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Dispatches from Austin – Day 1

We’re in Austin for SXSW Interactive – check out our learnings from Day 1 of the conference.

Our SXSW experience kicked off with Interactive director Hugh Forrest giving his advice on how to get the most out of Southby. His tips – make a plan, be ready to abandon that plan and meet everyone you can. 

Forrest was followed by the always-intense Gary Vanerchuk (@garyvee), whose colourful language and frantic pace amped up the crowd. Vanerchuk’s big tips for getting the most out of your conference experience: stop trying to sell yourself and add value to the conversation. Be human (amidst a flurry of F-bombs).

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Next on the agenda was a fascinating presentation titled Evil By Design by Chris Nodder (@uxgrump). The concept is simple, how can we use tactics and ploys that may on surface seem dishonest or deceptive to pull people in and get them to engage.

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Some of the examples he used were Waze’s crowd sourcing model – rewarding users with “points” for driving around and verifying their map data. And Volkswagen’s Speed Lottery – wherein speeders were punished with fines. The money collected was then dispersed to the non-speeders. Simple gamification scenarios that worked to great effect.

We wrapped the day with a panel discussion with notable Youtuber’s and content creators Grace Helbig, Tyler Oakley and Ze Frank. Their discussion managed to be both hilarious and insightful as they talked around how they built their audience, how they managed audience expectations and even worked with brands on sponsored content.

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The big takeaways here were be true to yourself and create content you love (be on brand). And don’t focus your energy on building your following and instead, cater to your existing audience and give them content they care about.

Check back tomorrow for a recap of Day 2 and follow along on Twitter @madearuckus

Posted by
Gary Edgar
on 10/03/2014

We’re looking for a Senior Social Strategist

Join the growing team at ruckus – we’re hiring for a social strategist. Let us know if you have what it takes.

Are you tired of clunky, awkward social media content that seems to speak to no one at all? Ever thought you could do better? Here’s your chance to prove it. At ruckus, we help brands tell a better story on their social channels. Our dedicated teams are built for today’s evolved story telling – real-time natives with PR know-how and big creative ideas that work in the real-time world of social media. And here’s your chance to be a part of that team.

As the social media landscape matures, brands and clients are looking for more detailed and results-driven digital activations. The social media world has evolved beyond the channels like Facebook and Twitter – it’s now what you’re saying not just where you’re saying it. This is the rationale behind ruckus: to work with brands to find their stories and develop them into rich, engaging content across owned and paid channels. 

What’s the gig:

ruckus is looking for a Senior Social Strategist to join our growing team.  Reporting to the Managing Director, this position will combine amazing creativity with storytelling, analytics measurement and community management.  You will develop content and social strategies backed up with research and insights, not happenstance.  The role collaborates closely with the firm’s lines of business and practices.

How you can help us grow:

  • You’re a digital native – you understand, not only how the channels work – but also how brands can use them as a successful marketing tool. 
  • You also recognize and appreciate the need to be timely and strategic with social engagement, knowing when to jump into a conversation and when to sit it out.
  • You understand the pace, tools, venues, conferences and platforms available to develop and share our points of view, creating engagement and relationships with our target audience.
  • You can take your readers on a journey through creative narratives that explain business value in a simple way. You have killer instincts when it comes to integrating both digital and tangible assets to unfold these stories. Whether you are crafting for a client, business or creative audience, your stories engage and dazzle.
  • You are a magnet and your colleagues/client’s will love collaborating with you. You are able to work across a diverse group of peers, practitioners and executive leaders to capture and translate ideas into thought leadership that fuels the demand generation engine.
  • Developing content for the right industry is part of your DNA – you know how to construct and share stories in a way that grabs industry influencer’s attention.  Keeping your fingers on the pulse of the marketplace energizes you as you think about how to syndicate the firm’s thought leadership.
  • You’re excited to grow a business from the ground up.
  • You will work seamlessly with our PR partner APEX to coordinate communications and extend reach.

What you bring to the table:

  • Can translate the expertise of multiple disciplines (e.g. human factors, brand, product, service design, business strategy, engineering, etc.) into client and marketplace relevance.
  • Fluency in digital, web and emerging technology.
  • Strong writing and copy editing skills, grounded in a marketing context. When applying, please include examples of work that showcase your creative and business writing and digital portfolio.
  • Well versed in the language and needs of a robust marketing organization (agency experience an asset).
  • Strong creative mind-set with a passion for design, innovation and technology; share original and new ideas.
  • A fundamental knowledge of paid social and digital tools (Facebook and Twitter ad platforms).
  • Communicate exceptionally through words, pictures and stories and sell an idea/concept into a client
  • Bachelor’s degree and 5 – 7+ years of experience in a marketing, publishing and writing function.
  • Understand the mechanics of communication and public relations.
  • Ability to thrive in and manage ambiguity; curious, emphatic and energetic.

Not required but really helpful:

  • Intimate knowledge and use of social channels (all of them)
  • Google Ad Words and SEO/SEM
  • Analytics and Metrics (Google, Sysomos, etc.)
  • Knowledge of Photoshop, In Design, Adobe suite of products
  • HTML and CSS
  • Video production skills

 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/info on your ruckus making habits to: gary@ruckusdigital.ca

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Dispatches From Austin – Day 5

Our last day of the SXSW interactive festival. An amazing lineup of speakers to close out things out including George Takei, Biz Stone and the story behind TOMS shoes.

We know – we’re a few days late (blame that last winter storm) but we had to deliver our wrap up of the final day of SXSW Interactive.

Day 5 was bittersweet as we got a stellar lineup of talks on the final day of the conference’s interactive portion.

Up first was Yu Kai Chou, talking about how to create a successful framework for gamification. An early pioneer of gamification, Chou demonstrated ways of incorporating gaming theories and practices into business models – helping to sustain engagement with consumers or internal employees.

Chou also presented some compelling stats on who the “typical” gamers are and definitely broadened people’s ideas of who’s playing games (whether that’s console, PC or mobile). In fact, consider that 68% of gamers are over 18 years old, and 47% are women (there are more adult women gamers than under 18 males).

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Our next two sessions were different takes on Internet communities with George Takei talking about developing his massive fan base and mobilizing them for social causes. Takei’s take on community building was pretty simple – don’t ask your community to do something right away. Build trust; build a relationship before you want them to follow through on something. This is true whether you’re asking them to sign a petition or buy your product.

Biz Stone (founder of Twitter and Jelly) picked up on the idea of social good when he talked about the effect tools like Twitter have had on our culture in the past few years. Stone’s take is that people are generally good and that when given the right tools – they’ll do good things.

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Our final session for SXSW may have been the most compelling and uplifting of the entire conference. Our last session was with Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes. Mycoskie walked through how he founded the company and the factors that lead him to creating the one-to-one model TOMS is so famous for. He also delved into the unique marketing angle the company has taken – by forgoing traditional ads, etc., and creating brand evangelists who actually work with TOMS to deliver shoes to impoverished countries. Inspirational to say the least.

I’m sure we’ll have more thoughts in the coming weeks, filtering out of our packed SXSW schedule. There were some big thinkers delivering fascinating, new takes on where digital culture is going and we’re happy to have been there to hear it first hand.

Can’t wait to head back next year.

Posted by
Gary Edgar
on 14/03/2014

This week’s ruckus makers (April 13 – 17)

This week’s ruckus makers (April 13 – 17)

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  • Game of Thrones came back last weekend, and just as you may expect, companies did not miss an opportunity to get involved on Twitter. Do you think anyone got it right? 
  • National Geographic is aiming to enhance your travel experience through mobile. The concept sounds great, but let’s see how it works. 
  • This is definitely not the first example of brands trying to use Tinder, but the more companies try, the more potential can be unlocked on these fringe social apps. 
  • Old Spice is testing the potential of Twitch TV by dropping someone in the middle of the woods and then letting an audience get involved. 

This week’s ruckus makers (March 9 – 13)

This week’s ruckus makers (March 9 – 13)

Check out our round up of all the great campaigns, links and notable reads this week.

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  • Introducing Meerkat – the new live video streaming app. With the app released recently, we’ll classify it as “untapped potential” for now, but stay tuned to see how it develops. It definitely has “breaking news” potential.
  • Speaking of live streaming, it looks like Snapchat is getting involved with live broadcasting and may be doing some testing come March Madness. The app already introduced Stories and Discover features as it continues to evolve its scope of offerings to marketers and public alike.
  • SXSW is happening this week and everyone is there. You can follow places like Verge and Mashable on Snapchat to get live updates. For now, here is an annual Digiday breakdown of what’s in and what’s out.

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  • Another “twist” on Instagram with Midnight Interactive introducing it’s #PlotTwistagram series. It will certainly be interesting to see how much engagement the series can gather and how the makers will pull this off. Definitely stay tuned.
  • Sometimes [read: always] weathermen do not get it right. Who can blame them for unpredictability of mother nature? Toyota can, with this clever stunt which is quickly gathering views on social, expanding its life cycle. 

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  • For those of you following ruckus Digital on Snapchat (“ruckusdigital”), we went to DX3 this week and came away with some great moments. Check out @KatieBoland and @Sergetacular on Twitter for some impressions from #DX32015.

Posted by
Serge Leshchuk
on 14/03/2015

Dispatches from Austin – Day 2 & 3

Dispatches from Austin – Day 2 & 3

Saturday and Sunday brought rain and chilly weather, but we braved the elements to bring you more great insights from Austin @SXSW.

Our SXSW stretched through the weekend as Day 2 and 3 covered off a number of fascinating topics ranging from loyalty programs to the new sharing economy and how audiences are shaping events through social media.

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Saturday’s first panel was Beyond Likes (featuring Jordan Roth CEO of Culturalist), talking about the implications social media audiences have on cultural and current events. How are Twitter audiences shaping live television? As more and more people tune it together for shared experiences watching shows like Scandal and The Oscars, are they actually responsible for bringing back the idea of appointment television?

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Then came the rain – but this didn’t dissuade us from seeing some amazing sessions from astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Both drew massive crowds and delivered amazing, informative talks.

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Sunday brought better weather and even more great sessions. First up was Loyalty is Dead – a conversation about the current state of loyalty marketing programs (buy 10 coffees, get the 11th free) and posed the question are these programs truly building loyalty? The general consensus being that true loyalty is based around an emotional connections and consumers motivations aren’t about chasing that free coffee. They’re loyalty is shaped through how they’re treated and the desire by the brand to engage with them.

After a weighty presentation by Stephen Wolfram (Wolfram Alpha) around computation, we checked out a panel on The Economy of Sharing – looking at a new emerging economy where platforms like Etsy, HomeAway and ThredUP are facilitating platforms to help connect people and empower them to become sellers.

We capped the day with some great BBQ and Monday’s weather is clear and warm. Only two days left in Austin but still lots of great stuff to come. Stay tuned and follow the conference @madearuckus.

Posted by
Gary Edgar
on 10/03/2014

Dispatches From Austin – Day 4

Day 4 at SXSW – We’ve got Mythbusters, Millennials and a look at how to create content your audience will love and how to make sure they’ll see it.

As with the whole conference Monday’s sessions really mixed insights and entertainment on topics such as content generation, digital place-based ads and the convergence of science and art.

Our first session featured Birchbox’ Molly Chen and Outbrain’s Jeff Pyatt talking about not only the importance of content but tips and tricks to draw readers in.

Chen runs Birchbox’ content development, a company that values content so much their first hire was an editor (they’ve since added 18 people to their editorial team). Creating content for their consumers – who she also calls readers – isn’t just about profiling the brand, but also delivering informative and timely posts their audience loves. She broke down the “secret sauce” Birchbox uses including a checklist that every post has to meet before going live – an always-needed call to action.

Outbrain’s Pyatt then talked about how brands are using their platform to take quality content and amplify it to even more readers. Outbrain’s premise is simple – deliver relevant content to readers who are already consuming content. He also touched on ways to not only distribute content but also convert readers with a strong call to action.

Next up was a panel looking at digital place-based marketing and how brands are taking their out-of-home marketing game to a whole new level. We looked at companies like Heineken’s brilliant Dropped campaign and Coke’s curated social content as key examples of how digital display ads can create true stop-and-stare moments for people and include them in the experience.

The second half of the day was a panel discussion on Millennials featuring Mashable’s Pete Cashmore, Cosmo editor Joanne Coles and MSL CEO Olivier Fleurot.  While an almost exhausted discussion at this point, it was nonetheless interesting to see companies like Mashable and MSL struggle with similar generational complexities.

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Lastly we caught Mythbuster’s Adam Savage talk on the convergence on Art and Science and people’s misconceptions that the two are in any way related. As a (self-professed) creative person, it was fascinating (and a little gratifying) to look at the creative process as a scientific one.

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One day left but still lots of great sessions to come including gamification, disrupting television and talks with former Twitter founder Biz Stone and social media icon, George Takei. Oh Myyyy.

Posted by
Gary Edgar
on 11/03/2014

This week’s ruckus makers (April 6 – 10)

This week’s ruckus makers (April 6 – 10)

Check out our round up of all the great campaigns, links and notable reads this week.

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  • Pinterest has always been a platform skewed towards the female demographic (check out our WTR), but this campaign is looking to change that with a slick visual revamp. 
  • Samsung continues their CSR work with this partnership to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s also a great way to demonstrate how mobile technology effects lives.
  • It didn’t take long for brands to embrace Meerkat. Some even went as far as launching new products via the live streaming app. 
  • Travel & Leisure has taken the platform approach online, and it has been working out tremendously for them. 

Social Media Marketing Weekly Update

Check out our round up of all the great campaigns, links and notable reads this week.

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  • MTV is venturing into unknown territory with their attempt to reach their audience on KiK. It will be interesting to track their strategy as they discover the app’s features and work out its kinks. 
  • The White House released a full set of analytics for government websites. This is analytics heaven for those who like this type of thing and proves that data is everything.
  • The New York Times writers are venturing into the social world and engaging with their readers across multiple platforms. 

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  • If you were using Tinder at #SXSW you may have ran into a very attractive artist… who then turned out to be a character from the upcoming Ex Machina film
  • Cyber bullying is an important issue, and while we might enjoy watching a few celebrities read a couple of mean things, it’s not always funny. This campaign reminds us of that.
  • This cat shelter redefines the definition of “catfishing” on Tinder
  • If you made the mistake of tweeting at #SWSX instead of #SXSW, this campaign quickly let you know and even gave you a free energy drink. Kudos to demonstrating how effective social listening can be in identifying activation opportunities. 

This week’s ruckus makers (March 30 – Apr 2)

This week’s ruckus makers (March 30 – Apr 2)

Check out our round up of all the great campaigns, links and notable reads this week.

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  • Following up on Facebook news from last week, Medium published a great article on the social platform and how it sees the future of the connected world
  • If you’re a parent and you need a little help organizing photos of your children, Facebook Scrapbook might just be for you. 
  • You may have heard of Thrillist. Here is an inside look at how they’re making branded content work for them. 

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  • With a variety of April Fool’s day jokes going out there, Google as always remained on top with Google Maps Pacman and com.google. Tweet some of your favourite April Fool’s social campaigns at us (@ruckusdigital).

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  • We are proud to announce that we have helped one of our clients, Polysporin Canada, launch their official Canadian Facebook page. Check it out.