COM0014-Blog #5: Personal Brand

I define personal brand as being your image, your reputation and your career.  It is composed of bits and pieces of your life; personal and corporate.  It is, in my opinion, the most vulnerable representation of yourself.  Why?  There is no place to hide.   

My personal branding statement is: Learn.  Grow.  Thrive.  My passion and enthusiasm are some key elements that allow me to stand out.  Well, I must confess that my sense of humor and my rhetoric have helped build my brand too!  I was very social before the arrival of social media, so I was not intimidated by it at all.

I am a perpetual learner.  My career path consists of many different specializations that are different but related to each other; translator, copywriter, blogger, marketing coordinator, customer and supplier relations, administration and management related positions.  The combination of all these studies, experiences and skills is what differentiates me from my competitors, and it allows me to be versatile and flexible.

I am the organizer, the problem solver, the thinker, the devil’s advocate on whom you can count on.  I am the one people come to for technology-related issues (and to know all my shortcuts!).  Because I am great at generating ideas and finding solutions to problems, fields including creativity, research and innovation are attractive to me.  New projects are a source of challenges and excitement.  I value teamwork and brainstorming sessions where people having a common goal can share ideas! 

LinkedIn is the social media platform that I mostly use and since it is linked to the corporate world, it allows me to connect with professionals and opens doors that otherwise would be inaccessible.  I make sure I comment and post often to ensure constant visibility.  I have been posting some of my blogs and have been listening to the received feedback.  I am learning to engage people and create a targeted audience which is not an easy task.  I am still very cautious as to what I choose to post online.  My motto is “Think twice, post once.” 

References

Gunnulfsen, Zu Anjalika Kamis.  (April 24th, 2018).  What is the difference between personal image and personal branding?  Retrieved from https://marketinginasia.com/2018/04/24/what-is-the-difference-between-personal-image-and-personal-branding/

COM0014-Blog #4: B2C Case Study Shoppers Drug Mart

Do you know of a company that is targeting all their diversified audiences?  Well, Shoppers Drug Mart has succeeded in engaging with people of all ages and still does.  Founded in 1962 in Toronto, the drug retailer added mass merchandizing and self-service, both in a retail pharmacy format.  It has evolved into the Shoppers Drug Mart that we know now which offers varied products and services including cosmetics and fragrances.  In 2000, Shoppers was launching its Shoppers Optimum loyalty program which amassed more than six million members after only one year.  In 2014, the merging of Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws created the PC Optimum loyalty program.  And this program that has been successful all these years has helped create, in my opinion, one of the most engaging companies on social media.

Being the leading loyalty program in Canada has its advantages and the company is using them to engage people on many different social media platforms.  All members of the program who are engaging with Shoppers Drug Mart gain something: PC Optimum points.  Those precious points can be redeemed in any of the stores that are under the company’s banner.  The company, through their different products, services, contests, promotions and programs, is rewarding the members of its loyalty program with more points which means more “free stuff” for the customers.  Of course, expanding their number of memberships also means more sales and more sales translate into more profit!

From pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities and online prescription renewals to beauty products and cosmetic trends revealed on sponsored blogs, Shoppers Drug Mart is very active on social media.  Aside from having a very functional and engaging website, Shoppers Drug Mart can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  And when you think the company could not reach more people and expand its diversified audience, Shoppers Drug Mart has found a new way to promote its products using the newest technology.  You can now try on hundreds of products virtually with the Virtual Try-On which will certainly be talked about on social media.  How engaging is that?     

References

Kolm, Josh.  (October 24, 2019).  Shoppers Drug Mart and L’Oréal launch virtual try-on.  Retrieved from http://strategyonline.ca/2019/10/24/shoppers-drug-mart-and-loreal-launch-virtual-try-on/

Shoppers Drug Mart.  (November 18, 2019).  Homepage.  Retrieved from https://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/home

Shoppers Drug Mart.  (November 18, 2019).  About Us.  Retrieved from http://corporate.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en-ca/about-us/major-company-milestones

COM0014 – Blog#3 Target Audiences

Image retrieved from https://binged.it/2Xahvkv

The main language that is being used in most companies that are doing business in Canada is English, with the exception of Quebec.  In general, companies tend to do business in more than one language to expand their reach at an international level and not remain only local.  In Ontario, the case is a bit different.  Since Ontario is located right beside Quebec, people from both provinces easily travel from one province to another.  But there is more to it than just the fact that these provinces are neighbors. 

L’OQLF, l’Office québécois de la langue française, the language police as it is often called in Quebec, must ensure that companies that are doing business in Quebec do it in French first.  This means that all correspondence, publicity and advertising of all genres must be done in French first followed by an English version.  And that it where localization becomes so important for companies wanting to do business in Quebec.  It is important to mention that the French spoken in Quebec differs from the French spoken in France.  Therefore, localization is crucial for a company seeking to hire a translator who knows the French language from Quebec including the tone and the nuances of the language spoken in “La belle province”.

Localization goes beyond translation of content.  It adds value and a sense of belonging.  These characteristics are what differentiate a translation and a translation adapted for the people living in Quebec.  Localization provides the opportunity to include and demonstrate the culture of the Quebec residents in each translation that are required by a company or an organization wanting to do business in French and in Quebec.   

In many cases, the idea and analogy are the same, but they are illustrated using different references. For example, most anglophones that need to cough will use the expression “to have a frog in their throat”.  In Quebec, people will say that they have “a cat in their throat”.  Same idea, same image, but the reference is different.  If you say in Quebec that you have a frog in your throat, they will know that you are not from there and if they speak English, they will know that you do too!

The most important part of promoting translation services is to define your target audiences and be able to adapt your translation to these audiences.  That explains why some translators are describing their translation services as being in Canadian French and not in Quebec French. 

References

OQLF.  (November 13, 2019).  Office de la langue française du Québec.  Retrieved from http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/accueil.aspx

FIG.  (November 13, 2019).  Francisation Inter-Globe.  Retrieved from https://www.francisation.ca/en/localization-marketing/

COM0014-Blog #2: What Makes for Good Storytelling?

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Listening

If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, I would have gone on and on about the qualities needed for good storytelling, but I would have omitted the most important element: listening.  In order to know your audience and have a conversation on social media, you must listen first.  The web is noisy, so you must ensure that your storytelling skills are used to identify the purpose of your blog and to differentiate it from other blogs.  After reading the provided lessons, I was also reminded that stories may be verbal, written, narrated, drawn, painted, or expressed through music and dance.

Purpose

The goals of good storytelling are to make sure the audience is involved, interested, engaged and inclined to act after reading your blog.  Unfortunately, most web users are not spending too much time browsing for the right content.  This explains why your blog must be clear, concise and directed to the right audience.  I have learned through my readings the different kind of web readers; Elementary, Inspectional, Analytical and Syntopical.  Each type of reader requires a different communication style. 

Communication Styles

The storytelling must be flawless; excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation.  This will ensure the content will be taken seriously.  The tone of voice must also represent your message.  Even though most people tend to tell stories using a passive voice, using an active voice will engage the audience even more and the people will most likely act after reading.

Successful Storytelling

No matter if your story is a personal or corporate one, the result is basically the same.  The purpose is to have your story known and shared in order to increase the value of what you are blogging about; ideas, products, services, and so on.  Good storytelling will translate into more participations, memberships, donations, sales, etc.  A successful storytelling will help you reach your goals no matter what they are.

References

Algonquin College. (2019). Module 1: Introduction to Digital Communication. [Online]. Retrieved from https://ontariolearn.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/31398/viewContent/1465391/View

Algonquin College. (2019). Module 2: Becoming a Digital Storyteller. [Online]. Retrieved from https://ontariolearn.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/31398/viewContent/1465397/View

COM0014 – Blog #1: Is a Staycation a Real Vacation?

My husband and I decided to act as tourists to discover the little treasures that are so close to us and yet have not been visited.  Instead of planning a 7-day trip at the same location, we opted to do a different activity and a different location each day of our staycation which would include some visits, activities, and, of course, food and wine tasting of local cuisine.

What seemed easy to plan just kept getting more interesting as we were learning more details than we had anticipated about each destination.  The first day of our staycation was spent at the Spencer Gorge where we discovered the Webster’s and Tews Falls in Hamilton.  Do you know that Hamilton is also called the waterfall capital of the world? 

The second day took us on a 3-hour drive to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.  We booked a cruise to see the shipwrecks and the tour guide gave us an earful of history.  How many historic shipwrecks do you think happened in that region since 1885?  More than 20 historic shipwrecks have been reported in the region and many of them are still very well preserved.

We chose to relax on the third day.  We headed to Wasaga Beach to take advantage of the sand, the sun and the water.  We just enjoyed walking along the beach, which we had learned later, is the longest freshwater beach in the world with 14 km of sandy shore!

On day 4, we decided to drive to Ottawa and walk along the Rideau Canal.  Our walk took us to a tourist information booth where we learned that the Rideau Canal was a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Did you know that?

We left Ottawa and crossed the bridge to Gatineau, Quebec. After having spent time and money at the Casino du Lac-Leamy (http://casinos.lotoquebec.com), we decided to spend the night in Gatineau. Day 5 was spent back in Ottawa catching up with family before leaving the following morning.

Coming back on day 6, we opted to go shopping!  Who said that shopping could not be a touristic adventure?  We went to discover the Toronto Premium Outlets which had us occupied for many hours.  We were surprised to learn that more than 80 stores are operating on the premises.  And that is not all, it keeps getting bigger and opening more stores!

I am convinced that you must have a pretty good idea of what we did on day 7 of our staycation.  And yes, that is what we did!  Absolutely nothing!  We just chilled at home with the cats, cooked a good meal, had a nice bottle of wine and talked about our staycation!  I hope this blog will convince you that a staycation can be a real vacation and the next time you have some time off you try it yourself.  Will you? 

Webster’s falls, Photo credit: paul blca/Flickr                  
Retrieved from https://www.amusingplanet.com/2017/07/hamilton-waterfall-capital-of-world.html 
Sweepstakes. Photo credit: Blue Heron Cruises
Retrieved from https://cruisetobermory.com/shipwrecks-of-tobermory/the-shipwreck-sweepstakes.html

References

Kaushik.  (November 4, 2017).  Hamilton, The Waterfall Capital of The World.  Retrieved from https://www.amusingplanet.com/2017/07/hamilton-waterfall-capital-of-world.html

Blue Heron Cruises.  (November 4, 2019).  The Shipwreck Sweepstakes.  Retrieved from https://cruisetobermory.com/shipwrecks-of-tobermory/the-shipwreck-sweepstakes.html

Ontario Parks.  (November 4, 2019).  Wasaga Beach.  Retrieved from https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/wasagabeach  

Viator.  (November 4, 2019).  Rideau Canal Tours.  Retrieved from https://www.viator.com/Ottawa-attractions/Rideau-Canal/d622-a2097

Yellow Pages.  (November 4, 2019).  Toronto Premium Outlets.  Retrieved from https://www.yellowpages.ca/bus/Ontario/Halton-Hills/Toronto-Premium-Outlets/100811603.html

Social Media, Politicians and Fake News: Who Do You Believe?

I am pretty sure that everyone knows what fake news is, but in order to make sure that everyone does, let me describe what it is as well as what their goals are.

Fake news is, basically, plain ordinary news and stories that have been made up in order to make the reader believe they are true when they are, in fact, just pure fiction.  The goal of fake news is to influence the reader and his position concerning a specific subject.  It is, in general, a subject related to politics and is mostly geared toward power or monetary gains.

Of course, because of the speed and the reach that social media has nowadays, some fake news may travel around the world at a fulgurant speed.  This may bring some positive insights in certain situations but, unfortunately, because of its nature, it has a negative impact, and, in some cases, it may even be destructive.

Fake news is not always easily detected. In some cases, detective work may be required.

There are many different types of fake news; clickbait, propaganda, satire/parody, sloppy journalism, misleading headings and biased/slanted news.  With the increasing number of fake news, it is very difficult for the reader to determine if what he is reading on social media is true or not.  There are, however, ways to recognize fake news.

The first step is to trace the history of the digital postings that have been done on social media.  By doing so, it will be easy to confirm the location and the date of a specific posting.  Treat screenshots, images, pictures and videos with the utmost attention.  Even some websites are created to accommodate fake news!  This is a time when it is imperative to look at other sources to compare headlines and content in order to make an educated opinion.

The fake news phenomenon is so popular and getting so much attention that some websites have been created to check reported facts and verify their authenticity.  Here are a few fact checking websites for different countries:

After performing a Google search on Canadian Fact Checking Websites, the following websites appeared in the search results:

The URLs of certain websites should be verified before visiting them to read their content.  Websites ending with .com or .co could potentially be accommodating fake news.  If the visited site provides articles written by the same author, this also can be an indication of the presence of fake news in the content.  This is the perfect time to Google everything!  It is estimated that 90% of Canadians have fallen for fake news.

So. next time you read some news or stories on social media, will you instantly believe it? Will you immediately take a stand and have an opinion on the subject? Or will you check the facts and ensure that what you are reading is not fake news?

References:

Legalzoom.com. 1200 x 792 jpeg. Fake News: What Laws Are Designed to Protect. [Image online]. Retrieved from https://binged.it/2XGW61N

Russell, Andrew. (June 12, 2019). Facebook won’t remove doctored videos. Here are tools to help you verify content. [Online]. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/5381118/how-to-spot-fake-news-misinformation-disinformation-online/

Thompson, Elizabeth. CBC News. (June 11, 2019). Poll finds 90% of Canadians have fallen for fake news. [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fake-news-facebook-twitter-poll-1.5169916

Websise.ie. (June 21, 2018). Explained: What is Fake News? [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.webwise.ie/teachers/what-is-fake-news/

Do you believe everything you read about on social media?  Can you differentiate a real story from a fake news?  If you want to learn more about fake news and how to recognize it, read my blog at https://bit.ly/2KlOuih

Are you wondering if what you are reading is fake news?  How can you tell, without a doubt, if what you are reading is not fake news?  To know more about the fake news phenomenon, read my blog at https://bit.ly/2KlOuih #fakenews

Social Media: Do You Create or Curate?

To create something means bringing an idea, a concept or a visualization to life.  It also means that it never existed before.  In social media, the creation process involves taking your own photos, drawing your own images, writing your own text without any other references other than your thoughts, making your own videos and putting together your own designs.

To curate means something different.  Curating involves researching, finding, gathering, organizing and sharing the content of another person or entity to present it to the public.  The question becomes if it is possible to “borrow” or to “copy in parts” the work of another party without consent.  That may be cause for copyright infringement. 

What exactly is copyright?

“Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.” (Government of Canada, 2016)

To know more about copyright, watch the following video:

What does infringement mean?

“The action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.  The action of limiting or undermining something.” (Lexico, 2019)

It is easier now to understand that “using” someone else’s content online is not acceptable and is illegal.  Anything that is found on the Internet is not necessarily available to be shared or used freely without obtaining consent from the owner of the content.  The credit must be given to the owner of the content, which is, in general, the creator of the content itself.  So, when you are curating, it is important to indicate to whom the content belongs to, where it comes from and where it was found.

The content that is being found online is as valuable as the written content of a book, the lyrics of a song, the logo of a company or a simple photograph.  It is important to respect and research all content that is being use in any content that is dedicated to social media in order to know if it is licensed and to whom it belongs to.  Once done, a permission can be requested to copy or share, in whole or in parts, the content in question.

There is a lot more to say about copyright infringement and its importance, but the goal of this blog is to raise awareness among social media users and the proper ethic regarding “borrowing” someone else’s content.  So, the next time you will need content for social media, will you create or curate?

References:

Creativelaw.co. 1200 x 926 png. [Image online]. Retrieved at https://binged.it/2Z1kj35

Hope. (January 9, 2019). Creating vs. curating content: how to avoid copyright infringement on social media [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.hopelinker.com/2019/01/09/copyright-infringement-on-social-media/

Lexico. (2019). [Online dictionary]. Retrieved from https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/infringement

Government of Canada. (September 7, 2016, p. 1). What is copyright? [Website]. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr03719.html 

Government of Canada. (September 7, 2016). What is a copyright? (Canada) [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljNS5p3cqls&feature=youtu.be

You are not sure if you are creating or curating your content on social media? Are you confused about copyright and infringement?  To know more, read my blog at https://bit.ly/2WskiU5

Are you wondering if your content on social media is subject to infringement? Read my blog at https://bit.ly/2WskiU5 #copyright #infringement

What Will Social Media Hold for Us in the Future?

Where will social media be in 10, 20 or even 30 years from now?  Will its growth still be rapid and constant or will it become more stable and expand at a slower rate?  Well, every year millions of people are joining social media including those in Africa where the rate of users is increasing about 20% yearly.  Even though only one person out of two is using social media, it is obvious that social media’s growth is far from slowing down.

What might be surprising to know is that a platform based on images such as Instagram is gaining more and more popularity and might become the next big thing.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!  It is a platform that is easy to use and quick.  These two traits, when non existent, are usually the reasons why people are not inclined to use social media.

Here are five areas that will grow considerably by 2020:

  • Product searches using social media
  • Visual searches using images, pictures or speech
  • Verbal searches using voice control
  • Access using mobile messaging applications (apps)
  • Discover products using chatbots

To know about the five trends that were predicted in the 2018 Social Trends survey from Hootsuite, check out the report that is available by clicking on the following link Social Media Trends 2019 from Hootsuite.  What is also very interesting is the fact that even with the arrival of a platform like Messenger, which allows people to type less when messaging, the use of pictures, images and videos is becoming a favorite way to use social media rather than typing words and keywords.  Who has never watched a “How to” or a promotional video before purchasing an item online or in store?  Social ecommerce will become one of the easiest and fastest way to shop.

Of course, it is impossible to talk about the future of social media without mentioning the importance of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in the marketing sectors.  Generation Z is responsible for the perpetual increase in the use of these technologies and will continue to do so even more in the future.

Another front will know a considerable increase, this one in the work environment.  More and more executives of organizations will be informed and will know how to use social media.  The leaders will have to adapt their communication style to adopt one that is more social media friendly.

In conclusion, social media will remain an important part of our lives whether we like it or not, and we will all have to adapt to new trends and new technologies that will shape the social media of the future.  And if all this is not satisfying your curiosity about the future of social media then Google it!  Will you? 

Not surprising, the use of social media is starting at a very young age nowadays!

References:

Anderson, Mark. (Online Image). 480 x 360 png. Retrieved from https://binged.it/2YZSkAT

Mulvey, James. (April 10, 2018). Social Media in 2020: 11 Data-Backed Predictions. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-2020/

Would you like to know more about the predictions for the trends to come in social media and what the future holds for us? Visit my Facebook page and read my blog at https://bit.ly/2JR9ehF

Want to know more about what social media will look like in the future? Read my blog at https://bit.ly/2JR9ehF #socialmedia #futureofsocialmedia

Will Climate Change Leave You with a Bitter Taste?

Calling all wine lovers!  Have you been thinking about climate change the last time you opened a bottle of wine?  Probably not.  Let us have a look at some facts about how climate change is affecting the environment and the consequences it has on wine production – called viniculture.

The quality and the quantity of the grapes depend largely on the climate.  The data that have been collected over the past 100 years show an increase of global temperatures of about 0.740C per hundred years.  Like everything else, this brings positive and negative effects to certain regions of the world.

Warmer temperatures affect the growth of the grapes, changing the colour, aroma and the balance between the sugar and the acid content.  If you are a wine connoisseur, you know these traits will alter the product – which could be that vintage Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru 1990 (Cote de Nuits, France) that is still aging in your cellar! 

Other factors like rainfall, increases in carbon dioxide levels and UV radiation are variables that play an important role in the growth of the grapes.  Temperature variances are also critically important to the development of the grapes. The temperature is so important that chambers are used to maintain it and to keep a difference of 100C colder or warmer depending on the temperature to ensure the quality of the grapes.

After reading all of this, you are probably wondering what you can do about climate change? It is simple: be informed, be greener at home and at the office, reuse, recycle and make environmentally friendly purchases.  Chances are, my generation will not taste the difference climate change will have on the wines I savor now and for the years to come, but will the next generations have the same opportunity?

So next time I open my favorite bottle of wine, I will keep that in mind and raise my glass to saving the environment and helping to reduce climate change.  Will you?

References: Wikipedia, Effects of climate change on wine production: https://bit.ly/2YGbgo3

Source: Picture taken during my last visit of some of the wineries in Niagara, Ontario.
Link to Facebook page

Calling all wine lovers! You want to know about climate change and its effect on wine production? Read my blog at https://bit.ly/2wfBAZT

Link to Twitter Account

Why your wine may not taste the same in the future due to climate change? Want to know more, check out my blog at https://bit.ly/2wfBAZT