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The adage “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” isn’t always necessarily true with respect to a company’s product development/design. Sometimes, it can be “what’s on the outside” (the packaging) that really “counts” when it comes to a consumer choosing which brand to buy. One company that proves looks really DO matter is Orbit, the makers of a sugar-free chewing gum. Through their Spotlight Series Campaign, customers were invited to submit their own original designs for packaging of the brand. Moreover, this campaign is not the only time the company has stressed the importance of “stylish” brand packaging. In fact, it is a key aspect of Orbit’s product development. Take this Orbit gum commercial as an example.

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.

DoTERRA is a company that is known for selling essential oils and other related products. The company was founded in 2008 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, United States. The name doTERRA comes from a Latin derivative meaning “Gift of the Earth”. DoTERRA is a multi-level marketing company that involves direct marketing and referrals. Multi-level marketing is directed at individuals to sell and promote the brand instead of the company only using mass marketing. These individuals are called “Wellness Advocates” that work for doTERRA and usually use the products as any other customer.

MoonPie, the chocolate marshmallow treat that has been satisfying Americans for over 100 years has seen a shocking renaissance as of late. Never known as a particularly hip brand, the snack cake manufacturer has been a well-known property — particularly in the Southern United States — but has never particularly ubiquitous in the way that other snack cake, like Twinkies, have been. After a century of inoffensive marketing, the company decided to hand over the reins of their social media properties The Tombras Group, who in turn decided that the best marketing strategy for the company was to take on a new edgy tone that was more conversational and fun. It turns out, the strategy was exactly the right one.

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.

Nestled in Waterloo’s tech park, surrounded by beautiful nature lies one of Canada’s biggest software companies – opentext. It  started with three University students in 1991 – and has now transformed into a multibillion $ corporation with offices worldwide. It is no surprise that opentext, a company driven by commitment to technological innovations, jumped on the social media train right after the invention of Facebook in 2004. And with the growing access to WIFI and social networking services, the social media landscape of opentext just became broader. A massive website, accounts with Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest – you name it, the company surely has a presence. None of those accounts created millions of followers, but considering that the social media approach is specifically about enterprise information and content management, opentext is doing quite well to get their message out. When the company discovered the power of social media for promoting their services and products to the world, it didn’t take long to find out that it can also be used to motivate and engage employees. With the goal to make it as easy as possible to connect with team members, who potentially work in three different countries across the globe and need to solve problems quickly, even when one just started his day when it’s almost bedtime for the other, opentext encouraged employees to use traditional social media outlets before implementing internal equivalents.   While opentext’s social media team conveys the company’s messages to external audiences, the corporate employee communicators look after the internal audience. This includes writing emails to announce company news, employee stories and the management of the company’s Intranet, internal blogs and of course, social media channels.

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.

With over 3000 Americans dying each year from food borne diseases and 128, 000 being hospitalized,  keeping the fresh food supply safe is an enormous challenge. Verizon Enterprise has taken the initiative to bring light to the issue of food safety, as well as the current technical and process challenges that continue to impact humans and our fresh food supply. The issue is so large, that to put it in pure economic terms, the USDA estimates the amount of food loss in the U.S. alone each year totals more than $161B.  And the industry simply accepts these losses as the cost of doing business. Verizon became involved in sensor and tracking technology a couple of years ago when they sat down with healthcare customer and asked them how they could help them be more efficient and effective with their business. They started to hear recurring themes in the pharmaceutical space about needing to be able to track in real time shipments of medicines that are compliant with the federal government regulations. They wanted to know the progress, the location, the temperature and a variety of other information that is required as they ship product around the US. They realized they were uniquely positioned to get involved with asset tracking in a bigger way. The soon translated these learnings from Pharma to food by talking to fisherman who were losing money because so many different people were involved with the farm-to-fork delivery of their product. Food quality is important, but if something happens to the fish during transit, the fishermen get blamed. Fishermen were looking for ways to protect the quality of what they deliver. Verizon understands the importance of tracking the temperature of fish from its catch to either the restaurant or retailer. Temperature control of fresh seafood (or any other perishable) is critically important for food safety. In fact, researchers have found that one of the largest challenges associated with food safety and food waste is related to controlling and monitoring the consistency of food temperatures throughout the cold chain.

IKEA has a reputation of creating functional, modern, quality and affordable products. Products offered are available for any part of a home from bathroom, living room, bed room to kitchen and more. They not only offer furniture but they also offer accessories to compliment any room in any home. IKEA is a Swedish-founded Dutch-based company that has 355 in 29 countries. The popular furniture store has a vision “to create a better everyday like for the many people”. Some of the key factors that contribute to IKEA’s successful supply management is their affordability, quality and availability.

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.

When describing FreshBooks, CEO, Mike McDerment, refers to them as the “leader in online invoicing. What we do is help professionals and their contractors save time, look professional and get paid faster when they invoice their clients and each other. “ Not exactly a business model one would normally associate with a fresh (no pun intended) and ingratiating online presence — but the team at FreshBooks have managed to find a way to connect with customers through social media in a deep (and some would say, near-legendary) way.

What do you get when you mix a burger promotion and Valentine’s Day? You get a “Bling Mac”. What are the first two things that come to mind when you think Valentine’s Day? Would it be food and jewellery? Movies and flowers? In most cases, the trend on Valentine’s Day involves food and jewellery. http://bit.ly/2EjKxrw. This year McDonald’s has decided to stay on top of consumers’ minds during Valentine’s Day.

Company Overview The Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo opens its classroom doors beyond lecture halls to elementary and secondary schoolrooms in the community at large. Through contests, face-to-face workshops, nonprofit school visits, and providing online resources, the Faculty of Mathematics extends their educational doors through the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC). The CEMC is a community outreach organization that aims to increase interest, enjoyment, confidence, and proficiency in mathematics and computer science education among students and teachers within Canada and internationally. To obtain more information about their outreach activities, please follow the links provided in each section: Contests Workshops & School Visits Online Resources MMT Program In addition to outreach activities, the CEMC also offers a Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT) program. The MMT is designed to provide current grade school teachers of mathematics with an opportunity to expand their knowledge base and to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics underlying the content that they teach students in the classroom. The program is unique, in that it focuses on the applications of mathematics – not on pedagogy – and is offered part-time, as well as online. The majority of the Centre’s customers are teachers. This program is a way of building new relationships with new teachers, who enroll into the program. It’s a way to tap into new networks and the program even finds that many of the teachers blog or tweet and retweet about the Centre.

The Beatles knew it all along and wrote a song about it: “All you need is love.”  Yes, there can never be enough of it in the world. If only a business could pass that on to their customers. For sure a client whose heart has been touched would remember this treasured moment and will be loyal forever. But wait! There is actually one institution that succeeded in that mission. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, in short TD, North America’s sixth largest bank that serves worldwide more than 25 million customers. You are probably wondering: A bank giving love? How is that even possible? Don’t they normally have calculators instead of hearts, a general lack of compassion and the attitude of a robot? Well, don’t be so quick to judge. TD already knew that great customer service is not fully covered by saying a friendly ‘Hello’ and giving out free coffee, they knew it needs a deeper emotional connection. In 2014 they hired MARU/VCR&C, a research and consulting group, to conduct a survey with nearly 1,100 Canadian adults.  They found out three important facts: Canadians are more likely to say thank you when offered unsolicited help (41%) compared to when they receive a compliment (14%). Canadians appreciate the power of personal (90%) versus digital (49%) when it comes to being thanked. For example, they like to be thanked in person (85%) rather than through text or emoji (22%). Canadians thank friends (60%) more than their partner or spouse (50%). They thank customer service professionals (48%) and colleagues (36%) more than children (30%) and parents (29%). With this information in mind, TD started the #TDThanksYou campaign. Valued customers, that just wanted to do some quick banking at the ATM, were surprised with a personalized greeting and a touching thank-you gift. The video capturing customer reactions went viral (24 million views), and gave TD’s social media profile a huge boost.

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.

Blogger, Alice Katter, says it best, “We’re all guilty of it: Snapping a photo of that pizza or ice cream we couldn’t wait to dig into, and Instagramming it. Why? Because, we’re obsessed with #foodporn. We love seeing what others eats and showing off with our own dishes.” With the boom of social media, the food and restaurant industry has forever changed. In order for any business in the food industry to succeed, their engagement on social media is paramount. The industry which once relied heavily on word of mouth, has shifted to social media being the major influencer.

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.

Without doubt, the future of social media is growing, influential and ever-powerful. As the digital divide shrinks worldwide, more and more people are joining the billions of conversations taking place in the realm of social media. Social media is the place to be. Whether you’re looking to keep in touch with friends, find the latest trends, or learn about what someone thinks, social media is where this is happening! The world of social media is highly influential. People are turning to social media to learn about and get information on important topics, such as healthcare. Traditionally, healthcare was something that people relied on healthcare professionals, such as doctors, to learn about. With the advent of the Internet, and more recently social media, people are using social media to learn about healthcare. Social media has evolved beyond a platform used to share pictures and connect with friends. Social media is now a powerful influencer for healthcare and medical advice.