Month: May 2014

How does content “Go Viral”?

Perhaps you remember the #KONY2012 video, which was the fastest video to receive 100-million views  in the shortest amount of time. Or maybe you recall the Dove Real Beauty sketches, where the brand invited a group of women to sit down with a sketch artist and describe themselves to him. 

These campaigns are examples of marketing content that has gone viral, but what does this concept actually mean, and how can we channel it into your marketing strategy?

To say something has “gone viral”  usually means that a piece of content has been well-received and widely shared, which is a a marketer’s dream, but the truth is, the vast majority of even great content will never enjoy widespread attention.

The infographic below discusses the science behind viral content and how it comes to be:


What are your takeaways from this infographic? As a marketer, several tactics stand out to me:

Content: Make a statement with your content. Do you want it to be funny? Incredible? Dramatic? Emotional? Decide what message you want to send and choose a way to communicate it.

Integrated: A great video may get a lot of traction on it’s own merit, but many campaigns rely on integrated approaches that share the same brand message. The other platforms will support to the overall success of your viral campaigns.

Easy-to-Share: If your platforms aren’t easily accessible, fans of the content can’t share even if they wanted to. Make sure you give your audience both a way AND reason to share.

What kind of content could go viral for your business? Do you think viral marketing could work for you? I look forward to your comments below.



Planning Your Marketing is Like Planning Your Summer Vacation

Have you thought about your summer vacation plans yet? Apply that same, keen knack for planning to your Marketing strategy!

CreativeWorks Marketing


You may have heard many marketers refer to marketing strategies as road maps – but why?  What’s with this analogy and what does it really mean?

The analogy is supposed to be a simple way to describe that a strategy has many steps and is a process for your marketing. The road map was used because it illustrates how a marketing strategy is like a plan of how you are going to reach your destination.

I often encounter business owners who need help planning their marketing and understanding why they need a strategy. As it is summer, in this week’s blog I have decided to turn the analogy of a marketing strategy “road map” into how you would plan your summer vacation.

Planning your Vacation/Marketing:

  1. Vacation plan: Decide on where you want to go.
    Marketing interpretation: Decide on your overall and campaign-specific marketing goals and objectives.
  2. Vacation plan: Decide who…

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Three Strikes and Online Shopping is Out!

Online Shopping

I recently decided to buy a bicycle for my wife online. I really don’t have the time to go to the store and I knew exactly what size, tire rim and features, including colour my wife wanted.  Simple task… or so I thought.

As a Canadian, I started my online experience at Canadian Tire. I found the site easy to navigate, lots of product information and even videos about getting the right fit, but looking through the FAQs, I found they did not have the right size tires on the bike I wanted.  I called the store to speak to a sports representative and I am still waiting for them to call me back… (Strike one.)

Next.  I tried online shopping at Wal-Mart. The American site was far superior to the Canadian site with a lot more brand variety. Not as much product detail, but still easy to navigate, I found they didn’t even carry the brand I wanted. I called the store to double-check and was told they thought they did carry that brand, and I should check online.  I asked them a few questions and was told to come into the store. (Strike two.)

By now, this online saving me time experience has turned into over an hour, but I was not quite ready to give up.  I decide to give up on the large stores and go to a few smaller sporting stores and bike shops.  Needless to say, after invites to come to the store, and a few more phone conversations, I gave up looking online. (Strike three.)

I did what I usually do and drove over to my local Canadian Tire and low and behold they had the bike I was looking for right on the floor display. When I asked the sales representative why the bike was not online, he said, “It isn’t?”

As a marketer, I was surprised at my experience. I thought that large retailers were trying to push online sales, I see consistent online specials and even free delivery for online purchases – so it seems the strategy is to push incentive-based online sales. However my experience was not unique. Frontline personnel do not necessarily know what’s online and it seems the online system does not account for storefront displays or new arrivals.  This raises many questions – was I naive to think my online and in-store experience should be roughly the same? Am I expecting too much from online shopping? I am expecting too much from the store staff?  There is no push online to send me to the store, yet lots of push in the store to push me to online.

Online shopping has existed for many years now and yet I feel it often falls short of my needs and expectations.  As a key deliverable to customers, I expect integration between the store and the website at the very least.  Is this the online strategy (or lack of strategy) or simply our need to ultimately “see for ourselves” and interact with a product, to touch it, feel it and truly experience our product in the store?  Ultimately, online shopping has raised more questions for me than answers.

What has your online shopping experience been?  Do you think online shopping takes away or builds your trust in a brand? I look forward to reading your comments below.

#WeAreOne: Overcoming Brand Fails


A company’s brand is built up over years and even decades, where carefully crafted marketing, long-standing traditions and thorough PR tactics ensure that an audience receives the messaging a brand wants them to. Unfortunately, it can take only one misstep by a brand – an off-hand comment or the release of a tasteless ad – to undo years of brand loyalty. And it is not easy to get back.

We’ve seen the stock for Canadian clothing company Lululemon continue to suffer since November 2014, after founder and chairman, Chip Wilson, made excuses for the deteriorating quality of the Lululemon exercise pants by saying that “some women’s bodies just don’t work for the pants”. Only after a very public outcry and rapidly growing distaste for the brand, did Wilson step down from his position at the helm of the company. His eventual apology, however, was directed more to Lululemon staff who had to “manage the brunt of his actions” as he indicated he was “very sad about the repercussions of his actions” although, at no point did he retract his statement or apologize to his customer base.

The most recent brand fail in the media in recent weeks has repercussions that affect more than just the immediate company. Released audio clips of racist comments made by the LA Clippers franchise owner, Donald Sterling, shook the faith of thousands of fans of not only the Clippers, but of the NBA as a whole.

It could have been an extremely dire situation for the entire league, if very important decisions were not made quickly with upfront and sincere honesty. Fortunately, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the league, the owners and the public very quickly with a decision to issue a lifetime ban on Sterling, a $2.5 million dollar fine, as well as urging the Board of Governors to force the sale of the team. Meanwhile, marketing for the Clippers took quick action in releasing a simple message, #WeAreOne on their website, a message that was picked up by other teams and truly resonated with fans across the country.

While the personal brand of Donald Sterling may never recover, fans of the LA Clippers and the NBA as a whole seem to be re-establishing trust with both brands as they separate Sterling’s comments with the values of the organizations. This brand fail was remedied by swift action, accepting responsibility and engaging the fan base.

What are some of the brand fails you remember most? How did they attempt to make things right with the public? I look forward to your thoughts below.