Adam and Hannie Van Bergeijk were first farmers and cheesemakers in The Netherlands, and purchased their dairy farm just outside New Hamburg, Ontario in 1996, with a dream to return to cheesemaking. They started making Mountainoak Cheese in 2012 when dairy farmers were now permitted to handcraft artisan cheese. On their land, they grow, feed, care for, and milk their herd of over 200 dairy cows. They turn 4,000 litres of high-quality milk into each batch of delicious artisanal Mountainoak cheese, and they try to make cheese 2-3 times each week! In today’s fast-paced world, even farmers need to be on social media. It’s become a key tool for marketing and communicating with customers; social media gives farmers a platform to tell their story to consumers. In Mountainoak Cheese’s case, for showing how the cheese is made, sharing excitement about competitions, and keeping customers informed of their weekly specials and new retail partners where their cheese can be found.
luxe.zen selects quality gemstones, wood and other naturally derived materials to handcraft beautiful jewellery pieces. The goal of these pieces is to enhance a holistic lifestyle integrated with wellness, meditation or spiritual practice. luxe.zen got its start in March 2016 when its principal designer began creating jewellery pieces for herself during an illness. She uses aromatherapy principles and selects gemstones with intention to amplify healing. At the same time, she realized this would empower others with the same goals. When it comes to product development, social media is key for luxe.zen. Watching other designers for trends can get overwhelming, as this market is competitive, so luxe.zen keeps grounded by focusing on its own customers. luxe.zen has a high rating on Etsy with over 15% of its customers leaving reviews. And every customer’s feedback is important in the product development lifecycle; it can be one of the richest sources for new product development ideas.
Magna International Inc. is known as North America’s largest global automotive supplier. Magna’s headquarters are located in Aurora, Ontario. “The Magna’s unique Fair Enterprise culture, based on fairness and concern for people, recognizes that your engagement and commitment is fundamental to our business success.”
If you were to ask someone if they know what Amazon was chances are you wouldn’t just get a ‘yes’ but they have probably purchased something off the site at some point. Amazon is the largest e-commerce company in many parts of the world and they understand the effect of a solid social media strategy. Not having physical stores and selling everything online via social media platforms, apps and their websites they really are experts at what they do. There are over 310 million active Amazon customer accounts worldwide with 90 million being Amazon Prime accounts spending an avgerage of $1300/year. The other 220 million are spending an average of $700/year. These sales have lead Amazon to an annual net ecommerce of goods totaling $52.8 billion in 2017, that is nearly 4x its closest rival Walmart. So how does a company get this big and achieve such great results all online…social media and good marketing!
Social media marketing has become a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes in reaching prospects and new customers. No matter who you are, or what industry you’re in, your customers are already interacting with brands through social media. Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business by creating devoted brand advocates and driving leads and sales. Bottom line: if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you’re missing out!
In today’s current social media climate, older companies sometimes struggle to maintain their relevance if they are not quick to develop and sustain an effective social media marketing strategy. A product like LaCroix, with its 37 year history, proves that old brands can emerge like “brand new” again, through the proper implementation of social media marketing. LaCroix is a brand of natural sparkling water offered in a variety of fruity flavours. Despite its French sounding name, LaCroix is actually an American brand distributed by the Sundance beverage company. Although the label was developed and released nearly 40 years ago in 1981, LaCroix is often mistaken as a new, trend-setting beverage due to its ever increasingly popularity with millennials. However, this affinity between the younger generations and LaCroix did not just happen overnight, nor was it a coincidence. In fact, LaCroix came up with a very specific social media strategy in order to win over its now prominent millennial consumers.
Jennifer Lopez has been a fashion icon for many generations. Her unique style has been consistently used as a “must have” from casual days to re carpets. She decided to finally create her own line to enable all women to have the “jlo glow” look. “We could not have asked for a better partner than Jennifer. She is a true beauty visionary,” says Grzegorz Inglot, Vice President of US Operations for Inglot. “In addition to having great style, Jennifer is also quite a beauty expert herself. After years of working with the best in the business, she has unique insight into what women want as well as which products are necessary to create that beautiful glow that she made famous.” The most impressive part is that Jennifer has partnered to sell her line entirely online with Inglot. she has been so brilliant in her ability to connect with all her fans and to use her fame to reach a massive base of potential customers.
FabFitFun was founded in 2010, has approximately 50 employees and is based out of Los Angeles, California. FabFitFun is a lifestyle brand inspiring women to lead a happier, healthier life. The company sends a monthly selection of curated, full-size products across lifestyle categories including beauty, health, fitness, technology, and home. Members can go online and choose to sign up for one box or the subscription which gets them a box every season; four times a year in March, June, September and December. FabFitFun has shipped millions of boxes to women across the US and Canada and also offers online content about various products including tutorials. Being a subscription you sign up for there is no physical store, everything is done online and because of social media being so prominent in today’s society companies like this are thriving.
Reworked by Regis is a custom home decor and refurbishment artisan based out of Edmonton, AB. Regis Mahoney, the artist behind Reworked by Regis, takes discarded furniture and restores, redesigns, and rehomes it. Customers can commission custom projects through Regis, or can purchase items she has already made at local markets or through Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy.
Airbnb is a US based company that operates an online marketplace that allows people to lease or rent short term lodging place at an affordable price. The dwellings range from holiday cottages, hotel rooms and hostel beds to home stays and apartments. The company doesn’t own any real estate, rather it earns by charging a service fee in return for providing this online platform where customers can connect with the hosts. The company has nearly 5 million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191+ countries and has 300 million+ guest arrivals at all time. Airbnb had a difficult end to year 2013 because of a trademark infringement lawsuit from a competitor. However, they came back with another marketing campaign that embedded the concept of user generated content within a contest to create excitement about the brand.
In recent years, the ways in which customers behave and interact with organizations has changed significantly. Social media has led to greater competition and weaker brand loyalty, where organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to control their messages. Consumers now have a stronger presence in the market, and organizations are tapping into these changes to increase customer engagement. This is why customer engagement via social media marketing is so important to a company’s bottom line.
Would you have thought for a moment that you could use an integrated social media strategy to promote local food? It is possible and the Taste of Huron (TOH) program is doing just that. Taste of Huron is a program that has been around for over 10 years. It has encountered it’s up and downs over the years, but not because of lack of interest. It is more about lack of funding and lack staff resources to dedicate to program development and administration. The program started out being managed by Huron Tourism Association (HTA) and Huron County Economic Development. Over the years the program has made some remarkable gains in the marketplace. The lack of resources and the closure of the Huron Tourism Association could have been the death of the program, but thankfully with the insight of the Huron Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) and the final board of HTA, the Taste of Huron program was not to fall through the cracks and be forgotten. “It’s not surprising that Community Futures Huron continues to invest in our local food system. It’s one of the fastest growing components of the Huron County economy, with great prospects for business and job growth”. – Paul Nichol General Manager Community Futures Huron Taste Of Huron was resurrected in 2017 through government grants and the sheer desire to make the program work. You might ask yourself why not let it end with a painless death; the simple truth is there is too much to lose. Huron County is one of the most agricultural productive counties in Ontario. The work that has been done in the past has proven that with the proper social media tactics and a strong, event-driven, marketing plan, the brand can prosper and grow.
I don’t know about you, but I do know that I can’t tell the future of anything, let alone social media. Trust me on this one, if I could, I would be super wealthy and be way more advanced. Unfortunately that isn’t the way it is, so your best chance with knowing the future of social media is to search and investigate new products on the market. After I did a lot of searching to determine what I would write about this week, I decided to go with the company that I believe has been a pioneer in e-marketing since the beginning. Constant Contact is an email-marketing program that helps small businesses succeed and excel in the online world. Back in the day when email programs were only used to view emails from friends, the people at Constant Contact knew there could be so much more to it. Constant Contact was founded as “Roving Software” in 1995 and set up shop in Brookline, Massachusetts. Randy Parker was the brains behind this very valuable marketing tool that helps small businesses succeed against the large businesses out there.
Is social media marketing a good fit for promoting your business? Do you understand and know the benefits of being able to market your business through the use of social media marketing? A few weeks ago I spoke about the Stratford Festival on how they engaged with their customers and how they reach out through their social media. For this blog post, I’m going to stay with the theatre but on a much smaller spectrum. The Livery is a small, non-profit community theatre in Goderich, Ontario. It is operated by a Board of Directors and has one staff member. The Livery was built in 1840’s as a harness shop by Samuel Seegmuller. In 1878, there were three businesses in the building, which included a harness shop, a stable and a stone shop. When automobiles were introduced, the three businesses failed to be stainable and the Livery was left vacant for many years. In 1978 the building was being slated for demolition, but the Town of Goderich realized its historical importance and delayed the demolition schedule until private citizens could raise enough money to purchase the building. The Livery was purchased by the citizens and was known as the Goderich Arts Foundation. Many years later, in 1983, a non-profit organization called the Goderich Little Theatre purchased the theatre and opened the Livery as a community arts centre.
Being responsible for product launching for a Global company I have seen first hand over the years how important it is for attendee engagement. In the past we measured success of a corporate event by the number of attendees along with feedback from a post conference survey. Today attendee engagement is measured at every contact point from registration, pre-conference event, and conference day and post conference and experiential is critical in ensuring an engaged attendee.
When you have the warmth of a beautiful day, the soft sand between your toes and the stunning shores of Lake Huron, you have the perfect location and attraction to promote tourism. There is nothing better than walking on the boardwalk in Goderich, enjoying the beauty of the marina in Bayfield, touring around local food producers purchasing fresh Ontario grown food, eating at the amazing restaurants, and enjoying all the craft breweries and wineries that are scattered around Ontario’s West Coast. The Ontario’s West Coast (OWC) tourism brand represents Huron County, along the shore of Lake Huron. The County of Huron has a population of 60,000, which soars to 800,000 in the summer months. Beautiful cottages, B&B’s, motels, hotels and campgrounds are spread throughout the shores of the West Coast. Luckily for Ontario’s West Coast they knew enough to engage in social media and add metrics to their programming and promotion of tourism many years ago. If they weren’t using social media and tracking their metrics, they would be walking blind through the process of tourism. Huron County is home to approximately 60,000 people and a visitor destination to approximately 800,000 people a year.1 SOURCE: The County Planning and Development Department, “County of Huron Annual Tourism Report” (May 2012), 4.
You would think that creating a proper Supply Chain that benefits Creative Casuals customers, would have been an easy task to do, but it took many long years to create what is a very well run efficient company. Creative Casuals is a promotional marketing company who has grown from a single person cottage industry to a mid size company with many employees, an embroidery and screen-printing department and three locations. The main office and production warehouse is in Listowel On, with sales offices in Kincardine and Stratford. Mari-Lou Lowry Started Creative Casuals after graduating from design school. She knew she wanted to start a viable business that could withstand the test of time. The company needed to be vibrant and grow with the ever-changing environment of technology today. 29 years ago when it all started there were no computers, no fancy communication tools except a telephone and fax, but that never stopped Creative Casuals from exploring everything they needed to become a multi functional promotional company. Mari-Lou knew she would need to diversify with percentages of accounts in corporate sales, team and school sales, and also contract wholesale embroidery and screen-printing. Mari-Lou was aware to not to put all her eggs in one basket in case the market trends changed. As we all know one of the first things to disappear off a tight business budget is promotional marketing products. Creative Casuals realized they needed to look at the supply chain management carefully to succeed.
Whether you feel the draw of healing products or the distinct feeling of energy when encountering healing stones there is no denying that there is a market for these products. Has this product and belief exploded in the last number of years? Has the power and feeling of stress and anxiety from a world that goes 200 kms an hour caused people to stop and explore other ways to find peace within themselves? Yes it has! Society as a whole has become so unconnected and connected since ironically, social media has taken over our lives. Mentally and spiritually people are realizing that you have to take a step back and find peace within ourselves to be able to continue on with our crazy busy lives.
It is hard to believe that purchasing razor blades would include a little comic relief but that is exactly what you get when you subscribe to the Dollar Shave Club. My husband, a member since 2014 signed up for The Dollar Shave Club (DSC) after seeing a video shared on Facebook. The Los Angeles-based startup launched in 2011 with the goal idea to steal market share from razor powerhouse, Gillette. Founder & CEO Michael Dubin promised a better price point: for $3 a month, no contracts and no hidden fees, DSC sends you a high quality razor. He created a crude and goofy viral video to support the launch. Fast forward to 2018 and that that video has been viewed over 25 million times, and DSC has grown to include 1.1 million subscribers, a whopping $615 million valuation in 2015, and most recently a $1 Billion all-cash acquisition by Unilever. DSC is a young, smart, stylish, yet playful brand. When you join the club, you’re not just signing on for low-cost razors and blades, you’re investing in the monthly “delight” that comes along with it. As a member, you get in on the joke and belong to an exclusive community that no other brand offers. If your brand can give someone an experience unlike any other; something they can share on Instagram, or mention to their coworkers or friends, they will be that much more pleased (and loyal) in the long run.
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.
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.
With well-represented brands like Axe, Dove, and Ben and Jerry’s, each of which has a strong online following, Unilever has proven itself to be a social media veteran. With so many strong sub-brands residing under the Unilever umbrella, a certain level of consistency and organization is necessary to maintain order, eliminate waste, and create a cohesive vision. Unilever uses social media for a variety of purposes across the entire organization to support several important functions.
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.
Ten trees planted for every item purchased seems like an unobtainable goal selling clothes, but Tentree has made it their mission. At Tentree, their goal is to become the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet. They don’t want to just reduce the negative impact of the apparel industry, they want to use it as a vehicle for change. Their purpose is to revitalize our environment and inspire a generation to believe that they can do the same. Their current goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2030. (Tentree.com, 2017) TenTree’s a socially oriented company, that is already on track to have over 17 million trees planted by the end of 2017. This significant achievement showcases the level of success that the company’s current high-cost business model enjoys. As a start-up business that is already making profits in the early stages of its life, TenTree’s is a great example of social entrepreneurs that employed a premium differentiation strategy and succeeded. In addition to this, TenTree’s has accomplished putting their products onto the shelves of 300 Canadian stores; doing so indicates the level of demand for their product in the market despite the high pricing. A last example of this is the company’s ability to garner strong internet sales; proving their marketing strategy’s impact in action is a force that can be relied on throughout its future. (Ho, 2017)