By Diane Bégin

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DOWNLOAD HERE: WTH should I care about visual storytelling?

Whether, paid, earned, shared or owned media, very few tactics do not involve some sort of visual.

Learn why you should care about visual storytelling in this lecture delivered by Diane Bégin at the McMaster Syracuse Master of Communications Management (MCM) 2019 residency.

The full presentation can be accessed by filling out the form below.

Our organization’s pledge to wellness

Originally published on APEXPR.com

The APEX and ruckus teams sharing the love on Valentine’s Day, during the heart-themed Wellness Moonshot.

It’s estimated that we spend 328 days in a lifetime socializing with friends, but we spend 13 years and two months at work. That means our workplaces have a huge impact on our individual wellness.

As agencies that value their people first and foremost, APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital have pledged their support to the Global Wellness Institute Wellness Moonshot Calendar.

As one of the 203 organizations worldwide to date committed to creating a culture of wellness, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks for better health with our staff and with you through our social media.

A full moon in the lunar cycle is considered a peak – a time for illumination. Aptly, tips from each month’s theme revolve around each month’s full moon.

We’re super excited to be starting today after just having received our calendar!

Do however check out January’s awareness tips (full moon: January 21) such as having walking meetings and February’s heart tips (full moon: February 19) like taking in more nature through forest bathing.

March’s full moon on the 20th brings brain power through better sleep and trying new things!  

Join us on our wellness journey! #wellnessmoonshot

Diane Bégin is a VP at APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. 

Crystal Ball 2019: UX/UI at a whole NEW level

With 2019 ramping up, expect new trends throughout the news, social media, technology and more. At APEX and ruckus digital we will be sharing our predictions on some of these trends that we think will define 2019 (or at least part of it).

Vanessa Cuartas, Integrated media designer at ruckus Digital, shares her view on User Experience will evolve in 2019.

User experience and user interface will have a bigger role for brands in 2019 as they continue to drive business according to Inside Design by Invision.

As consumers, we look at a product or brand, and if it does not satisfy our needs we automatically start looking towards a new one. That’s why this year will be very important for brands since good user experience and user interface will be an expectation.

In 2019 brands WILL definitely have to step it up big time in order for them to become memorable in the consumer’s eye.

How can they achieve this?  

Well, research shows , that as humans we are naturally captivated by stories. Stories can be enjoyable, persuasive and even relatable.

Storytelling and personalisation is the key that brands will need to have in order to bring their value to the consumer and connect with them at a deeper level.

Brands will need to show their value in unique ways to their consumer to keep up with all the other brands by using storytelling in their design process.

Also with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, brands now have a greater advantage of connecting with a consumer at a customized personal level.

Expect 2019 to be the year of storytelling and personalisation, where brands will tap into their consumers like never before.

Vanessa Cuartas is an integrated media designer at ruckus Digital. Want to learn more? Drop us a line.

Crystal Ball 2019: Year of authentic and unfiltered social stories

With 2019 ramping up, expect new trends throughout the news, social media, technology and more. At APEX and ruckus digital we will be sharing our predictions on some of these trends that we think will define 2019 (or at least part of it).

Katie Boland, account manager at ruckus Digital, shares her view on the growth of social stories.

It’s time to move on from fake news, fake followers and fake photos. It’s time for us to start being real on social media. My crystal ball prediction for 2019 is that it’s the year of real, authentic social stories.

I believe you’ll see the rise of people sharing imperfect pictures and videos in a new way that is different from the traditional news feed sharing. I think pre-sets, filters and perfecting the picture Instagram picture will be the exceptions in 2019.

Stories started with the disruption of Snapchat as a new channel for audiences to share content privately. Then stories were adopted by Instagram, which brought audience growth and expanded features. Now in 2019 stories are rolling out to Facebook and YouTube.

Stories generally disappear after a day and are focused on more real-time sharing within the moment. These photos or videos fill the entire mobile screen in a vertical format and allow consumers to focus on the content in front of them, rather than scrolling through a social newsfeed.

Consumers are rapidly moving to the stories format with more than 300 million daily active users. Of those daily users, 47 per cent feel that the format helps them be more authentic with friends and family.

This new format has changed the average engagement from the standard “like” or “comment” engagement we’re used to on social platforms, to adding polls, questions and emoji ratings to allow individuals to feel more connected to each other, brands or celebrities.

In fact, it could be the year my mom uses Facebook Stories to share pictures of her cat rather than just keeping an eye on my social networking activity.

Katie Boland is an account manager at ruckus digital. Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019. Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line. 

Ruckus Digital Bolsters Staff Roster with Creative and SEO Hires

Ella Singleton and Nicole Pomeroy join ruckus to expand the agency’s integrated offering


TORONTO – November 29, 2018 – Delivering clients integrated thinking, strategy, execution and measurement is a promise APEX PR and its digital agency, ruckus, do not take lightly. The talent and effectiveness of its people are the foundation of this promise. ruckus is pleased to announce two hires that enhance its creative and digital offering. Ella Singleton joins as Director, Creative Strategies and Nicole Pomeroy joins as Senior Integrated Media Strategist.

Ella’s role will focus on senior creative counsel and leadership, and she will also support new business growth. Ella brings more than 15 years of experience in creative, design and agency roles with a diverse background in traditional advertising including TV and OOH, brand strategy development, digital marketing and public relations. She most recently worked at Colour, amplifying the firm’s cannabis credentials for Aurora Cannabis, as well at Proof Inc on brands such as Red Cross, SodaStream, Grand & Toy and Catelli.

Nicole adds bench strength to the firm’s strategy team, providing paid and earned digital expertise and counsel. Nicole brings experience in digital strategy, campaign execution, data analysis, influencer marketing and SEO optimization from her work on Realtor.ca, PWL Capital, Buffer Festival and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

“The addition of Ella and Nicole enhances the strength of our incredibly talented digital team and delivers on our client promise of one-stop integrated expertise,” says Linda Andross, co-managing partner, ruckus Digital and APEX Public Relations. “Their vast experience will greatly benefit our clients, particularly those who are seeking insights and engagement with a wider variety of stakeholders through a variety of creative and design amplifications.”

About APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital

A fiercely independent agency duo, APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital (our agency within an agency) are comprised of experienced, smart, unconventionally minded creative communicators. The foundation of our success is our unwavering passion for our people, our purpose and our clients. In that order. The priority we put on our people allows us to consistently attract and retain a collective of diverse story makers, storytellers, strategists, data scientists, writers, filmmakers and social media experts. Our impressive track record with powerhouse brands and companies stems from our highly effective staff, but also our innate ability to adapt and respond to the constant evolution of the communications industry. We perpetually innovate and re-imagine ensuring the best possible result for our clients. Our sweet spot lives at the intersection of people, brands and technology. And our life’s work is dedicated to partnering with innovative companies in consumer brand marketing, technology, corporate, B2B and issues/reputation management sectors to tell their stories, engage their audiences and drive their business.

For more on our story, visit us at www.apexpr.com and www.ruckusdigital.ca.

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For more information:

Linda Andross at landross@apexpr.com   416-934-2117



The popularity of podcasts is rising quickly in Canada. But, who is listening? According to The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 survey, about a quarter of Canadians are monthly podcast listeners. And, listenership is growing every year.

So, how can your brand participate?

Gary Edgar of ruckus Digital chatted with CTV News’ Millennial Money Expert and host of the #MoMoneyPodcast Jessica Moorhouse, digital manager of video and podcasts at TVO Hannah Sung, and YouTube vlogger and host of “The Sandwich” podcast Amanda Muse on September 26, 2018 to dig deeper. Hear the chat on our Soundcloud channel.

Need help with your podcast? Interested in joining us for our next ruckus makers event? Drop us a line. 

We’re growing – looking for a Director, Social Creative!

Director, Social Creative

Ruckus Digital is looking for a Director, Social Creative based in Toronto to be part of the creative and design team leading the concepting and the execution of best in class content for a number of major clients across a wide variety of segments, as well as new business initiatives.

The Director, Social Creative will exude a creative vision and strong point of view, working collaboratively with the creative team, concepting the best ideas, delivering top-notch execution. The Director, Social Creative will roll up their sleeves, function collaboratively in a fast-paced environment and constantly test, optimize and elevate the work created.

As well as being a strong conceptual creative, the Director, Social Creative will have a multi-faceted visual background and be able to ‘get’ the various client and ruckus Digital aesthetic and be able to integrate this into all branded content executions: photography, video, experiential, social assets.

The Director, Social Creative will work closely with the various inter-disciplinary teams at both ruckus Digital and APEX PR, our sister agency, have a great external creative contact list and know how to establish meaningful and fruitful working relationships with other teams.

Critically, to be successful in this role, the Director, Social Creative will need to be a team player, have a creative vision, be passionate about social platforms/channels/formats and proud of the work and content delivered at each stage of the process: from concept to execution. The Director Social Creative will need to have endless ideas and positivity, a can-do attitude and believe that there is a creative solution for every problem thrown their way.

What you’ll do

  • You are the day to day social creative on the project, reporting to the VP and alongside a creative team.
  • You have strong social ideation and you are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and potentially shoot for Instagram (with a mobile device)
  • You ideate large-scale, multi-platform/multi-medium briefs (this means coming up with concepts for editorial, photo, video, social, experiential, etc.)
  • You always keep an eye on new trends, new technologies, new formats, updates on social channels and audience evolution to inspire and be inspired in your every-day creative work
  • You are on the lookout for social platform updates and can flag upfront any changes (20% rule on Paid Instagram, 20% rule on Facebook, …)
  • You ideate strong creative and social creative story concepts, making sure the creative ladders-up to and meets the larger brand strategy as well as the campaign strategy
  • You will oversee seamless scheduling process
  • You work simultaneously on several brands but treat each brand uniquely and create strong consistent stories/concepts for each.
  • You oversee the execution (under the guidance of the VP) of the small, medium to large, multi-disciplinary projects for the brand partner with an eye on unity and best in class aesthetic and storytelling. This includes commissioning all content, creating storyboards and visual treatments, art directing photo and video shoots, art directing experiential activations
  • Throughout a project’s lifecycle, you always make sure the creative and social output is executed to brief and meets with the objectives of the brand partner and tone of voice. You will fact-check the work that is delivered, sub-edit all written content and ensure excellency of creative outputs
  • You will look out for potential brand challenges and will come up with solutions to pre-empt those challenges
  • You help create meaningful relationships with partner brands, managing creative communication in pre-production, on set and in post-production. Ensuring that the partner brand needs and wishes are met, while being able to push back when/if needed in a very rationalized manner
  • You are a positive person, you are motivated and passionate about the work you do. You can think in the box and out of the box
  • You can create, refine and improve departmental and organizational processes that will better serve the client and improve business results
  • You understand in-flight optimization of content, always testing, learning and improving the work delivered
  • You have the ability to manage the budgets and interdisciplinary account teams on sizable pieces of business.

What you have

  • 8+ years of experience in public relations, advertising, social/digital media and/or marketing creating custom campaigns
  • You have a true passion for content creation across different mediums
  • Strong knowledge and passion of using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc
  • Excellent writer
  • Experience using social media platforms such as Tweetdeck, Facebook Analytics, Google Analytics
  • Strong creative conceptual and execution ability across digital, social, photo, video, experiential, campaign work
  • Open to sharing ideas and accepting constructive feedback.
  • Great performance record and client facing experience and confidence
  • True understanding of branded content strategy, creating and executing conceptual ideas that meet brand strategies and briefs
  • Experience with channel strategy and digital from a creative perspective
  • You will be line managed by an VP, but you will not be micromanaged. You will be expected to take full ownership of your work, be independent in delivering content, as well as own your decisions and be accountable for those

To be successful here you are

  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced, high volume team
  • You rise to the challenges, enjoy problem-solving in an ever-changing environment
  • You are always on the lookout to learn, be inspired by your team, to inspire them too
  • You react positively to constructive criticism, take it onboard and transform into a positive evolution for you
  • You are inspired to push boundaries, but you know how to respond to a brief and working within a budget and timeline
  • You adhere to a creative vision, and you are confident about communicating it internally and externally

We want to meet great people who are interested in working in a start-up environment where culture matters, and curiosity is valued.  Send your resume to: info@ruckusdigital.ca



ruckus welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If you require accommodation to participate in this recruitment, please contact info@ruckusdigital.ca

Summer Roadtripping with Facebook

On July 24, 2018, Facebook Canada held a #FBroadtrip session to outline what’s new and upcoming on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Incidentally, earlier this year, we asked Canadians what companies Facebook owns – to test whether news events would impact usage on it or other platforms.

What we found is that just over a quarter of Canadians know that Instagram is owned by Facebook and less than 1/5 know that Facebook also owns WhatsApp. (Facebook does not own any of the other companies listed in our survey, although some Canadians think they do.)

What companies does Facebook own?

Source: Google Consumer Survey by ruckus Digital April 14-18, 2018, sample = 1,000 Canadians

In that light, this piece highlights a few areas from this week’s Facebook session, as it relates to the Canadians’ expectations and equally importantly, as it relates to three key questions we’ve also been getting:


  1. Should our company reconsider being on Facebook?

If you’re there already and it makes sense for your audience, our opinion is no. When you’re looking at the numbers, the reality is Facebook-owned platforms still cater to the largest masses:

  • 24 million Canadians are on Facebook each month (larger than any social platform, 3x larger than Canada’s largest mainstream media outlet)
  • 14 million Canadians are on Instagram each month (larger than Snapchat)
  • 18 million Canadians use Facebook Messenger each month
  • Add +16% in audience reach when you add the Audience Network:
    • A larger external network using Facebook ads to display on third-party sites such as Maclean’s, CityNews, The Ottawa Sun, Breakfast Television, The Huffington Post, Slice, SportsNet and Driving.ca.

Facebook reiterated its commitment to making its platform “positive, safe and valuable” especially considering recent ‘delete Facebook’ initiatives and the flood of fake news.

While as communicators you may be getting similar pressure to rethink Facebook, Facebook’s commitment extends to these four areas:

  • Foster meaningful interactions |to give its audience more opportunity to connect with the people and passions they care about
  • Reduce the spread of false news | introduction of new policies to help tackle inauthentic activity
  • Be transparent and accountable | giving users more privacy controls
  • Equip for brand safety | providing more tools to help advertisers control where their ads are seen


  1. How are things changing for our audience?

We all know in today’s communications environments, consumers are in the driver’s seat. But one of the most important things that is changing for our audience is that they’re evolving themselves.

Because we live in a mobile world, we’re able to process info much faster than we used to. The MIT ‘In the Blink of an Eye Study’ showed that over a 13-year period we’ve gone from processing a thought in 0.30 seconds to

  • Processing a thought in 1/10 the time: 0.03 seconds
  • Processing an image in even less time: 0.013 seconds

Facebook reps added people “expect businesses to provide fast and frictionless mobile experiences” because

  • Consumers spend 1.7 seconds on average on with any given piece of content
  • 40% of people abandon a site if it doesn’t load after 4 seconds
  • 49% of people would purchase more on mobile if it was easier

Ultimately, our work needs to be better than these benchmarks to even resonate with our audiences.


  1. What should we care about with ‘what’s new’?

While Facebook has many new initiatives coming out across all its properties, the most exciting revolve around three areas:

  • Direct Response (DR) products “allow advertisers to get customers and potential customers to take action online, in-store and in mobile apps,” and will be expanded within Messaging apps including Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp (in a non-intrusive way, including video)
  • Dynamic Ads for lead generation including contextual targeting of house listings, for example, which will show up in Facebook Marketplace because of an individual’s similar online searches (note: Facebook Marketplace is bigger than Craigslist in the US)
  • Video will also include dynamic insertion of most relevant creative based on an individual’s online activities, the ability to gather info (name, email, phone) for follow up, while vertical video’s prominence will continue to grow (thanks to the popularity of Instagram Stories – 40% of stories are video – with 100% full-screen experience)

BONUS: While there isn’t the ability to advertise (yet) on the recently launched IGTV (up to 1-hour long vertical video on Instagram), Chris Loves Julia was an example mentioned of users successfully launching on the channel. Be sure to check them out.

Kevin Behar and Diane Bégin are with APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line. 

Twitter launches #HereWeAre in Canada

Image from left: Jully Black, Leslie Berland, Huda Idrees, Antoinette Benoit, Emily Mills and Leanne Gibson.  

Earlier this spring, Twitter launched #HereWeAre to “stand with women around the world to make their voices heard and their presence known.”

Last Wednesday, June 13, as Mother Nature made her own presence known through an #ONstorm, women and men leaders (including our own Linda Andross, Ken Evans and me) congregated at Toronto’s Broadview Hotel to concurrently launch Canada’s #HereWeAre dialogue. (Incidentally, the storm trended as #1 on Twitter, followed by #HereWeAre.)

The conversation, led by Leslie Berland, global CMO of Twitter, included

The event was capped by a surprise visit from international recording artist Jully Black who offered marching orders through song.

Now it’s all our turns.

Need help finding your voice? Drop us a lineDiane Bégin is VP, social marketing & brand communications. Follow her @dibegin.

#HereWeAre Canada Twitter Moment


10 AI tools for communicators

Marketer, strategist and entrepreneur Ross Simmonds was the featured opening keynote at the Canadian Public Relations Society national conference in Charlottetown, PE May 27-29, 2018, to help answer the vital artificial intelligence (AI) question:

Will robots take over my job?

While robots such as Google Assistant can impersonate a human to make a hair appointment, the reality is that instead of replacing jobs outright, ‘artificial intelligence’ – or ‘augmented intelligence,’ as Simmonds prefers to say – will simply enhance the work we do.

So, no robots, will not replace you – but they can help to make you better.

To show how, Simmonds provided a list of current AI tools, to help make our jobs in communications easier.

  • Assistant | Get an AI assistant for your email
  • Clara Labs | Have interviews scheduled based on email discussions
  • Lumen 5 | Create a video from text in minutes
  • Captain Growth | Extract insights from your data
  • Press Hunt | Find a journalist who is talking about your topic
  • Articollo | Quick start writing an article
  • Persado | Determine language your audience cares about
  • Crystal | Get insights into personality/behaviour
  • Voila Norbert | Determine a likely email address for a contact (be aware of Canada Anti-Spam Legislation compliance however)
  • Dialpad Voice AI | Get real-time voice sentiment to know how a call is going

Need help making sense of how AI is impacting your business? Drop us a lineDiane Bégin is VP, social marketing & brand communications. Follow her @dibegin.