Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Our Strategic Objectives team staged our 13th annual Poutine Day Lunch on June 24 to honour St-Jean Baptiste,  patron saint of the province of Québec. To celebrate Québec’s distinct culture, official language and delicious food, our awesome SO_cial committee served up a mouthwatering, authentic, French-Canadian meal: poutine.


Now widely recognized as one of Canada’s most noteworthy “gourmet” meals, poutine is made with piping hot French fries smothered in thick, beefy gravy and curd cheese. Bien sûr, our SO_pr team, led by VP and Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival champion, Catherine Heroux (seen far left), had more than enough carbs on hand.


Dessert for our jolies madames and messieurs was typically scrumptious butter tarts topped with maple ice cream. Délicieux!


Our SO_cial committee is always looking for ways to keep the workday entertaining and fun.  With barbecue season in full force and plenty of summer celebrations around the corner, who knows what they’ll get up to next. Stay tuned to find out..

Bon Appétit and happy Canada Day, July 1, from all your friends @SO_pr


The world belongs to those who understand it. In the social media ecosphere, we at Strategic Objectives believe those who understand their audiences best have the highest likelihood of generating the best results. PRs need to understand how to tell a brand’s story and make it speak to audiences so effectively that the message can transcend all platforms and inspire sharing. PRs are natural communicators, but even here, you really need to understand your audience to maximize results.

Everyone is trying to figure out user behaviors online. Once we understand behaviors, we can better understand how to reach our target markets and build the best and highly-engaged online communities for our clients. What if we were to say most gamers have never been to college? What if we were to tell you there’s a strong use of social networking in the workplace?

Social Media Today recently released some statistics on social media usage and its demographic landscape. The statistics are deduced from 900 websites that average 9 million visits/month per site and offer some very valuable, not-so-surprising and nonetheless interesting results on user data. That data can be found in the chart below, where we have also created a quick summary of the research findings.



Demographic Findings:

  • Social networking is dominated by younger generations with no children, and online networking activity picks up in college
  • Social networks are most popular among the youngest generation (18-34) and are used less frequently for each successive age group over 35
  • Youth ages 18-24 tend to use social networks to supplement social life, learning, and having fun.
  • The most diverse use of social networks comes from the 25-34 year old age group.
    • Continue to use the services they used in college, but less often
    • As they start to have new interests (business, family), they are most likely to use online social engagement to benefit their business/career, discuss or plan travels, and share family-related experiences online
  • The 35+ demographic show technological bias against social networking.
    • High likeliness of these age groups to use business, family, and dating networks
    • Stats also suggest that social networking’s popularity among youth may be not just be due to technological differences, but to a better fit of interests
  • People with college-level education tend to have a higher rate of social for participation with networks across the board.
    • This suggest the expanding network once in college
    • Also demonstrates there is a tremendous amount of information shared between students


Outlier Findings: Two categories break this trend

  • Gaming has an unusually high participation rate among people without college experience
    • Likely that a high percentage of gamers are young
  • Places has a very high participation rate among people with graduate-level schooling
    • Likely positive correlation between graduate school and income, and between income and travel.


Male VS Female Findings:

  • Gaming is strongly dominated by males
  • Lifestyle and family is strongly dominated by females
  • Dating, Places, and Business are used more often by females
  • Education networks are used most by males


Location Findings:

  • Strong use of social networks in the workplace
    • Distraction or sign of increasing application of social websites for practical purposes?

One small step… In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need.  An entirely new approach to charitable giving, One for One, buy one, give one.  To date, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children around the world, and on one day each year, TOMS urges the world to go without shoes so kids don’t have to.  It’s all about raising awareness of the positive impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life.


On April 5, 2011, Strategic Objectives put our best (bare)foot forward and joined our client in TOMS 4th Annual One Day Without Shoes (  Our @SO_pr team bared our soles and braved 3°C (37°F) temperatures as we joined a dedicated group of supporters, including Joe Eppele of the Toronto Argonauts, in a walk without shoes down Toronto’s Queen Street.


We walked, took pictures, tweeted, shivered, and sidestepped puddles and gum, all without shoes!  We garnered many strange looks, and even a few supporters along the way.


The entire day was good for our hearts and souls, and we were proud to join people from more than 25 countries including Charlize Theron, Lacey Chabert, Chromeo, Jason Mraz, and Lenny Kravitz in backing this shoeless endeavour.

Groups across Canada rallied without shoes and the tweets were flying!  TOMS Shoes trended on Twitter throughout the day.  Check out just a few of the fab media reports: (; Much Music (; and Northern Life (


Despite the frigid temperatures, it was easy and inspiring to be a part of a global movement.  And we’re psyched to go without shoes for TOMS again next year!  Get your tootsies ready and join us!




On a final note, we send a special greeting to CTV from our Toronto walkers, “A HUGE thank you for letting us warm our frozen feet in your lobby!”


Technology reigned supreme once again at one of North America’s largest and most influential annual interactive festivals, South by South West Interactive (SXSWi). Situated in sunny Austin Texas, the conference, which is often referred to as Spring Break for Geeks, is jam-packed with information and events including key notes, sessions, networking opportunities and an omnipresent diet of BBQ.

Strategic Objectives’ resident geek, Melissa Smich, put on her cowboy boots and joined the fun, and even led a panel entitled Naked Dating: How to find love in 140 characters or less. It’s ok if you couldn’t make it out to Texas, SO has you covered with Melissa’s inside-look at the technology and online trends that will affect marketing and PR in 2011.


If content is king, then two key trends wear the crown this year: Curation and Context – and its not as simple as you think.


Imagine for a moment the cumulative content from the beginning of time until 2008. Now imagine that same volume of info being produced online every 48 hours. Imagine no more, it’s reality and the thought leaders at SXSWi believe we are now so overloaded with information, that we no longer search for content; rather, content is finding us. Hence our need for curation.

Curators are traditionally known for their vast knowledge in spaces like the arts, architecture and history. They are specialists in who sift through and vet all the junk, looking for the good stuff. Online curators find and share only the very best information, links, articles and videos in the digital space – which makes most of us are content curators, in some form or another. If you’ve ever tweeted or retweeted a link to a great article, shared a video with your facebook friends, or even written a blog post linking to your favourite stories of the week, consider yourself a curator!

I predict we’ll see content curation emerge as a high-demand online editorial role in the near future. Moreover, PR and marketing agencies will value content curators over content creators since curators will have higher clicks/visitors. This looming paradigm will have huge implications since the content creators will miss out on advertising impressions; forcing content creators to implement standards and boundaries for the sharing and repurposing of their original works.


There’s no doubt the rise of social media has caused brands and marketers alike to fall in lust with new social tools and platforms that have propelled them to interact with individual consumers in two-way communications, otherwise unheard of in the past. For instance, could you imagine receiving an instant and personal response from a political leader a decade ago? With Twitter, this has now become reality and this unprecedented outreach is now renamed the humanization of the brand.

Little wonder New York Times bestselling social media author, Gary Vaynerchuck says, “If content is king, context is God.” In a world where we can tweet or write on the walls of our favourite brands and expect them to respond to us, context is increasingly important. How will your brand respond? Will you offer a canned or highly personalized response?

In the new social media world, consumers expect personalized responses from their favourite brands. We want them to get to know us, what we like and tailor their outreach to us accordingly. In the near future, companies will be expected to woo consumers individually and the brands who do so effectively will win their consumers’ loyalty for life. How are your brands preparing for this?


Mobile media consumption is growing exponentially and is expected to eclipse desktop web browsing by 2015. This is NO passing fad – personalized device technology will change the way we consume media. Brands must be prepared for this shift, as it will happen quickly and suddenly. This is why we stress the importance of brands having agency partners that understand mobile technology and can help navigate you through those sometimes perilous waters.

This year’s biggest trends in mobile can be summarized in two acronyms: QR and LBS.

QR codes

It seems as though we hear the same thing every year: this is the year of QR (Quick-Response) codes. They’ve been around since1994, and while definitely popular in Asia, they have yet to reach critical mass in North America.

QR codes were my big prediction for 2010 and while their adoption by major brands this past year has shown promise, it hasn’t achieve mass popularity. Worse still, we rarely see companies doing it right, as detailed in my previous post.

While this may sound critical, I do see hope yet for QR codes this year — if Facebook adopts QR code technology as it has location-based check-ins. The possibilities of a seamless integration with Facebook are plentiful: you could scan to add new friends, scan to check in at locations, and much more.

Otherwise, I’m underwhelmed by QR codes’ lack of mass appeal and wondering if they’ll ever make it big in North America.


Location Based Services (LBS) are my BIG prediction this year along with Location Based Advertising (LBA). Mobile phones are the one device we use that’s highly personalized and truly our own. Unlike a personal computer that’s commonly share with colleagues, family and friends, your mobile device is with you every step of the way and is solely your own. The possibilities for personalization are endless for brand marketers!

Google’s Marissa Mayer spoke at SXSW about Location, Location, Location – and let me tell you, Google LOVES location. Google Maps for Mobile has amassed an amazing150 million users, meaning a whopping 40 per cent of all Maps usage is mobile.

Riding high on the location wave, Google also recently introduced Hotpot – a Yelp-like feature to integrate with your Google Maps searches. It features reviews and check-ins from your friends on the side bar of your Google Maps search, as long as you are logged in to your Google account.

This connection between location, search and your social graph is a big deal in the social world. Location based services allow us to identify exact demographics, in precise locations and based on accumulated data on that user’s behavior and browsing history, and allows us to then reach out to them with highly targeted messaging. There is no question location will be a powerful tool to leverage in future mobile and integrated marketing campaigns.

In the much further future, I am excited by Mayor’s statement that she envisions a day when your mobile phone will know everything. This signals Google may be working towards a singular web, where all devices are intelligently interconnected, the way Tim Berners Lee originally intended the web to function, way back when.

In Conclusion

What do Curation, Context, Location Based Services and QR codes all have in common? These trends seem to fall into two key areas of growing importance: Data (collection, analysis and sharing), and Personalization (messages, advertising and social media). We will see the rise in humanized outreach from brands; and brands will increasingly depend on our consumption data to successfully target us. Brands will need to quickly find their sweetspot in mobile outreach efforts so as to not be intrusive, but rather personalized and valuable as more people turn to their mobile phones for media consumption.

Our Strategic Objectives team will be hosting a Lunch and Learn on these topics, so please check back here next week for the video!

You can find more on SXSW here and to learn more on QR codes, click here.

By Melissa Smich. Consultant at Strategic Objectives



The reason marketer-backed “viral” videos never actually go viral is because today’s public can smell a fake, marketer-backed attempting-to-be-viral video a mile away. (Just ask Microsoft)



Here at Strategic Objectives we are always challenged by our clients’ and our own desires to create news that goes viral.  We are always pushing ourselves to create spreadable info that’s shareable, meaningful and relevant to the media and consumer audiences we relate to.

That’s why we’re SO stoked to see a video that gets everything right.

The smartwater video works because it owns up to the difficulties marketers face when trying to harness the power of social media, while effectively getting our attention, making us smile and achieving its goal – publicity!

Smartwater comes out and says it: we pretty much have no idea what we are doing with this viral video thingamajig.  But look at the cute animals! The double rainbow! Someone getting hit in the crotch! They took viral video memes, turned them on their head and used them for their own benefit, all the while pretending they were just bumbling their way through. Genius!

Jennifer Aniston turns out to be an amazing spokesperson, allowing smartwater to make fun of her former life as “Rachel” from Friends, her sex symbol status and even a very sly wink at all those tabloids that scream that Jen is “desperate for a baby.” She’s so desperate that they put dirty dancing babies in her video.

Well played smartwater. 2.5 million hits and counting. You took on the savvy, cynical consumers of 2011 and made us smile. It’s no David after dentist, but we are SO impressed.

By: Lori-Anne Isber, Consultant at Strategic Objectives Toronto




Cheers to you, beer aficionados of Canada! You now have a brand new, yet ancient, premium brew to whet your whistle! Our Strategic Objectivesteam was thrilled to herald the arrival of one of the worlds most legendary and unique abbey beers, Grimbergen Drubbel Draught to Canada on February 23, 2011; at a fabulous and exclusive Toronto VIP and media event.

Hosted by Abbott Erik De Sutter and Supprior Karel Stautemas—Fathers at the Belgium Abbey of Grimbergen, founded in 1128 who oversee the production of the premium beer and safeguard its secret recipe—more than 25 national and local traditional and social media types turned out to meet the Fathers, sample the beer and mix and mingle with more than 200 restaurateurs, bartenders and beer connoisseurs.

The delighted attendees lit up the twitterverse with high praise and warm welcomes for the Fathers of Grimbergen Abbey and its unique brew—caramel and toffee flavoured with a distinct brandy finish.

“Burned but never destroyed”

Built in 1128 as a Premonstratensian monastery, a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Norbert, Grimbergen Abbey was ravaged by fire in 1142; destroyed during the Religious wars in 1566; and demolished yet again in 1798.  The abbey was miraculously rebuilt after each wave of destruction. Fittingly, the Fathers of Grimbergen have adopted the phoenix as their emblem for Grimbergen Beer, symbolizing the perpetual rebirth of their abbey—a phoenix rising from the ashes.

It was a unique pleasure for our Strategic Objectives team to partner with the Fathers of Grimbergen and Carlsberg Canada to launch this historic and delicious beer into Canada — a rare opportunity to work with a brand with a complex and compelling 800 year history. It was a hugely successful launch that yielded truly awesome media coverage, a very happy client and a rewarding experience for our team.

The media and blogosphere was generous with their praise for the brand. Check out Sam Fiorella and Michael Nus’s blogs, and don’t miss this great article in the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun and other blogs.

SO here’s to you Grimbergen, welcome to Canada!  Gezondheid! — which is how you say Cheers in Flemish!

By: Andrew F Stewart

We here at SO are a huge supporter of QR codes when used properly. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.  I constantly find QR code fails – like on ads in the subway where no one receives reception, therefore rendering the code completely useless.

Last night I was enjoying a wonderful dinner with some friends and found a QR code on the back of our bottle of wine. I see a lot of wineries embracing QR codes on their labels, yet  rarely, in my opinion, done properly.

But this one stood out – it was a lovely local VQA wine from a respected Ontario winery. We scanned the QR code and it took us to their event page – featuring events from 2009!! It was such a mobile marketing fail, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes.

The saving grace was that the winery had a mobile-optimized website, which showed there was hope yet for the brand. But too often I find QR codes on wine bottles doing nothing more than directing the consumer (or potential consumer) to the winery’s website. What’s the point of directing to your website beyond an utter lack of strategy and forward thinking? As a potential consumer, I want more info as to why I should buy your wine at the point-of-purchase. As a consumer, I want to scan to find out more about the tasting notes, and how I can enjoy this wine and others like it in the future.

What do I recommend as a mobile marketing strategy for QR codes on wine bottles? Easy: I want to see tasting notes, pairing tips, and storing/drinking tips. I’d also like to see recommendations for other wines I might like from your winery if I enjoyed this one. Additionally, for those enjoying it from outside of Canada, I’d like to see where I can find it/order it online, and for those enjoying within Canada, I’d like to know its cost at the LCBO.

My other recommendation? Hire Strategic Objectives next time. We’ll put together a proper digital and mobile marketing strategy for you.

What are some of the biggest QR code fails you’ve seen? Please share in the comment section below!

By: Melissa Smich Consultant at Strategic Objectives