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“Under Promise, Over Deliver”

Also know as “surprise and delight”. Expectation setting is a huge part of being successful not just from a client perspective, but internally in the workplace. Deliver everything on time, and deliver your best work, every time.

Amanda Carreiro is a Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

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“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better”

I believe that people tend to place too many expectations on themselves. College grads think they need to be experts, those starting out think they’re not as far along as they should be and on and on it goes. I know I personally thought I wasn’t ready to be in the workforce because I didn’t know as much as I believed I needed to. But I also knew that the only way you can get there is to work at it. Treat every day as a building block to your success and try to learn as much as you can on any given day. If you pick up one new thing to make you quicker, smarter, more curious every day. You will find the excellence that you’ve been searching for.

Aaron Short is a Coordinator at ruckus Digital.

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“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”

The digital world is constantly changing and as practitioners, it’s important to have the ability to pivot. While it may be easier to remain in your comfort zone out of the fear of not being good at something, it will never give you the opportunity to learn or better yourself. I always keep these wise words in my back pocket when I take on a new challenge.

Emily Rivas is the Senior Strategist at ruckus Digital.

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“Be kind to yourself.”

A marketing and communications career is a fast paced one. Towards the start of mine, like many others in the industry, I worked extremely long hours and wasn’t so kind to myself. I rarely stopped. I quickly realized that burnout is a real thing.  I learned that to do the best possible work and to keep up with the fast pace, you must be kind to yourself. That means reaching out for help when you need it and understanding that you won’t always be ‘on’ and taking advantage of the moments when you are.  Marketing is a team sport and a team is only as good as the collective of individuals. It’s important that we are all kind to ourselves so that as a team, we’re ready to go and up for any challenge.


Elspeth Baird is the Group Director at ruckus Digital.

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“If You Smile At The World, The World Will Smile Back At You.”

When tasked with finding a quote that embodies my life and work philosophy, I easily selected the above. In my experience, positivity brings positivity. Colleague, mentor-mentee, and client relationships all benefit from positive interactions with open communication. Motivating individuals through encouragement and acknowledging wins provides a safe and happy environment. This, in turn, brings positivity back to the work being conducted and the relationships being built.

At the end of the day, people are most likely to perform their best work when they feel supported and like their workplace which becomes a cycle of positivity.

Abby Radovski is the Account Director at ruckus Digital.

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READY TO RAISE A RUCKUS: MEET ELSPETH

Elspeth Baird is ruckus’ newest team member, joining our team as Group Director, Digital and Content. Elspeth’s role will focus on senior client counsel and leadership on all digital aspects, and she will also support new business growth.  Learn more about her below.

1. How has your previous work or volunteer experience helped you get to where you are today?

“Enrolling in a Bachelor of Public Relations program was a critical step in jumpstarting my career. It was a cooperative education program that included three work placements or internships. I was in a traditional PR function for my first placement and the other two were at an integrated marketing agency where I gained experience in both digital and social media and experiential marketing. I fell in love with that digital and social life, so I ended up going all-in soon after I graduated.”

2. What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

“I love how social media marketing requires both analytical and creative chops. Getting the numbers to confess their truth is one of the most exhilarating parts of the strategic planning process. Once you have that clean data-driven insight, the approach and the various touchpoints for a plan often become clear.

On my down time, I like to travel (especially to Scotland to revisit my family roots) and go to various live music shows across the city.”

3. What moment or accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

“That’s like asking me to name my favourite child. However, all my career highlights do have a common thread and that’s when I’m working with a client partner that feels like an extension of the agency team and we try the ‘untried’ and succeed. There’s something inspiring about seeing the team’s collaboration and efforts garner great results.”

4. How do you stay up to date on industry trends and best practices?

“I have my favourite tech and social news sites which I browse through almost daily. Client reports also really help with shaping content best practices since there is so much power in knowing what performs well for various brands, platforms, and target audiences.”

5. Is there something you hope to achieve while at Apex?

“My goal is always to continually evolve with the fast-paced digital and social media landscape and work with the team to provide clients with the best possible innovative solutions. I also hope to be a mentor and be mentored by various team members.”

6. Three interesting facts about yourself.

  • “I bungee jumped off the original bungee jump of the world at Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand. I am in good company with many of the Lord of the Rings cast members doing the same.
  • I’m a Scot! Sort of… I am of Scottish heritage. My sister and I were the first to be born in Canada. 
  • I am distantly related to John Logie Baird who invented the TV.” 

Elspeth Baird is a Group Director at ruckus Digital

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Using YouTube video to educate modern home buyers

Problem

For our RE/MAX client, it’s important to educate modern home buyers about the value of an agent, especially as digital-only real estate services are expanding within the Canadian market. With Canadian Millennials making up half of the home buyers in the coming years, RE/MAX wanted to experiment with new communications channels to inform, educate and entertain this audience about the value of using a real estate agent.  

For millennials, YouTube was the most used platform, with Canadian Millennials spending 8 hours a week, above watching live TV (4.1 hours), scrolling Facebook (7.3 hours) or binging Netflix (7.4). Millennials grew up with technology and were very aware of advertisements. They want control over their ads, with 69 per cent preferring “skippable” functions. To reach and engage with this audience, we knew we had to do it on the platforms they loved with people they watched and trusted.

Solution

Developed in collaboration with RE/MAX and APEX PR, we created a five-part content series to offer a behind-the-scenes look at real Millennial homebuyers in their very early search process. The series – hosted by YouTuber and social media personality Ashley Bloomfield, launched in October 2019 on RE/MAX Canada’s YouTube channel and was promoted via Facebook and Instagram.

Each episode focused on the beginning of the home-buying journey, as the featured buyers consider liveability factors and weighed them against other variables, such as price. “Liveability” is the satisfaction a homeowner gets within the context of a neighbourhood (such as proximity to public transit and schools) in addition to the home’s features (such as layout or number of bathrooms). Homebuyers featured included a range of narratives including newlyweds, moving close to work, new parents and first time moving in together.

#HomeGoals by RE/MAX depicts inevitable compromises and choices that real Canadians face when looking to begin the process of buying a home. The participants featured in the five-episode series discuss their decisions in the context of the neighbourhood, their budgetary constraints and their liveability goals. It offers advice from RE/MAX to assist on their journey.

Results

To drive video views and audience retention, this campaign leveraged YouTube and TrueView In-Stream Ads to highly target the home buying audience and ensure the right audience was receiving the right message, affordably and quickly. In the past, media channels like TV made it a challenge to reach a specific demographic quickly and cost-effectively. Overall, the #HomeGoals programming was able to reach out to the Millennial segment, earning over one million views (+ 500% of our benchmark) and saw an average watch time of 1:48 per episode.

See the #HomeGoals series here

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital.

Read more of our favourite work from 2019.

The Importance of Community Management

Over the years, social media has become people’s primary method of communication, entertainment, and even shopping. It’s a little known fact that social media has changed the way consumers shop, and the way businesses advertise, and while brand recognize the importance of reach and engagement on social media, many marketers seem to be missing the value of dedicating resources to community management on their brand social media channels.

Before social media, when consumers had questions about products and services they went in-store, made calls into customer service lines, or went on websites to use a company’s “live chat” feature. But as consumer behaviour has changed, so has the way consumers look for information.

Individuals now look to social media for answers from companies, but between chatbots who have limited responses and companies who have a slow response time, there is a lot of room for disappointment. Companies need to look at social media as not just an advertising tool, but also as a customer service tool – a line of communication that allows them to speak directly to customers, educate them and engage them – in turn selling to them.

In addition to using social media as a customer service tool, companies should also be using social media as a conversational tool. Companies need to start using the comment sections of their posts as an opportunity to engage with users and tell their own brand stories. While this can be as simple as thanking users for positive comments, there’s also an opportunity to use brand voice as a method of further entertaining and engaging users. (Think Wendy’s famous clap backs for example)

A more recent example of a brand that could have applied good community management to “win” social media, was Tim Horton’s recent tweet offering Megan Markle and Prince Harry free coffee for life. This tweet received a lot of hate. Instead of embracing the hate or using it as an opportunity to open a dialogue with users, Tim Horton’s remained silent.

A brand can manage a crisis with humility and acknowledge their mistake by communicating with their audiences and acknowledging errors or any inaccurate information. Community management is not about pleasing everyone or responding to every message but giving brands the opportunity to converse with consumers and hear their stories.

Amanda Carreiro is the Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.

Need help with your social strategy? Drop us a line.

What is TikTok and how is it engaging Generation Z?

If your parents were on Facebook and Instagram, wouldn’t you want an alternative platform to connect with friends? It’s a no-brainer that Generation Z does. Enter the new social platform – TikTok.

To be exact, 41 per cent of TikTok-ers are between the age of 16 and 24 according to Globalwebindex. Many of which likely don’t appreciate the original TikTok song by Kesha as much as I do.

It’s a great reminder that social platforms are made and perfected by their daily users. It’s the users that wanted a new way to share and engage with friends. It’s also these creators that are developing a new community to share, connect, and entertain.

I’m optimistic that the platform will hold on throughout 2020 but the power behind giant companies like Facebook and Google won’t let this little company capture audiences without a fight.

Here are the five things you need to know about the platform:

1. TikTok content should entertain: Content getting the most attention entertains first. With music at the center of the app, TikTok gives users access to the most popular music on the charts, making it easy for individuals to recreate topical content. As users easily scroll through 20-30 videos within five minutes, the content should be creative and attention-grabbing. These users don’t like any content that interrupts their experience or feels like it doesn’t fit.

2. Adapt your content to the community by leveraging what users expect to see. Combine different elements like challenges, trending music and jump transformations to tell a unique story. Stay tuned on the discover page to see what’s trending in the community.

3. TikTok campaigns can drive sales: Users like a good challenge that’s why brands like Chipotle or Kroger took to the platform to challenge fans to join them. Chipotle held a #GuacDance challenge and received over a quarter of a million content submissions and 430 million video plays during its first six days. Kroger held a #TransformUrDorm challenge which asked users to post before and after videos of their dorm makeovers using products from Kroger’s.

4. Influencer exists here too! Check out Influencer Grid to search for the most popular TikTok creators based on followers, video views, topics or engagement rates. In Canada, the most popular users are Eric Struk, Sophia Diamond or Anna McNulty. These influencers can drive crowds of teens like the Beatles or Elvis used to do, as a few influencers recently took to the Eaton Centre to show how to draw a crowd.

5. Organic engagement won’t last long: For many of these platforms, their objectives are driving daily active users and then monetizing them. With an advertising page and a growing Canadian account team, if you want to take part in the early adoption phase of this community, act now.

Katie Boland is an Account Director at ruckus digital. Drafted with notes from APEX PR coordinator and huge TikTok fan, Jesse Cecchetto.

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2019 Reflection Blog Post – The Pivot

2019 was the year of podcasting for me. As one of APEX’s in-house podcast producers, one of my favourite projects was producing our very own podcast The Pivot, based on the CMO Lab research we conducted in 2018.

The Pivot is the qualitative aspect of the CMO Lab to further peel the onion on why 53 per cent of Canadian marketers haven’t shifted their strategies in the last few years, even though 98 per cent of CMOs believe that brand and organizational reputation have only become more important.

What a year we’ve had with The Pivot! From growing the producing team from 3 to 7, to chatting with some of Canada’s top marketers about strategy and the shifts along the way, it has certainly been an enriching project. The year ended with a bang – with season 3 wrapping up with a discussion about Canada’s cannabis sector with Andrew Rusk of Canopy Growth.

We had the chance to delve into some great campaigns – Lori Davison of the SickKids foundation walked us through the process of the VS. Limits campaign and the team at Hershey Canada chatted with us about the Oh Henry 4:25 campaign. My personal favourite is our discussion on reputation management with Brad Ross, chief communications officer at the City of Toronto.

Going into this podcast, I hoped for the episodes to be very conversational and insightful, without being too dense or disingenuous. With season 3 now wrapped up, I am happy with how each episode turned out. Each one was indeed conversational and light-hearted, with the guests sharing their own experiences in the industry and offering insights on their own approach to face disruption.

We also have a little fun with our guests – every time a guest says “authentic” or “authenticity” in the conversation, our host Ken Evans will stop and ask them to define it. Why? Because it’s an over-used word that can be very vague!

Looking back, the biggest hurdle in this project was scheduling – I’m sure every podcast has experienced this at least once! Let’s face it – marketers are BUSY! Nailing down a date for a recording can get tricky.

Overall, I’m very proud of this podcast and happy with the outcome. Each episode continues to get more downloads over time, and I’m looking forward to producing season 4 in the new year!

Ashley Villarroel is a Senior Consultant at APEX PR. How do you define authenticity?

Check out more 2019 highlights here!