Branding + Marketing + Design // Victoria, BC

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Fight fire with fire

Fight fire with fire

Recently a U.S. environmental group has created quite the stir by attacking Alberta’s oilsands and the way the do business. Without getting into the ethics of fossil fuels and energy consumption, I would like to discuss the way the attack and rebuttal have been handled.

Corporate Ethics International, came out with a video, billboards and other online components outlining statistics of what is going on in Alberta’s oil fields. Titled Rethink Alberta. Website here.

On July 16, 2010 it was found that their information was inaccurate and inflated. Oops. Lesson #1: If you are going to aggressively try to destroy somebody, ensure you have the facts correct. By not doing so, your credibility begins to be questioned.

In today’s society it seems that the first person out of the gate’s information is taken as fact. So Corporate Ethics has gained a lot of momentum, and the ball is growing larger and faster as the days go by. The YouTube video is picking up speed and the media is picking it up everywhere.

The Alberta government has been too slow to respond. Nowadays, reaction speed is crucial. Alberta needs to tell their side of the story, through the same outlets (Social Media, print, TV) to the masses. Now. Press conferences a few days after no longer cuts it. Don’t become defensive and grumble about it. That just admits guilt. If Corporate Ethics stats are correct, at least acknowledge them and use it as a catalyst to improve the business. There are two sides to every story. If all the information is on the table, then at least the population can make their own conclusions.

Two great success stories are Domino’s Pizza and Maple Leaf foods. Both companies had massive PR issues. Maple Leaf foods with tainted meat, and Domino’s with a disgusting employee on YouTube. Both companies addressed the problems early and made pledges to improve their practices and business. Today their  consumer perception is as high as ever.

Facebook privacy issues are out in the open.

Once again Facebook, and primarily it’s privacy issues has reared its ugly head. If you are 1 of the 350 million users, you will have noticed that recent upgrade went live Dec. 9. Facebook changed its openness options on what updates, status changes, photos etc. can be viewed by who. Simply put, it’s about letting you set your security settings of who sees what.

This is not the first time Facebook has changed its policy. Read a previous post of the last guffaw on the issue.

Critic backlash has been swift. In a statement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said: “These new ‘privacy’ changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. ” It added: “Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.”

Many users have quickly altered their profiles of what they post, as well as reducing the amount of use to the site. How easier will these changes make hacking or spamming you be with weaker security. How many users will jump ship over this one?

Facebook defends the change citing that it is not about users disclosing even more personal information, but about making updates findable via search engines. Does that mean that if I put that I had a rough day at work I will come up in searches for depression or job postings? How valuable are my updates to people anyways?

Facebook has quickly moved into a social site that is selectively social and private. People only invite friends they want to be in contact with. Chances are, if you’re not on my friend list by now, my being searchable via Google isn’t gonna get you there either.

Where is my martini and lines of coke?

Perception vs. Reality. For years Hollywood has done a great job of portraying ad agencies as glorified frat parties, filled with designers lounging on couches with glamorous women, or playing foosball while mixing their micro-brewery beers with bowls of uppers/downers that can be found at the reception desk.

Gone are the days of 3 martini lunches and HR violation conversations of the Mad Men era. Say goodbye to the 70’s-80’s era of strippers and coke, black turtlenecks, and “I don’t do that, I am a designer” attitude. Oh the good ol’ days…

We now have Agency 3.0. Nowadays the lines have become blurred with what each employee offers. Our Account Reps know about composition, branding, and photography. The Creative department is engrained in strategy and client management. Employees are more diverse in their offerings. Strategy, Creative, Social Media, these are areas that they need to be strong in. ALL of them.

Sure we still have fun, it still gets the creative juices flowing, but the reality is that this is a business with a lot on the line. It is a result-based industry that no longer has room for frivolous partying on the client’s bill. Budgets are getting smaller, and expectations higher. It is hard to keep that in mind after a few stiff drinks.

Enough with the clichés. Now, has anybody seen my RedBull?

Branding is more than a just a logo.

Building a corporate brand is a big job with a lot of components. Gone are the days when a logo, business cards, and a yellow page ad was considered a brand strategy.

At Copeland, we offer Brand Audits that help determine company values, target markets, and personality. From the collected findings, the brand begins its building process. Corporate logo, business cards and stationary, signage, and collateral materials all stem from the Audit. But there is more than just the typical printed materials. What of Social Media? Can it work for your company? Is there somebody to orchestrate it and be the voice of your company? Customer service is the #1 maker/breaker. This should be audited and address any points that can hinder you. Don’t forget about CRM. Is this even on your radar?

Sure, we make pretty logos, but we offer the full meal deal packages that build your brand with a foundation in strategy. There are a lot of touch points for brands nowadays. Have you covered them all?

Getting my groove on with Twitter

SaturdayNightFever_300x298I will be the first to say that I am new to the Social Media scene. I am not 24/7 tweeter, nor do I blog scribe. But I do like to think that I have a groove going. I know the lingo, I follow the golden rules to Twitter, and I engage with the big boys (Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Linkedin).

But there is something that still stumps me. We have been having increasing success with traffic to our company blog, in thanks to some great writers. One would think that the increase in blog traffic would subsequently increase Twitter followers. So why is this not the case? Sure, some readers are becoming followers, but not at the success rate that the blog is getting. What is the differentiator that causes this riff? If readers are enjoying blogs, wouldn’t they be interested to hear what the writer has to say on a daily basis? Is there a formula to success with this?

Any insights would be most helpful. Thanks in advance. @redfelt13

Facebook is being sneaky again. Tsk. Tsk.

42-16217443Working in an agency I am a bit on the fence about the latest backlash that Facebook has been getting. I had been given the heads-up that Facebook has now put together a new “Facebook Ads” feature. The site states:

“Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules.”

The issue I am struggling with is: It’s great to be able to tailor advertising as specific as possible, while on the flip side, how much collection of personal information is too much? Is it made even more suspicious because the opt out option nicely tucked away? It’s under: Settings > Privacy Settings > Facebook Ads > Appearance-None. Definitely not a section I visit regularly.

So what is your take? Will you allow the ads or opt out?