88creative.ca 88 Creative: Digital Marketing & Design Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:31:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 Look Who’s Talking Now: Branding Your Kids /look-whos-talking-now-branding-your-kids/ /look-whos-talking-now-branding-your-kids/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 15:18:22 +0000 /?p=2327 Continue Reading]]> baby

Are you a parent who shares your child’s every accomplishment on social media? From posting sonograms to capturing their first moments in this world, some parents like to share it all. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum where parents blur out their kids’ faces, or only using initials when talking about them online (or, even worse, making up silly nicknames for them). And then there’s obviously those that fall in between, sharing a bit but not a lot.

I asked my Facebook friends whether they’re pro- or anti-social media when it comes to their kids, and was overwhelmed with the amount of responses I received. Everyone had their share of reasons why they post pictures (sharing with family who live abroad, or wanting to simply show off their new baby) or their reasons why not (it’s unsafe, or a form of exploitation).  There’s also the select group of parents who want their kids to be social media stars, the Facebook version of Honey Boo Boo.

But a few friends brought up a really good point – once you put up pictures of your kids online, it can end up anywhere.

Remember late last year when a deceased girl’s image was used in a dating ad on Facebook? Poor Rehtaeh Parsons was sexually assaulted, bullied and then attempted to take her own life. She ended up in a coma and then passed away when she was taken off life support.

Facebook used a picture of Rehtaeh in a dating ad that  read “Find Love In Canada! Meet Canadian girls and women for friendship, dating or relationships! Signup now!” Facebook later issued an apology claiming it was a “gross violation” of the company’s policies, and then removed the advertisement.

Let’s hope that was a one-off incident, but there are also stories of children’s pictures being used in advertisements all around the world. A few weeks ago American Apparel was called out for using a picture of a baby snuggling with a dog (yes, admittedly uber cute) and not crediting the mommy blogger who originally posted the picture.

Those cases are more common, and many parents and individuals are not okay with that. Your kids may not be harmed from sharing your baby pictures online, but do you really want strangers seeing them grow up online?

For people who want to share pictures with their loved ones, I don’t blame you. Posting on Instagram or Facebook is much easier than sending out emails dozens of pictures attached.  There are safe alternatives to these mainstream platforms though including FamilyLeaf, a social network specifically for families.

So next time you want to post a picture of your adorable toddler, step back and think of whether or not you want to see that picture in an advertisement halfway across the world. Maybe posting a picture of your breakfast is a better idea after all.

Disclaimer: The author of this blog post did not have any children at the time of writing this post. Her views and opinions on the matter may change when she is afflicted  with baby fever, influxed with prenatal hormones, and/or on maternity leave.

Disclaimer #2: The author of this blog post loves babies. Few things make her squeal in delight more than babies with their little feet, in the little socks, doing cute baby things. She is not a baby hater.

Hafsa is a Social Media Coordinator at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @Hafs__.

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Love Your ‘Hood With Vicinity’s Loyalty Program /love-hood-vicinitys-loyalty-program/ /love-hood-vicinitys-loyalty-program/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:08:01 +0000 /?p=2322 Continue Reading]]> VicinityAt 88 Creative we’ve made no secret of our love for local businesses. When our office was in Parkdale we frequented The Mascot coffee shop, the Drake for patio drinks, and the Gladstone for some off-key karaoke. Now that we’re at Adelaide & Peter, there are so many great local spots – you can bet that in any given week we’re having Dark Horse Americanos, Le Gourmand’s famous chocolate chip cookies, and Khao San Road’s to-die-for khao soi (seriously, the most delicious dish in Toronto), and we’re working it all off with spin classes a Y Yoga or CYKL.

Since we heart local businesses, we’re excited to announce that we’re now working with Vicinity, a small business loyalty platform that rewards you for shopping local. Owned by Rogers, Vicinity launched in 2013 to help small businesses run their in-store loyalty platform easily and without having to design and print those old school stamp cards (I think I’m eligible for a free smoothie in 2016!).

If you’re a business – like Dark Horse, Desmond & Beatrice cupcakes, or Mabel’s Bakery, just to name a few of the Vicinity businesses in Toronto – the Vicinity platform connects with your existing point-of-sale system, and gives you a merchant dashboard to set up reward levels and send out email/SMS promotions. Customers sign up in-store (don’t worry, there’s not a 10-page application – they just give their phone number & voila, they’re a member) and earn points every time they shop.

For customers, Vicinity is a great way to manage your rewards across all your fave local businesses. Because really, if I’m already buying that daily latte, why shouldn’t I get a free scone once in a while? (Side note: screw you, New Year’s resolution to eat healthy) The program is free, and you can use it at hundreds of businesses in Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa, with more cities coming soon.

We’ll be helping Vicinity with their social media presence, helping educate businesses on the program, and letting cardholders know about the rewards they can earn (and of course helping introduce local businesses you’ve never heard of. Unless you’re a hipster, then you’re way ahead of us).

So if you’re a business, schedule a consultation to get set up. If you’re a shopper, sign up for free to start getting free cupcakes, yoga classes, and coffees. And follow Vicinity on Twitter at @VicinityRewards and like us on Facebook to stay in the loop on how you can love your ‘hood even more (hint: there might be some giveaways in your future if you do…).


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The Pros and Cons of Being Disconnected /pros-cons-being-disconnected/ /pros-cons-being-disconnected/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:20:31 +0000 /?p=2318 Continue Reading]]> 88-bloggraphics3

Welcome back, readers! After a great holiday, we’re back to the races and working away once again. Some of us took a nice extended holiday break, namely me, and others took a few days off for a lovely staycation in the city, which was rudely interrupted by an ice storm followed by a deep freeze. Either way, we all took a day or two away from our screens to enjoy some quality time with the people we really like, maybe even love. And to drink egg nog with just a dash (okay maybe more than a dash) of rum.

For me, the days away from my screen weren’t as easy and relaxed as I had hoped. Before my trip, I was looking forward to 2 joyous weeks of disconnectedness. No texts, no emails, no phone calls, no Facebook notifications, no Twitter replies…I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. I thought that cutting the vibration out of my life would help me think clearer. Well, big surprise: It didn’t.

My destination was a beautiful oceanside resort with all the comforts of home. All except one: WiFi. Yes, you heard that right, there is a place in this world that doesn’t have WiFi. Well, let me clarify, the place does have WiFi, the WiFi just never worked. For the first few days, this seemed like a reprieve for me. I was content to leave my phone upstairs and go about my day without my trusty tech companion, but that didn’t last long. Soon, I was chasing down signals, receiving the dreaded “Message Send Failure” texts, and FaceTiming whomever I could with one bar of service. ONE BAR! The horror! Emails were flooding in periodically in no logical order and my life, as well as my inbox, was a mess.

You may think that I’m overreacting to the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about a couple of weeks in paradise, and my lack of connectedness definitely didn’t ruin my trip, but it did ruin the minutes I spent trying to connect with home. I’m so used to knowing what’s going on with all of the people in my life and keeping my head in the game at work, and a few weeks without catching up definitely makes a difference.

I felt it most when I got back, sat down in my chair at work and felt like I had no idea what was going on. I’ve spent many hours over the past year making sure I’m on top of my game and although it was the holidays and things typically slow down around that time, a lot can happen in a short period. I was reminded of that a mere few hours before I left with the Justine Sacco debacle. Oh, how a couple of hours of disconnectedness changed her life!

Danielle is a Social Media Coordinator at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @DFabes.

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‘Twas Two Days Before Christmas at 88 Creative /twas-week-christmas-88-creative/ /twas-week-christmas-88-creative/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:25:57 +0000 /?p=2301 Continue Reading]]> Christmas


It’s been a great year for the 88 Creative team, and we can’t believe it’s already December! It’s the season for reflecting on the year that just passed, and setting New Year’s resolutions (our first one is to cut cupcakes, Le Gourmand cookies, and chocolate out of our daily diets. I predict we fail by the second week of January). We thought we’d take a look back at the year that was at 88C – so read on to find out what we got up to in 2013 (and a rhyming holiday wish!).

My biggest 88 Creative news in 2013 was the fact that I joined the company! I’ve been a part our team since July, and it really feels like home (that could be because my coworker’s mom made me cookies this week…). I’ve loved working with our existing clients, and bringing on fun new accounts, both on the social media marketing and design sides of the business.

Here are a few milestones from the year:

  • We hired an amazing new designer to bring our team to 7 people
  • We moved from our Parkdale office to a beautiful brick-and-beam office in the Entertainment District
  • We spoke at events like the Profit W100 conference, Mesh Marketing, the Community Manager conference, and the Talk is Cheap PR conference
  • Our team was either published in or quoted in Marketing Magazine, Notable.ca, the Financial Post, eLuxe’s The Luxe Life publication, and on CTV News
  • We added clients in several different industries – travel, consumer/lifestyle, real estate, and technology
  • Our team traveled to France, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Istanbul, Prague, NYC, Halifax, and Montreal
  • Santa came to our Christmas party (bet you can’t say that)
  • We successfully made #WineWednesday a regular event in the office
  • Ate approximately 273 Le Gourmand cookies

In honour of our great year, we hope you enjoy our cheesy take on “The Night Before Christmas” – and we hope you have a great holiday!



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My blog post was plagiarized. Here’s what happened when I spoke up /happens-content-gets-plagiarized-found-hard-way/ /happens-content-gets-plagiarized-found-hard-way/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:51:28 +0000 /?p=2307 Continue Reading]]> SpinSucks (2)

2013 has been quite a year for me, with lots of professional highs and lows.

The lowest point for me occurred back in May when I discovered that a blog post I had written had been plagiarized on the Spin Sucks blog. You can read all about the incident here.

After I raised the alarm, things quickly escalated and got very ugly. I was publicly flamed and attacked by the Spin Sucks community on their blog, on Twitter and even here on the 88 Creative blog. I was called a liar, a troll, a link baiter, unprofessional, self-righteous, and a host of other things.

Spin Sucks is a large tight-knit community with hundreds of followers and they all banded together. It was my word against theirs. In comparison, 88 Creative is a new and very small boutique digital marketing and design agency. So apart from my friends and co-workers and a handful of people online, no one had my back. I’d never felt so small.

For days after the incident I was really stressed, angry, bitter and disappointed. I was angry that my integrity and honesty was being questioned and I was bitter that I was made out to be the bad guy even though it was my post that had been plagiarized. More than anything, I was disappointed that an agency that manages a blog that fights against destructive spin and unethical marketing professionals would quickly jump to the defense of an employee who had been accused of doing something unethical, even though the evidence suggested that the employee was guilty. I was also baffled that hundreds of people had blindly accepted the story without question.

In the end, I knew that I was right and stuck to my guns and left comments on the Spin Sucks blog trying to explain why I thought I was right. But the more I did, the more I was attacked. Eventually my co-worker wisely advised me to let it go and move on. Reluctantly, I listened to her advice and put the whole incident behind me.

So you can imagine my surprise when last week I received an email with an apology from the CEO of the agency that runs the blog. It turns out that they discovered that my blog was indeed plagiarized and that I had been right all along.

I won’t lie: I feel vindicated. But instead of feeling happy and shouting “I told you so,” I can’t help but feel disappointed again. While I do agree that it’s important for leaders to stand up for their employees, I also believe that it’s important for leaders to always question the facts and critically examine their beliefs before making decisions in the name of loyalty. It’s also important for communities to question their leaders and examine the facts instead of blindly following them. After all, history is filled with tragic examples of leaders that have made decisions in the name of loyalty and people who have blindly listened to their leaders without question.

At the end of the day, I’m proud of myself for standing up for myself and speaking the truth even though countless of people told me I was wrong. I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I had done otherwise. When the incident occurred, I went on a public rant about the injustice of it all, but 8 months later, I won’t do that. I’ve moved on and grown from the experience. I’m going to follow the advice of one of the greatest leaders who ever walked this earth and I’m going to forgive and move on.

William Ruzvidzo is a Digital Strategist at 88 Creative. Follow him on Twitter: @william_ruz.

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Best Holiday Campaigns of 2013 /best-holiday-campaigns-2013/ /best-holiday-campaigns-2013/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:25:31 +0000 /?p=2284 Continue Reading]]> Holiday

‘Tis the season for apple cider, NSYNC Christmas songs, and creative holiday campaigns. Big and small brands are attempting to spread the festive cheer while showing off their online presence – and it’s working. Some move us to tears, while others have us laughing, but regardless of what emotion they seem to invoke, we’re all sharing their campaigns and helping the brands go viral.

Here are some of the best brand campaigns we’ve seen for the 2013 holiday season.

Pizza Hut Canada

We love pizza (but really who doesn’t?) so we tried to get our hands on some of Pizza Hut’s pizza-themed gift wrap. Created by their brand agency Grip Limited, it all started with a Facebook post that garnered so much interest and engagement that PIzza Hut decided to make the concept of pizza-themed wrapping paper a reality (see, brands do listen).  Our team and thousands of Canadians tried to score at least one of the 50 rolls of wrapping paper by posting vigorously about why we deserve it.


Full disclaimer: We also tried to get a bottle of the pizza-scented perfume that they released last year for the holidays but had no luck..


By now you’ve definitely seen WestJet’s Christmas Miracle video that went viral a few days ago. It may or may not have moved you to tears, because it was just so cute and filled with everything the holidays are made of: presents, families, and cheer! In the video, Santa Claus asks actual passengers what they want for Christmas, via large life-size screens at a boarding gate. And then when the planes take off, employees (err, we mean elves) go and get all the Christmas presents wrapped and ready to go. When the passengers arrive at the Calgary airport their presents come down on the baggage carousel.

Heart-warming (don’t be a Scrooge).

Uber Toronto

Uber Toronto has teamed up with the 47th Annual CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish, and will be picking up new and unwrapped toys on-demand! The UberSLEIGH will be making its rounds on December 19th collecting piles and piles of toys from homes and offices alike. It’s a great campaign simply because it’s altruistic and perfect for those who want to do something for the community but simply can’t find the time to go do it. All anyone needs to do is grab a toy, tell their friends and family and Uber will come get it.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 1.05.52 PM

This campaign is just as adorable as the Uber U.S. I Can Has UberKITTENS campaign where they brought people kittens. Actually.

Rethink Canada

Advent Calendars are one of the best parts of December and Rethink Canada has one of the best virtual advent calendars we’ve seen yet. Each day in December visitors get to “peep” into a new office and meet new members of their team via a collection of hilarious Vines.

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Though you don’t really get anything out of it, it’s a great branding campaign for the Canadian communications agency and gives potential clients a glimpse into their corporate culture.

High Road Communications

We had not one, but two Christmas parties last week and holiday parties on a weeknight can be disastrous. High Road Communications came up with a great solution to the morning-after problem with their Holiday Hangover Helper. All you need to do is fill in some quick information and High Road will email you a totally fake yet realistic meeting invite for the next morning.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 1.09.41 PM

Don’t know about you guys but we had a couple of “urgent strategic market planning sessions” this week – crazy, right?

What are some of your favourite holiday campaigns so far?

Hafsa is a Social Media Coordinator at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @Hafs__.

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6 Reasons Digital Media has Helped, Not Killed, Traditional TV /6-reasons-digital-media-has-helped-not-killed-traditional-tv/ /6-reasons-digital-media-has-helped-not-killed-traditional-tv/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 01:22:46 +0000 /?p=2246 Continue Reading]]> vintage-tv

Remember when everyone said that cable networks were going to die? That TV was going the way of FriendFeed, Google Wave, and the Palm Pilot? While the VCR (and more recently Blockbuster) made an exit from our living rooms long ago, TVs and cable networks have stuck around. What’s changed is how technology is breathing new life into a traditional medium through social TV, the rise of the second screen, and new distribution channels for TV shows. Here are six examples of how streaming and social media are enhancing the TV experience instead of killing it.

1. Netflix culture

Netflix is now in 17% of Canadian homes, and experienced 70% growth in Canada in 2012. Netflix has a real say in what people watch and, in turn, what they talk about on social media. In addition to reaching more Canadians, the service also upped its original content game this year, releasing critically-acclaimed shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, which have helped to create a watercooler-like buzz around online content (it even attracted the Halloween attention of a certain 88 Creative staffer). It also helps that the quality of these shows is fantastic, which is key to competing with networks like HBO.

2. Content within content

Another example of cultures being built around shows is the deal Bravo made with Spotify. They created downloadable playlists that tie in with reality shows like Thicker Than Water and the Real Housewives empire. Extra content is another way to keep people engaged with a show, and keep them tweeting. The Walking Dead is a great example of how extra content can add to the immersive quality of a show.

3. Twitter & TV: a match made in heaven?

The rise of the second screen trend has been well-documented over the last year – TV ratings company Nielsen reported in June that almost half of smartphone owners and over 40% of tablet owners use their devices while watching TV every day. This study found that about 70% tweets about a given show are posted during the program (live sports events like the Super Bowl and awards shows like the Oscars tend to do particularly well when it comes to live tweeting).

Twitter and TV are becoming even more closely integrated – Twitter hired its head of Canadian operations, Kirstine Stewart, away from her high-profile role as head of English programming at CBC. And Vivian Schiller recently left NPR to become Twitter’s head of news and journalism partnerships. The company has a variety of ad products for networks and advertisers, and has formed partnerships with Shaw Media and Bell in Canada. Expect to see broadcasters leverage the social network more in 2014, both from a content and ads perspective.

4. Interactive TV

The next logical step is giving viewers a chance to influence the outcome of what they’re watching rather than just comment on it. The Voice introduced the Twitter hashtag #VoiceSave which allows fans to save one of the bottom contestants from elimination. According to Twitter’s blog, 385,842 vote tweets were sent out between 9:53 and 9:58pm ET on Tuesday, November 12, the first time the #VoiceSave voting system was in place. In total, tweets about the show were up an astonishing 517% from the week before.

5. Not all viewers are created equal

You might assume that the most-watched shows are also the most talked-about on Twitter, but that turns to be far from true. These numbers from Nielsen and Twitter show that The Voice (See #3 above) is the only show to appear on both top ten lists. Breaking Bad was the most tweeted-about show by a landslide, but it doesn’t appear on Nielsen’s top ten list at all. One could conclude that it was less successful than it appears, but the bigger story is about the devotion of the show’s fans. Knowing which shows have the most engaged online audiences will likely become more important to advertisers as they look to leverage the second screen.

6. Specialized second screen apps

GetGlue, the Foursquare of TV, was an early player in the second screen app game. It allows you to check in to the show you’re watching, find friends watching the same thing, and share your thoughts and predictions. Last month, TechCrunch reported that it was acquired by Utah-based video discovery startup i.TV. Naturally there are numerous startups vying for supremacy in the social TV space and TechCrunch predicts turbulent times ahead with mergers and acquisitions narrowing down the plethora of options out there for people who want to watch their TV and share it, too.

Gabriella is a Creative Director at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter @gabriellainga.

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How To Break All The Rules and Still Be a Social Media Success /break-rules-still-social-media-success/ /break-rules-still-social-media-success/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 22:07:25 +0000 /?p=2261 Continue Reading]]> kanye blog postMost people would say Kanye West is living the dream. He is pursuing a successful career doing what he loves, he is engaged to be married to one of the most famous (or is it infamous?) women in the world, and he’s out there changing the world (according to him, of course).

But the one thing that gets me is his success on Twitter. With over 10 million followers and thousands of interactions on each tweet, I wanted to dig a little deeper into the social media strategy of the one and only Kanye West. I found that in theory it’s an absolute failure, but of course for a guy like Kanye, that translates to blowout success in practice. Here’s how:

Be Mysterious

For most people, the way to grow a social media community is to join conversations about topics, people, and ideas that interest you. Kanye West goes a different route. Rather than interacting with people that are interested in him, or joining the local Steve Jobs forum online, Kanye prefers to tell people what’s up and let them discuss amongst themselves with little (see: none) interference. It works for him; he averages around 5,000 RTs and 5,000 favourites per tweet. It likely won’t work for you. Discuss.

Kanye 1

Only Follow Your Biggest Fan

Twitter is meant to be a two-way street: follow people, they’ll follow you back and you have a great platform to share whatever you want. Kanye is smashing that rule and only letting 1 person through his gate – his soon-to-be wife Kim Kardashian. If you’ve accumulated as many enemies as Kanye though, you might only want to follow your biggest fan too. I’d hate to think of the DMs Taylor Swift would have sent after the “Imma let you finish” fiasco.

Kanye 2

Be Passionate

This is a cardinal rule for everything you do in life. Be passionate about it, or else you’ll end up doing a half-assed job. That’s what most commonly happens but, as our theme would suggest, Kanye is definitely breaking the mold on this one. He’s been known to rant for hours at a time on Twitter about the state of our culture or how great his girl is, and his passion definitely comes through. This doesn’t quite equate to him giving his all though. For a person with the reach and power of Kanye West, taking to Twitter to express himself so thoroughly in 140 characters at a time is the lazy way out. He has the opportunity to be featured in any publication he wants, many of them would beg for his content, but instead he takes to Twitter to broadcast a series of half thoughts. In this case, his passion for attention leads to an incomplete message. No wonder you’re so misunderstood, Mr. West.

Kanye 3

Get People’s Attention

This one’s easy. Use caps lock. OFTEN.

Kanye 4

Only Tweet When People Care

For us ‘normies,’ we have to do our best to make people care all the time. When building a community online, content is king and to stay relevant and maintain our spots in our communities, we’ve got to stay present. Kanye has this process flipped on its back. He doesn’t have to stay present. When he’s present his community is built around him. That’s why his social media account is the perfect vehicle to promote his other projects, and therefore the best time to drum up attention is, of course, when other projects are coming down the pipeline. He’s been very active lately (relative to his participation in the past), which shouldn’t come as a shock seeing as he’s also on tour and in the public eye. People care, so he’s there. When he doesn’t need people to care anymore – when the tour is done and his album is tapped out – Kanye will disappear into Twitter oblivion only to be seen again when there’s a wedding, divorce, or album debut.

Danielle is a Social Media Coordinator at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @DFabes.

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Why 2014 will be the year of the gentleman /2014-will-year-gentleman/ /2014-will-year-gentleman/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 21:49:08 +0000 /?p=2250 Continue Reading]]> bowtieOver the past few years, Canadian retail brands like Gotstyle, Frank & Oak, Surmesur and Garrison Bespoke have all emerged in response to the growing demand for menswear. Just recently Toronto had its first ever Men’s Fashion Week, and last weekend stylish men gathered at the Gentleman’s Expo in Toronto to, what else, learn how to become a stylish, well-groomed gentleman. It reflects a larger trend: men might hate shopping, but they’re becoming more style-conscious.

“Men are taking back their masculinity. They have reached a point where they feel that taking care of themselves doesn’t make them less of a man,” Settimio Coscarella, co-founder of The Gentlemen’s Expo, told us in an interview. “You see it a lot more in the media. A lot of the shows that are successful on TV now don’t depict men as idiots.”

It’s hardly surprising that demand for menswear that isn’t found in a typical mall is on the rise. Retailers and fashion brands are taking notice and are shifting their marketing strategies and fine tuning the retail experience. Surmesur is one of the retail brands that is offering men a unique and different way to shop. In 2010 co-owner Francois Thierault and his brother Vincent created Surmesur (which means “made to measure” in French) after one too many bad shopping experiences.

The company allows shoppers to customize their clothes according to their taste, style, size, favourite colour, and a variety of other details. Customers can choose from more than 5,000 different fabrics, and in-store flat screens help them choose the look, style and colour of their shirt, pants, jacket and even tie. They also have a 3D scanner to take customers’ measurements and a style consultant available to meet with and advise their customers on suits priced from $325 to $1,250.

After outgrowing their locations in Quebec City and Montreal, the retailer recently opened a store in Toronto this fall, and they plan to expand to the west coast and the U.S. next.

Frank & Oak is another brand that understands men and how they shop. Launched in February 2012, the online menswear retailer now has 1 million members and according to Techcrunch, 56% of the company’s buyers are repeat customers, and on average those active users buy around 6.6 times per year. Although the retailer now has a brick and mortar store in Montreal and plans to open another one in Toronto, a big reason for their meteoric success is because they have mastered the art of online marketing.

Frank & Oak’s website is easy to use and the collection is presented in the style of a monthly magazine, reflecting the “content and commerce” trend retailers now often embrace. One of the most popular features on their website is The Hunt Club. Membership to the club allows members to select three items which are shipped to them free of charge. Members can try on the clothes, decide what they want to keep, and send the rest back and only pay for the selections they’ve made. Hunt Club members also receive 8% of every order back in store credit.

Frank & Oak is also very active and highly engaged on social media. They have a quick response rate to customer complaints and questions, and use social media referral programs and Facebook like and retargeting ads, as well as social media contests like #necktiefriday, to increase their exposure online.

The success of menswear retailers like Surmesur and Frank & Oak clearly shows that men might hate shopping in a mall, but they love a bespoke or online experience. The most successful retail brands in the space understand men and know how to offer them something unique and different: after all, it’s all about achieving gentleman status.

William Ruzvidzo is a Digital Strategist at 88 Creative. Follow him on Twitter: @william_ruz.

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Social Media “Experts” Obsolete? Get Real. /social-media-experts-obsolete-get-real/ /social-media-experts-obsolete-get-real/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 18:13:31 +0000 /?p=2235 Continue Reading]]> EXPERT

Earlier this week, Workopolis released results of a survey stating that in a decade, thanks to our own advancing technology and saturation, social media “experts” will be obsolete. Their reasoning? “Because everyone will be social media savvy by then.” Really? That’s it, that’s your best reasoning? By that logic, since I know how to drive a car I should go give the NASCAR circuit a spin.

In my opinion Workopolis, otherwise known as “the resume black hole” to many job seekers, has succeeded in looking like short-sighted luddites who don’t understand the internet.

And here’s why: just because you use something, it doesn’t make you an expert. We have a dodgeball player, a guitarist, and a budding author in the office, but doesn’t mean they’re going to be the next star athlete, John Mayer, or Ernest Hemingway. Just because our parents learn how to post a vacation photo or selfie doesn’t mean they understand how to create a strategy for a company, or use social media to achieve marketing goals, and it’s not likely that will change in 10 years.

And a decade of daily use won’t do anything to change that, because using social media for personal use doesn’t mean you’re qualified to put together a digital media strategy and run social media for a company. Between funeral selfies, unfortunate personal fragrance choices, and straight-up terrible branded content, it’s clear that social media is maaaaybe not for everyone. Even some experts have a lot to learn about branded content.

If you think about the rise of the video camera and SLR cameras, did it turn every camera-wielding traveler or parent video-taping their son’s 1st birthday party into someone qualified to shoot a TV commercial or take photos for the AP? Absolutely not. Knowing how to do something and being an expert are two different things, especially if that thing is your career.

I’d be more inclined to believe Workopolis if they weren’t so focused on social media marketing themselves. Their manager of digital solutions describes himself as a social media expert in his LinkedIn bio. They also have someone with the title “content, social, PR” who handles social media for the company, and several other marketing folks who list social media as a function of their job.  So they’re saying it’s okay if you “do” social media, just not okay if it’s in your title? And will that change in 10 years?

Workopolis might be right on that one point: I don’t know about you but anyone who goes around touting themselves as a social media “expert,” or god forbid “guru,” is probably the complete opposite of those things. Hyperbole is a hell of a drug. It’s likely that those positions and titles won’t exist because, to put it simply, they will become part of a larger marketing function, like a digital marketing team.

Now, I am of the opinion that it is absolutely crucial to cultivate a wide array of digital marketing skills and tactics to add to your toolkit so that if someone starts out as a social media coordinator, they can move up beyond that position. So will the social media “expert” be obsolete? Probably, but not for the reasons Workopolis suggests.

On that note, it’s kind of cruel to have your social media manager tweet this out repeatedly, no?

 Jason is a Digital Strategist at 88 Creative. Follow him on Twitter @Jasegiles.

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