Top FIVE Social PR Predictions 2013 from the Social Seers at Toronto PR Agency @SO_pr

Do you hear the buzzzz?! Yes, January is the season when social pundits, prophets and seers weigh-in with predictions on the hot new trends that will sweep our social marketing universe in the year ahead.

Ever the trend spotter, our Toronto Social PR team at Strategic Objectives – IABC Toronto PR Agency of the year 2012, 2011, 2009, and winner of more than 150 awards and commendations from Canada, the United Nations and the world is pleased to step up to the plate with our very own Top FIVE Social PR Predictions for 2013.

Around this time last year, peeps in the know predicted that 2012 would be the Year of the Mobile; and that prediction definitely came true! Between the Apple/Samsung patent wars, the release of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII and the new Windows 8 mobile operating system, 2012 saw a mega-surge in mobile action. In fact, global smartphone penetration has grown faster than any other consumer technology in history, according to PC Magazine.  Looking forward, we predict that 2013 will be the Year of the Useful Mobile App.

1. Fast, Filtered Photography

Instagram is now the world’s most popular photo-sharing mobile application. In September 2012, Marketing Land (with research from ComScore) revealed that Instagram’s average daily mobile visitors increased 724%, from 886,000 to 7.3 million, in just six months! This number shows no signs of slowing down if Hurricane Sandy is any indication. More than 800,000 #Sandy photos were uploaded during the super storm according to Information Week.

The ease and simple joys of photo sharing – taking a photo, adding a filter, highlighting some focus – will become mainstream in 2013 as more and more brands see opportunities to engage with targeted consumers by jumping on new platforms.

Brands and users should take caution. Instagram is in hot water due to the December 18th changes to its Terms of Service which state that it would own and be able to sell users’ photos without any compensation to the user. Many, including National Geographic, said they would stop using Instagram and immediately shut down their accounts in protest. Instagram issued a response later that day titled “Thank you, and we’re listening” in an effort to clarify and settle the unrest. Regardless, users took to social media to complain, protest, and announce their intention to leave the service. We predict that the backlash will blow over, there are plenty of good alternatives, and that Fast, Filtered Photography will continue to surge in 2013.

Another clear indication that Fast, Filtered Photography will boom in 2013 is the recent Instagram and Twitter divorce, where Instagram recently disabled its photo integration API with Twitter, forcing Twitter to create its own dynamic, filtered photography setting on its mobile app. The new Twitter user interface is incredibly similar to Instagram and the functionality is more or less the same, but is it a game changer or just a quick fix? And will it improve Twitter photo sharing? Only time will tell.

And for one more proving point that Fast, Filtered Photography is hot, hot hot, please check out this parody by College Humor. Parody, some say, is the most sincere form of flattery, but sensitive ears take note, this video is rated PG-13!

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2. Quick Video Sharing

Our SOcialpr Team also believes 2013 will see a rapid rise in Quick Videos. Hot apps on the market, like Keek and Viddy, are already gaining widespread popularity and adoption, especially with celebrities like British diver (and heartthrob), Tom Daley, who joined Keek and sparked a surge in signups. While Keek is still only in beta, Daley’s 47 short videos (or “keeks” as they’re known), have gained more than 2.1 million views and 41,000 followers. Will Keek become the new “video Twitter” for socialistas to post short, timely, video updates to their followers and communities? Stay tuned!

Viddy is similar to Keek and encourages users to “Capture Life in the Moment.” This Quick Video Sharing App has been around for a few years, but recent celeb adoption by hotties like Rihanna are sure to thrust this app into a brighter spotlight. The biggest difference between Viddy and Keek is that with Viddy, you can apply filters, background music and other visual effects to your video – similar to Instagram. Hot stuff!

If 2012 was the year of the animated GIF, hang on for mobile apps like Cinemagram, where you can now record a short video, highlight the area you want animated, play with the settings, add a filter and upload. We predict that photo/video sharing app acceptance and adoption will rise, and that Cinemagram will gain traction. Check out some samples on the Cinemagram Tumblr here.

3. Business Will Demand Social ROI

Social media marketers have proclaimed “return on engagement” (ROE) and “brand affinity” as defining pillars of social media measurement, aka, ROI, since the beginning of social’s very short time as an acceptable marketing practice for brand outreach. But as brands invest ever more serious money, responses like, “What’s the &^%ing ROI of your Mother,” just won’t cut it when it comes to reporting value. Our clients are no longer willing to skirt around the issue of defining ROI for social, and expect to see real measurable value resulting from social marketing endeavours. In 2013, we predict that brands will become skeptical of the ROE model and start demanding metrics that measure real dollars and cents/sense when it comes to reporting results on social spending – just like they do with all of their marketing endeavours.

Social marketers will have to stop playing fast and loose with brand dollars and develop and define real reporting that clearly demonstrates the brand-building, sales-driving value social media provides.

How will we do this? A brand’s community management is only as strong as its agency community manager. The Social PR community manager of 2013 will need a comprehensive understanding of link clicks, click-through rates, analytics dashboards and goal setting. Community managers of 2013 will need to partner with brands to define objectives and tie them back into measurement platforms like Hootsuite and Google Analytics to be able to track, evaluate and unclutter the social consumer’s path to purchase.

This kind of measurement will become increasingly difficult for consumer packaged goods that are sold in the real world, on store shelves, and not online. Working with brands to measure the effect of social marketing, from coupon redemption tracking, to developing creative, out-of-the-box measurement techniques, will become absolutely essential in 2013 as business puts its collective foot down and demands fiscally responsible reporting.

4. The Uncertain Future of Social Networks

While many new social networks popped up and gained popularity in 2012, there is still an uncertain future for some. Facebook’s limp IPO comes to mind when discussing the future of social networks. There was much fanfare the minute Facebook announced it was going public but this quickly died into a sad trumpet “womp womp” as its stock price faded from the ding of the opening bell.

Our questions for the future of social networks include but are not limited to:

–          Can Justin Timberlake save MySpace?

–          Will Google+ begin to resonate with everyday users?

–          Will Twitter continue to shut its API down?

–          Will Pinterest succumb to social media fatigue?

–          Will the big social networks continue to acquire the little ones, or is there a chance for the little guy to succeed?

Whatever the outcome, we predict that 2013 will be a rough ride for social networks as we users, brands, and marketers continue to raise expectations and make more demands on them.

5. The Rise of Social TV and the “Second Screen”

If you watched a major TV show in 2012, it’s likely that you saw a hashtag in the corner of the screen – a subtle reminder to join a conversation about the show on Twitter, or another social network. A recent Nielsen survey confirms that vast numbers of consumers are using a second screen while they watch television. The report notes that 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners use their device daily, while in front of their TV. Are they chatting about the show or are they doing other things?

The report found that consumers are doing a whole bunch of stuff while watching TV (Stats from Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012,” pg 13) including:

–          Shopping (22% smartphone, 45% tablet)

–          Visiting a social network (38% smartphone, 44% tablet)

–          Looking up information on the TV program being watched (23% mobile, 35% tablet)

–          Looking up coupons/deals advertised on TV (12% mobile, 24% tablet)

–          Looking up information on a product from an advertisement seen on TV (15% mobile, 26% tablet)

Furthermore, Neilsen has teamed up with Twitter to launch a new service that measures TV chatter on Twitter called “Neilsen Twitter TV Rating.” Its concept is to create a standardized benchmark of measuring chatter around TV shows that will analyze the exact size of an audience.

In 2013, we predict that the humble, on-screen hashtag will start to affect what an audience sees on their screen. This past summer, Big Brother successfully integrated social hashtag voting into its live programming when viewers were encouraged to tweet one of two possible outcomes for the houseguests, using two different hashtags. We expect more TV shows to follow Big Brother’s lead and get much more interactive with live and engaging outcomes in the future.

The second screen presents a real opportunity for marketers since users can actually look up info about products being advertised or placed, in real, relevant time. Will brands start producing time-specific ads encouraging viewers to tweet using a specific hashtag for a coupon or deal? Why not? The possibilities are endless and we expect to see major “second screen” integration into both television programming and advertising in 2013.

One thing’s for sure! In 2013, start-ups, upstarts, entrepreneurs, techies, geeks and nerds will continue to raise and maybe make big bucks, and boos boos, (we’re looking at you Instagram), in their efforts to monetize their creativity with fab new products nobody, even advertisers, wants to pay for.

SO, there you have it, Strategic Objectives’ Top FIVE Social PR Predictions for 2013. What do you think? What are your predictions for 2013? Please sound off and share in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on the Strategic Objectives blog.


Deborah Weinstein (@DebWeinstein) is co-founder, partner and president of Strategic Objectives, an international award-winning, full-service public relations agency that delivers smart ideas and better solutions to many of Canada and the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Toronto, Strategic Objectives is IABC/Toronto PR Agency of the Year 2012, 2011, and 2009. It employs more than 40 top public relations professionals, in addition to associates across Canada, and PR partners around the world. Deborah is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals for Outstanding Service to Canada and its Communications Industry.

For more information on this post or Strategic Objectives, please contact us.




White Cashmere Collection 2012 Reveals Memorable Vision of Fashion with Compassion

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2012

White Cashmere Collection 2012 Reveals Memorable Vision of
Fashion with Compassion™

Canada’s Top Fashion Designers Create Cashmere BT Couture to Support Canadian Breast Cancer
Foundation’s Vision of a Future without Breast Cancer

A stunning vision of Fashion with Compassion, all crafted in pure, soft and luxurious #Cashmere bathroom tissue, took to the runway in Toronto on September 19

Our Strategic Objectives Toronto PR team was thrilled to promote Cashmere Bathroom Tissue’s fashionable vision of a future without breast cancer on the runway, Wednesday, September 19 with the debut of the ninth annual White Cashmere Collection: Fashion with Compassion, at the newly renovated Arcadian Court in Toronto.

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This year’s Cashmere BT (bathroom tissue) Couture collection includes high-fashion photography; a breathtaking runway show; and a Facebook contest and fundraiser. The collection highlights Cashmere’s generous and ongoing support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and heralds the annual return of limited-edition Pink Cashmere, a fund- and awareness-raiser for the Foundation, with twenty-five cents from the sale of every package going directly to the cause, throughout October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Curated by Canadian fashion designer Farley Chatto, The White Cashmere Collection pays hommage to Classic Hollywood Glamour and stars fifteen established and emerging Canadian designers who created everything from bridal and evening wear, to jewelry and, for the first time ever, footwear and children’s wear, all crafted in 100 per cent pure, soft and luxurious sheets of White and Pink Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, Canada’s best-selling brand.

A Touch of Pink with Reel Hollywood Glamour

The White Cashmere Collection has featured more than 100 amazing Canadian designers since its debut in 2004 and the 2012 collection showcases an awesome cast including Anomal Couture by  Sonia LeclairDavid JackIzzy CamilleriAdrian Wu, Ashtiani by Golnaz AshtianiRodney Philpott Designs, LABEL by Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk, LuShyne by Lucci RojasLaura Siegel, Al Shakour by Suhaila NiaziCara Cheung, DRōN by Joël Bissonnette,  MMCrystal by Michelle Merizzi, Jewelry by Karen McFarlane and shoes designed by Yvonne Lin for Town Shoes.

This year’s spectacular runway show kicked off with an awe-inspiring acrobatic performance with pink aerial silks, high above the audience, to build anticipation for the beautiful fashions to come.

“Breast cancer affects women and families across Canada and the White Cashmere Collection presents a unique opportunity to pay tribute to the courage and strength of these women,” says Nancy Marcus, Corporate Vice President, Consumer Marketing at Kruger Products. “We are proud to be one of the Foundation’s top five national partners and to join this cause with our support of Canada’s fashion community.”

The live runway show was hosted by Canada AM co-host and breast cancer survivor, Beverly Thomson, a long-time supporter of the collection. The Cashmere BT Couture Collection also featured celebrity model Angie Smith, Fashion Producer at The Marilyn Denis Show, as well as a poignant speech by breast cancer survivor and leading Quebec fashion journalist, Lolitta Dandoy.

“The White Cashmere Collection exemplifies the diversity of the Canadian fashion industry and serves as an imaginative showcase for our top design trendsetters,” says 2012 collection curator and fashion designer, Farley Chatto. “I am honoured and thrilled to partner with Kruger Products and to collaborate with our talented designers who combined their passion for fashion with support for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.”

This year’s collection was photographed by Angus Rowe MacPherson, whose carefully constructed images vibrate with energy, at Toronto’s historic Design Exchange. His portfolio of 15 high-fashion Cashmere photos was released at the show and is displayed at

Be Social! VOTE Couture for the Cure

Canadians can also view the collection and support the cause by joining Cashmere’s unique Vote Couture for the Cure™ initiative at from September 19 through November 19. Fans are invited to vote for their favourite design and Cashmere will donate $1 per vote, up to $10,000, to the Foundation in the winning designer’s name. Voters will be entered in a draw to win one of four $2,500 shopping sprees.

Kruger Products LP’s partnership with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

“Since the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation began allocating vital funds towards breast cancer research, education and health promotion initiatives over 25 years ago, we have seen significant progress and have led a nation-wide movement to raise awareness and mobilize action on breast cancer,” says Sandra Palmaro CEO, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Ontario Region. “There is still much work to be done towards our vision of creating a future without breast cancer and we are grateful for the ongoing commitment and support of partners like Cashmere and Kruger Products who have embraced this movement and continue to champion the breast cancer cause through outstanding events like the White Cashmere Collection.”

About the White Cashmere Collection

The White Cashmere Collection is Canada’s annual celebration of Fashion with Compassion. A fund- and awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Cashmere BT (bathroom tissue) Couture collection, now in its ninth year, stars Canada’s leading fashion designers in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s vision of a future without breast cancer, all crafted in 100 per cent pure, soft and luxurious sheets of Cashmere Bathroom Tissue.  More than 100 Canadian desigers have participated to-date.

The collection also features limited-edition Pink Cashmere, with twenty-five cents from the sale of every package going directly to the Foundation throughout October, breast cancer awareness month.

About Cashmere and Kruger Products LP

Cashmere, Canada’s best-selling bathroom tissue, is 100 per cent Canadian-made and reflects Kruger Products’ commitment to providing the finest quality tissue products to Canadian consumers.

Kruger Products is Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer and serves the Canadian consumer market with such well-known brands as Cashmere, Purex, SpongeTowels and Scotties, as well as away-from-home products for industrial and commercial use across Canada. Kruger operates facilities in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

The White Cashmere Collection, now celebrating its ninth fashionable year, is documented at; you can join the Cashmere Facebook Fan Page

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

For over 25 years, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has been at the forefront of a nation-wide movement to raise awareness and mobilize action on breast cancer. Today, the Foundation is the leading organization in Canada dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. Since 1986, from coast to coast, we have invested over $274 million to fund vital research and community health grants that have led progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Visit and join the movement.


For more information please contact:

Strategic Objectives

The Point of Social Marketing, Influence, Gangnam Style & Kevin Bacon – NOW Trending @SO_pr, September 17 2012

Here’s what’s trending for the Toronto PR team at Strategic Objectives!

SO ANNOUNCED: Toronto PR Agency, Strategic Objectives Wins at PR Daily Awards

Strategic Objectives president, Deborah Weinstein was in Washington, DC last week at the first ever PR Daily Awards where Strategic Objectives picked up two awards! We are SO proud to announce that we won Best Cause Related Marketing program for The Body Shop Canada’s STOP S*x Trafficking of Children and Young People and an Honourable Mention in Best Product Launch for Magnum Ice Cream Bar for Unilever! These two honours will be added to our list, cementing our position as Canada’s most award-winning PR agency! You can read more about our awards here.


Social Media Marketing – What’s the Point?

In this article from Forbes, Lois Geller (@LoisGeller) spends some time looking at big brands and their social media presence – what’d she find? A lot of squatters. What’s a squatter? A brand that claims their Twitter handle but has no strategy whatsoever. What’s worse than no strategy? A strategy in a silo. Social media/marketing/PR/business goals/growth metrics/analytics should all be in the SAME field, playing together. Separate strategies that don’t compliment one another are completely useless. This is why, at Strategic Objectives, we preach “Social PR” and our programs are truly integrated. You can read more about “the point?” here.

Meet the Big Tech Trends Changing Marketing

Social media is heavily influenced by the latest in technology. Will the new iPhone5 give a community manager/marketer/PR an advantage over an individual using a Blackberry Pearl from 2008? Maybe! Ad Age explore the link between technology and marketing and how everything is working together, faster. You can read it here.

If You’re Interested in Influence, Social Scoring is of Historic Importance

Klout, Kred, PeerIndex, etc are all a hot button and hot topic of conversation. Some hate, others love, the idea of social scoring and ranking “influence”. According to Mark Schaefer (author of Return On Influence), “a nobody like me can become an influencer. And that’s pretty cool. Influence has been democratized—and, with Klout, quantified.” You can read more about the historic influence of social scoring here. If, as the title of the article suggests, you’re interested.


Apple, It’s Time to Make Something New

A Hype-Cycle View of Social Media

Greatest Social Marketing Challenges Into 2013

5 Ways Your Business Should Use Hashtags

Social Media Marketing: Don’t Forget the Message


If you haven’t seen PSY’s “Gangnam Style”, it’s pretty entertaining. Did you know that there’s actually a subversive message within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation. Sure is. Read about it (and check out the video) here.


3 Things that Separate Leaders from Managers

Innovation, Inspiration, and the right questions. Well we certainly just gave away those “three things” but there’s more to it than that. What does a leader do that a manager does not? Do you want to be “just a manager” or do you want to be an inspiring leader? If you want to be an inspiring leader, you should read this.


… of Kevin Bacon. One of those great games to play on a road trip just got Google-ified. Google will now give you all of the answers to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon on its home page. How? Read more here.


Around the office, some of us are obsessed with Honey Boo Boo. Earlier, we told you about PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. What would happen if you mashed both together? This:

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Rules for Content, Social TV, Google+ as a Religious Experience and a Purse of Wine – Now Trending @SO_pr, September 12 2012

Check out what’s trending at Toronto PR Agency, Strategic Objectives for September 12, 2012. This post originally appeared on the @SO_pr blog.


Four Rules for Online Content Development

There is no question that content is king! Did you know that there are some “best practices” when it comes to your online content. Inc Magazine sums up the four golden rules of online content development from graphic overload to understanding your customer (and their habits) to the simple task of testing your links – you can read more about these golden rules here.

Q&A – Google+ Gave Guy Kawasaki a Religious Experience

Google+ has been on the scene for quite some time now and Guy Kawasaki happens to love it? Why does he love it so much? It’s visual and good looking and seamless. In his interview with Fast Company, Kawasaki compares Google Plus to Macintosh in the early 1990s – more or less written off but ultimately a superior product. Will Google+ roar to life in the coming hears? Time will tell. Read the entire interview here.

Why TV is Going Social

The tablet revolution of recent years has added what many are calling “the second screen” to the TV watching experience. According to Forbes, between 60-70% of people have an active “second screen” while they are watching TV. Many broadcasters are beginning to develop complimentary programming for this device and, if you’ve watched Big Brother recently, you’ll notice they encourage tweets by popping #BB14 or #BBVeto on the screen. So why is TV going social? Find out here.


Obama’s Convention Speech Breaks Political Twitter Record

Content Marketing & Trend Spotting in the Social Media Wild

10 Ways to Write the Most Effective Facebook Posts

11 Savvy Ways to Use Buyer Personas to Strengthen Your Marketing

The Legal Implications for Brands of Using Pinterest

7 Underrated PR Skills


Image via Vernissage

“Did you just say you needed to pick up a box of wine?” is something you box wine lovers will hear no more. Tired of the shame of drinking wine from a box, wine maker Vernissage came up with the “bag in a bag”. Now you can carry your box (bag) of wine in a stylish purse. No more shame! You can read more about it here.


“Boom Goes the Dynamite” – No words for this. Just enjoy:

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What CEOs Can Learn From Best Buy, Unexpected Ways to Engage, Facebook Combats False Likes and Much More! – Now Trending @SO_pr, September 4 2012

Here’s what’s trending this week for all of us at Strategic Objectives – a Toronto PR Firm specializing in public relations, crisis communications, and social PR:


What every CEO can learn from Best Buy’s (Continued) Branding Mistakes

For the past 18 months, Best Buy’s U.S. Marketing Team has been working tirelessly to reframe their brand proposition and this is the new tagline they came up with: “Making technology work for you.” In this case study, David Brier addresses the problem with Best Buy’s branding efforts. Not only is the slogan boring, worn and uninspiring, it’s a “death sentence”.  Looking at more successful brands like Apple, Nike, and Dyson, it is what they stand for and what they are passionately opposed to that sets them apart. Nike stands for athletic achievement and is opposed to laziness. Apple stands for adaptable technology and opposes those that constrain. Until Best Buy can identify what it is that they stand for and oppose, their brand will remain in the background. Read more about it here.

Unexpected ways to impress consumers and boost PR

While following a PR blueprint can lead to success, it’s important to remember that competition is high: other brands are working for consumer attention too. To stand out, brands should consider engaging with consumers in unexpected ways: engage in unexpected places, use products in unexpected ways and do unexpected good. Read more on how brands are leaving their marks by doing the unexpected here.

Facebook improving site integrity systems to combat false Likes

Facebook updated its site integrity system today in an effort to eliminate fake Likes. A recent report announced that approximately 83 million Facebook accounts are fake, while a startup company revealed that many Facebook Ad clicks came from bots.  To benefit users and brands alike, Facebook implemented a system that is able to detect and remove Likes obtained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users or purchased mass Likes. Read more about these improvements here >


18 Facebook Users You Should Subscribe To

How to Make a Call to Action More Effective

The 5 Worst Media Disasters in August

Chaz Ortiz on Branding with Social Media

Twitter Launches Certified Products Program

Editor Share Important Dos and Don’ts of Pitching

Pros and Cons of Prescheduled Tweets

Career Lessons From the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women Rankings

SMM Strategy: Inbound Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing

How 4 Small Businesses are Winning on Pinterest

Instagram for PR: 4 Overlooked Ways to Use the App

PR STORY OF THE WEEK: “Romney Delivers, While #eastwooding Goes Viral’

On the final night of the Republican National Convention, surprise guest and actor Clint Eastwood took the stage to support Team Romney. While it was supposed to be Romney’s night, all eyes were glued to Clint’s unscripted and uncomfortable performance, where he pretended to have surreal  conversations with an empty chair meant to be US President Barack Obama. The Twitter-sphere went haywire with thousands of new tweets each minute. The hashtag#eastwooding was used as people shared photos of themselves pointing to an empty chair. A new Twitter account called @InvisibleObama acquired 50,000 followers within 30 minutes after the speech was over. Even President Obama tweeted “This seat’s taken” along with a photo of himself seated in a chair. The Romney campaign sent out a release to diffuse the issue saying that it wasn’t an official speech, but rather a break from them.

The meme #eastwooding has brought citizens together by way of political satire. Although it will most likely die off by the end of this week, here’s a sample of #eastwooding at its best!

Read more about this “Clintastrophe” here.


After a long work week, it’s nice to be able to catch up on some sleep. These people must have been working REALLY hard!

#SOcialpr: Brand Apologies on the Rise. Implications for your biz, brand, and future

With social media usage the new societal norm, we’ve developed a hyper-connected culture, where what we do and what we say is publicly broadcasted in a matter of seconds. Social media has opened up a whole new world of opportunities, many of which should not be taken recklessly, considering the presence of such a mass audience.

Every day, 50 million Twitter users and 9 million Canadian Facebook users log on to the web to check the latest news, see what their friends are up to, and check in with their favourite brands. These considerable numbers represent a public that is ever vigilant, always watching, listening and sharing – evoking a new culture of social policing.

This summer, we saw a proliferation of public apologies issued by businesses and celebrities, including Twilight heroine Kristen Stewart, Olympic athlete Voula Papachristou, online fashion retailer Celeb Boutique, and even social network giant Twitter. All of which attracted considerable controversy.

One example of a social apology done well is Southwest Airlines which recently celebrated its 3 million Facebook LIKES by offering fans 50% off a round-trip flight using the promotion code LUV2LIKE. Due to an ‘error in the system,’ customers were charged multiple times for the same flight. Southwest instantly issued two transparent public apologies on its Facebook page on August 4 and August 5, while the airline proactively canceled all duplicate itineraries and provided constant updates to customers. Southwest’s timely crisis management efforts received major positive responses from the public, including this from Sharon Belknap:

My phone agent was great. I thought it was my impatience that created the 11 bookings. Her opening line to my query was, “did you book half a plane for yourself?” We both laughed. Yes, used my debit card and there have been challenges with cash flow requiring quick thinking.

But it’s ALL about quick thinking and getting back to creating a good life…and for that, Southwest has always been my wingman! Carry on!

A recent report by Christian Science Monitor concluded that brands are apologizing more than ever before. According to Dr. Aaron Lazare, author of On Apology, the number of public apologies has tripled since the 1980s. Why are we now seeing such an increase in public displays of remorse? Is bad behavior on the rise or can this phenomenon be attributed to something else?

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide greater opportunities for companies, public figures and average Joes just like us to slight someone without intent. Even more damaging are the opportunities to share and spread those offenses. Remember, news travels fast, but bad news even faster.

People have an attraction to bad news, and that’s a fact, says Dr. John T. Cacioppo of Ohio State University, “The human brain is more stimulated by the negative than the positive.” To put it simply, bad news is just more interesting. Celebrity tabloids and gossip magazines are considered the epitome of entertainment news. We love to hear about breakups, lawsuits, bankruptcies and other forms of salacious news, which is why it’s so important for brands to be aware of our natural inclination to schadenfreude.

The public controls the Internet. It is in our human nature to enjoy seeing the diminution of successful figures, which is why those in the public eye must take extra care. Tweet responsibly, post sensibly, and remember that in the world of social media, your audience never sleeps.  Brands need to understand that the customer is always on duty, a reality that I discussed in my speech on #SOcialpr: It’s Sink or Swim in the Age of Instant News at the #140MTL conference earlier this year. The bottom line? Brands must engage and respond with proactive community management, with immediacy, and to every customer complaint and concern. This is essential to keep your community alive.

The suspicion that society is producing more bad apples than usual is probably not the case.  Our ever-connected culture yields conditions where mistakes are caught quicker and more readily than in the past. To properly manage reputation and crises, transgressions must be properly acknowledged, which likely explains why public apologies appear as prominently, and as frequently, as they do today.

Social media has transformed the way brands communicate, behave and interact with their audiences. In this age of instant news, the prevalence of public apologies is merely a reminder that brands are now assigned a new high level of accountability brought on by the average social media user. The citizen influencer’s constant watch is a reminder to brands that social media is a P2P – person to person – endeavour and must be treated with due respect and constant attention.


Deborah Weinstein (@DebWeinstein) is co-founder, partner and president of Strategic Objectives, an international award-winning, full-service public relations agency that delivers smart ideas and better solutions to many of Canada and the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Toronto, Strategic Objectives is IABC/Toronto PR Agency of the Year 2012, 2011, and 2009. It employs more than 40 top public relations professionals, in addition to associates across Canada, and collaborates with Pinnacle Worldwide PR partners around the world. Deborah is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Behind the Scenes at #Cashmere BT Couture

Behind the Scenes at #Cashmere BT Couture

A stunning show of Fashion with Compassion™ took to the Toronto runway at the eighth annual White Cashmere Collection, on Wednesday, September 28 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Unique in the world, the collection features 15 established and emerging Canadian designers and their vision of a future without breast cancer, all showcased in garments and accessories crafted in 100 per cent pure, soft and luxurious Cashmere Bathroom Tissue.

Strategic Objectives created the White Cashmere Collection with Kruger Products eight years ago to launch Cashmere as the progressive evolution and replacement for Cottonelle toilet paper in Canada. An instant hit, Cashmere became, and remains, Canada’s best-selling bathroom tissue.

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A fund- and awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Cashmere BT Couture collection heralds the annual return of limited-edition Pink Cashmere with twenty-five cents from the sale of every package going directly to the cause, throughout October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Please be Social – VOTE Couture for the Cure! View our unique-in-the-world BT couture collection at and vote for your favourite design. Cashmere will donate $1 for every vote to the cause, in the winning designer’s name. Join the Cashmere Facebook page and you can win an exclusive white cashmere scarf created by WCC 2008 designer, Thien Le.

Want to see the garments and accessories up close and personal? The collection will be displayed in The Bay’s flagship store windows at Yonge and Queen streets in Toronto and on Rue Sainte-Catherine West in Montreal, for the fourth consecutive year, throughout October Breast Cancer Month.

Don’t just take it from us, this story is making news! Take a look at what the media is saying about Cashmere BT Couture!

Toronto Star

Fashion Magazine

Flare Magazine

Toronto Life


Montreal Gazette

Trend Hunter

Our awesome Strategic Objectives team was thrilled to produce the 8th annual White Cashmere Collection: Fashion with Compassion. A year in the making, it is a beautiful example of a brand collaborating with its high-power community to create social good.

The White Cashmere Collection is now on display in The Bay’s windows looking as gorgeous as ever!

VOTE Couture for the Cure NOW at!

See the Social Universe Unfold at Social Media Masters

The social universe continues to unfold as it should with advents, add-ons, apps and opportunities. “But how’s a busy brand marketer supposed to keep up,” is the question often posed by contacts, colleagues and clients.

One easy way to get ahead of the curve is to attend Social Media Masters 2011 in Toronto on Friday, October 7, 2011.

An intimate, low-cost, high impact, advanced social media conference starring some of the world’s leading marketers, #SMM2011 is hosted bySocial Media Club and Sensei Marketing, and presents a wonderful forum to build your knowledge of social media marketing with a focus on engagement, execution and results.

Created for marketing and communications professionals tasked with integrating and driving growth via social media, #SMM2011 gives participants the chance to learn and interact with seasoned social theorists and marketing veterans, in an intimate environment that delivers advanced social tactics and theory in practical terms, accompanied by real world examples.

A non-profit organization, Social Media Club is the world’s largest community of SM professionals with chapters in more than 300 cities around the world. Focused on expanding digital media literacy, sharing lessons learned, promoting ethical behavior and advancing industry standards; Social Media Club hosts conversations that explore the ways technology is transforming the way we connect, communicate, collaborate and relate to each other.

I’m thrilled to be speaking on How PR Meets Social Media Marketing at the Toronto Social Media Masters event on 10/7 and to be joining such esteemed colleagues as: Chris Hewer, founder of the Social Media Club and Social Media Specialist Leader at Deloitte; Mark W. Schaefer, author of Amazon best-seller “The TAO of Twitter” and AdAge Top 50 blog {grow}; Canada’s own Sean Moffitt, bestselling author of “Wikibrands, who will speak to proven-successful formulas for word-of-mouth marketing, creating buzz and getting your message out to target audiences; and Sam Fiorella, social marketer and author of

There are many more inspiring and noteworthy experts to meet and greet at Canada’s first-ever Social Media Masters conference and I hope you can make it!

To register, please visit

Please for a discount code that will save you 30 per cent off the ticket price!

By: Deborah Weinstein

Crisis Management in the Age of Social Media

Forbes Magazine recently published an excellent series of the Do’s and Don’ts of Corporate Social Media which, spoke in part about managing issues and protecting brand reputations in the age of instant information.

One of the key points raised is that while good news travels fast today, bad news travels faster.

What can happen to that information, in a social-networked world, one still considered the “Wild West” by many, can be a truly frightening prospect to brands. The idea of a brand, carefully cultivated over decades or in some cases over hundreds of years, coming undone in an instant because of one angry customer, one misstep, or one piece of misinformation, can be paralyzing to brands.  At Strategic Objectives, we still regularly interact with clients who would prefer to stay out of the social web, rather than losing even a small degree of brand control.

Davia Temin, the Forbes series author, has good advice about the do’s and don’ts of corporate social media, which you can find here, but what caught our attention was the conversation that followed the piece.  Responding to a reader who wondered what to do about companies who are too afraid or unwilling to get social, Davia points out that the deciding factor, eventually, will be opportunity cost.

Those who are willing to engage will reap the benefits of connecting with consumers in a new meaningful way. Those who chose to sit on the sidelines will no doubt face situations similar to history’s failed captains of industry- sliding into obscurity and irrelevance by not adapting to new market realities.

In the case of crisis issues management, ignoring your online community can come at a heavy price.

Strategic Objectives has built a reputation for crisis management excellence over the decades as we continue to work with some of Canada’s biggest brands. What surprises some clients when we speak about crisis communication strategies and social media, is that while the speed of all processes involved has revved up dramatically, effective strategies for managing a crisis remain largely the same.  Here is some of the advice we share with our clients:

  • The best crisis management strategies are developed before you have a crisis. Preparing in advance is the best policy.

Have a mock crisis day where your organization runs through everything from a product issue to global war.  Many of the scenarios you practice will never occur, but you’ll sleep more soundly knowing your organization could meet them confidently, should they arise.

  • Listen to expert advice encouraging brands to engage in social networks.

Not only are you opening a world of marketing and customer service excellence opportunity, but you’ll build real relationships with consumers.  Earning their trust in advance will pay off in spades when you really need it.

  • Develop plans for everyone in your organization from the CEO to the front desk receptionist, and most importantly your customer service and social media teams.

Yes, your senior team will need to be thoroughly prepared to answer questions and manage the situation, but it’s the customer service staff who will field the calls from concerned consumers.  Making sure they are prepared with the appropriate information and direction on how to handle customer concerns can stem a potential flood of negative tweets, posts and calls.

Make sure your social media team and customer service teams are working together to monitor the situation—the cross sharing of online and off-line information will give you the full picture of consumer sentiment and help you to prepare a thoroughly flushed out response strategy.

  • Choose the right person to monitor your social media channels and ensure he/she has the experience, knowledge and expertise to answer consumer questions and concerns.

When your Twitter feeds start blazing with messages, and posts and comments hit your Facebook page, there will be no time for the legal team to carefully review each question and each answer.  Selecting the right partner (internal or external) to serve as your front-line defense will be crucial.  You need to prepare your social media brand representative, and give them the flexibility to answer consumers in real time.  Making the conversation timely, open and honest will be your best tool in preventing a “flame war.”

This should go without saying, but unfortunately still needs to be pointed out:  the role of your social media front-line crisis defense should never be entrusted to an intern or junior, no matter how socially-savvy they appear. They simply do not have the experience and insight necessary in such a crucial time.

  • Assign someone to monitor your social media channels.

We are constantly surprised by companies who do not monitor what’s being said about their brand online. Just because you might wish to ignore the conversation about your brand, does not mean it’s not there.  Use it to the benefit of your company; all those posts and tweets are valuable customer insight. Free, valuable customer insight.

There are nuances to managing an online crisis that are particular to each brand, but we can assure you that these best practices form an excellent foundation for successfully managing issues in today’s hyper-connected world.

We appreciate your comments and opinions. What advice would you like to share?

By: Strategic Objectives

The Demographic Landscape of Social Networks

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?