated… Read more »
After being listed as number five on Fast Company’s Most innovated social media company of 2017, Taco Bell is making a way for itself by focusing on the customers for product development and research. To reach customers in a more personal sense, Taco Bell has been using social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to review customers complaints, ideas, and creativity. “Instead of sitting behind glass and listening to a focus group, we now have access to 20 million consumers and can be inspired by them and connect with them and have real relationships with them (Lacy, L. (2016, November)”.
Social media (as its name suggests) seems to function best for customer engagement when companies bypass the impersonal and take the customer firmly by the (digital) hand. This courting is difficult to do, yet Lay’s Canada (a PepsiCo company), a brand which largely relies on *actual* consumer consumption of their products, recognized that giving the customer agency, or the feeling of ‘a say’ in the design or production of a product is a highly effective, person-to-person way of engaging consumers, relying on them to buy Lay’s products with the subtle feeling that they have had a personal investment or stake in the brand. As a marketing tool, this kind of consumer-business enmeshment is prime territory for social media, which functions largely (and hopefully successfully) as a means of engagement. By researching a consumer’s stake in the product offering, companies like Lay’s assess which viral topics or trends are meaningful to their customers, and follow suit with an effectively-designed interactive digital campaign to increase daily or ongoing engagement with the public. And the outcome of this kind of campaign can be unprecedented.
Were you aware that a small staff of six are working to save the lives of LGBTQI people all over the world? As the name Rainbow Railroad implies they work to discreetly move people out of dangerous circumstances into safe houses, and often on to a safe haven in a new country. Their name is intended to pay homage to the Underground Railroad that began in the 1780s. In April of this year, the abduction, detentions, torture and deaths of 200 plus LGBTQI Chechens were documented by the media. What you may not realize is that this is a global problem. Homosexuality is illegal in over 70 countries, several of which impose a death sentence. Living in a country where homosexuality has been decriminalized does not guarantee one’s safety. Rainbow Railroad has grown to a team of six employees (five in Canada, and one in the United States) and obtained charitable status in 2013. The inspiration to begin Rainbow Railroad came from a homeless Palestinian youth during World Pride in Tel Aviv in 2006. Supported by an active board of directors and countless volunteers, this organization has assisted more than 300 individuals to date.
While Wendy’s might normally be known for their famous sides – fries, chilli, baked potato, salad and the original frosty – their side of sassy social media responses brought them into 2017 as one of the hottest brands on Twitter. Earlier in the year, the fast food chain responded to media requests affirming that their social media accounts had not, in fact, been hacked. This after a series of responses coming from the official Wendy’s Twitter account to followers who engaged with the company on social media.
As one of the biggest international beauty stores, Sephora has managed to surpass retailers by increasing the number of engaged online and instore customers. After winning the 2017 The World Retail Congress’s International Retailer of the Year, the company has been able to enhance the in-store retail experience by letting customers take the in-store experience home with them. “Sephora has more than 20 million customers that shop and interact with the brand with thousands of products and 100 brand partners who bring these products to life (Forte, D. (2017)”. Now all of these customers have the ultimate online shopping experience.
Ontario Soccer is one of the oldest sports organizations in Canada founded in 1901 with over 500,000 registered participants. Ontario Soccer provides leadership, advancement and development opportunities for players, coaches, and other stakeholders. Ontario Soccer is a member of Canada Soccer and is a member of FIFA the world governing body of soccer. Ontario Soccer has 21 district offices and several associate members within regional and provincial leagues. The Ontario Soccer headquarters is located in Vaughan Ontario, with indoor and outdoor soccer facilities. From my experience many years ago customer engagement with soccer associations including Ontario Soccer was done mainly through face to face encounters, with prospect members/customers this included players, coaches, match officials, and soccer clubs. Customer Engagement was done primarily through meetings, distribution of flyers, and events such as soccer tournaments. Presently customer engagement has changed drastically with the use of Social Media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Additionally the Manager of Communications at Ontario Soccer reported they also use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Meltwater.