Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blogging Your Brand, Branding Your Blog

Individuals blog, companies blog; each for a different purpose. Some use blogs as a diary of daily musings, opinions, and experiences while others use theirs to promote or advocate a purpose. In any case, (most) people put information on the web to share them with others.

You may be a popular brand within your industry or general population but how much do people really know about you and your products? Sure, they can go onto your website and read canned information on company history, your mission statement, what products you offer, and etc. This information, however, is generally static and is only there for informational purposes. Moreover, it is difficult to give corporate websites a personal touch because they are first and foremost intended for establishing a professional presence. A web presence is the first step in getting closer to your audience but it is not enough to establish and foster interactivity and engagement. Here is where blogging can help:

  • It gives your brand a voice and helps you communicate with your target audience.
  • It can help set your company apart from the rest of the pack. One reason is because a blog is updated (ideally) on a regular basis and gives you the edge over companies whose websites have not been regularly maintained.
  • It allows you to discuss topics that would not fit in neatly with the rest of the content on your website.

But it is not enough to just blog randomly about everything and anything under the sun – you need to identify the reason why you are blogging (hopefully not because everyone else is doing it) and what your blog should be about. By giving your blog a focus and purpose and aligning these with the qualities of your brand, you can strengthen your image and extend your reach. The focus need not be too narrow: just ensure that you always stay relevant and true to your purpose.

Take the food and beverage industry, for example – here are 3 things that restaurants can do to maximize the value of blogging:

  • They should identify their intended audience and tailor their blogging style accordingly. If you want to reach out to a teen crowd, do not write pieces that sound like they belong in a business report. The medium helps get the message across.
  • They should conduct some preliminary research into what their audiences like to do and what they would enjoy reading. The company may find food ingredients a fascinating topic but your audience may actually be more interested in learning about what staff do behind the scenes to create the brand’s mouth-watering products.
  • They should see what their competitors are doing well and offer something more. Is Restaurant A blogging about its company roots? You can take a slightly different approach and blog about how your company history relates to your audience. Is Restaurant B posting about their newest locations? You can blog about why you picked your new branch locations and what makes these communities unique (and perhaps share a fun fact about the places).

Are there any other ways in which a restaurant can benefit from blogging? What steps should they take to understand their audience, and are these methods more suitable for the food and beverage industry than for others? I would love to see examples of restaurant blogs that you like.


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A New Era for Public Relations

A press release is a key component of a public relations toolbox and is created for the purpose of disseminating information to the public and generating awareness. Here are a few examples of the types of activities that would warrant a press release:

  • When a company wants to announce a new or upcoming product
  • When a company wants to advise the public of a new merger or partnership
  • When a company wants to state its views on a certain issue

While press releases are still well suited for traditional media outlets, the advent of social media has cast doubt onto whether this tool has relevance on electronic platforms. Large blocks of text are difficult to read on a computer screen and, hence, rather unappealing to potential audiences. Moreover, because the conventional press release format packs so much information into one document, trying to pick out key points becomes an arduous task and deters web users from sharing the information with others.

To take advantage of the breakneck speeds at which Internet communications take place, companies and PR professionals need to repackage and tailor their messaging so that it is readable and sharable.

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. recently put out a press release in celebration of its recent fundraising event for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. To illustrate my points above, I have adapted this piece into a social media release:

A&W’s Cruisin’ for a Cause Day Raises Record $1.25 Million

  • A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is proud to announce that its fourth annual Cruisin’ for a Cause Day raised $1.25 million in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and its mission to be a leader in finding a cure for MS and enabling the lives of those touched by the disease.
  • A&W restaurants across Canada helped raise funds through the sale of cut-outs, customer contributions and donations of $1 from every Teen Burger® sold on August 23. Cruisin’ for a Cause (or le Rendez-vous A&W pour stopper la SP as it is known in Quebec) raised both funds and awareness of multiple sclerosis through a variety of events including classic car gatherings, retro music, car hop service and car hop relay races, and Great A&W Root Bear® visits.
  • In total, Cruisin’ for a Cause Day has raised more than $3.3 million over the past four years to help end MS in communities across the country.

4th Annual Cruisin' for a Cause Day: On Thursday, August 23, A&W's Cruisin' for a Cause Day raised over $1.25 million for the MS Society of Canada. On this day, $1 from every Teen Burger® sold across the country was donated to help end MS. Pictured here: Paul Hollands (left), President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada, and Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada, were joined by the Great A&W Root Bear® during the kick-off for Cruisin' for a Cause Day at Bayers Lake A&W in Halifax, N.S. (CNW Group/A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.)"

“The ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to this very important cause has been outstanding. On behalf of A&W, I would like to thank and congratulate all of our customers, staff, franchisees, car clubs, the MS Society and other supporters across Canada who helped us reach this significant goal.” – Paul Hollands, President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada

“When our partnership with A&W began four years ago, we had no idea how much Cruisin’ for a Cause would grow, or how much impact it would have in communities across the country. This year, over 750 A&W restaurants teamed up with us to make this day a success, and help us raise awareness and funds on behalf of Canadians living with multiple sclerosis. Thank you to the entire A&W family for their commitment to further MS research and to help support those touched by MS.” – Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada

For more information:

Claudette Villena
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
T: 416.922.6600×3177
C: 416.996.0400
Brenda Jones
Hoggan & Associates
T: 604.739.7500
C: 604.312.1070

Do social media releases carry the same amount of professionalism and authority as their conventional cousins? And as a general rule of thumb, should all press releases be created in both traditional and social media friendly formats? In which instances would one format be preferable over the other?

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Top 10 Standout Marketing Campaigns Related to the 2012 Olympics

Two posts ago, I had blogged about Visa’s Go World social media campaign to support Team Visa athletes. Though the Olympics have come to an end, it has not failed to spawn a multitude of marketing campaigns. I want to take this time to share some standout examples:

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