By Diane Bégin

HomePosted by Diane Bégin

Canadian cell phone emergency alert system coming soon

Would you want to receive a text message from authorities if your life may be in immediate danger?

From the 2012 Eaton Centre shooting in Toronto to the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray (incidentally the anniversary of the evacuation is this week), the ability to send a text message on the advanced wireless network could minimize chaos by sending accurate information to 97 per cent of the Canadian population instantly.

Well up until now in Canada you couldn’t receive those alerts. But, that’s about to change. On April 6, 2017, the CRTC “directed all wireless service providers to implement a wireless public alerting system on their LTE (long-term evolution) networks by April 2018.”

In an effort to catch up to other jurisdictions, the CRTC consulted last year about appetite for wireless service providers’ (WSP) participation in the National Public Alerting System for dangers to life and property. This would include “broadcast immediate alert messages” such as “imminent or unfolding dangers to life (including tornadoes, forest fires, industrial disasters, and tsunamis).”

The United States has had a system in place since 2012 – called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), which was a WSPs voluntarily initiative led through a partnership between the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Such an alert was used in the most recent New York bombings.

Australia also has an emergency alert system, using location-based SMS.

This evolution is part of other emergency innovations the CRTC is building upon including launching an interactive map for emergency alerts from broadcast media and next generation 9-1-1 (i.e. maybe 9-1-1 texting).

Some are opposed to the idea but the major wireless service providers are in favour – at an estimated $25M cost. All submissions on the change were made public following the close of the consultation last year.

“We agree that Wireless Public Alerting (WPA) will be a significant benefit to Canadians and should be mandatory for all Wireless Service Providers (WSPs), including primary brands, extension brands, and resellers.” Bell Mobility submission

“TELUS fully supports the implementation of a national wireless public alerting system in Canada. TELUS maintains that “a full wireless emergency alerting system implemented across Canada must be effective, reliable and robust.” TELUS Communications Company submission

“Rogers is committed to the next chapter of Canadian National Public Alerting System (NPAS) through the rollout of Wireless Public Alerting.” Rogers Communications Canada Inc. submission

Considered a lifeline for many already, this change to our cell phones will likely pass without most of us realizing it – that is until its service is most valuable, at a time when we need it.

Diane Bégin is VP, brand communications & social marketing at ruckus Digital. Also learn about our experiences on the ground during the Fort McMurray wildfire (video) and a Storify recapping our third ruckus makers event also on the wildfire.


Need digital help? Drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Tweeting for a non-tweeter

At the beginning of the month the ruckus crew posed a challenge to one another: Use a social platform you don’t usually use. We all have our favourites and not so favourite social platforms. (My favourites are Snapchat and Instagram and not so favourite are Twitter and Facebook.)

So, for one week I tweeted multiple times per day. A couple of my colleagues were tweeting away with me – similarly they tend to stray to more visual platforms (read Instagram and Snap) on any given day.

To give you an idea of my usual social habits, it goes something like this: wake up and immediately scroll Instagram, watch a few Stories and then switch over to Snap and skim the Discover section for major news stories or a few laughs. Throughout the day I’ll head back to Instagram and Snap to check out what’s new and to keep in touch with friends. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter personally, only for work.

Most of my tweets over the week were making fun of myself or the platform (sorry Twitter), because I just couldn’t seem to get into it.

But, that all changed thanks to Pepsi’s giant ad blunder, here’s a recap in case you missed it. The Pepsi/Kendall Jenner debacle became the highlight of this experiment. Twitter was amazing for not only keeping all the articles, relevant trolls and tweets consolidated under one trending topic, but the commentary was entertaining as well as insightful. I found a ton of new accounts that I now follow – on Instagram – and catch up with daily. Man Repeller I’m looking at you!

After this little challenge I appreciate Twitter for its niche market in real-time trending topics/news, but once I find the accounts I’m looking for, I still head to Instagram or Snap to see what they’re up to.

I know Twitter is making the effort to claw back to relevancy for the masses; they plan to launch live video 24/7 and are trying to crack down on abuse on the platform. They also just announced their latest earning’s report that had a few bright spots too, including an increase in user growth.

The experiment was great as it pushed the team out of their social comfort zones.

Sarah Rogers is a digital account coordinator at ruckus digital. For more digital insights or to chat about your strategy, drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Visual story telling with Instagram Stories

Opportunities in visual storytelling continue to evolve each day, and as digital nerds we are constantly strategizing what content should go where, when and targeted to who.

A definite contender for brands would have to be Instagram Stories, which launched in August of last year.  (And the newest contender Facebook Stories, which launched a few days ago.) What was initially a feature of flattery (essentially another Snapchat), has evolved into something more robust (and in my opinion) surpasses Snapchat in many ways.

With Instagram Stories you can

– tag users (handy to call out partners, influencers, etc.),

– link to a website within the Story itself (it’s all about those web clicks and conversions my marketing friends), and,

– include Boomerangs (a personal fave where you can put it in a mini video mode that plays forward and backward).

These features, along with the usual editing capabilities (stickers, tags, filters, etc.), have led to over 150 million users a day posting to Instagram Stories.

Many brands jumped on board quickly, as it allowed for an established and often much larger audience (than Snapchat) access to the content. Instagram stats show that 1/3 of the most view Stories on the app are from businesses, which makes sense when over 70 per cent of users are following a brand (or two).

Today brands continue to use Stories as a spot to share

– promotional info and events,

– how-to tutorials,

– discovery content, and,

– authentic and exclusive behind the scenes experiences.

So, with the value of organic Stories proving itself in under a year, it’s no surprise that ads are now available. Fashion, beauty and alcohol brands were some of the first to test ads on Instagram Stories earlier this year.

With additional objectives and calls to action expected, there seems to be great opportunity for brands that want to integrate the vertical video, mobile-first approach, which according to this year’s Facebook Retail Summit is the way of the digital future, into their digital strategy.

Of course the effectiveness of the ads will depend on the audience, targeting and quality of the visual storytelling, which can (hopefully) suss out with detailed metrics.

Sarah Rogers is a digital account coordinator at ruckus digital. For more digital insights or to chat about your strategy, drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Building Better Partnerships: Beyond Tech

Last month’s Dx3 event featured great speakers, intriguing activations, and an opportunity to bump into colleagues. Everyone leaves having a slightly different takeaway, here’s my favourite.

Is the agency of the future going to be smaller, consisting of fewer than 50 people and focusing on greater collaboration with freelancers and vendors? That was the theory put forth in one speaker session I attended. The tools to bring people together have definitely bridged the distance: I’m a big fan of collaboration tools like Basecamp, Slack and Microsoft’s new Teams. But tech can only go so far – most great work comes from partnerships, and everyone involved has to play a part.

The tech we have allows us to bridge physical distances and other barriers to collaborate with humans with special skillsets that may lie outside your team. The tech is there, but we have to remember to always bring the humanity.

It’s the seemingly little things, like always being on time for meetings or effectively communicating progress and obstacles, that elevate a working relationship into a partnership that can go beyond simply completing the project into a group performance that ends up being greater than the sum of all parts.

Little things that end up shaping great results.



Missed DX3 this year? Check out our live tweets from the event.

Dimitri Bariamis is Digital Media Specialist at ruckus Digital. Need digital help? Drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Big vs small: Which agency size is better?

Size matters. But, does that mean bigger is better?

At a November 2016 SoDA Academy session, Jack Skeels, CEO and Founder of Agency Agile, described how he realized at a previous job, the bigger they got, the bigger he felt the shark chasing them got as well. Essentially, as they grew larger as an agency, so too did their efficiency problems in delivering good work.

Skeels’ exploration led to the study of the Theory of the Firm, rooted in pioneering research from Ronald Coase in The Nature of the Firm.

Coase explores three areas when asking the question: is a bigger better?

  1. “First, as the firm gets larger, there may be decreasing returns to the entrepreneur function, that is, the costs of organising additional transactions within the firm may rise.
  2. Secondly, it may be that as the transactions which are organised increase, the entrepreneur fails to place the factors of production in the uses where their value is greatest, that is, fails to make the best use of the factors of production.
  3. Finally, the supply price of one or more of the factors of production may rise, because the “other advantages” of a small firm are greater than those of a large firm.”

The first two reasons given most probably correspond to the economists’ phrase of “diminishing returns to management.”

‘I wish we could go back to the days when we were larger,’ said no one ever. The research suggests that this is due to the intersection of “economies of scale” and “dis-economies of management.”

  1. Economies of scale simply means cost-sharing within an agency (e.g. a fixed yearly expense such as social media monitoring platform Sysomos) amongst a larger group of clients brings its cost down for each client.
  2. Dis-economies of management means that as an agency grows in size, so too does its costs because it means an increase in management, which leads to an overall decrease in productivity and in turn increased cost to provide service.

So, size does matter. What you do with it too. And hitting that sweet spot in the middle is your key to agency satisfaction.

Diane Bégin is VP, brand communications & social marketing at ruckus Digital / APEX PR (mid-sized agency). Need digital help? Drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Fort McMurray wildfire communications (incl. video)

In May 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) was hit with a wildfire, which resulted in the largest insured disaster in Canadian history.  More than 90,000 individuals were evacuated from the City of Fort McMurray and were not able to return for a month.

Jordan Redshaw and Robin Smith from the RMWB and Diane Bégin from APEX PR / ruckus Digital speak about their experiences on the ground in a panel moderated by managing partner Ken Evans at our third ruckus makers.

Introduction to the crisis

Team work & social media early on

Dealing with media

Also see a Storify recapping the Fort McMurray wildfire ruckus makers event.

Continue Reading

Where do good content ideas come from?

Creating great content isn’t an exact science. At a recent event hosted by Rethink at the YouTube space in Toronto, the panel (featuring Alison Lawler-Dean, Rethink’s VP of Marketing and Communications) discussed how content is developed from various perspectives.

In addition to how a non-profit like Rethink approaches the concept, Lawler-Dean was joined by fellow panelists that included agency heads and a YouTube creator.

So where do good content ideas come from? There are underlying threads behind every strategy and each piece of content must demonstrate the following:

  1. Understand what motivates your audience.
    Identifying who you are creating for is important, but that’s just the start – what’s more important is knowing what motivates them. Whether developing recipes or influencer programs, reaching the audience is only as useful as much as you can motivate them to act. Whenever working through scripts or storyboards, constantly ask yourself: “who is this for, and what does this mean for them?”
  2. Communicate through partnership collaboration.
    Being a good partner and facilitator isn’t easy. The saying that collaboration “starts in frustration and ends in compromise” resonates with far too many, unfortunately. Place an increased emphasis on making sure partnerships work and are a good fit for all involved– whether it’s working with non-profits like Rethink, or influencers and celebrities – make sure goals and content align. Vigorous vetting means that you can start with excitement and end with results.
  3. Listen. Listen.
    When participating in conversations, use a mix of quantitative analytics, as well as qualitative data from your online communities to gauge how your content is performing. Listening to your community – to their wants, needs and desires – and incorporating what you’re hearing into your content will help to build your credibility and in the end will help drive results.

Dimitri Bariamis is an consultant at ruckus Digital. Need help with your content? Drop us a line.

Continue Reading

Top 5 of #Canada150

Remember Canada’s 125th? Branded as “Canada 1-2-5,” this was the commercial.

In the pre-internet days, TV spots and brochures were really how I remember Canada shared its ideas about how to celebrate.

Fast forward to 2017 and Canada’s 150th (aka #Canada150, or the more fun #sesquicentennial #sesqui) and we’re seeing commemorations popping up everywhere – mostly shared online.

At ruckus, we’ve been working with clients for some time planning how they will take part.

It will be a crowded space this year – as it should be as every individual and every organization in this country is part of the #Canada150 story.

There are official @Canada150th Signature Projects, Community Projects and then a whole bunch more.

Here are my top 5 #Canada150 projects:

  1. Canada C3 – Coast to Coast to Coast
    In my experience, most Canadians haven’t seen most of Canada. This a 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria through the Northwest Passage. Totally a dream trip.
  2. Explore 150
    Lots of us actually don’t know the history and culture within our own back yards. This includes an Android or an iPhone app to both publish and discover those secret spots.
  3. ParticipACTION 150 Playlist
    Canada is by far the best world’s best playground – so a list of 150 activities to stay fit is, well, a natural fit.
  4. The Great Trail
    Then there’s this 22,000 km trail that goes through all 13 provinces and territories. The Trans Canada Trail reports it’s now 90 per cent done, to be complete by July 1, 2017.
  5. We are the Best by Ricardo
    And what is culture without food? Canadian chef Ricardo Larrivée travels the country to bring you food in 52 three-minute video bites. Knowing your agriculture is where it’s at.

So what #Canada150 projects excite you? Tell us on Twitter.

Diane Bégin has a weakness for all things Canadiana. She’s also VP, brand communications & social marketing at ruckus Digital.

Continue Reading

Fort McMurray Wildfire: Social Media Response

Last month, Jordan Redshaw and Robin Smith from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) made our third ruckus makers speakers series one to remember.

In May, the largest insured disaster in Canadian history struck. The RMWB, including the city of Fort McMurray, was hit by a wildfire. More than 90,000 individuals were evacuated from the city and were not able to return for a month.

Communication was essential in providing residents with accurate and timely information via social media so that residents remained safe.

See Twitter highlights here:



Continue Reading

13 Tips for your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 467 million registered users. In Canada there are 13+ million users (around a third of the population).

But, just because folks have a LinkedIn profile, doesn’t mean they’re using the platform effectively.

And, given that LinkedIn is 3 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter for generating leads, combined with Microsoft’s purchase of the platform this year (expect more integration with your day-to-day Microsoft software), it’s a good idea to revisit your presence there.

Below are a few tips that were shared in a webinar with client RSA Canada last week, to help maximize your LinkedIn presence:

  1. Get an appropriate headshot. LinkedIn is often your first impression to someone. Your photo does not have to be a professional shot, but ensure it looks professional (i.e. not your best vacation picture).
  1. Add a banner photo. This is prime real estate on your LinkedIn profile and an opportunity to stand out while giving individuals an opportunity to get to know you better.
  1. Generate a custom URL for your profile. LinkedIn automatically generates a URL for your profile, but take it a step further by customizing it to make it easier to remember. (i.e.
  1. Customize your headline & add a summary. Consider what you’d like to convey in a succinct headline and summary so that someone can capture your professional profile at a glance.
  1. Make your experience more than just a résumé. Because LinkedIn has the ability to be so much more than a standard 2-page résumé, what else can you add? (e.g. awards, speaking engagements)
  1. Think about your keywords and search optimization. If someone did an online search today, would your expertise come up because of what you have on your profile? If not, add more detail.
  1. Give recommendations. By giving someone a recommendation on LinkedIn, chances are they’d be willing to reciprocate. Third party testimonials add to your credibility.
  1. Get more connections. Quality connections are key, so a good rule is to add someone only if you’ve met in person. It’s also important to regularly add individuals (e.g. bi-weekly) for a healthy network.
  1. Use the relationship tab. LinkedIn will track communications you’ve had on the platform with an individual, but when you add someone, write down how you met and alert yourself to follow up.
  1. Share original content. To have a more robust digital footprint consider sharing business updates, relevant articles and insights that position you as an expert and helps potential clients trust you.
  1. Create blog posts. The best types of content will start/change the conversation. Create a halo effect by piquing interest to see what else you can offer or provide inisights to a niche audience.
  1. Always stay current. Pop onto the platform a few times a week (i.e. phone app while on the go) to see what connections are talking about or if they’re in the news. Be sure to comment when appropriate.
  1. Engage with groups and companies. Whether through a company page or in discussion groups, post comments/insights a couple times per month to extend your digital reach.

Diane Bégin enjoys diving into strategy on social platforms like LinkedIn. Need social media training? Drop us a line.

Continue Reading