Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Focus on Authentic Brand Messaging and the Sales will Come

I attended Kicker’s Calgary Video Summit, #YYCVideo, this morning.  It was an impressive line up of video communicators from Cenovus, Westjet, Google and Woodruff Sweitzer, and the excellent @Pastayoyo.  I get video, if a picture tells a thousand words, then how many words can a video tell?  When was the last time a brochure made you cry?  If the most important level of communication is engagement then video has to be part of your messaging.  Before you ask, I am planning to put some video on my website,, in the near future, I know I need to eat my own dog food.

If you recall last Christmas Westjet did a wonderful second annual Holiday video where they got people to talk to a video of a Santa and share what was on their Christmas list, when they landed in Calgary, four hours later, the gifts arrived through the luggage chutes.  If for any reason you are not part of the 36,000,000 people who have seen the video on line, then have a look 

What I discovered this morning is that this video’s main objective was not to increase sales, but to live the brand.  Fundamental to the Westjet brand is the role of the employees and that they care, they are real people, and they also like to have fun.

The five minute long video has created an emotional connection with a huge potential customer base and this is the most powerful way to build a brand.  The most powerful message I heard this morning was that during this time, year on year Westjet web traffic increased by 100% and sales increased by 77%.  If you needed any more proof that building your brand can increase sales, here it is.  And by focusing on the brand you are being authentic.  It aligns with focusing on the people and planet and the profits will come.

And it is April Fool’s day in a couple of weeks, what will Westjet do this year?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Canada win the Olympic Hockey Golds and Tim Hortons has a brand fail

Once you have defined your brand the next stage is ensuring you live it through your corporate culture and your external interactions with customers and stakeholders.  Consistency is key, through all channels.

When the core of your brand is Canadian pride, an event such as the gold medal game at the Olympics, for Canada’s game, hockey is a great opportunity.  Unfortunately it was an opportunity that Tim Horton’s spectacularly missed on Twitter this morning; no pictures of Canada shirt wearing employees or customers, no comparison of meatballs, pickled herring and a breakfast sandwich or Canadian Maple doughnut.

If you are not active on Twitter during this time, you are conspicuous by your near absence and lack of planning.  It wasn’t as if they didn’t know that Canada was involved in an important hockey game. And a couple of small tweets immersed in responding to client complaints not only seems like a missed opportunity but inconsistent with your brand and your position as Canada’s coffee, especially when you have aggressive competitors such as McCafe.

What should Tim Horton’s have done?
On Twitter you should follow the golden rule, four gives, one sell and one retweet. Tim Hortons could have developed a plan with some research to prepare some strong gives, and ones that might even have some sales benefits, such as link to a map of 24 hours Tim’s.  For people staying at home one can promote the single serve, designed for early morning hockey games.  The opportunity to retweet was a gift, the double double, two gold medals, men’s and ladies’ hockey gold, jumps out.

Who did a good job?
Well I’ll point you to Buzz Bishop’s blog with the Canadian Tire and IKEA exchange.  Both companies capitalised on the event, and aligned their brands with their countries of origin, and very respectfully.  I particularly liked the IKEA comment, we are from Sweden, but live in Canada, #winwin.  There was obviously some good planning, they had put experienced and trusted community managers on to cover social media and empowered them to tweet real time, relevant and engaging tweets, well done.