Viewing posts tagged as "Strategic Objectives"

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:

YouTube Preview Image

#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.

YouTube Preview Image

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

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?

Does High Twitter Follower Count indicate Thought Leadership? Not SO much!

There’s considerable ongoing discussion of influence — how to get it, work it and hold onto it — underway in the social universe. This intense interest has resulted in a wide variety of FREE tools people can use to track their/your social influence and thought leadership. These tools include Klout, Twitter Grader and Twitaholic, to name only a few. In the past year, the reliance on follower count, as a prime measure of influence has lost credibility, with a pronounced shift to a more considered evaluation based on a concoction of mystery analytics and far-reaching connections.

Klout, currently the most popular and buzzed about industry standard for rating social media influence is a highly-debated tool that measures thought leadership and engagement by its own secret analytics and gives you a score based on more than 35 variables including retweets, followers, engagement and the quality of the people following and engaging with you. Klout scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence.

Despite Klout’s newfound klout, when it comes to measuring “influence,” one very influential and respected word of mouth agency, Likeable Media, asserts that thought leadership can indeed be measured by numbers: specifically, your number of Twitter followers.

This begs the question: Is follower count the best way to prove social media competence and authority?

“I was extremely surprised, given the way social media measurement is evolving, to see a highly respected, early adopter like Dave Kerpen, a founder of the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Organization and CEO of Likeable Media, announcing an employee competition, challenging his staff to grow their Twitter followers to prove their thought leadership, based on follower count,” says Strategic Objectives president Deborah Weinstein, who is herself hyper-active on Twitter. (Follow her @DebWeinstein)

“There’s been so much time and energy spent discussing social media measurement and its impact — how to create it, how to report it to clients, how to prove its value and ROI — over the last year,” Deborah continues. “I was astonished to see a leader like Dave reverting to the most basic and rudimentary measure, follower count, to prove the influence of his crew.”

“I simply had to go to our team — who do the same kind of work and seek the same kind of impact, results and influence for our clients — to ask their opinion and advice as to whether Strategic Objectives should do something similar,” she says.

At the end of the day, our SO Engagement team agrees, it’s important for our staff to be socially engaged because it’s what we do. As to whether follower numbers count? Our bottom line advice is that it’s preferable to judge thought leadership based on social sphere, influence, engagement and community participation. Someone with only 200 followers can have major influence in an online community through authentic engagement, and play a key and valued role in aligning and affiliating with your brand.

“I question whether ‘getting the most followers’ is the way to really engage a community and position yourself as a Twitter expert,” says @SO_pr Account Manager Monika Rola, who adds that measurement by followers is a flawed process because it’s too easily gamed. “We can all grow numbers with the help of Tweet Adder software. If someone wants to be underhanded, they can even pay companies to find followers for them.”

Andrew F Stewart our @SO_pr Community Manager agrees, “Everyone starts off with one follower. It’s easy to get followers; it’s keeping them that’s the hard part. Judging anyone or anything, prima facie, can speak more to your flippant need for quick answers than real influence,” he says.

Why Numbers Lie (No S*#t, Sherlock!)

It is our opinion that setting measures on social media success should match up to your goal, strategy and tactics. Looking at follower count is as effective as following the newspaper horoscope to guide your daily decision-making. Measuring and reporting ROI by follower and fan count, rather than context, audience demographics, etc. is all too common in the agency world.

A contact of ours recently shared a twitter influencer list with us to review. It comprised approximately 150 Toronto Twitter accounts with the highest number of followers. We vetted the list through our usual filters to make sure it was totally targeted and were totally surprised.

After filtering out the spammers, corporate accounts (no relevance to our campaign) and accounts which had gamed the system by obviously buying followers (few tweets, thousands of followers), we were left with approx 40 real people with any real influence. Of that 40, only a handful would have been interested in engaging with our story.

Don’t get us wrong — we do believe a large and engaged audience is hugely important in both social and traditional media. However, we urge you to look beyond the numbers to find the context behind the numbers. Be curious, Sherlock Holmes! Investigate.  Don’t be lazy.

Measuring Leadership: beyond the numbers

We believe that measuring sector and category thought leadership should extend way beyond Twitter to the work that you do and the results you achieve. It should include IRL speaking engagements, Twitter lists, blog posts and articles published in major media outlets and so much more. You can have as many engaged followers as you want, but if you’re going for the title, Thought Leader, your soap box needs to be prominent in more places than Twitter and your ideas should be thought-provoking and original.

Community manager Andrew F Stewart agrees, “Thought leadership is all about perspective. These days original thought is hard to come by and an original point-of-view is rare and very refreshing. You’ve delivered genuine insight if you can make me see something in a new light or from a new vantage point,” he says.

So how do you cut through the social noise, echo chamber and back-patting to be deemed an authoritative thought leader?

Andrew recommends listening and observing to discover the real influencers who matter most to you, “If you see that someone asks questions but doesn’t follow up with answers, it may just mean no one’s really connecting with them. It’s no wonder!” – “If we must follow numbers, lets look at twitter lists. It takes effort, reasoning, thought and categorization to add someone to a list so why not measure that as a standard of real influence.”

Measuring Measurement

Like the “if a tree falls in a forest does anyone hear” metaphor … I like to say If a tweet goes unretweeted, did that tweet ever exist? Retweets are but one small way to measure social success and influence beyond follower numbers. In fact, we recommend a mix of measures including:

–          Followers

–          Retweets

–          Sentiment

–          Clicks (links)

–          Views (of image or video)

–          Unique visits

–          Comments

–          Likes

–          Lists

–          Interaction

–          Sales

–          Buzz and trending topics

The list goes on and on, but we’re sure you get the point. There are also several, useful PAID services to help measure thought and brand leadership, including Sysomos and Radian6.

Andrew also suggests looking at how many lists someone appears on, “Lists are a good start if you want quantifiable measurement. Tools like Klout are also starting to show some traction in proving influence.”

I’ll conclude now with some wise words from our socially-savvy president, Deborah Weinstein: “Social media has become the wild, wild west of marketing with a multitude of disciplines jostling with each other to own the space; and a plethora of self-styled gurus hawking their wares to ill-informed, but hopeful clients, businesses and brands. Make sure to look beyond the hype to fact-based analytics and research when recruiting a marketer to promote your brand and business. True thought leaders will stand out based on their actions and deeds,” says Deborah.

There’s no question there is a need to establish and measure new high standards for “influence” and “thought leadership.” In the meantime we urge smart marketers to resist the temptation of buying into the big social numbers game, as digital budgets begin to rock and rule in the new economy.

Following on this theme of social media measurement, we’ll take a more analytical look at follower counts next week.

Melissa Smich is a thought leader on our Strategic Objectives Social Team.

The Power of IRL: #usguysEH Makes it REAL in Toronto

I’ve been swimming in the #usguys stream since it first appeared in the Twitterverse in the fall of 2010. A 24/7, non-stop twitter chat focused on marketing, social media and tech, #usguys has attracted a diverse and brilliant international community of tweeps who share info, opinion and virtual friendship around the clock.

With more than 1,000 participants, including many leading-edge social marketers around the globe and a constantly shifting conversation ranging from the hottest social media trends, tools and techniques to who’s doing, drinking, eating what — #usguys has become an incubator of fresh ideas and a popular hang-out for the socially obsessed.

The idea of creating #usguysEH, Canada’s first ever IRL meet-up in Toronto on April 8, 2011, started small, in the form of a tweet I received from @Josepf, an exuberant, hyper-active marketer and poet from Philly, who was planning a spring trip to Toronto to visit family.

“Great,” I replied, “let’s do a Meet Up!” including @samfiorella, a mutual friend and #usguy I’d met IRL at #ungeeked Toronto last November and absolutely adore, in my tweet. Our convo was, of course, live in the stream and the die was cast from that night. #usguys around the world wanted in!

The who, what, when, where and how much it would cost to stage a meet-up were questions yet to be answered. But the why was very clear. We would create a unique, sleek and chic Toronto destination event starring some of the finest minds in the twitterverse to have fun, meet, greet and make connections that would optimize both our personal and professional lives.

Our original cadré instantly expanded to include @jackineccity from San Francisco, @mentormarketing from NYC, @rubymarcom from Buffalo, @KarimaCatherine, @Smartel and @exoporier from Montreal and @PeterfromOttawa. We had an international happening on our hands.

My co-host in #usguysEH @samfiorella created an awesome website to promote the event and sell tickets; my colleagues at Strategic Objectives, our Toronto-based PR agency, kicked in with sponsorship dollars and impeccable event organizing from logo development through nametags, programs and event-photography and videography.

#usguysEH was everything we’d hoped for. Starring 30 fabulous social media adventurers from the US and Canada, it was an exceptionally elegant and uber-social evening in Toronto’s celebrity hang-out, Bistro 990.

An evening of fine food, drink and a fire hose full of lively, trendy conversation, there’s little doubt that the round of tequila shots, interspersed amongst our one minute elevator-pitch #intros, helped loosen our tongues. A highlight of the evening included a prezo by Mike Yavonditte (@mikeyavo), CEO of #hashable who flew up from NYC with his senior VP Jane Kim, @Jinner13, to share his latest news. It didn’t take long before everyone was hashtag happy with #justmet and #nicetomeetyou.

An oasis of discovery, exploration and fine friendship set to flourish, #usguysEH was a unique opportunity to make it real in the social world and a stunning example of the power of Twitter to attract like-minded tweeps to form meaningful communities.

YouTube Preview Image

We are SO grateful to our @SO_pr PR pros @AndrewFStewart, @smichm, @mjovanoski, Stephenie Peters, @Sadiethefoodie and @judyslewis, Jim Colbourne and Tom Peterson in Production for their contribution to what was a truly memorable meet-up.

Deborah Weinstein.

Welcome to the Brave New World of Social PR: Ten Ways to Stay on Top

Public Relations has awesome power to reach into the hearts, minds and wallets of targeted consumers.

Never has this been more true than now, in the social era, when everyone has the right to be their own publisher and to spread info they/we believe is important, relevant and engaging for our audiences.

My work in Marketing Public Relations began back in the 80’s when I co-founded our national, Toronto-based full-service PR firm, Strategic Objectives, with my sister and partner Judy Lewis. Both former TV and radio producers with CBC, CTV and Global TV networks, we’d been on the receiving end of copious off-target PR communications for many years. We knew there had to be a better way to share and spread brand information and to harness the value of credible third party endorsements from key influencers, the media, stakeholders and consumers.

Looking back now, more than 25 years hence, I am reminded of the French saying “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” – the more things change, the more they remain the same!

Yes the world has become much, much smaller with the advent of the fax machine, PC, cell phone, camcorder, digital camera, laptop, smart-phone, tablet and social networks – all devices and platforms that allow us to communicate instantly. But the basics of results-driven communication and the practice of PR remain the same as when we started Strategic Objectives back in 1983.

  • Craft a solid, reliable, relevant story
  • Tell it to the right audiences that need/want to hear it
  • Be honest and real; show integrity with everything you do
  • Be innovative, integrated, inspired and inspiring
  • Be proactive, reactive and follow-up meticulously
  • Be prepared for issues/crisis management
  • Be consistent and true to your brand –
  • Be cautious, the internet forms a permanent record –
  • Be nimble, seize the day and every opportunity –
  • And most importantly, love what you do!

At #SOSlam we’ll discuss the brave new world of social sharing and networking; and the profound impact it has on the way we see, do things and conduct business. But it’s important, at the same time, to remember that social media is a tactic, a tool and sometimes a weapon. What it is not, is a strategy, a foolproof path that will take us directly to the fulfillment of our personal and professional goals.

Social media is an awesome new avenue that, like most technology, allows us to do more for ourselves, faster, easier and more independently. It is also uncharted territory, an ever-evolving landscape that challenges, titillates and provokes us with the thrill of the unknown, not-yet-mastered and still unconquered.

I look forward to learning more about social media with you at #SOSlam and to meeting the awesome tweeps who will converge on Knoxville from 12 States and Canada (pick me), on Wednesday, April 13. See you there. Can’t wait!

For more information about SOSlam please check out:

Deborah Weinstein, @DebWeinstein, is president of Strategic Objectives, @SO_pr, Canada’s most award-winning PR agency