Blog 7 – A reflection of the concepts learned in COM0014

Story telling is important in creating great digital content because it allows readers to connect with the writer on a personal level. Regardless if the digital content is for personal or corporate messaging, everyone and every organization has a story.

Before creating a story it is important to determine the communication style and to assess the audience. Understanding the diversity of the audience consists of comprehending their demographic, social class, hobbies, interests, etc. These elements can be found by using Google Trend or Twitter. Social media is a powerful tool but it is important to create content using the right platform that reflects the target audience. For example, some users will interact heavily on Facebook and Twitter vs blogging and email marketing.

Once the audience research has been conducted, it is now time to tell your story. In order for your story to be effective, it is important that the story is cohesive and relevant to the overall goal. Pertinent stories can be found when you stop staring at a blank page and start spending time in the right places and create experiences. Getting the story out of your head before making any major edits allows you to review all the ideas and happenings. The line that resonated the most with me in lesson 6 was “we often forget that it’s often in the smallest moments that the real stories lie”.

COM0014 – Blog 6 – A Glimpse Into My Story

Of course, there are many choices I have made that I regret. Some of those include dating that guy back in college or drinking too much on my 22nd birthday but those things can be chalked up to experience. The choice I regret the most is not participating in more extra curricular activities in college and university.

I have always been considered an out going person but while I was in school I made several excuses in order to convince myself that joining or participating in certain activities would not be the best course of action. My many excuses included:

  • “I can’t dedicate that much time to something because I need that time to do my homework.”
  • “I don’t know anyone and what if no one likes me?”
  • “I won’t be able to contribute as much as they’d like because everyone there is probably smarter than me.”

Let’s be honest…all those excuses were created out of fear and laziness. The time I set aside “to do my homework” was well wasted on Netflix. Around that time I also began exercising at the schools YMCA but did not attend several of the exercise classes I was interested in trying because of the reasons listed above. Those excuses also prevented me from joining several marketing and sales teams that I was strongly encouraged by my professors to join. Thinking back on it, I regret not joining those marketing teams because the experience I would have received is beyond any classroom learning. I would have made a number connections and learn several skills that I could be using at my current employment and proudly display on my resume.

The most important take away is not to dwell on the things that can’t be changed but to learn, grow and overcome those challenges. I now refuse to let fear and laziness stop me from trying something new. I won’t deny that I was nervous to try roller derby or to start regularly volunteering but I am happy I did because they’ve helped shaped who I am today.

“…Life can be lived either way, but for me, I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all…” – William F. O’Brien

COM0014 – Blog 5 – Personal Brand

The first thing people notice when meeting me is my smile. I have a part time job on weekend and since we do not wear name tags customers do come in and call me smiley. Accompanying my smile is my bright lipstick. I wear lipstick so often that people notice when I am not wearing any.  If you asked colleagues what is my best trait they would all agree that I approach every situation with enthusiasm, an open mind and willingness to help others.

I find it hard to describe myself because I don’t like to brag and when talking to others I try to shift the focus on them in order to get to know them. If they ask me questions I am more than happy to answer. To get a better insight of how I appear to others I asked best friend for her thoughts on my best traits she, to my surprise, replied “Well I think you’re very much a dedicated to your goals kind of person! You put the things you stand for first and forget the rest which is something I admire about you! You don’t take shit from anyone and you work your ass off for everything you’ve got.”

I am an extremely hard worker and although it keeps me busy, I am very proud of it. I currently work full time as well as a part time, I volunteer a few times a month at the local Agape Centre, I have been taking back to back courses towards the social media certificate for the last year and a half and I also balance going to the gym and roller derby. My next goals are obtaining a Masters in Business Administration and buy a home.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C: Farm Boy

about_headWhen asked to find an example of a B2C business who engages with its audience online, the answer for me is always Farm Boy. Farm Boy has been using Facebook and Twitter to their advantage for several years and from personal interactions with the company to monitoring their social media activities in COM0013, it is always a pleasure to discuss their online presence.

COM0013 gave me the opportunity to monitor Farm Boy’s social media activity from October 25th to December 3rd 2015.  During that time I saw the number of Facebook “Likes” increase significantly by 151. Although their Twitter account only gained 44 followers, they made sure to always listen and interact with users.  With all the positive feedback Farm Boy receives on social media it does not come without the negative. When dealing with customer complaints Farm Boy will always reply in a polite manner while looking to correct the situation.  Several years ago I had a bad experience with an item that I had purchased at one of their locations and with the help of Twitter Farm Boy rectified the situation almost immediately.  The high level of customer service I received will always resonate with me.

I believe their approach is working; however I would suggest they post bilingual content on their social media due to their geographical location. Farm Boy’s head office is located in Ottawa and most of their stores are in the surrounding area. Even though the majority of people can speak both official languages, it would be beneficial to post bilingual content at no extra cost.

COM0014: Blog #3 – Roller Derby: Everyone Welcomed!

As roller skating became popular in the 1880s, it evolved into an endurance race in the 1930s but started to dwindle down as World War II enlisted more men and women into the armed forces. Roller derby regained popularity in the 50’s and was broadcasted on television until 1980s. Modern day roller derby was revived in the early 2000s[1] but still remains relatively unknown so skaters and leagues rely heavily on social media to reach derby enthusiasts. Most leagues will create their own website but they will also create a Facebook and Twitter accounts to communicate with the public and promote upcoming games. To schedule home and away games, leagues will contact each other by email.

We can all agree that roller skating is for everyone. Although there are men’s roller derby leagues and male non-skating officials (NSO), the sport of roller derby is primarily geared towards women. Teams consists of teenagers girls to women 50+. These women have different interests, educational backgrounds and marital status. The common factor between us all is the love of skating. Roller derby allows women to build strength, confidence and create an alter ego SRDGon the track. Regardless of what team you are on, everyone is supportive and treats you like family. Skates and equipment can be costly so most women do have disposable income for this hobby.

I have been an avid skater my whole life but only recently discovered the sport of roller derby. I have been playing with the Seaway Roller Derby Girls for a year now and I absolutely love it. Our team understands that it can be intimidating to join a roller derby team because not everyone feels they have what it takes but we would like everyone to know that we all started without experience. The team is currently developing player profiles that will be featured on our website and social media pages. Each player is to write a small biography answering questions such as why they joined, how they felt when they joined and what they would like to tell others who are looking to join. We hope this will encourage women to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.

[1] http://www.rollerskatingmuseum.com/rollerderby.html

COM0014 – Blog#2 – Storytelling & Communication Style

Good Afternoon!

“The important information comes first” is my main take away from this week’s lesson about storytelling and communication styles. In the past I was taught that when writing a blog or story, it is important to write a captivating title, first sentence or paragraph to hook your reader before feeding the reader important information. After reading lesson 2, I now understand that my approach was not effective and I, myself, have stopped reading articles because the important information was not presented soon enough.  I have yet to determine if my communication style is passive or active but in the future I will make a conscious effort to have a active style of writing by putting the subject first.

Another key takeaway for me is to clearly and consistently present ideas with an end in mind. Writing without direction has led me a stray on many occasions.  I have thought to myself countless times “where am I going with this?” or “what’s the point?”. These questions have forced me to rewrite and restructure content. Rewrites can also be very time consuming if it happens multiple times. Although I always research and brainstorm my topic before writing a blog or assignment, I do not always create an outline of what I would like to say.  When I do take the time to do an outline, it allows me to clearly and consistently present ideas, properly establish what kind of experience I want for my audience to have and successfully reach the desired end. I am including “begin with an end in mind” as one of my key takeaway’s because it is an important reminder to always take the time to plan out what you would like to say before writing.

 

COM0014 – Blog#1 – What I did on my vacation

Since graduating from University in 2013 and entering the workforce shortly after,  I have only been on one vacation.

My mother and I escaped the cold Canadian winter and landed in Punta Cana Dominican Republic on February 16th 2014. I remember as if it was yesterday.  Once we made through the check in process and I saw the view, my jaw dropped and I knew this was going to be a good vacation.  The photo below was the first photo I took of the resort.  It was so beautiful it almost looked fake; I couldn’t believe I was there.

DOMINICAN

I was very surprised that you could comfortably walk on the sand without the bottoms of your feet burning off. The water was such a comfortable temperature and crystal clear.

We spent 7 days in paradise. We drank, we ate, we did nothing and it was everything I dreamt of and more. We did a snorkeling excursion but the highlight for me was lying in the sun and swimming in ocean.

Our room was reserved on the adult only section of the resort which meant we had our own private beach, pool and restaurants.  Although we had our own restaurants, we decided to visit a different restaurant nightly. Mélia Tropical has 2 buffet style restaurants, 11 specialty à la carte restaurants and 14 bars. We had Mexican, Italian, Asian and international cuisine. They were all so delicious.

With no complaint from me, every day was similar: wake up, eat breakfast, sit on the beach and have a few drinks, eat lunch, swim in the pool or ocean, have a few more drinks, return to our room and relax indoors, shower for dinner, have dinner and then return to our room to sleep.

I don’t know when my next vacation will take place but I will always remember my trip to the Dominican with my mother!

DOMINICAN2

Music Festival Season kicks off with Coachella (COM0011 – Blog #6)

6355643126543580751243812664_coachella-2014.

I think we can all agree that it has been a long winter. Mother Nature has finally cut us some slack and releasing us from her cold grip. I think it is safe to say that Spring is finally here and Summer is on its way. With nice weather also comes music festival season! Ottawa has its share of great music festivals like RBC’s Bluesfest and Boots & Hearts. Other popular music festivals in the area include Osheaga, Vans Warped Tour and Heavy MTL.

To kick off the music festival season, last weekend (April 9th-12th) and this weekend (April 16th-19th) the Empire Polo Club hosts one of the United-States most popular music festival: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three day festival that takes place over two weekends in Indio California in Riverside County in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. Started in 1999 by Paul Tollett this festival houses some of the biggest names in music and art such as AC/DC, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Prince, Paul McCartney, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay Z and Amy Winehouse just to name a few. In 2014 the festival saw 579,000 visitors over the two weekends and grossed a whopping $78.3 million. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the first weekend you can go the second and not miss a beat. Each weekend has the same exact lineup.

Every year I am made aware of Coachella by all the social media posts made by every celebrity imaginable. Although Coachella gets the biggest star to perform it’s not just about the music and art anymore it’s also about the fashion. Instagramers such as Kendal Jenner, Kate Bosworth, Julianne Hughes, Chiara Ferragni and clothing companies such as H&M, can be found posting daily about their outfits and adventures at Coachella.

From Woodstock to Coachella, Boho Chic is what you will see at this music festival. Fringe, cut-off jeans, crop tops, flower crowns and suede boots are the trends. The advice given is “If you don’t want to be seen on the Instagram wearing a particular outfit, then don’t wear it to Coachella.”

Coachella fashion

The Queen of Coachella fashion Vanessa Hudgens (pictured left) gives her fans some fashion advice on Tumblr saying:

“While you are out shopping, remember to take risks! Be that girl you swoon over. Be the girl you want to be. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Go for it. Print on print, big head piece, sequin, show some skin… Whatever you fantasize about. Go for it!!!!!

+SIDE NOTE+ Be prepared for the weather. It’s hot during the day and cool at night. I normally pack a pair of leggings and a jacket or thick kimono to throw on. Nothing fun about being cold. Also bring a fun printed scarf! You can sit on it, wear on your head or drape over you when it gets chilly. And God forbid … if the dust storm comes, wrap it around your face!!”

Although Vanessa could not attend this year, because she is currently in New York staring in Gigi on Broadway, she was able to live stream the entire concert through Coachella’s Youtube account.

With that many celebrities in one place you can guarantee that some sort of controversy will spread across the internet. After its first weekend there are already a few shocking moments! During Drakes Saturday night performance,Madonna made an appearance which led to her making out with the Toronto born rapper. The cringe worthy moment ended with him looking nothing short from repulsed. He later took to Instagram saying: “Don’t’ misinterpret my shock!! I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel 100 about that forever”. During that same performance Justin Bieber was escorted out by security. Justin claims a security guard put him in a choke hold and will be pursuing legal actions. Finally a non-celebrity related controversy comes from a concert goer who proudly wore a t-shirt that said “Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat”. For obvious reasons the shirt is not being well received online and Internet users are calling the shirt low and disgraceful… and I couldn’t agree more.

As I sit at home and dream of Coachella, Social Media has allowed me to stay current as to what is happening at one of the world’s biggest music festivals.

coachella1

How one blog became an $8 million dollar business – #theblondesaladneverstops (COM0011 – Blog #5)

When people think of blogs chairaand blogging they don’t automatically think: million dollar brand. When Italian law student Chiara Ferragni started her blog, The Blonde Salad, for 10$ in October 2009 she did not think it would grow to be the $8 million dollar business it is today. In five years, Chiara went from sharing outfit selfies on Flickr to a multi-million dollar business with her current business partner Riccardo Pozzoli.

 

 

Partnerships and Advertising 

Partnerships, advertising and appearances are the most important aspects in order for bloggers to make a living. The Blonde Salad receives over 500,000 unique visitors a months and brings in $1.5 million dollars a month on advertising and referred sales. Part of their online strategy is to be very selective of the brand they choose to partner with. This will allow them to position The Blonde Salad brand over its profits. From the beginning they have turned down high paying gigs with the media in order to score luxury brands such as Steve Madden, Louis Vuitton and YSL.

Appearances

In 2014 Chiara receives $30,000 to $50,000 to host or participate in an event. These events include numerous front row fashion shows during New York, Paris and Milan Fashion Week which take place twice a year. Since the birth of the blog the fashionista has traveled to numerous countries and is not showing any signs of slowing down.

 

Shoe Collectionchiara shoes

The Italian blogger also launched her own line of shoes called Chiara Ferragni Shoes but only receives 10% of the royalties. Although 10% does not seem like a lot it is projected that the collection will have earned $10 million by the end of 2016. Her shoes generally sell for $250-$500 and are available online or in 200 stores in 25 countries.

 

 

Instagram

Her business partner, Ricardo Pozzoli, notes that 2013 was the turning point for fashion bloggers when Instagram became one of the most frequented social media tools. Ferragni currently has 3.4 million followers on Instagram, a little over a million on Facebook and 233 thousand on Twitter. Instagram is key for The Blonde Salad. Although Kim Kardashian has 20 million followers and Oprah Winfrey has 3.6 million she is still a top contender on the social media platform. The rise of Instagram has also shifted their online strategy. Chiara can be found on instagram under the user name @chiaraferragni or by using any of the following hashtags: #TheBlondeSaladNeverStops and #ChiaraFerragniShoes or her most recent #TheBlondeSaladGoesToUtah

The Blonde Saladharard

When talking about a blog and other social media sites it is important to stay consistent but offer visitors different content that links them to the different social media platforms. As she continues to post her travels and outfits on Instagram, her now team of 16 plans her blogs content weeks before posting. The editorial staff is building a website that can be recognized as a digital magazine separate from Chiara. This gives her the option to be involved or not in the future. The Blonde Salad is the first ever blogger to be selected to be a Harvard Business School case study. This case study is part of an elective course that is offered in the MBA program. The case study can be bought online by clicking here.

Although a successful blogger and Instagramer other accomplishments include making Forbes 2015 30 under 30 list, gracing the covers of several magazines including Lucky, Lampoon, Marie Claire and will be this April’s Vogue Espana cover girl. On March 25th, Chiara flew to Mexico to receive Marie Claire’s 2015 Beauty Icon award. The 27 year old law student has proven herself and is showing the world that she is a force to reckon with.o-CHIARA-FERRAGNI-900

 

“It’s a walk-off!” – Social Media takes over Fashion Week (COM0011 – Blog #4)

5diorFashion shows have been around since 1858; 70 years later the first Fashion week was held in 1943 in Paris during World War II as a distraction from the world’s current situation. During this time Fashion Week was called Press Week and unfortunately many shows were cancelled due to the Nazi presence in France. Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert used this opportunity to bring “Press Week” to America. The first New York “Press Week” was held in the Plaza Hotel and allowed 53 designers to show their work. Spun from its success came Italy Fashion Week (1952), Milan Fashion Week (1975) and London Fashion Week (1984). As the evolution of fashion continues to amaze us so does it online presence.

Designers, fashionistas, bloggers, photojournalist and celebrities take to Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Vine to show off the latest looks, shows and parties. In this digital age fashion enthusiast can attend Dior, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Michael Kors shows without an invite!

Photo: Jungle Model, Christian Dior, Spring/ Summer Fashion Show 1947

Hashtags are tnew_york_city_madness_wallpaper_hd-wide-copyhe staples connecting internet users and Fashion Week. Instagram and Twitter users can search hashtags such as #NYFW, #LFW #MBFW and #Fashionweek. Many designers are live tweeting from their individual accounts you can also follow @FashionweekNYC for general coverage of events. One benefit of sharing your Fashion Week photos on Instagram is the chance to appear in the Getty Image library or be featured on the New York Times Fashion Week account (@NYtimesfashion).

Although Facebook is not the platform of choice of Fashion Week they still have an account that included promotions of several brands and event coverage.

Numerous designers and brands are turning to Youtube, USTREAM and Livestream to show exclusive content that can be viewed anywhere on personal devices. A one-stop site for live content is NewYorkFashionWeeklive.com where users can view private shows; Celebrity, designer, stylist and model interviews. Live streaming also applied to London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

fashion-photographersIn previous years Tumblr has sent upwards to 20 bloggers to Fashion Week events in order to get the best possible coverage. In 2014 the Yahoo based blogging site partnered with 20 NYC based bloggers and paired them with 20 designers for a 2 week apprenticeship. These bloggers are to document shows and garment preparation in photographs and GIF’s. Hopefully this will forge relationships and future collaborations. Sony is sponsoring this experience by furnishing the bloggers with $750 DSLR cameras and Tablets. Bloggers are not required to use the devices provided but encouraged to experiment with them. Although the bloggers have online content they did exhibit their work at an art gallery to gain offline recognition.

ZOOLANDER[1]This year Maison of Valentino had very special guests at their Paris Fashion Week show on March 10th. 14 years after its original Paramount Pictures release, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) strutted their “Blue Steel” gazes in the ultimate “walk off” to promote the upcoming Zoolander 2 which is set to hit theatres February 2016. Ben Stiller wearing a customer Night Butterflies brocade suit with hand-embroidered overcoat and black creeper shoes. Owen Wilson is sporting a silk continent print pajama suit with double cashmere overcoat and open sneakers.

The stars of this cult classic movie were instantly recognized; the audience burst into cheer and applause as they appeared on the runway. Many celebrities such as Vogue’s editor in chief, Anna Wintour, took the opportunity to snap photos with the two “models”. Anna Wintour can always be spotted in the front row of every fashion show with her over sized sunglasses and very serious look. This year even she is not taking herself to seriously by taking playful photos with celebrities and even filmed a short video with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson for Vogue Diaries.

 

Vine 11050237_967237776629263_4706653122765807715_nstar Jerome Jarre, who was front row at the Valentino show, began filming Derek Zoolander’s entrance and had his phone stolen by the actor (Ben Stiller) who continued to film walking down the runway. Orchestrated or not, it was the right level of crazy and outrageous that is expected from Zoolander.

Although Kim Kardashian’s “Ass-sets” broke the internet, the announcement of Zoolander 2 and its presentation blew up on social media. Tweets, Instagrams and Vines were consuming the internet within minutes of the actors appearing. Paramount Pictures and Maison Valentino worked together to benefit both parties in a new and innovative way.

Pictured: Jerrome Jarre with model Cara Delevingne, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.