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#FutureForward: Enjoy boredom & tone down the crazy

In our #FutureForward series we ask members of our ruckus family to share their insights into what two skills they think will still be relevant in public relations, communications, marketing and digital in 30 years.

Diane Bégin , VP of integrated communications at APEX Public Relations/ ruckus Digital, discusses how boredom can be a blessing for a creative mind and why it might be time to cut down on distractions in the workplace.

The pace of our work in communications seems to accelerate as each year goes by, so when asked what skills will be needed in our profession decades from now, a couple things came to mind.

Both skills revolve around minimizing the ‘so busy’ badge of honour some proclaim – by learning to integrate boredom in your life and toning down the crazy around you.

Add boredom to your skillset

One of the greatest skills I’ve come to admire in my career is when people know how to disconnect, be bored and do nothing.

Surprisingly very few people seem to be able to, instead filling their time with Netflix, meditation, a book or going online to consume more content – anything else than being bored.

The thing is the less time you take to disconnect and do nothing, the less creative capacity you have. And, working in a creative field like communications, that becomes a career-limiting move.

A recent New York Times article said the Dutch call doing nothing ‘niksen.’ 

Niksen makes us “more creative, better at problem-solving, [and] better at coming up with creative ideas.” It also helps you refuel your lost energy.

The challenge however in our culture is finding the time to be bored. It’s something you have to proactively fit in (and the New York Times article offers five tips to help you with just that).

Surround yourself with anti-crazy

There seems to be no shortage of new distractions to add to our daily work lives – including adding productivity tools like Slack or Basecamp, which some say add to the noise rather than helping it.

Ironically one of my favourite recent reads was written by the founders of Basecamp – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson – appropriately titled It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work.

Basecamp is an example of a small business with an international success story. Through their journey its founders learned to navigate away from the ‘crazy’ of a start-up lifestyle by bucking the expected.

While not everyone aspires to be the founder of a tech start-up, the book itself offers all kinds of tips that anyone can act on like knowing that three people is actually the sweet spot for efficiently running group projects and not creating dreadlines (i.e. unrealistic deadlines not fixed to anything realistic nor purpose driven) to help you win at work.

Diane Bégin is the VP of integrated communications at APEX Public Relations/ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#FutureForward: Once upon a time, good storytelling never went away

In our #FutureForward series we ask members of our ruckus family to share their insights into what two skills they think will still be relevant in public relations, communications, marketing and digital in 30 years.

Amanda Carreiro, community manager at ruckus Digital, discusses why story telling will be a powerful and crucial tool 30 years from now, regardless of what shape of form it comes in.

Things in the digital world seem to change at warp speed, so it’s no surprise that even as social media professionals we’re still constantly learning and adapting to the tools we use daily.

It’s nearly impossible to predict what the social media marketing landscape will look like in 5 years, let alone in 30 years. Who’s to say if the big 5 social media platforms we use today, will still be relevant? But there’s one thing that will never go away, and that’s the ability to story tell.

Long before technology, there was word of mouth stories and cave drawings; after that came books, then radio, then television – all media with the same message told in different ways. Good stories have always found a platform to exist, and when social media began to take over the way we consume content, storytellers adapted to that platform as well.

The stories we tell now may have a character limit, or a video time limit, but that hasn’t stopped brands from telling stories that resonate with consumers. In the last 5 years, we’ve seen brands and users alike find a way to tell vibrant stories in 10-second videos.

Good brand story telling comes in many forms. At its truest form, it’s the ability to take a brand’s essence and communicate it to a desired audience – whether that be physically or digitally.

Without a good story, brand messaging gets lost in the social feed without much impact – but a good brand story transcends the pixels on our screens and into our physical lives. It becomes the thing we think about, talk about, and (ideally) buy.

So, while the way we consume content may look completely unrecognizable 30 years from now, one thing will never change – we’ll still need to be good storytellers.

Amanda Carreiro is the community manager at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

5 Qs with Devon Gleed from Steam Whistle Brewing

We recently interviewed Devon Gleed, one of Steam Whistle’s social media extraordinaires. Here’s what she’s working on and what inspires her.

1. What made you go into social media content?

“To be honest, I more stumbled into social media content. My career started off in PR and publicity when I worked at WE Day but as I moved into my next job at a marketing agency, I started doing more writing and community management for social media clients. From there I learned I really enjoyed being the voice of a brand, being able to answer consumer questions and create exciting visual content. In my current position at Steam Whistle, I get to be the voice of the product and a brand that Canadians have fallen in love with over the last 19 years. It’s a lot of fun!”

2. Tell us about what you’re currently working on.

“There are A LOT of exciting things happening at Steam Whistle Brewing. From opening a brand new event space at Biergarten, to bringing an American craft beer to the Canadian market, there’s so much I’m working on content-wise. It’s such an exciting time to be a part of the team.”

3. In your opinion, what is an example of a compelling campaign?

“To me, a compelling campaign is something that consumers can relate to or (if possible) something that sparks joy (I know, I sound like Marie Kondo). As a consumer, I love when I can easily take in a campaign and relate it to my life. How could I use this product? How will it benefit me? Is this making me happy? If all these boxes are checked, you’re more than halfway there, in my opinion.” 

4. How do you feel influencers differ from traditional media?

“This one relates back to compelling campaigns for me. I think people follow certain influencers because in some way, they feel like they can relate to them. Whether it’s interests, style, lifestyle and/or life experiences. People can relate to influencers as they give the product or service they’re selling a more personal spin than having the consumer view it in a standard ad.”

5. Who inspires you?

“Right now, I work with such a badass team of young professionals who inspire me every day with their brains and their passion. They push me to go above and beyond without even realizing it.”

Follow Steam Whistle Brewing on Instagram.

These five questions were compiled by Amanda Carreiro, community manager at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line. 

How enhanced technology has all the answers in 2019

Do you ever search for dinner recipes online, and wonder how you’ve ended up with a range of new Pinterest boards irrelevant to your initial search? If you’ve been down the rabbit hole before, my prediction for 2019 is that you’re about to fall into the deep end.

With enhanced technology on the rise, visual search engines are becoming increasingly popular and user friendly. The evolution of image search recognition tools enables users to receive more information and context beyond finding the images that you want to see.

In 2017, we were introduced to the first-of-its-kind technology through PinterestLens. The latest update to the Pinterest app lets you use your mobile camera to discover ideas inspired by objects you see offline. This offers custom searches for everything from outfit ideas, food recipes, to inspiring home décor, and more.

Since its launch, Pinterest has reported over 600 million visual searches a month- that’s a 140 per cent increase year-over-year. Celebrating the success, Pinterest’s CEO Ben Silbermann has said that “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.”

Some other notable platforms leading this digital search evolution include Google, e-Bay, and Bing, but we’re expected to see more smaller tech firms and marketplaces redesign their websites and mobile apps to support visual search in the coming years.

For example, in 2017 social media *kween,* Kim Kardashian launched her newest app, Screen Shop. Leveraging the newest visual search technology, the app allows users to upload any screenshot or picture and quickly generates links to sites where similar merchandise can be purchased.

With the magic of visual search, our online shopping experience is about to become more convenient than next day delivery. How can you see brands using the tool to enhance the consumer experiences in the coming years?

Nicole Pomeroy is a Senior Integrated Media Strategist at ruckus Digital. Learn more about a developing a fully integrated digital SEO/SEM strategy by visiting our website or emailing us at info@ruckusdigital.ca

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: The significance of word of mouth in the era of information overload.

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).

Vy Do, Digital & Creative Content intern, shares her view on how people are influenced and the power of word of mouth in 2019.

Bookstores are the main place where I learn about which books are most popular, which genres they belong to, which ones are staff picks; but, ironically, none of this information contributes to my purchase decision.

I have heard about “Educated,” “Becoming,” and “Small Fry” – all of them are from notable women, but I didn’t really pay attention to the praises they received on social media and in the newspaper.

Instead, I was influenced by a stranger on a subway who devoured “educated” in the early commuting hours.

I was influenced by my friend on “Goodreads,” the world’s largest site for book recommendations, who gave the book five stars.

I rely on these people because they have nothing to gain from suggesting a book.

When presented with so many choices, people seek advice from those they trust because it is too risky to listen to someone who may have received incentives for promoting something.

People are influenced by their friends of friends, too. Something like “I haven’t tried it but my friend Bobby said that…” may be just enough to be taken into consideration. Word-of-mouth is the oldest, yet most effective form of marketing.

We are bombarded with too much information daily, including fake news, so I believe people will turn back to people they know for advice.

Social content and paid ads may raise awareness for a product/service, but user-generated content and communities/forums are where consumers will test what they see and read.

So what is the implication for advertisers?

Care about what your audience may think and feel about your product. Spending money promoting something is not enough, think about how anyone your audience comes into contact with could influence your customer’s ultimate purchase. 

Vy Do is a Digital & Creative Content intern at APEX Public Relations. Learn more about what influences consumer’s purchase decision by visiting our website or emailing us at

bigger@apexpr.com

Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019.

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. 

2019 Crystal Ball – Brands creating real action in 2019

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).

Ella Singleton, director, creative strategies at ruckus Digital, shares her view on what will happen to brand campaigns this year.

There will always be those brands that are fast to co-opt the latest causes the media has rallied behind. They do it and are then either applauded, debated, despised or awarded (or usually a mix of all four) by consumers and industry peers.

But can brands action change for the good of our planet and humanity in 2019? Can they move things forward in a tangible, results-driven way, versus creating statements only to gain short term press headlines?

The question is what defines real action? What are results? 

Is it a campaign that lives in the media? Is it a story trending in your social feed for a week? Is it a hashtag to rally behind and track conversation?

Is it increased sales first, or social change?

Historically, by positioning ‘change’ in that way has been counterproductive. Conversations driven by brands is great for awareness, but has it ever really changed policy or human truths and behaviours?

What it has done is spike insincere, ineffective social action and then inevitably exhausted the masses shortly after.

The shift in thinking for major brand players in 2019 is what I am beginning to see in my crystal ball, and I see inklings of it. Foundational change is being discussed at the top. Thought leaders are realizing what will and will not move the needle, for their business and social responsibility.

False pretense of action is in the past — donation matching, co-opting conversation etc.

Actionable and innovative thinking in a business model is the only way forward. For example, the coalition of some of the biggest players in CPG moving to a zero waste platform is going to revolutionize how other brands think and act.

How can brands move beyond the false pretense of action to drive real and sustainable outcomes? Well, let’s see.

Ella Singleton is a Director, Creative Strategies at ruckus Digital. Looking to real action for your brand? Visit our website or email us at info@ruckusdigital.ca

Check out more of our Crystal Ball series to know what other trends to expect in 2019.

Crystal Ball 2019: Video killed the television star

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).

Amanda Carreiro, community manager at ruckus Digital, shares her view on what will happen to video this year.

We’ve all noticed our attention spans shrinking significantly over the last five years, and for marketers it’s become increasingly obvious. With all the information swirling around on social media feeds and news sites, consumers have adopted the feeling of needing to consume as much of it as possible (I blame the phenomenon that is FOMO). Because of this, digital content creators began producing content that sat in the ideal timeframe of 1 minute long – which was later reduced to 30 seconds, then to 10 seconds, then to just six seconds.

This is still the format adopted by most brands today. In fact, studies show that consumers register information from video content within the first second, and that the ideal spot for your brand’s messaging in a video is within the first 3 seconds.

With decreasing attention spans and the evolution of our brains taking in information faster, you may think that short form content is the only way to go, but think again – long form video content is making a comeback.

The reality is, that while consumers need a brand message served to them in 3 seconds, longer form content can grab and hold their attention just as well.

Take Vice Canada for example – as a major video content producer, they are regularly publishing social media videos that are anywhere between three to 10 minutes long; and according to Nina Sudra, General Manager of Vice Canada, it’s working for them.

Even Tasty – the food content experts who found their success online by posting quick 1-2 minute long video recipes – has now started to create longer form video content that ranges from 5-12 minutes long.

The television audience has been shrinking dramatically for years as consumers have shifted their attention to online streaming platforms. You see, when content is left to studios to create you end up with some good content, but mostly lackluster shows that you’ve never heard of because they only got one season on NBC. YouTube and Netflix have created a whole new generation of creators and viewers who know quality content and only want to be served that.

This trend, paired with the additional introductions of long form content platforms like IGTV and Facebook Watch, make it so that consumers now have more outlets to view the long form content they’re interested in.

Throughout 2019, brands will need to start changing their 6 second video strategy, to creating long form video that is relevant and interesting to their audience. They’ll need to reconsider the existing platforms and find new ways to serve their message – think a YouTube series for example.

The goal however remains the same, brands need to create engaging content, and this will be even harder now that there’s more view time to fill.

Amanda Carreiro is a community 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 video strategy? Drop us a line.