Lacking the Branding Love? Tell a Story & Make the Connection

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Jul 16, 2014 3:42:11 PM

At the heart of every successful, consumer-centric marketing campaign is captivating storytelling. Not just any story; the kind of story that captures an emotional stronghold of a carefully-selected few.

There’s a reason your parents read to you as a child. Even as our brains are still developing, neuroscience-based research has proven time and time again that stories have the ability to foster a profound sense of connection. 

This connection –whether it be for a certain wine, a sports team, a political party, or a tech company– can lead to steadfast love and lifelong allegiance; but only if it reaches us just so.

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Topics: marketing, advertising, branding, brand experiences, emotional connections, storytelling

Revisiting Vintage Philosophy: Theories That Still Work for Marketing Today! (Part 3)

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Jun 18, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Hailing from the Frankfurt School of Thought, Adorno and Horkheimer are the final philosophers I’ll be shedding a little light on for you in capping off a three-part series linking classic philosophical theory to contemporary marketing (check out the first two featuring Plato and Marshall McLuhan!).

Cultural norms and salience have long occupied the work of many great thinkers. German scholars, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, for instance, were fascinated by what constituted popular culture. The pair thusly dedicated a great deal of theorizing and writing to the subject; or to what they came to refer to as “culture industry.”

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Topics: social media, marketing, Inbound marketing

Revisiting Vintage Philosophy: Theories That Still Work for Marketing Today! (Part 2)

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Jun 4, 2014 1:00:00 PM

There is a good chance you’ve heard of Marshall McLuhan.

He was Canadian, surprisingly anti-academia, often cynical, and a fierce thinker with a lot of opinions on technology, advertising and the global marketplace. He was an image consultant for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. There’s even a Heritage Minute made about him!

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Topics: marketing, the medium is the message, philosophy, Marshall McLuhan

Revisiting Vintage Philosophy: Theories That Still Work for Marketing Today! (Part 1)

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

May 15, 2014 4:49:00 PM

I remember a prof at Carleton University telling me that one of the toughest parts of being a communications scholar or professional, is that no one can really give a straight-forward answer on what this field is really about. 

From an outsider, it may seem like we’re a bunch of distracted left-brainers on Twitter 24/7, when in reality, we contribute so much to business: from marketing, to advertising, to strategic public relations and public affairs strategy, and more.

Communications is actually an incredibly versatile and intersectional study. Some of the earliest theories from many doctrines contribute to our contemporary understanding of media, technology and modern communication.

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Topics: communications, marketing, Inbound marketing, Allegory of the Cave, Plato, philosophy, theory

Top 4 Tips When Doing Your First Social Media Audit

Posted by Sandy Benoit

May 5, 2014 8:00:00 AM

You are all set!

You have an online strategy that might include some advertising, keyword searches and inbound marketing tactics, but what about social media?

Often, you want to develop a social media strategy but don't know where to start.

What channels should you include?

Which one is best?

And what about your current presence?

How can you improve it?

Are you doing ok?

To have a first glimpse at your own presence and to better evaluate your own needs when you first meet with a social media expert at PROSAR, here is a look at what you should be considering!

I have to say, I love this infographic because the 3 main tips explained here are my own starting steps when first developping a social media strategy for a new client.

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Topics: social media, marketing, monitoring, social media monitoring, branding, online marketing, strategy

A Blog for Social Media Skeptics

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Apr 9, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are begging you to like or follow them right now – aggressively.

Some of these businesses convey great virtual voices, while too many others market on rhetoric, hyperbole and with a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. Thus, it is understandable that when it comes to social media as a marketing platform, skepticism is rampant.

Currently I manage an assortment of Twitter accounts: for myself, PROSAR, a non-profit, a local band, and for multiple small businesses. It’s frustrating sometimes to be forced to navigate through loads of BS when searching for re-tweetable content, or solid new contacts with which to network. I suppose it’s too easy to pretend to be something you’re not when talking to a screen, rather than an actual physical person across from you in a coffee shop. That said, when it comes to your virtual presence, not unlike your personal and business relationship, being disingenuous will do you no favours.

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Topics: twitter, social media, marketing, charlie angus, inbound marketing methodology, social media skepticism, smoke and mirrors

6 Best Practices for Expert Live Tweeting

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Feb 28, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Whether it's a live music event, the #Sochi2014 Olympics, or a local craft beer festival (like we attended last weekend), live tweeting is a great tactical skill for you to keep in your marketing back pocket.

One of the first reported examples of live tweeting took place back in 2009 when CNN and Facebook teamed up during Obama's inauguration. Confused about what live tweeting is, exactly? Have a look at this straight-forward definition from

I'm extremely social by nature, addicted to Twitter, and love sharing my experiences among my virtual networks in practically every arena. Not all of us are inherently like this, and not all of us need to be like this. Moreover, if you're out at a social function surrounded by prospective clients you'd like to be networking with, and your face is glaring down at a screen the entire time, there's the risk of closing yourself off from real-live contacts. You need to find your own balance that works best for you.

Whether you're a seasoned Twitter fanatic or merely a dabbler, there are methods to get the most out live tweeting no matter what your personal style. As someone who has live tweeted at dozens of events for a wide assortment of folks (non-profits, political parties and local bands, for instance), here are my favourite tricks of the trade:

1. Invest in the right tools for the job
Even if you're tight for cash, it is critical to invest in a mobile device that allows you to document quickly and efficiently. Yes, that means a camera with an adequate percentage of megapixels. This doesn't necessarily mean blowing all your money on whatever might be the latest and greatest, it just means investing in something you can depend on, so that when the opportunity to live tweet presents itself, you can stay on top of your game and look professional doing it. Because, honestly, blurry photos and slow operating systems suck!

2. Survey the space you're working with
Relax, collect yourself and take a few minutes to establish the space you're going to be tweeting from. I've always found it helpful to get a good feel for my surroundings before I dive into something. Whether it's public speaking or live tweeting, feeling comfortable with your surroundings and confident in the space you're working from helps produce great results.

3. Have a realistic goal
This is important when it comes to everything digital. It's critical to know exactly why you're engaging your virtual following for this event. Some questions to ask yourself might include: (A) Do you have any pre-determined hashtags that are going to peak interest? (B) How many times are you planning on tweeting throughout this event? (C) Who are the right people to re-tweet? (D) Are you prepared for high engagement, and ready to generate interest if your engagement level is lagging? Take the time to sit down with your client or colleagues and establish the promotional and branding reasoning behind the live tweeting. A great example of a well-executed live tweet session (with clearly defined goals behind it) was Ask Obama: a Twitter "Town Hall," executed by The White House. According to their site, "tens of thousands of questions were tweeted to #AskObama on Twitter about the economy, health care and other important issues."

4. Be salient and relevant, not boring or typical
Who are you representing, and what voice are you expected to embody exactly? Are you tweeting from your personal account, or from a client's? How professional should your voice be? There are a number of questions you may need to ask yourself (or your clients and colleagues) before you take on this important role. You are essentially the virtual face of who you are tweeting for. Try to keep that in mind. Just one tweet could have the capacity to make or break your following. Alternatively, like in the case of popular television show, Portlandia (whose fictional feminist bookstore live tweeted throughout the Superbowl) you could potentially grow your following by 25%.

5. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
I get it, I'm a keener too. It's so much fun to see yourself get re-tweeted, favourited, or to be a leading voice in a virtual conversation. But try to keep in mind: chronically tweeting just for the sake of chronically tweeting is annoying, disruptive and runs the risk of making you look like a total idiot in public. Frankly, do you really want to sound like a blabbermouth when the entire world can see what you're saying? Tweeting just for the sake of tweeting accomplishes essentially nothing in the grand scheme of things. A firm place to start, is by employing the right hashtags for the job. Our blog on the subject has a medley of tips which you can access here. For more general info on staying on target, I found these do's & don'ts from Glitz & Grammar helpful when it comes to staying on the right track.

While live tweeting is actual work and needs to be taken seriously as such, it can be super fun as well. Approach the task with a positive attitude and love what you're doing. Social media (or the Twittersphere especially) can operate as an amazing way to engage, share, build and nurture relationships. Embrace it, you're on the front lines!

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Topics: twitter, social media, marketing, social media marketing, customer engagement, professional skills, live-tweeting

Optimize Your Site For Optimum Success

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Feb 12, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Marshall McLuhan might have said it best when he said, "The medium is the message."

There are thousands, upon thousands of pages on the Internet competing for your audience's attention. So just how are you going to solidify your company's ability to stand out virtually? What mediums are you going to leverage in order to capture that attention, and keep it long enough to have them hear what you have to say?

Image credit:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tough pill to swallow for many marketers. You might have a specific style that you really like, or simply have become comfortable with your current website, and like most people are adverse to change. I know for myself, one of the toughest things to do is explain to a client that their site doesn't really speak to their targeted audience. Or, maybe it just isn't cutting it anymore.

That said, whether you or anyone likes it or not, the reality is that the medium really is the message. And without a crystal clear medium, excellent up-to-date content that gets every message across clearly and intuitively, and all the inbound know-how -- your site will never be optimized adequately and will never stand out as well as it could have. And at the end of the day, aren't we all in the business of standing out and delighting our customers?

Image credit: i

Across many of their webinars in their Academy certifications, HubSpot continuously reinforces that we are not in the business of delighting ourselves; we are in the business of delighting our consumers. We don’t design our sites the way we personally may prefer them, we design them in the hopes of attracting, converting, closing and delighting our consumers. Statistics demonstrate that over 75% of consumers who browse websites and their design, care not about the appearance or the experience, as much as they care about how easy it is for them to find exactly what they want.

I've found one of the easiest ways to digest the SEO sandwich and all its ingredients, is by sticking to the following 3 tips as recommended by HubSpot. The stronger the page performance, the more chance to ensure that your visitors are converted into leads, and those leads are being nurtured into customers.


1. Make the goal of your page crystal clear
Start with your end goal in mind. In a sentence or two (or less!) you should be able to explain exactly why your page exists. How is this page helping the visitor find or get what they want? It may seem simple, but bringing this goal down to brass tacks can be surprisingly tough for some. Talk with your team and do what you can together to ensure the goal is as clear as possible. Nothing on your page should be random or lacking purpose. As a productive exercise, try assessing a few webpages from other companies in your industry and see where your company stacks up.

2. Add content that fully supports your goal
Your site's content is essentially the fuel operating your site's engine. Your content is what is ultimately going to drive your site's goal, and reinforce your point. So while there may be different headlines within your page, each section should still be adding up to the same overarching goal or topic.

3. Use inbound marketing techniques to optimize your page

Hopefully by now you are familiar with a few things "inbound." These are actually the centerfold of what is going to help your page get found on the internet. Inbound marketing techniques that should be actively employed when building a site should include: [A] keywords, [B] on-page SEO practices (including page titles, page URLs, page headers, content & meta descriptions), [C] off-page SEO (including citations or inbound links to your work on other pages), [D] social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), and [E] call-to-action (CTA) click throughs.

Are you a particularly visual person? Another useful resource I stumbled on recently was this infographic, which breaks down the different elements of SEO like a sandwich. Check out this clever little infographic from Vertical Response:

Keep in mind, our webpages are quite literally our virtual storefront and may very likely be our first and last impression on our consumers. Our visitors expect the same overall experience, the same level of interactivity, and the same clarity of information as they would receive in an actual store. If your message is unclear or lost in translation on your webpage (AKA. your medium or message is unclear), consequently, your page visitors are going to have low expectations for real-life interactions with your company.

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Topics: marketing, website, analytics, SEO, aesthetics, page performance, webpages

Debunking the Art of Email Marketing

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Jan 30, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Brush off your skepticism marketers, because the stats are in, and the results are clear  high calibre email marketing produces great results. According to HubSpot, for every $1 companies invest in email marketing, $40 is generated in revenue. There's just no denying it, as much as some of us may want to.

And while composing an email to our contacts can seem like an exhausting chore, in another light when done the right way, it can actually become a fun and interactive scheduled task for you and your colleagues to take on each week.

Remember that cheesy 90s romantic comedy, You've Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Both of them were over the moon every time they received an email from one another. While you may not be writing anything flirtatious or romantic like they were, you still can provoke that same sense of excitement, enthusiasm and engagement from your audience if you're employing the right tools for the job.

HubSpot has compiled a checklist for marketers, with 10 important steps toward ensuring your company emails are hard-hitting and effective. At the end of the day, if you're investing the time and money into this aspect of your business, it only makes sense that every email coming from you to your clients is absolutely brilliant. Ultimately, we want to ensure that we're not only delighting our customers, but nurturing every potential lead at end of the sales funnel.

Today, I'm happy to share with you this list of tips which you can jot down, or copy and paste and keep in mind the next time you're composing a thank-you email for service use, collecting survey data, or just checking in with your leads.


1. Identify your call-to-action
Determine the specific goal of your email. Are you attempting to gather data from a certain group of clients? Are you hoping to get more folks to follow you on Twitter? Why are you reaching out exactly?

2. Segment your contacts list
This is critical. Always ensure that you narrow down the list of people you are contacting rather than sending out big, arbitrary content blasts. Blasts do not result in ROI. Do what you can to segment your database, and only reach out to the correct, specific groups who will benefit from the message you are sending.

3. Personalize when possible
Using personable, relatable language or referring directly to relevant experiences for the people you are reaching out to is helpful. No one appreciates a random email with zero comprehensive or relevant content. If someone bought your product, reference it. If someone came and stayed at your resort, ask them how their experience was in the specific part of the resort they stayed at.

4. Send your email from a real person
Sending an email from a specific person, rather than a large corporate body or business (ie. marketing@blank, or no-reply@blank) is a much better way to coax your leads into opening your email or responding positively to it.

5. Use "actionable" language
Your ultimate goal with an email is typically to guide your reader toward one, clear task, so do that clearly and intuitively. For instance, if your goal is to have them participate in a short survey, make that point blatantly obvious and easy to understand and do. Lead them to that action easily.

6. Create clear and compelling subject lines
A clear and enticing title to an email is of the utmost importance if you want anyone to read it. If you make your subject line difficult to understand, have a spelling error, or leave it blank for instance, your level of response will suffer significantly. Keep your subject line to 50 characters or less to avoid truncation, but ensure you get your point across and make yourself heard. Draw those leads in.

7. Demonstrate what's in it for them
Be specific and straight forward with an incentive for participating in whatever action you're requesting of your readers. If you're grateful for their continued patronage, or hoping to prove to them that you're an industry leader and knowledgeable in what you do, share a free e-book or a great discounted service at the end of the email that's easy to download and pass along.

8. Have a concise signature and footer
This is pretty self-explanatory. Ensure that you're clear who you are and how you've come to contact your reader and how you're affiliated with your company, but be short, sweet and to the point.

9. Send a test email
Avoid embarrassment within your networks. Do yourself and your company a favor, and take a moment to send out a test email to yourself or a colleague to ensure everything is in order before you finally pass the message on to your recipients.

10. Analyze, analyze, analyze!
This is so important and often goes overlooked. Take the time to read over your email or have a second set of eyes proof it. Ensure the look and feel is perfected, before taking the final step to hit "send." Have you been clear enough with your message? Have you addressed it to the right segmented group? Did you include relevant and appropriate imagery to boost your message? Don't just gloss over it, be thorough.

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Topics: business, marketing, personalization, advertising, lead nurturing, ROI, email campaign, email marketing

5 Tips For Using (Not Abusing) Social Media

Posted by Jenn Jefferys

Jan 27, 2014 12:45:00 PM

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Topics: inbound, social media, marketing, business development, strategy, time management

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