COM0014 – Blog #5: My personal brand

Your personal brand is what you project to the world. It could be your image, such as style, your job, your personality, even those that surround you. All these factors our cohesive in developing your personal brand. It’s quite difficult to break all these down to qualities, as it does feel “braggy”, however it should be something you are proud of. I like to tell people that I am a sponge, and as weird as that may sound it makes me stand out from my competition. I strive to learn as much as I can and progress every day. That means I ask a lot of questions, I listen to those around me and I learn from my mistakes. I am also very personable, which correlates to listening because I can have a conversation with anyone, which is why people open up to me very easily.

I work at a trades publication, where I am surrounded by men that have years on me in this industry. They are all very accomplished in their careers, therefore I strive to be better. It may sound aggressive, but I know I have something to prove, so I make it a point to be better at my job every day. I am extremely organized, direct, passionate and a hard-worker. As much as they seem dull, these traits have helped me prove myself to my colleagues.

As much as I am very focused on my career, I still try to make work as fun as you can. I love chatting with my coworkers and trying to connect beyond a business relationship. I believe my light and humorous attitude really brings a distinctive value to the team. It helps me connect with our readers when we are at tradeshows and also connect with clients.

The thing I am most proud about myself is all the countries I have been able to travel to that has helped broaden my point of view, while also learning about the world. Traveling has been a real gift and has allowed me to meet some of the greatest people in the world. These are the people I surround myself with and they also represent my brand, and this makes me proud.

COM0011: Influencers are changing marketing methods

Influencers are a new “influence” in the marketing world, and they prove they are a powerful source to deliver information. An influencer is someone that uses their platforms through paid sponsorships, to push a product or service to their followers. When you think of influencers, you may be thinking of celebrities like the Kardashians, however celebrities and influencers are often misconstrued as the same thing. The difference lies in the way they built their audience. Celebrities built their audience through their careers in tv, movies or music, whereas an influencer builds their audience using blog, vlogs, social media and channels that allow them to express their opinion. Both can use their status to promote products or services in exchange for a handsome fee, but is this the new method to marketing?

Influencers have been able to use social media for their benefit through gaining trust of their audience. They are average people with either a hobby, such as fashion or photography, that are willing to share their experiences and their honest opinions. Influencers are founded on whether they are relatable, their size of audience and their impact. It is the amplified “word of mouth” campaigns that resonates with their audience because it is not sales focused, but rather personal. An influencer will use their own images and copy; therefore their “voice” enforces the authenticity of the product and thus are more trustworthy than traditional advertising methods. Since the classic glorified marketing methods do not build personal relationships, consumers are now understanding that companies only show you what they want to see. Whereas, an influencer will break down the benefits, uses and tips in an informative way and therefore a more reliable source.

The rise in influencers and the pricetag around posts have resulted in a surplus of sponsored content, in which the audience may not like. It becomes oversaturated and therefore a less trustworthy product or service. Although this is the responsibility of the influencer to control and maintain, they could be blinded by the paycheques that keeps coming their way. This is where companies need to be more strategic with their choices in marketing influencers. Instead of looking for the largest number of followers and previous stats on past endorsements, they need to choose the right influencer that could target their specific type of audience. Or risk your brand being affiliated with someone that is deemed “annoying” and “untrustworthy”. They then must relinquish control and allow the influencer to be natural and promote the product/service to their audience the way the know how.

Image source

Influencers have been able to profit off postings that most have turned it into a full-time job. This has caused an impact in traditional marketing methods, as companies are diverting their attention completely. Therefore, with influencers using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to push their platforms, the social media companies are realizing they are not profiting and their own ad services are taking a hit. So how do they ensure that they are still able to make a profit off of ads? Well, they simply take away “likes” which is an influencer ‘bread and butter’. These “likes” are stats that companies want to see when someone is promoting their product. Although Facebook/Instagram are preaching that removing then “likes” will help with mental health, they have obviously done the math to ensure they are still making money off their marketing methods.

Influencers have been changing the game when it comes to marketing, but it has a come to a point where people are questioning the brand and the influencers authenticity. The new trend for 2020 digital marketing will be using micro-influencers to promote their product. This is because these influencers have less that 1,000 followers, which is a targeted and specific audience. The specific audience means their product is more likely to resonate with the audience. But what will the next trend be when it once becomes over saturated?

Sources:

https://blog.hootsuite.com/influencer-marketing/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/08/08/how-is-influencer-marketing-changing/#6e0bec5b4cec

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/not-influencer-marketing-changing/1664759

FACEBOOK: 2019 was the year of the influencer….what will 2020 bring? Click on the link to read more: https://bit.ly/2RkfOjv

TWITTER:  Are influencers a marketing trend or here to stay?

#influencers #marketingtrends #socialmediainfluencers

COM0014 – Blog #4: B2C Case Study of Canadian Tire

Business: Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire is a household name in Canada. It was a founded by two brothers in 1922, quickly became incorporated and has grown into over 1,700 stores. They now own Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Sport Check and other sports stores. As a child, you may remember getting the weekly flyer delivered or even playing with their Canadian tire money, but in the recent years the company has dove into the digital world of marketing. Converting, but not excluding, traditional marketing strategies to include social media, digital ads, a fancy website, promotions and charitable campaigns.  

Through social media, they have been able to connect with a wider demographic and really demonstrate that they are not just a home improvement store. Their social media posts target men, women and child of all ages and demographics. They also have created campaigns that are not solely focused on pushing products, but rather encompassing a community. This is seen in their Jump Start campaign and the “We all play for Canada” campaign. This only enforces the humanity side of the large corporation, making it appear trustworthy and authentic. They use social media to show ads that spark a laugh, home décor inspiration, and DIY encouragement.

One of the best approaches to engaging with their audience is their TESTED for Life in Canada program. They send products to everyday Canadians to test out, then they send their feedback and lastly, if it is approved, it receives the “TESTED for Life in Canada” badge. Canadians are able to share their experience on social media and by word of mouth, which then spreads to their own network. This tactic has put products in someone’s hand, opening their minds to feedback whether it be good or bad and hoping that product seals their reputation. They are putting their brand on the line and it creates and level of trust among both parties. This B2C relationship is different than most because the corporation is not seen as the top of the chain just letting consumers feed on their every word, but rather a respectful relationship of both parties.

Sources:

Melissa Dunne. (2019, April 3). How Canadian Tire became Canada’s most admired brand. Retrieved from http://strategyonline.ca/2019/04/02/how-canadian-tire-became-canadas-most-admired-brand/.

TESTED for Life in Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/tested-for-lifeincanada.html?gclid=CjwKCAiA_f3uBRAmEiwAzPuaMzr0KyR1ONnC23SW3eHc79CaOnxhRKZ796zxk1vRXw-wAP1FxCTatRoCMAcQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.

Brummond, K. (2019, November 26). 4 Key Takeaways From Canadian Tire’s Marketing Campaigns. Retrieved from https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/marketing/canadian-tire-marketing-campaign/.

COM0011: Is social media pushing ‘cancel culture’?

Social media has to capability of connecting multiple users from all across the globe in an instant. It also enables users to share news and opinions, but are shared opinions on social media leading to the increase of cancel culture? You may have heard of it before, but in recent years, the term has grown in popularity, especially on social media. Some famous people that have suffered at the hands of ‘cancel culture’ would be Taylor Swift, Bill Cosby, Justin Trudeau, Soul Cycle, Roseanne Barr, Kanye West, Kevin Hart and more recently in Canadian News, Jessica Allen. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with anyone that has been the subject of cancel culture, however the power behind social media has amplified issues to a global stage for the final judgment. Once the audience has deemed the proper justice, it can strong arm companies, agencies, managers, friends, into dropping that person.

Cancel culture is the understanding that a company, product or person have done or said something inappropriate and therefore must no longer receive support. It is a public form of boycotting something that did not reflect your values and opinions. The celebrities listed above are prime examples of those that be subjected to public justice. They are also people that used social media to project their opinions, which of course back fired. The way users on social media were able to build the awareness of their cancel campaign was through hashtags. This in turn becomes a trending hashtag that results into a vigilantly mob putting pressure on society to cancel them.

Do you remember these?

#boycottroseanne #firejessicaallen #taylorswiftisasnake #jamescharlesiscancelled

With the rise of popularity of the term, has resulted in the fear of expressing oneself. Aside from those that have used social media to express hateful, derogatory and cruel sentiments, sometimes people use the wrong noun, verb or tone and it can be easily misconstrued. However, with cancel culture and social media, we don’t expect a conversation to educate that person or company to show them the errors of their ways. They become targets to tear down in the most dehumanizing way. We can all think of a time in our past when we may have said or done something inappropriate, however if you evidence of that moment, it could still be used against you. We forget that people grow and learn in life and instead of having that understanding that people make mistakes, we would rather bully them into submission.

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Even though cancel culture has a list of toxic examples, we must remember that it has spearheaded campaigns that has brought awareness to issues that needed to be addressed. The best example of this would be the #MeToo campaign that went viral a few years ago. This campaign, started by Tarana Burke, resulted in the hashtag to become trending along with stories of celebrities and women sharing their own experience. It highlighted the misconduct and systematic issues when dealing with someone that has been subject to harassment and assault. As stories were pouring out, many powerful and untouchable men were mentioned. In some instances, it led authorities figures to step up and deal with the situation and hold these men accountable. You may be thinking of the powerful Harry Weinstein or Jefferey Epstein. Sometimes for a good cause, the rallying of social media users making noise and demanding change can really cause an impact.

We can see the positive in social media and cancel culture because every single voice is as strong as untouchable elite. However, we must use it carefully and not on a whim because our feelings were hurt. It will lose its affect over time and people will eventually stop listening.

Therefore, real issue that need attention will never get it and that will be because we are now leading through our emotions rather than reason.

Sources:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/blog/have-we-hit-peak-cancel-culture-1.4944521

https://time.com/5735403/cancel-culture-is-not-real/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/cancel-culture-words-were-watching

Facebook Post:

Is your brand at risk of ‘cancel culture’?  Social media could be the cause! Stay ahead of the game and find out why, here: https://bit.ly/37PP942

Twitter Post:

How is social media pushing ‘cancel culture’ as a new form of justice?

Click here for more: https://bit.ly/37PP942

#cancelled #cancelculture

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Targeting the Christmas shopper

In another class, I faced an assignment about using “listening” tools to learn how to target your audience and the challenges we may have encountered. For the longest time (before taking these courses), I always believed that either the products were not good enough and social media for an online shopping platform just couldn’t work. It was not until I was reading about listening and targeting audiences, that I realized I had it wrong the entire time.

Image Source

For a few months of the year, I work for an online stocking stuffer store. We begin delving into the job around October, and are primarily busy up until late December. While an extremely short selling time, we must be focused and constantly updating our website. Maybe even send out a tweet or two or even an eBlast. I suggested that we needed to open up some social media accounts to promote the products to a larger audience, however we did no research. We believed that our primary audience was “middle-aged women”. The owner, a middle-aged woman, would promote her business using word-of-mouth to her friends and family. Therefore, she believed that was her audience.  Now that may have been reflected on our existing customer list, however it was not the case on social media.

As we targeted middle-age women, we were coming up short. We weren’t gaining followers, sales, or any interactions. We got desperate and starting using Facebook advertising to promote products, our page, and boosting the odd post. This enabled us to review our primary target, however it took a lot of trial and error. We scoured over twitter looking at trending keywords and invested time on Pinterest, trying to discover the Christmas blogs and best-selling products. We discovered that our main audience is in fact, middle-aged men. Due to that large statistic, we researched and noticed that men shop differently than men. The “growth of e-commerce has stimulated new buying behaviors for men that may eventually transfer to brick-and-mortar shops. According to an iProspect study, 70% of affluent males regularly shop online”(Lewis, et al. 2018).

Image Source

Since we target middle-aged men on social media, we primarily promote gifts for women. This tended to be the best form of “clickbait” over gifts for men or even children. This would be on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This would also explain why closer to the end of November was when sales would go up for men, because “men tend to purchase when the need is immediate” (Lewis, et al. 2018), whereas women “tend to be more astute consumers than men, simply because they are willing to invest the time and energy necessary” (Lewis, et al. 2018). Therefore, likely to look for a deal and investigate/compare products.

Needless to say, we were able to adjust our “tone” and select products that resonated with our primary audience. This in turn has resulted in a rise in sales and an expansion of our audience.

Sources:

Lewis, Michael, et al. “Men vs. Women: Differences in Shopping Habits & Buying Decisions.” Money Crashers, 31 Aug. 2018, https://www.moneycrashers.com/men-vs-women-shopping-habits-buying-decisions/.

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Storytelling & Communication Styles

Image from The Writing Cooperative

The art of storytelling has been evolving since the dawn of time. It was used to share stories of essential news and ideas or simply for entertainment. Storytelling has been growing and evolving from drawings on cave walls to blogs and social media posts and it will keep evolving as technology changes. Can you image how storytelling will be used in ten years? What I’ve learned reading about communication styles and there are three main components to a good story. The first being the lead, then the body and lastly, the tail.

These three components break up a story and create a hierarchy of information. The lead would be the most critical information that a reader would need to understand what is going on. The body would include details the story, such as the background information that develops the story. The tail may not seem important; however, it can tie a story with additional details and increase the engagement of the reader.

While the three elements help develop a story, we must account for communication style to transform a story. It has been determined that the average adult’s attention span has “dropped from 12 seconds to 8” (MacMillan “Do I have your attention?”, 2019). You must gain someone’s trust, while also engaging someone’s full attention quickly.  Some ways of enticing the readers attention would be to use an active voice, while also ensuring of proper grammar and punctuation. This will only increase trust and authority.

Communication style can vary depending on your audience, therefore one must establish a target audience then proceed with a communication strategy. As previously mentioned, storytelling is an art form which means ‘practice makes perfect’. Breaking down your story using the inverted pyramid, establishing a communication style and learning to target your audience, will help keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.

References:

MacMillan, Doug. “Do I Have Your Attention?” Mechanical Business, Apr. 2019, pp. 70–71.

COM0011 Blog #1 – The dangers of dating apps on relationships and mental health

Social media and relationships now overlap in more ways then it ever did before. People got busier and phones became smarter. Meeting people the old-fashion way was just that: old-fashion. Developers took it upon themselves to ensure that humans were still connecting, but in a more efficient way. Enter the dating apps. You are bombarded with multiple options in partners every second of the day and all you must do is swipe. The lines we’ve heard like “never settle”, “there are plenty of fish in the sea” and “you’ve got to kiss a bunch of toads before you find a prince”, have never been more accurate. These apps have pushed that ideology, causing a strain on relationships and mental health issues.  

Image found on CNET  

Dating apps and mental health

Mental health plays a large role in healthy and stable relationships. When one partner (or both) are suffering, a relationship can hit a rocky road. This stems from confidence and trust, which are huge components of a relationships and when they are tested, they cause a divide. When we are bombarded daily with constant images of specific body types, sexy clothing and lavish lifestyles, our personal value and self-worth are compromised because we are constantly comparing. It is not only self-esteem that affects our overall mental health, but also toxic emotions like jealousy, which are becoming increasingly common within relationships. The revolving catalogue of partners can keep people from fully committing and questioning whether their partner can commit. The toxicity of dating apps are bargaining with one’s mental health, as the dating game got a lot trickier to navigate.

Relationships and social media

If we take a step back away from mental health, we can see that the increasing number of relationships cause overstimulation and an addiction.  Overstimulation can inhibit a relationship of developing because one cannot invest the time into fostering the connection. When the time is not invested, it allows users to become less attached and therefore opening the door to a lack of understanding of human connection. Social media and digital devices have become a norm, while also instilling an addiction. We are fascinated with the efficiency of receiving news, gratification of receiving “likes” and being a part of everyone’s “moment”. While it has many positives to express our truth and our right to free speech, the lack of humanity we can feel addressing people through digital devices, has erased the concept of speaking to an actual human with feelings. Therefore, dating apps do not necessarily help blossom connections, but rather destroy them.  

Image result for social media and relationships"

Image by Study Breaks (via Pinterest)

Ways to prevent the diminishing in your relationships

There are lots of way to avoid the deterioration of a relationship to grow in a healthy manner. Consider trying to put your phone down and converse with your partner when you are alone. This will increase and make communication much easier This is also creating healthy boundaries that will only help strengthen and grow a relationship. Another rule to keep in mind is something most of us have been taught since we were young: treat people like how you want to be treated. A simple concept to keep in mind.

As technology keeps developing, our communication style and methods will evolve. Social media will continue to intertwine with our everyday lives, and soon become an extension of our true self. Relationships will constantly alter and adjust, but we must remind ourselves that a connection takes time and nurturing to develop. Try and be mindful of your own mental health and ensure to make yourslef a priority without compromising our relationships and humanity.

Facebook:

Are your relationships constantly hitting roadblocks? Dating apps are not necessarily the answer. Find out why taking time away from your phone to focus on “YOU” could help solve your relationship issues.

Twitter:

Cyber-Stalking? Ghosting? Micro-Cheating? Catfishing? Have you heard or been on the reciprocating end of any of them? Find out why here: bit.ly/2KtnMD

#socialmedia #relationships #datingapps #datinginthedigitalworld

COM0014 – Blog #1: Our first vacation

“A couple’s first vacation can be a predictor to see if you will make it as a couple”, is the line I was repeatedly told before we went to Portugal this year. My mom has a way with words. Well not only was the seven day trip amazing, but we survived without driving each other up a wall. Mission accomplished.

We decided on Portugal for our June vacation because of the weather, views, beaches and of course the wine. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. We started our trip in Lisbon, worked our way down to Lagos then back up to Lisbon again. It was a perfect balance between sightseeing and relaxing!

We took an overnight flight (not recommended) to Lisbon and decided to spend a day sightseeing before taking a four-hour train down to Lagos. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much sleep on the plane and ended up passing out for the entire afternoon. We did eventually make it out of the hotel and our first stop was to eat the infamous Portuguese custard tart. If you haven’t had one of these desserts, you are missing out! We proceeded to have at least two custard tarts a day and so you don’t have to do the math, that’s 14 custard tarts (I’m grossed out too).

Portuguese custard tarts
Image by Caroline Bexfield

If you ever make it to Portugal, Lagos is a must-see. I would’ve spent my entire trip in the little beach town. Although it was a tiny area, there were so many activities to choose from, that you could never get bored. Our four days in Lagos included a boat tour through the caves, a hike over the cliffs, walking through the markets and soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches.

LAGOS CAVES
Image by Caroline Bexfield

The town of Lagos was packed with people of all ages and at night became a party-scene for the younger tourists. The small town had numerous amounts of restaurants and even more wine to taste. They took great pride in their food and wine, which definitely showed. By the last day, we were wine connoisseurs! The fourth day, we reluctantly got on the train back to Lisbon to continue our trip.

Lagos Beach
Image by Caroline Bexfield

After a long train ride to Lisbon, we made it to our downtown Airbnb apartment. I kid you not this place had five flights of stairs, which was not fun with heavy suitcases. On the plus side, we definitely worked off some custard tarts.

Lisbon was such a lively and colourful city! We decided we were going to take it day by day and not overdo it on the sightseeing. It was a smart decision on our part because we stumbled upon interesting pockets of the city that would’ve been missed. Our favourites spots that we visited in Lisbon were the São Jorge Castle, the Tower of Belem and the Palace of Pena

The castle is a must-see, and although doesn’t look like much from the outside, it gave us access to hands down the best city views of Lisbon.

São Jorge Castle view
Image by Caroline Bexfield

The Tower of Belem was initially built to defend the city, and now stands a beautiful monument. The best part of being in Belem, was the three-minute walk to an establishment that created the first ever custard tart and still use the exact same recipe from 1837. Lastly, our day in Sintra was well worth the day trip! Just walking around the most colourful palace I’ve ever seen, was like walking through a movie set. It just didn’t seem real!

Tower of Belem
Image by Caroline Bexfield

Overall, it was an excellent trip and a huge feat for the both of us! Mostly because the only argument we had was over who would get the last custard tart. He didn’t win that one.

Interested in taking a trip to Portugal? Check out some of the blogs I reviewed before booking my trip:

www.wandertooth.com/where-to-stay-in-lisbon-neighborhoods/

https://theblondeabroad.com/ultimate-portugal-travel-guide/

inbetweenpictures.com/blog/fun-things-to-do-in-lagos-portugal-algarve-region