Friday, April 23, 2010

Adapt or die.

There's a reason you're not writing your client proposal on a slice of birch bark with a quill. Well, maybe you are because you're quirky like that, but I assume most of us use a computer.

Maybe traditional advertising isn’t dead, but the traditional concept of marketing is.

Take Social Media. To many it’s a vice. But to many it’s intimidating. Allowing the consumer to have full control over what's said about your company - and spreading it all over the internet - is scary. The control is gone. But if you’re not online, you’re not part of the conversation.

Say you write a news release today. How will you get it out? You’ll email it to a few hundred people on your list, expect that they forward it to a few hundred on their lists, someone will retweet it, someone will write a blog about it, and a couple dozen will make their Facebook status. Done. And it’s 9:15am.

Now try faxing it. A couple dozen pieces of paper creep out into the world and into the hands of an intern who says “What do I do with this?”

Darwin was right. Lesson learned.

A sweet read: “The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR” by Al and Laura Ries.
Image by The TJB on Flickr

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mother Nature Loves Marketers

The giant tree outside my office window is beginning to bud. Alas, spring has come. Yes, spring, and tax time.

It's during this time that we start to think about all the things we could do in the summer to gain business and network. And of course how much it would cost.

Last week, I had the pleasure of going to a Chamber of Commerce Breakfast in the community. I met tons of business professionals, exchanged a slew of ideas, and even made a few LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends.

Just months ago, in the dead of January, I couldn't imagine hauling myself out of bed and into the dark. But the early April sun made getting up at 5 in the morning a refreshing change of pace.

Being at random places at random times helps business. You don't need to spend your entire budget on a fancy black-tie conference, or cocktail event. Go outside. Walk around the market. Donate a book. Talk to your new friends.

Image by Crispin Swan, Flickr

Friday, February 19, 2010

How To Create Tacky Copy With Exclamation Marks!!!!

How I love punctuation. Our meticulous use of commas, em-dashes, semi-colons, and question marks are crucial to develop the perfect tone and style for our careful writing.

Then we ruin it by finishing with a slew of gaudy exclamation marks.

If the point is strong, it will make an impact without the assistance of this impatient and demanding symbol. The presence of a symbol with such greed and voracity actually degrades the point and deems our writing, (and, heaven forbid, our brand), unprofessional.

This morning, my dear partner sent me this link. This brilliant site helps describe all the ways in which this language-cheapening mark aggravates the best of writers.

So, let's do our copy editors a favour, and save the exclamation marks for greeting cards.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Opportunity for Toyota?

Poor Toyota. How can a leading hybrid car company recover from a 4.5 million vehicle recall? Faulty breaks, a sticky accelerator, and possible flaws in the electronic throttle system aren't features that even the most loyal Toyota customers would look for.

The current economic state in North America, as well as the fact that the US government own parts of both GM and Crysler, might mean that the Japanese automaker might be in a tigher bind than we thought.

However, Toyota is responding relatively well. It's broken, so let's fix it. One of the most respected PR tactics in the business has been humble admittance, and maybe an apology; Maple Leaf style. It's one thing to go back and fix things, but it's an another to publicly announce that, yes, it happens, and we're sorry.

As I recall on the first five years of my life strapped safely in the backseat of my mom's little white Corolla, windows rolled down, loudly singing the lyrics from Level 42's first album, I hope that they do.

Friday, January 29, 2010


A powerful video on the impact of the social media revolution.

Inkpop: The Facebook for Writers

I love Facebook. What's not to love? I've lived in six different cities, I don't have a long distance plan, and seeing my list of friends makes me feel important. But aside from fulfilling my incessant need to be popular, Facebook also allows me to creep. Alright, not creep; scout.

We're adults now. We're all entering the real world, getting real careers, looking for real jobs. It's during this time when we're beginning to move from Facebooking to Linking.

LinkedIn is the Facebook for professionals. Portfolios, references, resumes, and, best of all, connections. For most of us, this is a place to connect, collaborate, cultivate, and leverage who we know, rather than creep them.

This week, HarperCollins launched inkpop, an online community for writers. For teen writers.


It marries trendy with professional, and inspires success, motivation, competition, and creativity in youth.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Person vs. Paper

In this business, anyone will tell you how tedious it is to get your foot in the door. No matter how amazing your portfolio: teacher's pet, straight A's, pages and pages of high-profile references, and no one wants to speak to you.

Anyone in the business will also tell you how important it is to market yourself. Stand out, be unique, be creative, draw attention, be memorable.

Yesterday I met with a client to do a brief for a project I'm working on for a team of real estate agents. Like many agents, they take out ad space in the local paper to show their listings. As I took notes on their business objectives, goals, expectations and budget, I thought of all the things I could do to promote them.

Then he said something that made me stop.

"I don't want my picture in the paper. It's not about me."

Here we are, cold-calling agencies, emailing, knocking on doors, using as many connections as possible, trying to promote ourselves. Yes, it's difficult to get your foot in the door. Yes, you can stand out, and be unique, and have good references, and an amazing portfolio. But how does this benefit anyone else?

Maybe it's not about me.