COM0014 – Blog #7: Digital Communication

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This course has given me a lot of knowledge, insight and understanding into the in’s and out’s of the digital communication world. It has given me the proper tools and resources to better communicate efficiently and effectively online through various social media tools- blogs, instagram, facebook, twitter and much more. Throughout the many lessons and assignments of this course, some of the key concepts that have really impacted my mind and learning are the following:

Storytelling– this has opened a whole new world for me. Having the mindset that everything is a story really stuck with me and helped me with my future content posts for my job because I ask myself before posting now “what is the story I am telling” and it resonates with me. 

Audience diversity– This was also really interesting to learn about because your target audience is going to come from all parts of the world with different backgrounds and language and it is important to be accepting of all and really know your demographics and where your audience is from, what part of the world they live in, if they speak another language and so on. I feel that this is something to be extremely mindful of. Does anyone else agree? If so, people feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Target Audience– Knowing who your audience is will really help with your brand. It is so important to know beforehand, whom you are trying to target, or if your brand could cater to all ages and genders. 

For me, these three key concepts really stood out to me and helped me have a better understanding of the online, digital world and how to properly communicate to people. 

Storytelling is so important because it helps to convey a message of what your brand or company is trying to portray. In other words, it helps to paint a picture on a blank canvas. People respond to the emotion, vulnerability and excitement of a story, which helps draw them in and also intrigues them to want to dive further and know more. It is such an effective way of communicating because it allows for people to share and to relate. Storytelling helps to create great digital content because it captivates your audience, and helps to create a strong connection between your brand and your audience. For me personally, my content will be guided by a story by ensuring that the story is compelling, relatable, memorable, easy to follow along, and has some awesome visuals to make the story stand out that much more. The stories that I want to tell are stories about my childhood, my friends, and family and about things that I am passionate about. 

I look forward to storytelling more often in my career and personal life and feel confident that I will succeed knowing that I have the resources and knowledge to do so. 

COM0014 – Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

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Growing up I always strived for perfection and success. I remember being a little girl, strong willed and fierce, never wanting to give up at anything because I didn’t want to be a failure.  My parents, soft, strong and compassionate, always pushed me in the best way possible, without being too hard on me. They had expectations for me but allowed room for me to grow, fall and even fail. They reassured me that it was okay to “fail” because you will learn and grown from your mistakes. I never looked at it that way and still to this age, 29 years old, fear was and is something I always had in the back of my mind sending shivers down my spine whenever I thought of it, as I never wanted to not be great at something. Through the hustle and bustle of life and landing a career that I am doing great at and feel so passionate about, I cant stop thinking about my greatest fear for my business and work over and over again like a never ending song I can’t get out of my head. The words fear and failure imprinted in my mind. My greatest fear for business and work is failure. Failure to not be enough, failure to not make enough, the list goes on. I know this is a fear that we all have and think about from time to time, and I try to remove the negative thought as soon as it comes, but fears are scary and failure is something I’m sure we would all like to avoid. If it does happen, I will remind myself that this a chapter in my life, a lesson worth learning from to build on, and that it’s okay to “fail” every now and then because it will help me learn from my mistakes, and make me stronger and more aware. 

My Personal Brand

What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from your competitors?

I can’t imagine this assignment is easy for many people.  Taking a step back and evaluating yourself is, though!  The few things I could think of that could set me apart from my competitors are:

  • I am detail-oriented.  I refuse to do anything less than perfect.
  • I am taking a social media certificate course so I can be ahead of the game and have an edge on my competition.
  • I always am looking to improve myself and learn new things.  It could be educational where I am online looking into courses on regular bases or business where I think I keep on top new trends and new techniques and watch tutorials weekly to improve my craft.

What have you done lately to make yourself stand out?

I think what will make me stand out is the fact that I am taking the social media program through Algonquin College.  I will have gained a better understating of how to market myself and my business through social media.  Hopefully, that will make me stand out and be on top of the game.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

I am very organized.  I’m that person that has a spreadsheet for everything and travels with an accordion file for all travel itinerary.

What is the greatest challenge my business must overcome?

TIME!!!

I have 4 kids, a husband and a full time job, I think it’s safe to say that the greatest challenge my business must overcome is TIME.

When I was on maternity leave with my daughter Avery (now 9), I started making baby headbands because I couldn’t find unique and cute ones in stores. I made her so many cute and adorable headbands and clips, but guess what? She didn’t let me put anything on her head or let alone leave it there for more than 5 minutes. I had so many headbands, and no one that would wear them and I didn’t want to stop making them, it was fun, and I was good at it. So I started my own Facebook business called Averlee Park Accessories (Named after my three kids Avery, Haylee and Parker) My page is still up and running today, but I haven’t touched it in years. Check it out. I made okay money, nothing to write home about but I did it because I enjoyed seeing my creations on Lil baby girls. As Avery got older, I had less and less time, and before I knew it, I was back to work, and my business fell to the waste side. TIME……

TIME!! Why does the day not have more hours??

Fast forward eight years and I was on maternity leave again, but this time I was planning my wedding and starting a new business. I bought a Cricut cutting machine to make DIY wedding accessories and decorations and found I could use it on so much more. I honed my skill and began to dabble with vinyl cutting. Lone and behold, I started buying product and vinyl to start a new business named Dekal Dekor. This time I wanted to make a profit and make it a fulltime job, so everything had to be right, the product, the photos, the marketing, everything. I concentrated on research, checking out the competition, pricing out my products, doing trials, and once again, the TIME has gotten away from me, and I have yet to get my dream off the ground. I am back to work again. TIME…..

My challenge is finding TIME!! I need to stop with the mom guilt and set aside time to make my dream of having my own Etsy shop a reality.

Are there any mom entrepreneurs out there that can give me some tips for time management??

COM0014 Blog Post #4 B2C Case Study

Hambrgr

I decided to use a local business for my case study, Hambrgr. Hambrgr is a locally owned and operated restaurant/bar with 3 locations, one in St. Catharines and 2 in Hamilton. Hambrgr opened their doors in 2015, in the heart of downtown Hamilton with the promise of “making the best damn burger you’ve ever eaten.” With simplicity as their mantra, they deliver the perfect combination of locally sourced ingredients, a large selection of craft beer, culinary artistry, and an experience you will not forget.

Why I choose Hambrgr

Choosing Hambrgr was pretty simple for me because my husband works for the company as their Director of Operations, and I already follow them on Instagram and Facebook. When I first started following their Facebook and Instagram pages I loved it, I thought the pictures where very well executed and colourful and I didn’t put much more thought into it until I started taking this program. Now through taking this program, I have a different set of eyes and have had discussions with my husband about what I like about their social media presence and what I think could be improved upon.

Social Media Platforms

Hambrgr utilizes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (although they have not posted to Twitter since April 2018). They post a lot of promotional posts, mostly menu items, including the monthly milkshake flavour as well as the limited weekly chef special (Chef Smash). Here are a few ways they can break up the monotony of promotional posts.

  • A contest – They could run a contest to have the customer invent the next milkshake flavour, add a hashtag
  • A Survey – Have them vote on a pre-selected list of flavours
  • Share customer-generated content – turning their customers into valuable brand ambassadors by showcasing their comments and photos to the world.
  • Show behind the scenes of the business – Profiling the people behind your restaurant is a great way to build relationships and add personality to your brand. You can make followers feel more connected to the business and the people that make it all possible.
  • Adding to the behind the scenes bit, I might even shine a spotlight on individual employees and share what their favorite menu item is.

Customer Reviews

I did a general search of Hambrgr online and found a few reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor; none had been responded to by Hambrgr. The non-response is a missed opportunity to learn about their business and to turn naysayers into brand advocates. By addressing negative reviews and showing gratitude for positive ones, they can build a transparent and friendly persona online. It can show that they are not afraid to talk about their flaws and make a public attempt to improve upon them. On the other hand, when it comes to their Facebook page, they do an excellent job of responding to the positive feedback. They personalize each response by including the reviewer’s name and responding to the input and not just using a generic reply. But, they have missed a huge opportunity to grow their business and gain a broader demographic by don’t responding at all, responding inappropriately and not listening to the customer. A consistent negative review they receive is about the atmosphere not being child-friendly and not having high chairs or boosters to accommodate families. I have included one response below, how would you have responded differently?

Taken from: https://www.facebook.com/pg/hambrgrstcath/reviews/?ref=page_internal

Why would you say you appeal to an “older crowd”? What does that mean? People over 50 that do not necessarily have small children? What about grandparents? There are more and more people waiting until their 30’s before starting their families. I’m confused by what demographic they are targeting. I don’t see how having a few booster seats on hand would hurt their business primarily because in this same response they boast about being a “family-focused” restaurant. To me, what they are saying is “family-focused” to those who have children out of a booster seat, and if you have a baby or toddler, you are unwelcome. It’s just hurting them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I do believe their approach is working but could be tweaked and made better. Hambrgr needs to interact with their customers more and not just post promotions all the time. Social media platforms provide you with a direct line of communication to existing and potential customers. They need to keep those lines open and listen and join the conversation on all posts regarding Hambrgr, not just their Facebook reviews.

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

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Interior decorating is something that holds my interest like no other. I am passionate, driven and excited about decorating a space or a room because it is a creative outlet for myself and I am able to see a vision come to life, which is pretty remarkable to see. Whenever I am feeling down, or not myself, I always find myself looking at a space in my home, dreaming of how I would re-arrange the space to make it feel more calm and comforting. For me, my personal brand is interior decorating and because this career is high in demand, it is important that I take into consideration how I will set myself apart from others, and the importance of my brand and what it means to me.

Some personal qualities or characteristics that will set me apart from other competitors will be listed below:

  • Remain authentic to myself and my brand
  • Be mindful of a budget and ensure I do not go over that
  •  Creativity
  • Drive
  • Time Management
  • Take the time to really get to know my clients and have a proper understanding of their vision and style
  • Communication- which is key in any business. Ensuring that I respond in a timely matter to my clients is very important
  • Love for design- This is something that is very important to me and my brand because it will shine through my work. When you really love and feel passionate about something, people can see that, and because I have such a love and desire to want to do this, I feel as though it will be noticed. 

Lately, I have been thinking about ways I can make myself stand out. For starters, I am currently working on a project with my family that takes place in Exuma, Bahamas. We bought an abandoned house and have been renovating it into a luxury vacation rental. I have been hands on and involved in the process every step of the way from sourcing fabric and furniture, picking out flooring and paint colours, and even helping with the architectural design of the rental. It has not only given me a vast knowledge and understanding of this field of work, it gives me the opportunity to get my name out there and gain some recognition so that I can slowly build my portfolio and clientele. 

If I had to guess what my colleagues would say is my best trait, I believe they would say my respectfulness. I am always mindful, courteous and sensitive to others feelings, ideas and thoughts. I care about each and every one of my colleagues and their abilities to help our work environment thrive. Whether it is a simple hello or asking of how their weekend went, to a surprise coffee, or a compliment, I always treat my colleagues, as well as others, with the same kind of respect that I would want to be treated with. A simple conversation could make someone’s entire day, as we truly never know what someone is struggling with, so I strongly believe this is a trait they would highlight about myself. 

Interior decorating is not just designing a room or a space and fulfilling a clients dream, it is about communicating effectively and efficiently with clients so that we are always on the same page as to what is going on, which I think is very important. With time, I hope that I can make something out of this career interest and really brand myself in a way where I can be different from others not just design wise, but business wise as well. I look forward to my future endeavours and would love to hear what your passion or future endeavours are!

COM0014- Blog #4- Are You Familiar With Etsy?

photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Etsy is an online shop that offers handmade, unique and charming products for consumers to shop and buy. Whether you are looking for items to fulfil your dream design space, or homemade soaps to give as a gift, or even personalized items for birthdays and baby showers, Etsy has it all. Etsy is made up of different online stores, shops and companies that you can filter through to find what it is you are looking for and let me tell you- it has something for everyone!!

Are you familiar with Etsy? If not, I highly suggest you check it out at www.etsy.com

Etsy is considered to be a B2C business, which in other words means, business to consumer. Business to consumer essentially has to do with the online financial aspect of the sale between the consumer and the business. In simpler terms, Etsy is based on online transactions only. With that being said, a shop will sell their products to its customer, which is considered a transaction between a business, and its consumers, which are the customers.  In even simpler, simpler terms, as I know this can be a little confusing; the businesses that are on Etsy sell their products to its customers and are solely selling their products online through Etsy or on the internet.

This company is using social media as a platform through its Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages which helps promote the shop thoroughly. Etsy uses social media to create a community, or in other words a marketplace made up of different vendors, that can communicate and come together to support and help one another in order to sell their products. It is brilliant invention, which is why I think Etsy has really sky rocketed because as I said earlier, it is a place where I find EVERYTHING!!

Etsy has a wonderful approach on social media and marketing and I don’t necessarily think they need to change or do anything different. The online shops help promote one another’s businesses which really gets Etsy recognition. Etsy also has a very personal feel because you get to talk back and forth with the shop owners, get immediate and quick responses, and find just about anything you are looking for. Just recently, Etsy teamed up with Ex-Bachelorette and Interior Decorator Jillian Harris to do an Etsy collaboration. It housed all of Jillian’s favourite products and shops, which was a huge advertisement for them because she has over a million followers. The quality of Etsy’s interactions are top notch and I can say this personally because I have purchased numerous items on Etsy through different shops and have always received the highest quality of customer service, quick and informative responses, and have also received my products quickly as well! believe there approach is ethical and only getting better with time! 

Please feel free to comment below in the comments section, as I would love to hear your thoughts on Etsy and whether or not you think their approach is working. 

Blog #3: Target Audiences

Getting Ready for Etsy

For a little over a year now, I have been preparing, researching, buying and creating to open my business on Etsy. I have been very apprehensive about starting my Etsy shop without having all my ducks in a row and feeling like I am prepared. One way I have been developing is by taking this social media certificate program at Algonquin College to get a little edge over the competition.

My Company

The company I plan to launch in the coming months entirely is a vinyl and heat transfer decal shop offering custom onesies and t-shirts for toddlers and kids. Eventually, I will add more items, such as makeup bags, mugs, throw pillows, totes, and wine glasses. Aside from taking pictures of my products, which in my opinion is one of the most critical aspects of marketing, I am just about ready. The final step will be choosing my marketing strategy, which brings me to determining my target audience.

My Target Audience

My key demographic are new parents, new moms specifically, and who are, for the most part, Millennial moms. Millennials are rare in that they discovered modern media as it was developing. They grew up as modern media grew up, and are therefore very invested in it. A millennial mother is a mom who fits this millennial category. According to a study conducted by Goldman-Sachs, first-time mothers are closer to 30 than ever before, and the average is climbing slightly every year.

According to Adweek, nearly 80% of millennial mothers cite safety as a top priority, higher than value or price. Additionally, just under 50% of millennial moms list the use of wholesome ingredients as a key deciding factor when comparing brands. The de-emphasis on price and the raised emphasis on quality is also indicated by the use of coupons, which is done by around 65% of this group. Millennial Moms believe that advertisers don’t understand their needs; therefore, they trust word of mouth and recommendations from other moms over advertisements. Reaching out to bloggers, creating campaigns that add extra value to these moms, rather than just talking at them is a key that marketers can’t avoid.

The Strategy

Millennial moms love recipes; Millennials are sometimes referred to as the “foodie generation.” Seventy-six percent of Millennials say they like to cook, and 89 percent want to get better at cooking. They enjoy reading about tips and tricks; they trust content from other moms and are highly engaged with parenting communities according to comScore and blogs such as CafeMom, BabyCenter and PopSugar.

I would build a strategy around this info, for my product content, I would highlight the quality of my vinyl and diaper-shirts and if it was made with natural ingredients. For non-related to product content, I would post recipes and tip and tricks to my social media pages such as Facebook and Pinterest. Millennial moms connect with imagery and find that imagery centered on the family or the baby captures more of her attention, so I will make sure to include people in my product images and not just the product.

References

R, Remi (n.d). 5 Trends You Need To Know To Better Market to Millennial Moms. Retreived 22 July 2019 from https://www.nativeadvertising.com

Denn, A (07 May 2018) The Biggest Mistake Brands Make when Targeting Moms. Retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://adage.com/

Assignment #1, Blog #1

Magnet-a-jaun

My family of 6, including my husband, four kids, Parker, 17, Haylee, 13, Avery, 9 and Hudson, 21 months traveled to Magnetawan, Ontario recently for some much needed R&R. Let me start by saying, I had a lesson on how to pronounce Magnetawan by friends and family when I would try and explain to them where we were headed to for our vacation. I was not saying it right or anywhere near how it should sound. So here’s my quick lesson for you on how to pronounce Magnetawan. It’s pronounced Magnet-a-jaun. Magnet-a-juan is centrally located between Huntsville, North Bay and Parry Sound in the Almaguin Highlands Region. Commonly known as the “Northern Muskoka region,” Almaguin Highlands offers impressive amounts of natural scenery, space, outdoor activities, and the community feel.

R&R with Four kids is not actual R&R

We rented a cottage on the shores of Whalley Lake, and it was BEAUTIFUL! It had all the amenities one could want in a cottage – beach, dock, deck, BBQ, a canoe, kayaks, paddleboards, firepit a paddleboat and fishing equipment. There was so much for the kids to do. In a nutshell, the kids spent our vacation on the beach, in the water, fishing or just hanging out. Me, on the other, spent my holiday, cooking, cleaning, keeping sand out of my 21-month-old mouth and picking all things in arms reach up so he wouldn’t break them. But, that’s life as a mom, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Would I recommend this vacation spot?

Yes, yes, I would. Aside from the numerous bugs and let me tell you there were tons of bugs, it was great. The water was so warm and inviting, the fish were biting, the nearest grocery store was only 20 minutes away, general store 5 minutes away, and the kids were happy.

COM0014- Blog #3- Finding Your Audience Just Like The Movie Theatre Franchise Did!

When it comes to blogging and your intended purpose, it is important to first think of the audience that you are attracting. Whether it be intended for men, women or children, it is important to first start off with a target audience in mind to ensure that your brand, blog or company is able to reach it’s audience and most importantly know who their audience is.

A personal hobby of mine that I thoroughly enjoy is a night out at the movie theatre, watching the latest flick with some buttery popcorn in hand. When I think of Cineplex Odeon, a huge movie theatre franchise, I think of the target audience in mind that they have in place, which is everyone. They cater to families, elderly people, adults, teenagers and young children. Every one is welcome because there is something for every single person. Of course, the movie genres cater to your own personal liking; however, their overall marketing strategy is to welcome all with open arms because they know tickets will sell fast because they are catering to all. I strongly believe that when your target audience is all age groups you can have great success because it attracts all people which is great for your brand because it gets you recognized and also shows that you are focusing on equality as well which is so important. Everyone wants to be treated equally so by having a target audience generalized to all, everyone feels included which is a win, win in my opinion!

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

I believe there are many characteristics to consider in regards to the audience of the movie theatre franchise. For starters, location is very important. Movie theatres are all over nowadays and so convenient for people to get to so they are making it very appealing for people to just hop in their car and head on over for a date night at the movie theatre because of how many locations they have to offer. Another characteristic is age and gender, which they are also nailing because again, anyone can go to the movie theatres because of how inclusive their target audience is. Another characteristic that I believe is a work in process is the cost of going to the movies. Going to the movies with a family of four and including popcorn and drinks for every one is not cheap. However, on Tuesdays they offer half off your ticket and offer 10% off everything if you sign up for their free Scene Card, which gains points and can earn you free movies. I believe that is a characteristic they are consciously thinking about and working on so that they can provide affordability to all. 

The movie theatre franchise is constantly expanding, growing and gathering more and more tools for their toolbox. I believe they have a strong target audience with many ideas in mind to ensure they keep satisfying customers, like myself to keep on coming back! I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on this matter. Are you an avid movie lover like myself? Do you find the movie theatre to be a place where everyone is included? Please feel free to comment in the comment section below as I would love to hear your thoughts!