Assignment 5 – Successfully Landing Brands in French Canada – Comm0015 – Mark Calder

The name of my webinar was Successfully Landing Brands in French Canada, hosted on the Cision Canada network on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. As part of its marketing efforts for its public relations and media monitoring products, the firm hosts free webinars on marketing and other topics. While I live in a predominantly English area and work for an English-language school board, there are areas near the Quebec border that are predominantly French and that I need to properly market our schools to – areas such as Alfred , Alexandria and Hawkesbury, Ontario . There is also tough competition for students in these areas and many of these areas feature strong separate and public French board schools, meaning marketing tips provided in the webinar will be helpful in my efforts to encourage parents in these areas to enroll in my board’s schools.

Through this webinar, I was virtually introduced to Marie-Josee Gagnon, of Casacom Communications, (see: who led the webinar, which showed how US-based arts and crafts giant Michaels ( introduced seven stores into Quebec in 2012. The company wanted to avoid problems that another US giant, Wal-Mart, encountered when it came into Canada more than 13 years ago. The webinar was not a great opportunity to interact with others. The one-hour session allowed written questions and did not provide a list of participants. I asked a question seeking ideas for how an English school board could market to French families in a French community in Ontario. However, with only 15 minutes for questions, mine was not addressed. This is not a great platform for building connections, although it is extremely helpful for marketing tips.

There are several ways that Gagnon suggests companies can market to Quebec consumers and Canadian French consumers outside of Quebec. Her tips include:

*Recognize that French consumers have key cultural differences that require different marketing approaches. Marketing in Quebec requires accurate, regionally sensitive translations of English-to-French marketing products such as signage and brochures. Products, as much as possible, should be sourced from Quebec and the French communities you are serving . There is also a strong need for commercials to reflect Quebec and French culture. Surveys also show that Quebec consumers like to see clearer, less-cluttered display areas and do not like products displayed outside a store.

*There is a requirement to introduce your business not just through conventional advertising, but through social media using influence leaders in your target community. As a crafts company, Michaels met with the Quebec Minister of Culture, and the head of the agency which implements Bill 101 regulations, and also enlisted the help of popular Quebec actress and painter Brigitte Lafleur (see: Michaels also enlisted the help of local influencers by having craft days for journalists and their children. These efforts were followed by social media campaigns that featured videos of craft bloggers, people who won craft contests, and promotional videos featuring Lafleur (see: and others.

*New businesses must also send the message that they are not in Quebec or French communities to compete against existing, Quebec or locally based businesses. The key message must be that they are there to co-exist by “growing the market.”

*As a business consultant, Gagnon provided a quote that also stressed a key philosophy of social media marketing in general AND when you are marketing specifically to Quebec consumers: “They must know you would (sic) always tell the truth.”

There are several things that I wish to do in my next kindergarten registration advertising campaign in January 2015 as a result of attending this seminar. These efforts include:

*In the fall of 2014, I will work to get the board involved in our core French communities in the weeks leading up to the campaign. I would like the board to sponsor special events for children – spelling bees, music festivals, children’s fun days, and indoor soccer programs etc. We will video and stream these events to provide a positive experience for parents and connect them with our board.

*I will ask Grades 7 and 8 students in our schools to blog on our behalf about the great things taking place in our schools.

*I will work with local influencers such as local mayors to talk about the value of the Upper Canada District School Board – the board that I work for.

*I will talk more about the caring nature of our board through testimonial videos about our children’s foundation and how it has helped people.

*I will move away from newspapers and on to fully online campaigns and also video and stream events such as our Welcome to Kindergarten Days in French communities – showing the public what the parents and children are experiencing at these days and what they can experience at our schools.

Proof of Attendance

Email from Cision to my personal account on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 1:15 p.m,. from

“Thank you for attending “Successfully Landing Brands in French Canada”


Blog Post 4 – Comm0015 – The Unexpected Pleasant Surprises

Mark Calder


I was pleasantly surprised to find out about new online ways employees can gain feedback from their bosses about projects in real time through applications such as Rypple and (for a description see: and ) With Rypple, the feedback is anonymous and is not considered for promotions – but merely used to help improve an employee’s performance.

Another neat application for social media is in the rental housing domain. Since I may have to become a landlord myself in the near future, I noticed that landlords are now using social media for a variety of applications including: posting photos of staged homes and apartments on Pinterest; answering questions about the neighborhood on Twitter; hosting “meetups” at apartments and even hosting microblogs about happenings in the neighbourhood so prospective clients get a feel for the area (see:


Comm0015 Blog Post 3 – My Game Plan for Professional Networking – Steady As She Goes

By Mark Calder

Comm 0015 

Currently I have several strategies for developing my personal network both online and in person.

I am involved with this course to become familiar with others in my field who are interested in online marketing. I am on Facebook for my work, which allows me to share the work that I do on the Upper Canada District School Board Web page with those in my community and the wider Internet.

I am involved with a children’s charity called The Champions for Kids Foundation on which I sit as a director. Since January 2008, we have raised $1 million to help support youth to play sports, enjoy arts activities and to care for medical needs not covered by government health plans – such as prescription glasses and EpiPens. This has given me the chance to connect with local business people through charity golf tournaments, charity breakfasts, fun runs and other events.

I am also involved with the United Way of Leeds and Grenville, having designed a basic website for that agency’s charity golf tournament. While this is not the main intent for helping with this charity, the United Way is an organization connected to the local business community.

I am also a member of two professional organizations: The National School Public Relations Association and the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education.

While I am on Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, I am still concerned about the idea of being so closely connected to the world through the Internet. I value my privacy and I like the idea of being a little separated from “”The Grid” My plan for social media professional networking will not change drastically in the next little while. I will become active on Link’d In as my bosses are on it and have requested I do so. I do not wish to get any more connected. While I see the wonder of networks, the amazing potential for research and understanding, and find learning about collaboration sites exciting, I honestly feel I am already “out there” as much as I need to be.


Comm0015 – Blog Post 2 – What Aeropostale can learn from Ford and Coca Cola on Facebook

By Mark Calder

They are corporate giants that haven’t forgotten how to connect with the average Joe. That is why Coca Cola and the Ford Motor company do such an impressive job with social media marketing.

Both companies find ways to connect to the hearts and minds of their buyers through their Facebook pages, inspiring them and leaving them feeling good about the world and about both drinking Coke and buying a Ford.

Coca-Cola is brilliant at connecting with people in the world through its Facebook site (see : ) On the site there are simple, beautiful pictures which connect the company with joyful events such as the World Cup – which Coke sponsored. We see pictures of average fans enjoying a Coke in Brazil.

Campaigns directly connect the company’s product with individual customers through initiatives such as the bottle name campaign (see: Fans of the product like the bottle name campaign and are interacting positively (see:!/photo.php?fbid=10152527640130250&set=p.10152527640130250&type=1&theater.)

The company is not just selling a product but selling a lifestyle – i.e. fun in the sun with Coke:!/coca-cola/photos/a.99394368305.88399.40796308305/10153411257393306/?type=1&theate

At the same time the company also takes the time to connect its product with serious world events- such as offering tribute to Nelson Mandela following his death: (see:!/coca-cola/photos/a.10150567797523306.402510.40796308305/10152896831608306/?type=1&theater

Ford does things a little differently, but the company still does a brilliant job of connecting with the heart and soul of its customers on its Facebook page (see ). For instance, on Mother’s Day the company posted a brilliant video in which children were asked what kind of car they would like to design for their mothers. The children talked about chocolate cars because their mothers liked chocolate or they asked designers to make a waterproof car so their mothers could ride under the ocean and see fish and sharks (see:!/photo.php?v=10152388780520049&set=vb.22166130048&type=2&theater )

The company also does a wonderful job of letting its customers tell others how great their cars are. The company has posted an amazing video which shows real customers taking test drives of its Ford Focus. with honest commentary (see:!/photo.php?v=10152319844595049&set=vb.22166130048&type=2&theater)

Both Coke and Ford understand that the best way to market to customers through social media is to not just sell the product, but sell the company as caring about the world.

A company that doesn’t do a great job at social media marketing is Aeropostale.- (see:!/photo.php?v=10152080389797608&set=vb.57143807607&type=2&theater ).

Instead of testimonials,, what the company offers is stilted videos that plug their clothing (see:!/photo.php?v=10152083530227608&set=vb.57143807607&type=2&theater.) They also supply endless pictures of wardrobe combinations which some customers say make little sense (see:!/aeropostale/photos/a.73837772607.73750.57143807607/10152612107942608/?type=1&theater )

The company needs to address several shortfalls on its Facebook page. The major problem is that young boys wear Aeropostale clothing just as much as girls do but most of the Facebook postings are directed at females. The company can market effectively to boys through video – i.e. skateboard videos of kids enjoying the sport wearing Aeropostale clothing. They could post video game links on the site that kids could download. Aeropostale is a big company. They could hire celebrities such as football stars to wear their clothing – maybe encouraging donations to charities the athlete supports.

The company will have to come a long way though, before it can match Ford of Coke.


How I Love to Get My News

Mark Calder – Blog One- Com 0015

My two favourite social media listening tools are Social Mention and Addictomatic. I really love Social Mention (see: I enjoy it for its ease of use. By simply typing in a keyword, I can get information on my school board and recent articles. I can subscribe to an RSS feed. It also gives me a sentiment rating about my content, how many unique authors are viewing my content and the frequency that my content is viewed. It tracks different social media and news feeds such as Facebook and Yahoo. It also tells me about top users and unique users, including those who I may not want to use it – such as photography studios who may be pilfering my photos.

I also love Addictomatic ( I think the thing I like about it best is again the ease of access and use. You simply type in a search term – like my school board – and I get automatic results on major platforms such as YouTube, Flickr, and Twittersearch.

I think my two favourite sources of newsfeeds are and because of the wide swath of news they cover.

I particularly like because of its ever-expanding use of the citizen reporter and their videos – it gets not only the national news but the little interesting stories and inspirational videos that are so enjoyable (see:

Professionally, through both NPR and CNN I am able to keep up with news about education and what else is going on in the world.

I am also a fan of the quirky news that can be found on podcasts from NPR. This is important to my professional life in that it gives me a chance to decompress with funny commentary on programs such as CarTalk (see:, and allows me to reflect on new fresh ideas on the way I want to work professionally and live my life with programs such as the TED Radio Hour. (see:

Blog Post 7 – Storytelling is More Important in a Digital World than Ever – by Mark Calder, Com 0014



In today’s digital world of the 10-second attention span, storytelling is more important than ever.

I look at my 16 year-old son. He is brilliant – sometimes I wonder if someone else is his father because I don’t know how or where he gets his genius. But he has the attention span of a gnat.  I found him in his room tonight playing an NHL video game (see: , texting (see: ), running videos about gaming on his iPhone (see: ), and Facebooking on his mother’s laptop (

This lack of focus in the younger generation makes storytelling all the more important. With so many distractions, you need to have a gripping message. I also think storytelling is important because there is a tradition of storytelling in every culture. People are comforted by a good story. It brings back memories we should all have from childhood – of that bedtime story curled up in an easy chair with mom or dad.

The content of a great post must bring the human struggle into play and the content of the story must always distill those kernels of the human experience – morals – from which we all can learn. For my job working for a school board, I will tell stories about events such as  the high school fundraiser to generate money to honour the memory of a much-loved student (see: ), teaching the value of caring. I will tell stories about students’ reactions to the first-person stories of Auschwitz survivors, teaching them that the human soul can rise above hate (see: I will tell stories of football players who have won scholarships to Division 1 US colleges ) teaching the value of hard work.

The human factor is key.

Blog Post 6 – John’s Journey Through Sport – My Favourite Customer Story – Mark Calder Com 0014

  • I volunteer for a children’s charity called Champions for Kids (see: ). The charity helps students from disadvantaged families enjoy sports and participate in the arts. We raise funds by organizing golf tournaments,  dances, women’s self-defense clinics and other events.

    What I find so cool about this is how helping kids play sports can really change their lives- including a kid in my neighbourhood named “John”.  John is from a single parent family comprised of a mother and three kids – all from different  fathers. John was a loner.  His mother is good to him, but there isn’t a lot extra in the budget for sports.

    In the summer of his Grade 9 year, he was in danger of dropping out of school. He was getting into a lot of fights and had few friends.

    I am a longtime soccer coach and I asked John if he wanted to play house league soccer that summer (see: ). I said I would take care of it through the foundation and got him into the league with my son’s team. He had never played league sports. What I didn’t know was he was a natural athlete. He was our third highest scorer that year and my team moved from seventh at the beginning of the year without John to finishing in fourth.

    John made new friends with boys from the team. While he didn’t continue with soccer, they got him interested in football and he thrived in the sport throughout high school – keeping him engaged in his education. He’s not a great student, but he’s doing well enough that he is speaking with a recruiter about a career in the armed forces (see:  – and he hopes to parlay that into a university or college education.

    I’d like to think that the little “hand up” our foundation gave him helped him set that goal and will help him go on to achieve it.

    What is your favourite “customer story”?



The Screwdriver – My Personal Brand – Assignment 1 Blog Post 5 – Mark Calder, Com 0014

Assignment #1
Blog Post 5
The Screwdriver – My Personal Brand

Mark Calder
Com 0014

My personal brand isn’t about flash. it’s about dedication to the cause  of public education and hard work.

To be honest with you, I’m not someone who stands out or who necessarily  wants to. I am a generalist. I’m like one of those screwdrivers with the interchangeable heads that you buy at Home Depot, I can fit many roles. I  can get a reasonable job done  at marketing in a variety of different ways such as photos, video, news releases, and specialized profiles.

I truly believe in the cause of public education and fear that if it is not properly promoted and supported there is a danger it could be weakened along the same lines as the American public system. I will fight to preserve it by drawing attention to what makes it great.

I can take reasonably good photos that add value to the news releases that I produce for my board.

(Photo example see: )

(News release example see:,OSAIDDelegatesTold-06122013.aspx )

I am valuable to my board because I look for different ways to promote it rather than the traditional newspaper ads used by many boards. An example of this is a series of profiles I recently wrote for World Teachers’ Day. Links were sent out on Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the amazing things our teachers are doing.

(see:’sDayProfile-MorganMcQuay.aspx )

I am experimenting with different types of videos for registration and short videos to publicize special events – taking advantage of the fact our parents are now on YouTube.


I do not excel at any one thing. I’m the  guy though who can play nine roles, all rolled into one.

Zappos.Com – A Social Media Marketing Success Story – Blog Post 4, Mark Calder, Com0014

I had read so much about in books such as Twitterville and heard about them at conferences from speakers such as Amber Mac, that I had to see what all the fuss was about.

This company does an amazing job engaging its customer base through social media – making particularly good use of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I think a great indication of their success can be found in the number of likes the site enjoys – 1.3 million. (see: )

The company uses catchy phrases and great photography to publicize its products – and you can see how the approach intrigues its customers. This is great marketing (see links below).!/photo.php?fbid=10151758859892687&set=a.141959562686.124607.7172307686&type=1&theater


The company also makes great use of contests to keep its customers engaged and coming back to their sites so they look at more of those pictures and order more goods. They have a contest offering kitchen utensil and cook ware for the holidays and a contest to get women interested in running a marathon at Disneyland.

(See!/photo.php?fbid=10151769809867687&set=a.141959562686.124607.7172307686&type=1&theater  )



They also use amazingly engaging YouTube videos such as the Baggage Claim Game to engage customers. See

This was a really fun thing to watch and it made me think very highly of a company that was making a holiday trip that much better for people facing the stress of travelling on Thanksgiving.
Do I think their approach is working. You bet!

Recapturing Youth By Building Model Airplanes Blog Post 3 Mark Calder Com 0014

I’m a guy who used to like creating World War II vintage plastic model aircraft as a boy, with planes from the Battle of Britain like the Spitfire and Hurricane being my favourite. The hobby was exciting to me not only because of the joy of building, but the era it represented – one in which good battled evil for control of the world. I was particularly inspired as a young boy by the heroes of the Battle of Britain.

That got me wondering who is still enjoying the hobby and whether as an adult I would be able to find people with similar interests. It appears from the traffic on Google Trends that the interest in the hobby is waning over the last seven years. Twitter shows that a variety of age groups remain interested in the hobby although they may be fewer in number. My research also suggests that with the cost of models that the core group enjoying the hobby may actually be adult male collectors.

The videos displayed on Twitter links are often done by middle-aged men who have the resources for the paint, fine brushes, and magnifying glasses used in the hobby (

I think the most effective way of communicating with this audience would be through videos showing accomplishments in modeling: ( ) and the most helpful methods to ensure a quality product ( .

I would also provide links to places to buy these models and tools (  – to feed enthusiast’s excitement and prompt them to buy.

I would use Twitter with links to promote these videos as it seems that it is the most convenient way to share quick messages.