Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Target Failed in the Canadian Market

Target is abuzz online today as the store officially announces its decision to pull out of the Canadian market after 2 short years. With the recently announcement, many on Twitter are calling from Zellers stores to reopen. No word from Zellers officials yet if there is any consideration to open even a small amount of new stores in 2015.

It’s been clear since day one that Target didn’t do it’s homework before entering the Canadian market. Only a few short months after Target Canada opened its doors, many shoppers began complaining about the noticeable higher prices. It seems, it’s still cheaper to head south to shop at Target. Another big complaint from shoppers was the lack of product offering in Canada. 

When a customer gets used to certain products in the US stores, then often expect the same from the Canadian division of the store. Many customers were complaining that, even if they wanted to shop in one of the Canadian stores, these stores didn’t offer certain products that they were looking for, thus leading them across the border once again. 

Another large complain Target has been receiving is their lack of online shopping ability in Canada. The online Target store offers online shopping, but no shipping to Canada. With the move into the Canadian market, many Canadian shoppers were looking forward to this feature. This past Christmas was a great example of where Target missed their mark with the online shopping ability. A great example that a shopper gave online this past week, when doing price comparisons online with competing retail stores, they were able to find prices and product information from stores like Wal-Mart and London Drugs, but nothing from Target Canada, which meant Target Canada was essentially left of the list of possible stores for certain online savvy shopping to do their Christmas shopping at. 

Sadly, Target struggled with many things that led to their demise, including higher cost of importing products into the Canadian market, mismanagement within the company, higher employee wages in Canada, along with the fluctuating dollar, and higher product labeling costs due to Canadian labeling regulations. This combined with customers still hitting the border for better product selection and lower prices, lead to lower than expected Canadian sales. 

This week, with Sony, Target and Mexx announcing the closure of several hundred stores across Canada, the Canadian economy will surly feel the impact this spring/summer.

Will you continue to shop at Target across the border?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

20 Creative Uses for the Phone Book

While chatting on Twitter yesterday, we stumbled on some rather fascinating news. Someone in Los Angeles had a phone book delivered to their home. Yes, an actual phone book, listing all the business information that you would normally just Google to find out.

When we learned phone books were still being delivered, it made us wonder ... how can we make these phone books just as valuable today as they were in the past? Brainstorming began and ideas starting flowing. We had a fun time joking about all the different ways one can still use a phone book.

Before we begin to share the many creative uses for phone books, we’d like to point out that this isn’t our typical marketing related blog post. That’s because we’re taking Throwback Thursday quite seriously, by featuring one of the first marketing tools around: the phone book!

The idea of using a phone book is quite silly to us now, especially since we work in the digital age. But there were many companies that used phone books for advertising. In fact, today some companies still find great value in using phonebooks as an advertising tool.

For those that don’t use phone books regularly, here are 20 other creative uses:
  1. Sit on it for extra height. Ever feel short at the dinner table? Use the phone book as a booster seat.
  2. Protect your bathroom vanity from heating products. Do you like to curl or straighten your hair? Avoid placing the heated styling tool directly on the vanity by placing it on the phone book instead.
  3. Use it as wrapping paper. Birthday coming up? There’s no need for you to BUY wrapping paper. The phone book will do.
  4. Keep bugs away. Don’t have a fly swatter or bug repellent? Throw your phone book on it. That does the trick.
  5. Soak up messes. Did you spill something? Clean that right up with a page from the phone book.
  6. Make a Halloween costume. Still looking for that perfect costume? Don’t fret. The phone book makes for a creative costume with two simple steps. Stick the pages to your body and carry a phone book in your hand.
  7. Build muscle. Who needs weights when a phone book is just as heavy?!
  8. Prep in the Kitchen. Need a cutting board? The phone book is sturdy for it.
  9. Use it as an extra step. Need to reach something that is above your height? Use the phone book as a stepping stool.
  10. Get cozy with it. Making campfires just got easier. Use the paper to get the fire started.
  11. Leave one in the car. Going on a road trip? If you end up in a sticky situation (getting lost/flat tire) you’ll need some important contact information!
  12. Build a fort. Who needs cardboard when you have phone books? Try building a fort that won’t fall apart. We dare you.
  13. Press flowers or leaves. Don’t use just any book, use a phone book to make those pretty pressed flowers or leaves.
  14. Get those windows shiny. The paper in the phone book, like newspapers, can be used to clean windows.
  15. Make some art. Whether you like scrapbooking or d├ęcollage, feel free to use the pages to make something fancy!
  16. Wrap and pack. Moving anytime soon? Use the paper to wrap up fragile items.
  17. Stop leaks. Has the rain caused a few leaks? Soak up the water up with the phone book.
  18. Increase your steps. Do you have multiple phone books lying around? Place them one on top of another, and you’ve got your own stair master.
  19. Impress with origami. There’s no need to use expensive paper, the phone book pages will do. 
  20. Use it for emergencies. Ever run out of toilet paper? That’s all that’s left to say.

Let's hear from you. Leave your comment below and let us know what you usually do with your phone book. Can't think of anything? Choose which of our creative ideas you like best.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

6 Ways Your Brand Can Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy! We’re talking like pirates in the office this week, in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day! This is one of those fun holidays that we can’t help but celebrate. Fortunately, it’s not all non-sense. From a marketer’s point of view, we can certainly benefit from this fun international holiday.  

When using social media, brands should try to convey a fun personality at times, in order to avoid the robotic, sales funnel trap. One of the ways brands can do this is by celebrating parody events that have taken the world by storm. Aye! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is one those events to take advantage of. In fact, this holiday is so popular online, each and every year, more and more businesses are incorporating this holiday into their branding.

Don’t let your brand get left out and sink its ship. Join in on the fun! Here are 6 ways your brand can celebrate talk like a pirate day:

Be Human, Matey!
If you’re having fun with this holiday in the office, don’t be afraid to show it! Add some human elements into your social media strategy – don’t solely focus on the sales side of social media. Consider sharing a photo of your staff members dressed as pirates. This will not only make your social media channels look good, but it will also boost employee morale!

Make Your Own Pirate Video, Me Hearties
We know cat videos often take over the internet, but on this special day, pirate videos rule the domain. Avast ye, videos make for great branding tools. Make a funny video and your followers will laugh and likely share! If you’re looking for some inspiration, simply search pirate videos on Youtube. You’re welcome.

Embrace The Pirate Theme, Arr! 
An easy way to incorporate this holiday into your brand is by updating your logo with a pirate twist! There’s no need to completely re-vamp your logo. Simply add a few touches onto your already existing logo, such as a pirate hat or some doubloons.

Share Pirate Graphics & Sayings 
You want to provide a full-blown experience on your social media channels. Start by creating branded images with common pirate sayings and share it on your social media platforms. Don’t forget to add your logo on the bottom! If your image spreads quickly into the sea (the internet), you’ll want viewers to refer back to your ship (website).

Talk like A Buccaneer All Day 
You must not only leave it to the visuals…the written word is just as powerful. Try incorporating common pirate phrases into your tweets or status updates. Remember, today is the only day your brand can get away with talking like a pirate, so have fun with it!

Leave Some Hidden Some Treasure 

Similar to Easter eggs, you can leave some hidden treasure on your social media pages or website. Consider holding a fun contest or game to get your followers involved. From doing so, you can expect some increased interaction and engagement.

Yo-ho! You now can celebrate the day with ‘old salts’ like us. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Being a pirate ain’t so hard! Let “it’s a pirate life for me” become your mantra for the day and you’ll get the hang of it! Savvy?

You may also like:

ROI: Finding The Gold In Your Social Media Plan
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Tim Hortons Goes Dark With A Mysterious Campaign
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Tim Hortons Goes Dark With A Mysterious Campaign

We come across many creative marketing campaigns day to day and we like to feature some on our blog. Today we will be featuring a campaign that won us over due to its creativity and cleverness. This campaign comes from Tim Hortons, a Canadian brand that has always done something a little different and exciting. Normally their campaigns are often associated with the words fun and fresh. However, this time Tim Hortons has gone dark…literally!

Many of Tim Hortons’s marketing campaigns have taken a light-hearted and humorous approach. This has worked effectively thus far. Whenever Tim Hortons releases a new and up-in-coming product, they aim to make it memorable through their creative campaigns. Remember the oh-so famous Chicken Dance?

As we saw from the chicken dance campaign, Tim Hortons likes to embody fun. However, recently they have decided to take a different approach that is little more frightening (but still fun of course!)

To promote their new dark coffee blend, the well-known Canadian coffee shop had a complete transformation in some Quebec locations.  The well-known red and brown brand image was gone, and in replacement was a pitch-black space, which ended up resembling a haunted house. In some cases, customers thought the pitch-black colors meant Tim Hortons was in fact closed! Fear not – the coffee and donut shop was not closed. Instead, the brand underwent a huge change in order to create a memorable campaign.

When courageous customers made their way to the transformed Tim Hortons, they were greeted by pure darkness. Everything was covered in black material, including the windows. Once inside, an employee wearing night-vision goggles led the customers (in fright may I add) to a counter that served the new dark roast blend. Watch the video below to see what these brave patrons experienced:

Obviously there was a purpose to this campaign, aside from scaring a few customers. Tim Hortons wanted to bring the dark roast coffee to life and introduce it in an exciting way. As you may know, when our sight is gone, our taste is heightened. Tim Hortons took advantage of this concept and went with it. Not only is the campaign creative, it is memorable and exciting. In the end, Tim Hortons continues to establish their fun approach to marketing, though this time it was in a completely different setting.

Small businesses can also learn from this campaign. The #TimsDark campaign challenges us to think outside the box and to not be afraid of doing something completely out of the ordinary. As long as the campaign idea is consistent with your brand image, you can still take it to new heights.

As always, leave your comment below and let us know: What do you think of Tim Hortons’s Dark campaign?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Build a Positive Impression By Giving Back To Your Customers!

Businesses depend on customers. Without customers, businesses wouldn’t exist. Thus a customer relationship is vital. One of the ways you can strengthen that relationship is by giving back to your customer. Not only will this further build trust and loyalty, but it will also help to create a positive brand impression. If a business shows appreciation and gives back to their customers, they will enhance their overall brand.

Your brand will always have a position in your customer’s mind, whether it is negative or positive. One way to make sure your brand has a positive position in your customer’s mind is through customer relationship management. For a business to succeed, a relationship between the business and the customer must be present. There are many advantages to developing customer relationships. One of them includes building a positive brand impression.

A simple way to build a strong customer relationship is through appreciation. Let’s take a look at two businesses that gained positive results by giving back to their customers.

TD Canada Trust has always shown appreciation in past, but this year, they have done it in a big way that has gained positive results. As a way to say thanks, employees of TD Canada Trust gave a green envelope with a $20 bill to every customer in more than 1,100 TD branches across Canada. For those that use online or mobile banking, customers received a direct deposit of $20. This ensured no customer was left behind.

If that wasn’t unique enough, the company also set up an ATM machine with a “Thank-You” twist. The Automated Thanking Machines provided personal gifts to pre-selected customers. Gifts included a Disney trip for a family, tickets to Trinidad, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for a Blue Jays fan to throw an opening pitch at an upcoming game. When it comes to appreciation, TD Canada Bank certainly goes big!

This campaign reminded us of a similar campaign West Jet had done during the holidays this past year. The Christmas Miracle campaign also gave thanks to their customers in a big and exciting way. The company gave customized gifts to surprised travelers landing at Calgary International Airport. The result was heartwarming, which led the campaign to go viral.

Both of these campaigns provided positive brand impressions, not only directly to the customers involved, but also to the outside world, including current and potential customers. This goes to show a simple thank you does wonders! If you want to boost your positive brand impression, remember to show appreciation by saying thank you and giving back!

You may also like: 

WestJet Christmas Miracle Campaign 
A New Twist on Jingle Bells from Kmart 
6 Ways Marketers Can Plan For The Christmas Season
Have You Launched Your Christmas Marketing Campaign Yet?
WestJet Flash-Mob