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#DailyDive: My mobile go-to sources for information on the go

Curiosity and ongoing learning are key requirements at our agency. Studies show that people who continue to learn as professionals are better problem-solvers, more creative and tend to enjoy their jobs more ̶ so that’s a bonus. This month we are sharing our go-to professional resources at APEX PR and ruckus Digital.

As a content developer in the social media space, you’d almost never find me picking up a newspaper or watching the morning/evening news, however you will find me with my phone constantly in hand, scrolling, listening, viewing, and taking in the latest news – like a true millennial.

Here are my some of my favourite sources of daily info:

  • The Adweek App (iOS & Google Play) – Talk about inspiration. I kill two birds with one stone reading Adweek. I get the latest industry news, and I get to see what the best of the best brands and agencies are doing globally and getting a little inspiration for my day-to-day working life.
  • Strategy Magazine – Okay, okay, I know I said you’ll only find me collecting news on my phone, but Strategy is the one exception I’ll make. Fresh out of university, knowing I wanted to go into marketing, but not necessarily knowing an exact direction, flipping through the pages of Strategy Magazine was one of the first times I can remember feeling truly inspired to go the direction I ended up going in the industry. All these year later, Strategy Magazine still inspires me.
  • Philip DeFranco – I’ll admit, some days are so hectic that I genuinely wouldn’t know what was happening in the world unless someone tells me. However, no matter how busy the day is, I still manage to find time to scroll through Instagram at least 3 times a day. Enter Philip DeFranco, my one-stop shop for global news and a hint of celebrity gossip – thanks Phil!

Amanda Carreiro is a senior digital content manager at ruckus Digital. Check out more of #DailyDive and see what others are looking at for professional inspiration. (Incidentally, Amanda and colleagues were recently mentioned in Strategy Magazine.)

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.

#FutureForward: Understand Your Target Audiences

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.

Nicole Pomeroy , senior integrated media strategist at ruckus Digital, discusses the importance of understanding your target audience as a communicator.

As PR and marketing practitioners, it’s our jobs to challenge the status quo and guide brands through the fast-changing media landscape. It’s hard to say which platforms are around for the long haul, but the importance in understanding your target audiences and knowing what motivates them will always be key.

From a simple scroll through your Instagram feed, or walk downtown, it’s blatantly obvious that we live in a world cluttered with vast amounts of luxury and household goods. From brunches filled with avocado toast and glasses of bottomless mimosas – millennials often get a bad rep for their “basic” lifestyle.

The most popular brands today among millennials are the ones that understand their daily struggles. Regardless of indulging in overpriced avocados, the reality is that millennials are often labeled the “brokest generation” with a low chance of owning a house and the demand of a post-secondary education for employment, followed by a load of serious student debt. As a result, their buying demand has shifted from material things to experiences.  

When young people today choose to spend the little money, they are more interested in spending money on experiences. Finding those things bring them happiness (like the perfect avocado, or a selfie worthy exhibition), and helps to raise their social currency amongst their peers.

While targeting millennials, brands continue meeting the demand of offering experiences instead of possessions. We’re seeing brands adapting to this movement using miniconcerts, yoga classes and cafes to draw consumers through its doors. Today’s brand ROIs are seeing high engagements through branded event hashtags, user generated content on social media, and increased awareness through word of mouth from these experiences.

In addition to connecting IRL (in real-life), we’re seeing more online design trends that take on a more emotional design, connecting more intimately with the consumer.

Just as we’re seeing millennial’s view ownership differently than previous generations did, upcoming generations will continue to have different habits that will both take businesses by surprise. It’s safe to say, knowing your audiences is and will always be key.

Nicole Pomeroy is a senior integrated media strategist at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#FutureForward: Tap into your inner emotions through design

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.

Vanessa Cuartas , integrated media designer at ruckus Digital, discusses the various layers of design that are directly related to emotion.

Every morning we wake up to a whole new different day, but something you may not realize that remains constant are the various emotions that we go through daily when interacting with different products. Whether it is our Starbucks app to get our coffee, our Spotify app to listen to our music, or just interacting with our computers at work, all these interactions cause an emotion.

This is why in the world of design; emotional design is something that will not be going away anytime soon – even 30 years from now it will still be relevant. Designers now more than ever have to take into consideration the emotions users may experience when interacting with their products.

“Emotional design strives to create products that elicit appropriate emotions, in order to create a positive experience for the user,” according to the Interaction Design Foundation.

In the book Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things,

Don Norman talks about the three different levels of the emotional system: the visceral, behavioural and reflective levels. These levels heavily influence design in their own way.

Visceral design taps into our immediate reactions when encountering a product, basically is it love at first sight. At this level, we are essentially looking at the product’s branding.  

Behavioural design is all about how we interact with a product, how it performs or how easy it is to learn to use. For example, this could be the pleasure to be able to find a contact on your phone or the difficulty of typing on a small screen. The behavioural level taps into the emotions you feel when accomplishing or failing to complete our goals. 

Reflective design is all about how the product makes us feel after we’ve used it, for example, or how we feel when we don’t have it. Do we feel a sense of fomo, for example?

By taking a closer look at these different levels, designers will have a better sense of what they are creating for the world and their consumers. These levels will allow them to think deeper about how their product not only looks, but how it will be used and the feeling the users will get when it has been used. 

Vanessa Cuartas is an integrated media designer at ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#FutureForward: Staying Curious

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.

Katie Boland , account director at APEX Public Relations/ ruckus Digital, discusses why curiosity is an advantageous skill to bring into the workplace, and how you can put it into action.

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.

Within the last 10 years that I’ve been practicing communications, the workplace has evolved and changed significantly from tearing down the cubicle walls, to digital tools that teams use to collaborate from the comfort of their homes if they choose to do so.

With this evolution, there are more options for communicators to make the work environment flexible and accessible for all people. Yet every opportunity, comes with its own challenges or weaknesses.

Regardless of future technology and media changes, there are skills that will still be valuable regardless of the channels, tools or applications we use. For me, the skill of curiosity has helped me stay relevant and open-minded.

Don’t let change hold you back

As a highly anxious person, there are things that I will also go back to because they’re comfortable and reliable, such as a great movie, a good meal or favourite outfit.

Ironically, within the workplace, I’m always curious about new tools and exploring new channels, tactics or opportunities. Working with brands always trying to stay relevant, there is a stigma about not becoming the next Blockbuster Video or Kodak Film (a couple brands that didn’t adapt)Their work teams could have helped these brands evolve by practicing the skill of curiosity.

How can you become more curious?

  1. Ask more questions. There are no dumb questions, just missed opportunities. Even if you’re the most senior person in the room, you should always be challenging and ensuring you’re clear on the direction or answers.
  2. Try something new. Seek out new knowledge or experiences on a regular basis. Whether it’s reading a new book, podcast or networking to meet new people. Keep your curious funnel full.
  3. Take a different perspective. Be a devil’s advocate and seek out new and diverse perspectives. Looking at a problem or opportunity from a different angle can help you see things in a new way.

Katie Boland is an account director at APEX Public Relations and ruckus Digital. Need help with your social media approach? Drop us a line.

#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.