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Other Thoughts

SMRT has given me the confidence and the tools to undertake an audience building program on Twitter for a not-for-profit client.  I started the marketing initiative last week and the Twitter handle now has over 40 followers, and we’ve been retweeted too!   

The course also provided me with excellent guidelines for Twitter content and I  loved all the class discussions!

Jared please keep teaching.  You are really good at it and have a most pleasant manner with students.  Thanks for an enjoyable course.


Lessons Learned – The Good and The Best

The Good

I enjoyed the first part of the course when we were each working on our individual projects.  As a sole practitioner I have a number of clients and saw the SMRT assignment as a good opportunity to provide new social media marketing tools for one of my clients.  I found the assignment interesting and helpful in several key areas.  However, because the assignment was not continued, I would say that the value was limited.

 Positive Things I learned from Assignment #1:

  • Dialogue on the chosen social media platforms must be two-way to encourage and stimulate conversation
  • Creating the customer/consumer profile:  age, education, occupation, hobbies, so that the appropriate  social media platform(s) can be used
  • Twitter is becoming increasingly popular with the 15-30 year old female (as is Pinterest).  This is the segment that was chosen for my initial project on HairCrafters.
  • Traditional PR is not dead.  Instead, the use of social media is another tool that the public relations practitioner needs to take into account in the creation and execution of an effective communications plan.

Assignment #2

The Good

Assignment 2 explored the possibilities of a variety of social media platforms such as Pinterest, Storify, Prezi, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube online video contests.  In addition, the group (Deborah, Alice and myself)  collaborated and communicated through Google Docs.

The Assignment  provided some useful statistics that I can utilize when working on communications plans on behalf of my clients such as:

  • The Power of Like:   “  , “The Power of Like” states that friends of fans represent a substantial potential audience. “A Facebook analysis of the top 100 brand pages suggests that for every Fan, there are an additional 34 friends of fans that can be reached.” (p. 10) This is powerful, because the stereotype of engineering as a ‘man’s field’ can intimidate young women considering career options. If they see other women interested in pursuing engineering, the possibility of trend-setting arises and young women find the courage to step out of traditional ‘female career’ paths.
  • An Ipsos study, as quoted by in their Canadian Social Media Statistics (2011) report, found the 18-34 year old demographic as the heaviest users of social media in Canada
  • A survey from The Creative Group (2012) found, “more than half (56 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said Facebook would be their social media site of choice if they were limited to using just one”. (Thanks here goes to Deborah for her excellent research and statistical work in providing the above information.)
  • The ethics code of WOMMA (the Word of Mouth Marketing Association)
  • The rules and regulations of online video contests.  This I found exceptionally important.   Online contests using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube cannot use tweets, likes or hits to denote voting.  In other words, voting must be by another medium such as through an event micro-site.

The Best

The sample video with the two McMaster engineering students!  Awesome!!!

The video is friendly, engaging clear, and concise.  It encourages and promotes two-way communication and contest participation with the target audience.  It is an excellent video news release tool!  (Accolades here also to Deborah who provided the script and shot the video.)

More on the Kony Controversy

This social media campaign has not only gone viral . . . but has now spun out of control in a most venal way!!! 

The co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell,  has been arrested for drunk and obscene  behaviour ( and many in Uganda now feel that it is an “old” story, not to be dredged up, as they are now getting on with their lives. 

The reactions featured in this video report on the screening are a far cry from the outburst of support that pummeled through Western nations. One local Ugandan featured in the video, an LRA survivor who only had one arm due to the other being blown off in a land mine, seemed pained at some of Invisible Children’s campaign strategies. “If people in those countries care about us, they will not wear t-shirts of Joseph Kony for any reason,” he said. “That would celebrate our suffering.”

Another local Ugandan stated, “We wanted to see our local people who are killed. So these are all white men, different from northern Uganda.”

“What has angered people is that the video is about a white person, not about the victims,” said Emmy Okello, a radio journalist in Lira featured in another report. “All of them came here hoping to see video that tells their story.”(

What a PR mess . . .

The Kony Controversy

On Monday evening in class we discussed the Kony video that has gone viral. We  talked about its dissemination  from a public relations/marketing perspective and decided  that it was pure genius!!!

The video is exceptionally well executed with graphics that have a modern, edgy look.  The story is horrific, heart-wrenching and, sadly, true.

By first targeting key influencers such as Lady Gaga and George Clooney,  Invisible Children helped ensure that the message would travel and travel it did!

By March 13 that the film about the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony had received more than 100 million views in six days, outpacing the video of Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, which hit 70 million views in six days, among other popular videos. (

The video did have some detractors:  some said it would hamper the prosecution of Joseph Kony; others said the organization behind it, Invisible Children, had made it for their own obscure financial reasons and questioned the organization’s dedication and solvency.  To answer the critics, Invisible Children made the video below.

What do you think?  Was making this second video a smart move by Invisible Children?

Pirates, Advertisements, and a Hashtag (assignment)

I was at the event and participated in the live Twitter feed as a reporter.  The Twitter feed made the experience intimate, immediate, and exciting.  The audience was engaged and the comments and questions were on topic and timely.  I have one small caution, in that constant twittering can sometimes obscure the live message.

Master Class in Advertising

Have you heard of the story of Aubergine and Eaton’s?  I know I hadn’t until I attended the Master Class on Advertising seminar last Wednesday evening at the Ron Joyce Centre.  The video is a retro style 4 minute long commercial made in 2000 for the re-launch of the Eaton’s department store brand name. The commercial was split up and placed onto TV as episodes. The 2 million dollar budget meant high production values but the ads did not boost the brand, and Sears bought Eaton’s a year later.

Aubergine is a beautifully crafted art work but as an advertising vehicle I was struck by a number of  glaring negatives.

  • The look is New York of the late 40’s and early to mid 50’s – certainly not Canada in the same time period
  • The male and female leads look a little like Lois Lane and Clark Kent with a little (young) Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn thrown in for good measure
  • The dance routine at the end looks a little like an Esther Williams pool routine very popular in the 1940’s.
  • The movie flyer pays homage to the myriad of B sci-fi movies, especially those made by Ed Wood
  • The video makes no reference to Eaton’s rich Canadian history:  Timothy Eaton’s haberdashery, the Eaton’s catalogue, the Eaton’s window, the Canadian iconic story, The Hockey Sweater, by Roch Carrier.

In other words, the commercial paid tribute to old Hollywood and ignored the rich story of a Canadian business that was founded just after Confederation (and which closed its last store in 2002).  In many homes and for many decades, The Eaton’s mail-order catalogue was called the “Family Bible” and the company’s lavish Santa Claus parade launched the Christmas season.  Indeed, it can be argued that the Eaton’s mail order catalogue and the chain of Eaton’s stores were integral to the immigrant experience and helped integrate immigrants into Canadian society.

Finally, the Aubergine commercial clearly illustrates that where the bottom line is concerned, a company’s advertising alloted advertising budget will always win over the public relations budget.  The company paid $2 million on the Aubergine ad.

How much do you think they spent on public relations for the Aubergine campaign?

For a look at the rich history of Eaton’s check out the CBC Digital Archives.

SMRT – Assignment #2 – Post #4 – The Buy In

Blog TO - January 2012 - (The millennial Generation)

OK, so you’ve read it all so far and are you convinced?  Maybe yes, maybe no?  Well, how about this?

There are 192,440 Young, Female, Fashion Savvy in the target audience.  Learning to engage with them on their multiplicity of social media platforms with the medium and long-range goals of increasing the HairCrafters client base could be informative, educational and fun.

Want to give it a try?

192,440 people (Young, Female and Fashion Savvy)  From Facebook Ads – Saturday, January 28, 1:15 p.m.

(note:  we did not look at the number of males in the same age category as it was beyond the scope of  our study parameters)

Image from Blog TO

SMRT Assignment #2 – Post 2 – Research and Analysis (cont’d.)

Our target audience is the Female Client – age 15-30 – Young, Female, Fashion Savvy.

Looking at social media by demographic taking into consideration her age and yearly income she is likely to utilize Facebook, Twitter and Youtube if she has some college.

(Who Likes What:  Social Media by Demographic)

The Millenial Generation

They are all part of the Millenial Generation, the first generation to be “raised” on the internet.

  • 75% have a created a social networking profile,
  • 62% use wireless internet,
  • 20% post video online
  • 14% use Twitter (this figure is growing-Hamilton Spectator, Monday, January 30, G9)
  • Bebo has the youngest users with an average age of 28.



She is likely to be found on Bebo, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (if she has some college).

SMRT – Assignment #2 – Post #3 Needs, Goals, Communication

To recap, our target audience is the Female Client – age 15-30 – Young, Female, Fashion Savvy. She is part of the Millenial Generation, the first generation to be “raised” on the internet. She is likely to be found on Bebo, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (if she has some college).

(Note Twitter use in teens is Increasing.  “Teens dumping Facebook for Twitter”, Hamilton Spectator, January 30, 2012, G9)

HairCrafters Need:

The typical HairCrafters client is a mom – mid 30’s-50’s with two to three children.  She works full-time and lives in a blue collar, lower middle class neighbourhood.  Haircrafters also attacts a large number of seniors.   HairCrafters has a much lower number of early Millenials and wishes to capture this Market.


  • To maintain and increase the number of  Moms and Seniors (a given)
  • To dialogue with and increase the number of Millenials (both male and female) but especially in our targeted audience: the Female Client – age 15 – 30 – Young, Female, Fashion Savvy (the scope of this communication project)

 Communication Objectives:

  • To increase number of HairCrafters facebook, twitter, and blog followers
  • To establish HairCrafters presence on Bebo
  • To establish ongoing dialogue on hair care, advice, product tips, etc. on the above social media platforms with the clients in the specified age categories
  • To increase number of Haircrafters clients
  • To increase number of product sales
Where’s the GAP?
HairCrafters is online with a blog, website, facebook and twitter accounts.  HairCrafters also runs a campaign on CHCH daily and runs coupon ad campaigns  in the Hamilton Spectator, Brantford Expositor, Hamilton Community News and Coupon Clipper throughout the year.  Feedback from the CHCH ads, to  date, has been good, and the print coupons are extremely popular.  However, capturing the younger Millenial–unless she come in with her mother–is more elusive.
There are (from Assignment #2, Post #1) some 192,440 women in the target demographic who live within 25 miles of Hamilton and that is the GAP – engaging in conversation and thereby obtaining a larger share of this demographic.
Key Opportunities:
  • Competitive pricing positions chain well in economic downturn and with Millenials who are in the moderate income categories
  • Culturally diverse stylists reflective of Canada’s immigration policies
  • Location:  ample parking, but routes, other shops
  • Large number in target demographic
  • Wider audience for promotion/marketing of HairCrafters products and services
  • Opportunity for ongoing dialogue with younger Canadians, often of an ethnic-minority background

Key Weaknesses & Threats

  • Some stylists have no knowledge and/or interest in either social media or email
  • Some stylists are in the 45-50  (plus) category and are more comfortable with an older clientele
  • Competitors: franchise chains & salons
  • Negative feedback via the social media outlets

Key Messages for Target Audience:

  1. HairCrafters is here to dialogue with you
  2. HairCrafters provides the latest  fashion and celebrity hairstyle trends in a culturally diverse atmosphere
  3. HairCrafters is cool and hip
  4. HairCrafters is conveniently located with free parking and all salons are on bus routes
  5. HairCrafters has great prices

SMRT Assignment #2 – Post 1 – Research and Analysis

Who is the Target  Audience?

Female Client – age 15-30 – Young, Female, Fashion Savvy

192,440 people (Young, Female and Fashion Savvy)  From Facebook Ads – Saturday, January 28, 1:15 p.m.

  • who live in Canada
  • who live within 25 miles of Hamilton, ON
  • between the ages of 15 and 30 inclusive
  • who are female

She is either in high school, community college and/or working.  She may have a university degree.  She is social media savvy and rarely reads mainstream news.  She is interested in fashion, beauty, music and clubs, and diet/fitness.  She is a fan of  Justin Bieber, Ryan Gosling, the Twilight Series and Glee. She texts and Facebook’s continually. She may also be on Bebo and a growing segment of her age category will be have a Twitter handle.  She either lives or works in the area of the salon.  A knowledgeable shopper, the price point is important to her.  She is likely to be in a relationship.  Average income: $5,000-$35,000 per annum.

Google also has an ad building tool, which we have not as yet utilized.   The promotional video for Google Adwords is below.

The Facebook ad information tells us that there are over 192,440 in our target market but it does not tell us what they are interested in in the social media sphere.

What do they Talk About:

We first utilized socialmentionWhen we plugged in the following words: haircrafters, hair style, hair cut, colour, hair streaks, updos the results were as follows

  1. 0% –  strength
  2. 16:1 – sentiment
  3. 0% –   passion
  4. 2% –  reach
However, socialmention did provide some top keywords as below:

Top Keywords





















as of 11;28 on Saturday, Jan. 28, socialmention

Search results 110 out of 424,108 about HairCrafters, hair colour, hair trends, hair style, OR HairCrafters, OR hair OR colour, OR hair OR trends, OR hair OR style, OR cut, OR colour, OR short, OR bob between 01/22/2012 and 01/27/2012

When we searched socialmention using the category, Fashion, the results were as follows:

  1. 39% –  strength
  2. 15:1 –   sentiment
  3. 41% –   passion
  4. 30% –  reach
17 seconds avg. per mention
last mention 2 minutes ago
320 unique authors
33 retweets (Saturday, January 28)
Likewise, the keyword Beauty drew good numbers–much more in line with Fashion above – with Beautiful being the highest.
  1. 40% –  strength
  2. 9:1    –  sentiment
  3. 28% –   passion
  4. 37% –    reach
What can we conclude?

The data above suggests that keywords such as fashion beauty and hairstyles are popular consumer words.  However, socialmention does not differentiate in regions throughout the world so the results are not (necessarily) reflective of the Hamilton area.

Another social mention site is Topsy.  In doing a search on Topsy keying in the words hairstyles + salon the results were as follows:

Mentions of “hairstyles salon” for past 1 week. From  The results are at the following url:

However, in keying in the words beauty, fashion, trends using Topsy the results are as follows:

A graph showing the trends can be found at:

Topsy appears to be an excellent social mention tool as it is easy to use for the novice and provides excellent graphics.
In constructing an ongoing social media campaign attention should be given to keywords  fashion, beauty, trends, hairstyles, and salon.

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