Tag Archives: Toronto

Microsoft Corporation is one of the biggest technological companies in the world. So, when it comes to future development, they are always ahead of the game. Microsoft has integrated social media through the entire company and has even created social media management software systems. When it comes to their company, future development will only keep advancing because of the social media practices that have already been put in place.

Figuring out your content marketing strategy is, like many things, a bit of a dance: You make choreographed choices, pause, look backward, figure, and then move forward with a new set of designed steps, all in the spirit of wowing your audience and reaching the right people. This is certainly the case in figuring if and how social media will find its place in the future marketing strategies of organizations, across most industries. Deciding to ditch or dedicate your time to social media channels depends largely on assessing the successes and failures of its use in the past (and following suit with a similar or wildly different strategy, depending on your research findings). It also depends on your key objectives, goals, and measurable targets. Toronto’s Furniture Bank, a charity and social enterprise bringing gently-used furniture into the homes of people coming out of poverty, sees a hopeful future for social media in its overall marketing scheme in future. With goals to build brand awareness, strengthen relationships with partners over the social sphere, and market its charitable and industry events, the future is bright for social media in the context of this social enterprise. (Below: A personal story distributed on social channels on the impact of Furniture Bank’s work.)

Private and corporate business models have not ignored the wave of the future of marketing: social media. In theory, it is an ideal, magical marketing tool best used for garnering interest, building followers and customers, and monitoring the successes and failures of digital campaigns via an alarming amount of data. These functions continue to make social media central to the contemporary corporate marketing team. But what about the small business, the entrepreneur, or the industry of community services, charity, or social enterprise, where a multi-person marketing team is not in the cards? How might social media as a marketing tool aid a non-profit organization in reaching goals, building donors, and creating buzz with (sometimes) less resources? For the marketing team at Toronto’s Furniture Bank, social media is a key, cost-efficient, and effective tool in the promotion of the organization and meeting its ongoing goals of building brand awareness, growing donors, and strengthening relationships with its sponsors.  (Below: A video giving a glimpse into Furniture Bank‘s daily operations, with a personal touch. The organization has used visual platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in recent years to up its online content game, and give a more defined face to the brand, and how the Furniture Bank “machine” works.)

Building a business starts with a mission, an idea, a desire to bring a product or service to a wanting market. But what if you alone are the product, the marketer, the designer, and the administrator, a one-woman business band? How can you maximize your reach, market yourself, and cultivate your business in an effective, timely way? Luckily, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Google analytics, Twitter) and their measurement systems have provided a relief in this entrepreneurial scenario, giving easy insights into potential target markets, post performance, reach, follower growth, and more. This technological milestone in marketing has allowed small business owners to reach a wider audience, gauge the success or failure of digital campaigns, and have a wide-angle view of potential consumers. The ease and availability of social metrics in these realms have also made it possible for individuals to pursue their areas of interest, making careers out of things they love to do. Nancy Silverman, a Toronto-based yoga instructor and Kombucha expert, did just that.

Papa John’s Pizza has been using social media channels to help educate customers where products and ingredients are coming from, and creating time effective ordering options available on channels. Aside from social channels, the company has also used a collaborative technology solution to help support the efficiency of the supply chain. The company outsourced the supply chain needs to Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company, to help create more time effective and cost saving inventory management. Eric Hartman, Senior Director of Logistics said, “Manhattan solutions allow us to manage inventory levels accurately, efficiently and more dynamically based on actual need—and that has resulted in our being able to reduce overall inventory levels (Manhattan, 2013)”. Using the collaborative software has also provided better solutions to inventory transportation. The software can optimize routes, improving on-time store deliveries, and the overall performance of their fleet (Trebilcock, B., 2014, October). Customer service relies on the speed of the supply chain to help get their products to customers in an effective way that will save time and money.  “Implementation of Manhattan’s solutions has provided unprecedented visibility along with reduced expenses, improved efficiency and productivity in every part of the supply chain (Manhattan, 2013)”. Papa John’s wants to ensure that its “fast food” moves just as quickly throughout every level of the supply chain.

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)”.

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.

Nowadays, social media is part of our daily life. People want to share their everyday experiences with others: they study and work in different cities, they fall in love and relocate to different countries, traveling becomes the normality for leisure and for business, a quiet month in your hometown is an exception. Social media allows us to stay connected with our families and friends; it allows to share our experiences, no matter where we are. Social media also serves as a platform for new opportunities. Businesses advertise new positions and promote their products, employees of the companies re-post and share information with their peers. The best insights for the business of an organization are gained from the inside of that very same organization. Many companies understand this and try to use social media to tap this potential. For global companies with different offices around the world, social media is also an opportunity to connect and engage with current employees. Booking.com is one such international company that uses public Social Media in different ways: it (1) engages with current and future employees by posting the latest news about the company, (2) promotes new positions, (3) engages current employees to share their experiences about the roles, the cities they live and work in, and their experience of relocating to a different country or a new city for a new position, (4) share their passion for traveling.

From a marketing perspective, being able to distinguish your brand in a sea of competition is a difficult challenge. That being said, if you are the brand, this task takes on a much more strategic and personal dynamic. You are putting your personal interpretations and artistic creativity on display in an open forum for all to see. It can be an extremely daunting and vulnerable process. Your success as a artist/business, relies heavily on your ability to tell your story in a way that allows the consumer to relate to you, and your artwork. Such is the challenge for Joanna Gresik, a Canadian abstract artist by night and corporate interior designer by day, living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Joanna creates paintings that are inspired by the energy and life of towns and cities shown through sharp lines, carefully crafted colour palettes and gestural abstract expressionist marks. Joanna has a unique ability to see architecture and landscape through a different lense , and even more impressive is her ability to express those interpretations onto a canvas. With the emergence of social media as a trusted marketing tool for businesses over the last decade or so, it comes as no surprise that these same social media channels now play an important role for small business owners and artists just like Joanna. By providing a platform and a vehicle for messaging, social media marketers can now reach a wider more specific target audience with their products and services. Joanna understands the importance of creating such relationships and quickly determined that these interactions were essential for her growth, not only as an artist, but also as a business person.

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.

Back in 2001, an event changed the landscape, not just locally, but for the entire world. The event in question took place on September 11th, 2001. With all that has gone on since then, Muslims in North America had to bear the brunt of the backlash, the scrutiny and in some cases, violent acts of Islamophobia. Muslims then recognized that there was a problem in their community, such as radicalism that could creep into the younger generations. Also, a lot of the outreach and connection to the public at large, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, was either non-existent, or hasn’t possessed more of an impact. In 2003, Taha Ghayyur – Organizer of Muslimfest – along with his team thought of ways in providing a positive image of his community to the broader public. Over the course of history in such parts such as Turkey, the Middle East and now in China, Islamic Art has caught the eye of the world with the intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns and shapes that make up its artistic canvas. This was the selling point that Taha and his team would use to formulate an idea that has grown to such a level that it is now known worldwide, and has just completed its 13th year in existence. Muslimfest is a community festival held out of Mississauga, Ontario and was designed to bring about the Artistic and Creative features of Islam to everyone with its educational classes, bazaar environment to shop, eat and enjoy the atmosphere for young and old alike. One of the biggest parts of the marketing strategy for Muslimfest was their social media component. Over the years, Muslimfest has welcomed and encompassed new and improved methods of social media and has effectively engaged people young, old, living in the city, outside the city and making it accessible for people all over the world, Muslim and non-Muslim. We sat down with Taha to discuss how his strategies evolved over time and what he may see in the future when it comes to his social media techniques.

After 15 years of toiling in the Market Research industry for major corporations in the Toronto area, Mustafa Khaliq decided that the 9 to 5 grind just wasn’t for him. Rather than looking for another job out in his industry, he did notice (in the mirror of course) that he possessed a gift, and that was the gift of Men’s fashion flare. Usually you can see him walking the streets or sitting in a restaurant in his slim-fit patterned shirts, rocking some neon coloured socks with a set of pastel flavoured glasses adorning his always clean-cut head. With that, a lot of his closest confidantes suggested that he offer his ideas and ‘Muse-like’ creativity to the world of Men. “I’m my own best billboard. Men, generally appreciate looking good, it’s just that, its not a priority.” – Mustafa Khaliq In 2013, Mustafa set up a small consulting business called Style Counsel that helped men acquire the guidance in bringing their clothing game to the next level. With Mustafa’s love of discovering new and chic items that men could incorporate into their wardrobe, the service he was offering started to become popular as did the fashion industry for this particular demographic. The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020, up 14 percent from $29 billion in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. ~ Business of Fashion Offering a consulting service to help men with their shopping needs and fashion sense however, just wasn’t enough for Mustafa. He knew that men – especially ones in fields of professions that required a look of utmost sharpness – just didn’t have the time anymore to shop store to store to gather products and ensure what is right or wrong for them. So in 2014, along with his partner Mike Mossallem, a new idea was born to provide menfolk the products they need packaged up and sent to you directly without all the hassle. Items such as laptop bags, ties, bowties, shirts etc were neatly put into a kit, displayed online and marketed so clients can customize and choose whatever they require. Viktor & Muse being only just a month old really needed to engage their social media prowess to get their marketing engine going and we sat down with the founder of V&M Mustafa Khaliq to get his take on the challenges he has to face in such a tough competitive environment. Marketing in… Read more »

One of the largest segments in the consumer spending industry is the Lifestyle segment. This segment basically focuses on the well-being of an individual and also gives importance to rest, relaxation with modern day flare. It encompasses such things such as art, home decor, fashion, health, education and of course, confectionery. The Modah store located in Mississauga, Ontario however, went further by tapping into a segment…of this segment. Modah focuses on being the largest Canadian lifestyle store catered to the people practicing the Islamic Faith or people who have an affinity towards Middle-Eastern design and flare. According to a report by Thomson Reuters, Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle products and services was estimated at $1.8 trillion (USD) globally in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6tn in 2020. Major brands such as Mango and DKNY have begun to adapt to this audience by introducing more modest clothing ranges, but it has also inspired a raft of new start-ups from within the Muslim community. Just from this stat alone, many businesses are popping up especially in the Greater Toronto Area. The one issue they all face is how and where can they be able to showcase their products and generate sales? Back in 2012, Samir Aziz’s wife, Nafiza, possessed a small home-based business selling women’s clothing. As her success and publicity began to rise in the community, many other people who sold various other products always approached the couple to find ways in marketing their goods as well. From that, Samir & Nafiza had an idea to actually open a brick and mortar store not only selling the women’s clothing they initially ventured into, but also engage other fledgling entrepreneurs to take part by displaying their products to sell. The store needed to be in a prime location where Muslims frequent quite often and finally settled on a 4,500 sq ft unit in 2014 in the Dixie and Eglinton area of Mississauga where numerous other restaurants and various establishments currently reside. Due to the large space, just having their clothing business and one or two other branded products wasn’t enough to alleviate some of the overhead costs. So Samir and Nafiza had an idea and that was to beautify the store space to mimic the stylings of a Pier-1 Imports or a Homesense and invite vendors to be part of a business trade show at their grand opening. The… Read more »

The Halal food industry is a booming industry especially in the Toronto area. The technique of Halal used by Muslims worldwide mirrors the Kosher methods in Judaism whereby Islamic blessings instead, are imparted on the animals right before they are slaughtered. It currently accounts for 16% of the entire global food industry and projected to go up to 20% in the near future according to SGS Solutions Experts. According to SGS, this industry now accounts for CAD $1.87 Trillion in business worldwide on an annual basis with people following the Muslim faith soon expected to represent the largest share of global consumer spending and widespread acceptance of the halal slaughter methods in major grocery chains. In 1971, Ayub Qureshi may have had the foresight of this industry when he brought out one of the first halal meat butcher shops in Toronto on Lawrence Ave called Al-Qureshi Meats. He has since retired, but with growing up around his father’s business and exposure to the retail meat environment at such a young age, son Asim Qureshi has recognized some of the trends of today’s general public and wanted to carry out the family legacy. With this, he and his partner introduced a new line of products that would help families to indulge in the traditional Indian and Pakistani flavoured meats, and at the same time, saving them the long and sometimes arduous process in preparing them. Today’s growing trends moving towards more ethnic dishes due to the high immigrant communities in Toronto, even the demographic that don’t associate themselves with being South Asian are getting on board in the consumption of such spices and delicacies. Time is slowly becoming quite the valuable commodity and so are finances. With people trying to eat more at home and finding ways to avoid eating out at restaurants on a regular basis, Tandoori Oven was the flagship product under One World Foods Asim and his team conjured up to fulfill that particular need. The food has to be fast, Consumers lack the time and the knowledge to develop the flavours at home. You have to balance the authenticity of the traditional flavours, but tone the spice down. It needs to be authentic, but not overpowering. (Asim Qureshi – Toronto Star Oct 12/2012) With an already competitive market, food suppliers that are new to the industry need to find cost effective ways to manage their business and social media has been an effective method. There are many stages of the supply… Read more »

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.

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 »

  While engaging your audience is usually not a bad thing, giving up total control for one of your most prestigious annual events can be. Which is why the NBA is rethinking the process for how All-Star votes are cast.

How VFHT takes care of Liberty Village’s peoples health

Fgo   July 16, 2015
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Organization: Village Family Health Team Industry: Health and Medical Contact: Diana Noel, Executive Director. Web References: VFHT, WellX, GoogleX, MobiHealthNews, Accenture, Klick Liberty Village is a masterfully planned community that blends residential, commercial and retail space in one enclosed neighbourhood. The village has a mixed crowd of young professionals who work in media, high-tech and design businesses. It is also the perfect place… Read more »

Indie88 – giving great social media a home

CBrookbanks   June 3, 2015

  Organization: Indie88 Industry: Radio Web references: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Wikipedia, Linkdin, YouTube, Now Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Brynes Media, New Canadian Music, Company overview Indie88, or CIND-FM, is Toronto’s newest radio station. Privately owned and operated out of a house in Liberty Village, Indie88 is Canada’s first Indie station. After its official launch on September… Read more »

eShish – Social Media Marketing is About More Than Smoke!

Alicia Bedard   March 8, 2015
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Organization name: eShish Canada Industry: Electronic cigarettes Name of contact if available: Lucy Leiderman – Director, Digital Strategy at PILOT PMR Web references: eShish Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Planning, Wikipedia, Huffington Post, PILOT PMR Description of how social media is used for business performance Smoking. Eww. I was born in the late 80s. I grew up in a… Read more »

IDEAL Brake Parts – Breaking The Automotive Industry Status Quo

jeffdbaldwin   October 20, 2014

Title: IDEAL Brake Parts – Breaking The Automotive Industry Status Quo Organization Name: IDEAL Brake Parts Industry: Automotive Parts    Name of Contact: Jason Janssen (General Manager) Who Are They? IDEAL Brake Parts Inc. is a relatively new automotive parts company located in Guelph, Ontario. It was founded only a few years ago as there became a growing demand for auto parts made entirely… Read more »

Triple Bogey Brewing Company: Using Social Media to Engage Employees and Golfers

jeffdbaldwin   October 7, 2014

Organization Name: Triple Bogey Brewing Company Industry: Alcoholic Beverages   Name of Contact: Geoff Tait (CEO) Web References: http://www.triplebogey.com/ Who Are They? Triple Bogey Brewing is a newly established brewing company located in Toronto, ON. Founded in 2012, Triple Bogey currently brews only one beer, a lager that is directly targeted towards golfers. The name stems from a golfing term… Read more »