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Posts from September 2009

September 30, 2009

Branding Canada, Eh!

The best part about blogging is that it can be about opinions, unconstrained by the lack of context or data, just pure opinion.

Canadian BoyLast week I went to a breakfast session put on by the good folks at Leger Marketing. The talk was about branding a nation as opposed to a corporation. I was fascinated by the subject as I have long had a secret desire to take on branding Canada as my next career challenge. It’s unlikely to ever happen but it sure is fun to think about how brand to the country I love so much.

So here are my thoughts as a citizen on what elements we should brand as a country. I know I am oversimplifying but hopefully it will be food for thought. First my simple criteria for selecting my three point brand focus:

  • Branding a nation is difficult so our brand focus should leverage something that is already culturally grounded in our psyches. For example, if we are not a warlike people, we should not consider a brand association with aggression.
  • Branding a nation is time consuming so it should align with a macro trend that will help us leverage our brand position into real economic benefits that strengthen over time as the trend or trends develop
  • Branding a nation should be about something that will benefit the citizens themselves as well as the external audiences for our brand
  • Branding a nation should take into account the realities of attributes about the nation that are not easily overcome, for example in our case we have a very large geography that is not easily changed
  • A brand strategy should have a focus – we can’t be all things to all people. People can’t remember any more than 3 things at any one time, so let’s keep our brand focus at 3 things.
  • Our brand strategy should support economic as well as social goals – for example, increase tourism, exports, inward investment, talent attraction and retention

So without further ado for brand element #1, I think our Canadian brand should be associated with Extraordinary Customer Service. Why?

  • We are already known as “nice and polite”, why haven’t we translated this brand equity into something tangible. We can leverage attributes that already exist in our psyches.
  • As technology becomes more commoditized, It is clear that customer service will increasingly be “the” competitive differentiator. With the advent of social media the ability of each and every consumer to talk about customer service and influence your business has increased exponentially. We’ve already lost control of the message, why not ensure that every interaction with a Canadian is a positive one and let the people promote our brand for us. There is nothing people would rather talk about than how they feel about a product, service or company.
  • And lastly, we’d all benefit. Just think how much better life would be if Rogers and Bell Mobility offered extraordinary service. What would we do with the extra time we’d have, the time that we wouldn’t have to spend on hold or arguing about how their service really isn’t working as it should be.

The only downside? What would we complain about? So chip in here – what do you think we should be known for up here in Canada?

Interview with Mark Thomson at Mobile Innovation Week

In this interview, Mark Thomson, Director of Mobile for The Weather Network & MeteoMedia, gives a great example of how mobile content allows an unprecedented ability to deliver information and services in a highly contextualized manner. This 1-to-1 request for content allows marketers to deliver contextualized ads to users that will boost relevancy and conversions to sales. The Weather Network WeatherEye application serves contextual mobile advertising for the 1.6 million users who have downloaded the application for the iphone and Blackberry. Every time there is a winter storm advisory for 10cm of snow, the Weathereye application displays ads for snowtires to users. Similarly, when the UV index reaches a certain threshold, ads for sunscreen are automatically displayed to users phones. Amazing!

September 29, 2009

Interview with Tim Bishop at Mobile Innovation Week

Tim Bishop, from IMI International Consulting shared some insights from the Consumer Track report on how media spend will shift towards mobile channels as consumers shift their behavior towards consuming content through the device that is always “in hand”. Another interesting tidbit, Coca-Cola, the worlds largest media buyer, now has a line item on their marketing budget allocated for mobile spend. During the recession, global mobile advertising sales have grown by 250%-300% while traditional media spending has been severely trimmed.

Report from AdLounge's Conversuasion Event

AdLounge Conversuation

Like many of my friends involved in interactive media, I find it hard sometimes to get an evening out.  In the hustle and bustle of it all, it is easy to lose sight of one thing: it is play we do.  We are lost without our sense of humour, our capacity for wonder, and our ability to entertain. 

For those of us who are enlisted to deliver messages that stir the listener to action, it is ever more important to recharge our creative resources.

This is why I find what AdLounge is doing with their events so interesting.  I previously attended Art from the Unexpected, and recently took in Conversuasion.

Like the first event, Conversuasion had a theme of play with purpose.  In other words, the event, while attended by some of the most influential members of the advertising community, manages to not take itself too seriously.  While heavy concepts are discussed concerning communicating stories in modern ways across varied media, this is done in a comfortable atmosphere.  Participants are encouraged to speak freely, in a comfortable setting, sharing their insights with those fortunate enough to be in attendance.

Conversuasion took place at the historic Arts and Letters building on Elm Street.  I used to work a stone's throw from there in one of the glass towers, and I've often wanted to see inside the building that was a favorite of the group of seven.  Now I had my chance.

Nestled inside, many portraits gazed from the walls towards me as I took my place in the audience.  But the focal point of the room was a comfy chair next to a crackling (digital) fire.  It was here the speakers, Colin Drummond, director with Crispin Porter and Bugusky, and Neil McOstrich, founding partner of Clean Sheet Communications, would sit to share their stories.

Continue reading "Report from AdLounge's Conversuasion Event" »

Nov 9-10 - Toronto Forum for Global Cities - Toronto

September 28, 2009

Coverage of Mobile Innovation Week - Toronto, September 12-16, 2009

Despite the fact that we are all sad to see the end of our short summer, Canadian digital marketers can look forward to the change of the seasons this year. A new Festival came to Toronto and though the dates coincide with the bright lights and glamour of the Toronto International Film Festival, the inaugural Mobile Innovation Week had no problem attracting an impressive roster of speakers and supporters from both the Canadian and global mobile industry.

The event is an important milestone for mobile in Canada as this is the first time the Mobile Marketing Association has ventured north of the border to support an event. The MMA is a global association that strives to stimulate the growth of mobile marketing and its associated technology worldwide. In this video interview, Mike Wehrs, the President and CEO of the MMA, gives a brief overview of what is driving the growth and excitement for mobile content, services and marketing.

Michael O’ Farrell, co-chair of Mobile Media World gives us a rundown of the event that had something for everyone interested in mobile.

2009 has seen many firsts leading up to Mobile Innovation Week and this is helping to stoke the buzz around mobile in Canada and around the world. It is fair to say that all those who showed up for the event held at the CBC’s Glen Gould Studio, whether they were presenters, journalists or industry participants, share the same view that the demand for high quality content and delivery of services through mobile devices is only going to grow from here. Toronto Mayor David Miller knows it. He came to show his support to and gave #MMW09 an official proclamation. Click here for the Youtube video courtesy of Phil Barrett, a Mobile Innovation Week organizer and contributor.

It is unfortunate there wasn’t a stronger presence at the conference from Canadian marketing and media agencies who are searching for new and innovative ways to reach their target markets. The ones who “get it” will stand to benefit the most by bringing new opportunities to their clients and capturing market share from competitors who arrive late to the party.

2009 as the Tipping Point – Mobile Comes into its Own

  • There has been explosive growth in the marketplace. According to Nielson Data, Smartphone penetration jumped 5% between Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. There are approximately 2.1 million Blackberry Curves and 1.8 iPhones in the Canadian marketplace.
  • Canada’s mobile penetration rate is 70% of the population or 22 million people.
  • Mobile Social Media and web 2.0 are driving adoption and usage of Smartphones. There are now 65 million users of Facebook mobile – a 300% increase since January 2009.
  • Mobile data is now a $3billion dollar industry in Canada (Carrier Rates only), and a $30 billion industry in the US.
  • According to ComScore’s data on US mobile content trends, women have surpassed men in their consumption of mobile data. Question that was not answered, what mobile media are women consuming the most?
  • Smartphone users are newbies - according to research done by Cipher New Media, 50% of smartphone users have had their phone for less than a year.
  • According to the Cipher Media Monitor, 1/3 of Canadian mobile consumers would like to switch carriers.
  • Canadian consumers are desperately demanding unlimited data plans like those in the US. However, there is a real risk for carriers because wireless infrastructure is not designed for heavy duty browsing and mobile video consumption. This article in the NY Times illustrates the risk for carriers and may become a major limiting factor in the growth of mobile. An important question: How will Canadian carriers and the new entrants to the wireless market keep up with demand for rich mobile services?

Given that most users are just learning how to use the various applications and features in the new smartphones, and projections indicate that by 2013 smartphones will make up 95% of the market, mobile marketing is poised to be the next revolution in marketing as a whole. In another blog post, I examine how as more companies, brands and media outlets contribute to the mobile ecosystem, the quality and affordability of mobile services for consumers will explode in the 3rd Wave of Mobile Development.

Those of us in the digital marketing and social media industry are very much at the forefront of shaping how mobile will grow in Canada; whether it is through the media and mediums we use to communicate our clients marketing messages, or the apps we download onto our phone. The revolution will not be without its bumps in the road as limits are tested but privacy and metrics standards must be adopted by all those currently in, and those seeking to get into the industry, in order to limit the chance of malicious marketers screwing up the opportunity for the rest of us.

Consider how you share information with friends through our phones now…by text, by email, BBM, Twitter or Fb message, or even with an old-fashioned phone call. We have way more options available then ever before. To some this is exciting, to others it is overwhelming and some find it downright annoying. What are your thoughts on mobile marketing in Canada? Where does mobile fit in to the media mix at your agency? Are there things that excite you about the way we use the mobile Internet? What applications do you think are worthwhile? Is there such thing as a killer app? Is it free or paid?

Please feel free to get the conversation started here or discuss the upcoming videos [we'll be releasing these over the course of the week - Ed.] that contain further insights on mobile in Canada.

September 25, 2009

The "Who is Talking About Me?" Edition - Sept 25, 2009 Week in Review

Thanks to Our Sponsors!
Event season rocks on into the fall ...

This week's WIR is curated by Kate Trgovac. Kate tweets as mynameiskate and inspires poetry as my-name-i-skate on Protagonize.

It's All About Monitoring:

Well, it was a big week for monitoring. Great Canadian startup, PostRank, launched their new Publisher Engagement Analytics service - PostRank Analytics.  PostRank Analytics combines traditional and social engagement web metrics to help publishers understand where conversations are happening about their content and where they can engage their audiences. Includes Google Analytics integration.

Microsoft announced that they, too, are working on a social media monitoring tool.  Code-named "Looking Glass" it will help marketers monitor social media for brands and companies.  It's currently in "Proof of Concept" stage. You can see a tiny little screenshot on their blog.

Earlier this week, Seth Godin pulled what some consider a fast one and launched his new Brands in Public service, built on the Squidoo platform - essentially aggregates a number of streams of brand-conversations. And if you're the brand-manager for the brand in question, you can pay $400 a month to manage the page. To launch the service, he and a few Squidooers pre-built 200 brand pages. Today, he's re-calibrated and announced that pages will only be created for brands that ask for them. Molson has apparently signed on.

Traackr launched their Online Authority List - a service that will allow marketers to find out who the leaders are (and what their relative influence is) for conversations about their brands online.

In the News:

Doing Good Using Social Media

A Million Tweets to Remember launched earlier this week. Conceived by Canadian philanthropist Jordan Banks, the 1MTweets movement seeks to digitally memorialize one million people who have lived with Alzheimer’s by having their loved ones tweet about them.  Alzheimer’s robs people of their memories, and this movement is a powerful and poetic way to ensure we remember those who can no longer remember for themselves.  Everyone who tweets will also be asked to donate a minimum of a buck to Alzheimer’s research. Follow @1MTweets on Twitter.

WWF hosted a 24 hour tweet up for the planet - using a mashup of Twitter and Google Maps. Through-out the day, WWF staff from around the globe posted updates on Twitter to give their online audience a sense of the work that WWF is doing on a daily basis to save the planet - be it in the field working with communities on endangered species, at a conference helping negotiate solutions, in a meeting room with industry leaders, or behind a desk developing the tools to support our work. WWF also encouraged people to join in by tweeting about why they care about the planet or what they are doing to help. To join, Twitter posts just need to be tagged with the hastag #wwf24.

The White Ribbon campaign is holding the first Toronto edition of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on October 1, 2009. Follow their progress on Twitter at @whiteribbon. We're super-proud of the friends of OneDegree who are participating: Chris Carder, Sulemaan Ahmed and Jennifer EvansMaybe consider a donation to support them.

Heard about on Twitter:

September 23, 2009

Oct 22 - MeshMarketing - Toronto

Oct 16 - Fall Tour of Interactive Studios - Toronto

September 21, 2009

Win a Pair of Tickets to The Art of Management or The Art of Sales

Thanks to the good folks over at The Art of Productions, we have a pair of tickets for each of their upcoming events to give away.

The Art of Management
Toronto - October 16, 2009
Includes: Tom Peters, Marcus Buckingham, David Allen and Jeff Jarvis

The Art of Sales
Vancouver - October 19, 2009
Includes: Jeffrey Gitomer, Michael Port, Richard Robbins and Max Lenderman

To enter, leave a comment on the event listing that you can attend (Toronto Event | Vancouver Event).  Tell us which speaker you're most excited about seeing and why. 

Entries close on Friday, September 25 at 5PM PT.

We'll do the draw and announce winners on Tuesday, Sept 29.

September 18, 2009

Responsibility, Rudeness and Relationships - Sept 18, 2009 Week in Review

Thanks to Our Sponsors!
Event season is back in full swing ...

This week's WIR curator is Monica Hamburg. Monica struts her social media stuff at her Me Like the Interweb blog and releases her evil sense of humor on her Your Dose of Lunacy blog and on Twitter.

Seen Around the Blogosphere

Kanye West's Random Act of Rudeness at the Video Music Awards has been the talk of the social media sphere and has lead to a slew of interrupted images (e.g."Kanye interrupts history), videos and even websites.

Onedegree-kanye Thanks to @digitaljoy for sending us this link.

The nets are all abuzz with news about Facebook, including it's adding "Twitter-like" features and becoming profitable

Keith Kleiner examines the "The Power of Twitter Accounts with Massive Followers or Lack Thereof".

And the question many are asking is "Whose Responsibility This?" - and this time it's not Kanye - but its origins may be just as disturbing. The new and amusing meme stems from the author's comment about posting his (what may alternately be the creepiest and most hilarious piece of) perverted fan fiction on Topless Robot.

Seen on Marketing Blogs

Trying to convince companies that social media is influential? Try this stat: "The majority (93.6%) of mothers regularly or occasionally seek the advice of others before buying a service or a product, while 97.2 percent said they offer advice to others about products or services they purchased." And it's not just moms, of course. Many of us ask friends to advise us on products, stores or services. These suggestions are more influential and far more personal and authentic than advertisements.

David Merman Scott looks at a Social Media Crisis and the lack of company response to it in "Social media and the Cotton On baby T-shirt crisis".

Alexandra Samuel of Social Signal offers some etiquette and tips for responding (or not not responding) to things that irritate you on Twitter with "Do you wag your hand at me? Five ways to say goodbye to scolding tweets" (via @hummingbird604)

David Armano's (he of the wonderful #Daniela) has pointers for "How to Spot Social Media Snake Oil".

Eric Karjaluoto discusses the problems with using social media merely to give lip-service to concepts like "relationships" with "Words is broken". (via @glennhilton )

And Lisa Barone cites essential components of "Creating Your Social Media Plan". (via @divinacomms)

Bookmarks from the Community

A Map Of Social (Network) Dominance

Engagement planning worksheets to engage your users and move them to action

Boomers Step Into Social Media (on Blog Talk Radio)

Heard on Twitter

This Week's Video Meme

Technically, the Kayne clip would qualify, and I'mma let you finish, Kayne, but this video from the summer is a moment of joy and is more worthy of a view.  Go Digital Marketing Blog accesses that "[t]he video was real. But promotional activities (possibly/likely paid) created the initial viral effect (led to the tipping point of the viral effect". C'mon watch it. It'll make you happy. 

September 17, 2009

Oct 19 - The Art of Sales - Vancouver

Oct 16 - The Art of Management - Toronto

Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) Call for Submissions

Canadian Innovation Exchange CIX has announced a call for entries for the CIX Top 20 - a new honorific ranking that will  showcase Canada's hottest innovation companies.

Firms on the hunt for funding or  strategic partnerships can apply for CIX Top 20 status and pitch themselves  live in front of some of the most important investors in North America.  Ultimately at stake: the coveted title of Canada's Innovation Leader.

The CIX Top 20 is open to Canadian technology-based companies who consider themselves innovators  in the fields of clean technologies, information and communication technology (ICT) and digital media. 

Entrants are invited to apply to highlight and share their innovative technology-based product or service with key companies, investors and other key representatives in the market of innovation.

Applications must be submitted online through our website - http://canadianinnovationexchange.com - no later than October 2, 2009 in order to be eligible. It is FREE to enter

The Canadian Innovation Exchange takes place during Innovation Week on December 2, 2009 at The Design Exchange in Toronto. ENTER NOW!

Nov 11 - Digital Day - Toronto

September 09, 2009

Sept 16 - CaseCamp Benefit for SickKids - Toronto

Canadian New Media Awards Call for Entries Open Now

The Canadian New Media Awards recognize, celebrate, and give all out props for the accomplishments of individuals and companies in the Canadian digital media industry, in 19 categories.

The Call for Entries for the 2009 Canadian New Media Awards is open!  We invite individuals and companies from anywhere in Canada to participate.  Enter now!


Submission Deadlines & Fees:

Early Bird Deadline For Entries:
September 18, 2009
$125 (before September 18, 2009 @ 5:00pm EST)

Final Deadline For Entries:
October 2, 2009
$175 (before October 2, 2009 @ 5:00pm EST)

Nominees will be announced early-November 2009, and the winners announced on December 1, 2009 at a gala ceremony at The Design Exchange, Toronto.

September 08, 2009

Oct 2 - EE Roadshow - Seattle

September 03, 2009

We need BIGGER ideas!

Full of Ideas I've noticed a theme lately on various marketing and advertising blogs.  The theme (or meme?) is that the Big Idea is either dead, dying, or at a minimum no longer relevant.

This notion angers me. Why?

Let’s look at the argument that the Big Idea is dying. It goes something like:

  1. The Big Idea is a gimmick popularized during the "creative revolution" of the sixties.  Think "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz" or "Snap, Crackle, Pop" or "Where's the Beef?"
  2. The gimmick was a way to steal people's attention just long enough to sell them something.
  3. In today's social media world, gimmicks don't work.  Relationships are what matter.

You might be thinking to yourself that this is a perfectly logical argument. The problem is that it's based on a terrible and (ironically) small way of understanding the Big Idea.

The Big Idea is not a gimmick.  Advertisers use gimmicks to call attention to Big Ideas.  Somehow, that distinction has been lost.

""Where's the Beef?" isn't a Big Idea in it of itself. The Big Idea was that fast food chains were skimping on the good stuff and loading up on the cheap stuff. The Big Idea was that Wendy's wouldn't do poor quality. The Big Idea was that you could get inexpensive fast food without sacrificing quality.

"Where's the Beef?" was a gimmick. Wendy’s positioning and commitment was the Big Idea.

Do you see the difference?

The problem today isn't that ad agencies are stuck on Big Ideas. The problem is they're stuck on gimmicks, on small ideas.

Big Ideas inspire. Small ideas distract.  People want to have a relationship with Big Ideas. Sure, people will watch a 2 minute video about a small idea, but then they move on.

So, if today's "big ideas" don't inspire you (and aren’t inspiring your customers), it's because they're not big at all.

Photo Credit: Cayusa

September 02, 2009

Why Aren't You On The Roster?

There has been a flurry of discussion around the conference rosters that are Search Engines Strategy Day 1 by you.filled with white male speakers and why there aren't more women (and more diversity in general) on these rosters.

Some theorize that women aren’t being invited. Others suggest that women aren’t promoting themselves and stepping up when invited.  

But come on, people!  Instead of us speculating why this is happening, why don’t we just ask you? 

Yes, you!

There are a lot of smart, insightful and erudite woman reading this who are doing innovative and interesting stuff.  So rather than adding my own ideas about why you aren't speaking at the conferences I'm attending, I'm asking YOU! (And, if you're not a woman, I'm asking you to ask them!)

So, why aren't you presenting at Mesh, CaseCamp, SXSW, CMA's Marketing Week and the myriad of other speaking opportunities happening these days?

Tell us why you aren’t on the speaker’s circuit.

And if you’ve ever thought of someone who should be speaking at an event and isn’t, please ask her to come and tell us why she isn’t.

Photo Credit: LexnGer

Editors Note: I've had at least one report that our comment form is behaving badly. If you have problems commenting, please email me at kate [at] onedegree.ca - we want anyone who wants to be a part of this conversation  to participate. You don't have to be a OneDegree contributor to comment!! kt

September 01, 2009

Six Pixels, 10 Questions: an interview with Mitch Joel

Editor's Note: This interview was originally published on David's blog and he has kindly given us permission to repost it here. Mitch Joel, Jones' interviewee, has long been a supporter of, and one-time contributor to, OneDegree.  We like to think we gave him his start ;)

Six-pixels-cover Mitch Joel, one of Canada's best known voices on the intersection of social media and marketing has authored his first book: Six Pixels of Separation - Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.

Anyone who's followed Mitch over the last few years knew this one was coming.  He's been writing it in real time with his blog, podcast, newspaper columns, interviews and speaking gigs.  The guy even hosted a podcast about business books for Harper Collins.

I asked Mitch to answer 10 questions for me about his book that I could publish here.  I'm no James Lipton...I forgot to ask about his favourite curse word.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Mitch Joel. I am the President of a Digital Marketing agency called Twist Image. We have offices in both Toronto and Montreal and we employ over 80 people. I have a Blog and Podcast called, Six Pixels of Separation, and I’ve just release my first business book named after my Blog on Grand Central Publishing – Hachette Book Group. I also do a bi-monthly business column for both the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun plus – as if that doesn’t keep me busy enough – I do a monthly tech column called, Ultraportable, for enRoute Magazine.

What's your book about...in one sentence?

Everybody is connected online and through their mobile devices. This book is about how business can (and should) connect themselves to everybody. That was two sentences, but it sounds like one.

What will I get out of this book over other social media books out there?

About 288 pages more. All kidding aside, this is not a Social Media book. It’s a business book. I know the books you are talking, and those books tend to be written by people giving their perspective of the new online channels either through the lens of a Marketer, Consultant or Technologist. I wrote this book as an Entrepreneur for businesspeople. Using real business language and case stories that really illustrate how business can grow (and yes, that includes making money). This book is the strategy, tools and tactics I used to grow my business from no employees in 2002 to nearly 85 full-time team members with multiple offices. Basically, by taking part and engaging in the many online channels, my company, Twist Image, (with me as “the voice”) was able to build this multi-million dollar business. We continue to grow by still using the same channels. So, yes, some of the platforms are Social Media-based, but the book is much more about how to think strategically different and engage in a much more human way in this new world.

Who should read this book?

The two main people I wrote this book for was small-to-medium sized business owners who keep hearing about Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc… but still grapple with how it applies to business, if it’s worth their time, and whether or not there is actually any real business at the end of it. The second segment would be mid-to-senior level businesspeople in large organizations who are constantly being asked (or are even asking themselves), “what are we doing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc…?” These are the people who are constantly being pushed to do a lot more with a lot less, and their peers (both Junior and Senior) think that the online channels hold the key. My book breaks down the big difference between asking “what?” and asking “why?” – in short, asking “why?” is the strategy and asking “what?” is the tactic, so it’s all about figuring out the “why?” first.

Continue reading "Six Pixels, 10 Questions: an interview with Mitch Joel" »

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