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Are Your Staff Marketing for the Competition?

Sometimes it really doesn’t matter what you do when it comes to advertising and marketing if your front-line staff aren’t clued into how important they are to your business.

Today’s point of interest:

So, hankering for a burger, I drive up to a popular fast food window.

Me: ‘I’ll have a burger with everything except pickles and tomatoes’
Girl: ‘Do you want cheese on that?’
Me: ‘Oh, no thank-you’

I drive up to pay.

Window opens.

Girl talking to fellow employee: ‘I think I’ll go to McDonalds.’

I’m not at McDonalds.

Girl to me: ‘Debit?’
Me: ‘Yes’

Passes me machine.

Fellow Employee: ‘I had their new chicken sandwich’
Girl talking to fellow employee: ‘Oh ya? Is it better than ours?’
Me: Trying to hear answer. Missed it. Lol
Fellow Employee: ‘It’s that new one. Really good!’

Girl to me: ‘Here’s your drink’
Girl talking to fellow employee: ‘I think I’ll go get fries and nuggets’
Girl to me: ‘Thanks’ (hands me my burger)

I drive away, shaking my head. Open my burger with 2 slices of cheese on it. Eat it anyway cuz I was starving.

Will I go back? Yes, I like the burgers, but seriously? Who’s minding the store??

Do you include the importance of customer service, being ‘present’ and share your marketing messages in your staff training?

These are the types of things that we investigate when we’re working on #Marketing Strategies for our clients.
It’s about looking at the Big Picture. Ask us how we can help your business or organization.

~ Laura Brasseur
Marketing Director p: 613.771.0090 tf:1.855.571.0090

Local Challenge to Help Haiti

lou'sTypically on Friday’s I blog about food, wine and entertaining. But last Friday, in light of the earthquake that struck Haiti, it just didn’t seem that important. With so many people living without food, it was hard to blog about it.

The tragedy in Haiti is really hitting home–so many people homeless, living in fear of lost family members and friends, and without food or drink. Devastating! And something that we Canadians have never had to deal with. Natural disasters of this magnitude just don’t touch us.

On my drive in to work last Friday morning I was listening to our local radio station, the Mix,  and they reported that one of our local restaurants, Lou’s Cozy Grill, was donating $1 from every meal purchase to relief for Haiti. That is just awesome, way to go! Can you imagine if every restaurant in town did that?! What a difference it would make! Restaurants all over the world are doing their part, check it out.

I say, come on restaurants in Belleville, follow Cozy Grill’s lead, and donate a portion of every bill over the coming week to Haiti relief. And to all the residents of Belleville and the Quinte Area, go out, share a meal with your family and friends, be thankful for the fact that you have food to eat, and feel good about the fact that a portion of your bill goes to helping Haiti. It’s a win-win.

Why should your restaurant participate? Cause marketing–giving back not only for the good of your business, but for that of the world around you. (To read an excellent post on this topic, take a look at PR professional, Lauren Fernandez’s blog.) Get on board, and give back, because we’re so fortunate to live where we do.

I’m going to the Cozy for lunch today, want to join me?




At this point, the world is in shock over the devastation this country suffered on Tuesday as a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Hispaniola–the epicentre of its force being only 14 miles away from the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

Some of you may know, but for those of you who don’t, I was scheduled to board a plane to Haiti on January 27th, for a two weeks of humanitarian relief work.

I don’t know the fate of that trip; I don’t even know if they have an airport. An estimated 3 million people have been affected by this disaster–something no one in Haiti can afford. Most of Haiti’s approximately 9 million residents already live on $1.00 per day. They are the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Cite-Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince’s shanty towns is the poorest neighbourhood in the world with 300,000 people living in abject poverty.

My heart breaks for these people. It has for awhile, which is was going there. And right now, I unabashedly plea with you to act. Nothing is more important today then helping those who can’t help themselves.

My friends at World Vision Canada are already on the ground in Haiti, with emergency response teams being organized, and help being brought to residents as quickly as possible. We won’t know the full extent of the damage for days, but we can all do our part.

Give to World Vision Canada’s Haiti Relief Efforts

If you’re from the Quinte region, and you want to give directly to local efforts, then please email Rick Langstaff of New Mercy Ministries at [email protected] or you can donate to NMM’s Haiti relief by visiting Desert Stream Christian Fellowship at 535 Dundas St E. in Belleville.

Thank you!

A Little Bit of Canada in Oklahoma

It's a White Christmas in Oklahoma!

It's a White Christmas in Oklahoma!

Thanks to Sarah, who’s working with us from afar, for her guest contribution to the blog today. If you haven’t read about Sarah’s adventures in Oklahoma, check out her previous posts. We miss you, Sarah!

Not in my wildest dreams did I think that this year would be a white Christmas, but yes it’s true we did have a white Christmas with 14 inches of snow! I thought I wouldn’t have to shovel a driveway for a while, but yes, Christmas morning I was shoveling the driveway. Did I mention we have the worst driveway EVER as we have a bridge as well as the driveway?

Driving has become a game of dodgem cars as many locals are not use to driving in such conditions and their aint no plows in Oki. If anyone is looking for a new vehicle, there were hundreds on the side of the road in the ditch. From trucks to compacts, there were many to choose from. My husband had to drive to Dallas and counted 188 in the ditch just on the way to the airport. Most of OKC looked like a scene from “War of the Worlds. ”

As true Canadians (or in my case Can-Aussies) we all put on our snowsuits and boots, and enjoyed the snow in true Canadian style. The sleds were located in the attic and we all had a blast. A few confused looks from the neighbours as all the winter weather gear started appear out of our house. All the extra snowsuits in our house have been lent to the neighbours kids so they too can enjoy the white weather also.

Oklahoma has had the coldest temperatures ever with the thermostat hitting -15F. As a Canadian you may say “-15F, that’s not so bad,” but without proper winter gear and metal pipes in the houses for most here it’s been a nightmare. Frozen pipes, no electricity and some schools have had to close their doors as it is too cold for students without proper jackets and mitts. My little girl’s school was one that remained open, and I just could not believe that there were students going to school without gloves or coats zipped up or in t-shirts!!

So there you have it folks… it snows in Oklahoma! Any volunteers to shovel the driveway?

Caitlin enjoying the snow

Caitlin enjoying the snow

Owen looking cute, as always

Owen looking cute, as always

Sarah & new baby Madison

Sarah & new baby Madison

A Special Little Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010!

Wow, a decade is almost done, with only one year to go. I can’t believe how time flies. Life seems to be traveling so fast these days, it’s nice to have some time to simmer – and Christmas is the perfect time to do just that.

I welcome the holidays because it is a time to reconnect with close friends and family. I am looking forward to spending time with my parents, twin sister (we shared a birthday yesterday), brother-in-law and little baby Chloe this year. It’s a small Christmas, but a very special one. I hope that yours is special also.

Happy Holidays!


Kathy (right) & Betty

Kathy (right) & Betty

The adorable Chloe!

The adorable Chloe!

Let’s Play!

Don't just sit there! You need to play as much as this guy.

Don't just sit there! You need to play as much as this guy.

I was reading Chris Brogan’s newsletter from December 15, again this morning, as I sat suffering from a small case of blog-writer’s block. If you don’t subscribe to his newsletter, you must do so immediately. It’s always a wealth of information, and Chris has such a transparent way of writing. He’s really generous in sharing the strategies he uses in his own busines. But I digress…

Chris was talking about playing games. He asked why, as adults, we don’t do so more often. Good question! Creativity and playing games help us engage in open possibilities. As adults we tend to forget how playing games helps us to understand the world.

Think about Christmas morning: Why do most young children like to play with the box more than the present inside? Because it allows them to use their imaginations. There aren’t any rules or boundaries; they just think possibility. As adults in business, we could stand a little childhood regression.

It just so happens that sitting on my desk is a great book that I love to pull out when I’m in need of possibility. It’s called Thinker Toys: A handbook of creative thinking techniques, and it’s written by Michael Michalko. Thinker Toys is really a big book of games for grown-ups.

Combining individual, and group, brainstorming techniques, Michalko helps the reader to open their mind up to inspiration from many directions. It’s stretching and motivating, and really fun. If you, like Chris, recognize that games are good for business, you should add a copy to your Christmas wishlist.

Then, take a look at our Facebook Fan Page for some creative thinking ideas to bring out your inner child.

How do you get creative in the workplace? Any tips or techniques?

Barcelona…to Belleville?

Yesterday, the Olympic torch passed through our fair city, with thousands of Quinte residents crowding the streets for a glimpse. Despite the fist shaking that ensued over congested traffic, the Olympic spirit prevailed, and a sense of unity and pride was in the air.

(Take a look at the video our friend Trevor Crowe, of Crowe Productions took yesterday!)

The Olympics is an event of, well, Herculean proportions (pun very much intended). And there’s more to it than simply the games. Whether it’s in city planning, architecture, uniforms and accessories, logos or branding, the Olympics is as much about design as it is about the sport. Since its rebirth in 1896, both summer and winter games have seen various attempts at capturing the Olympic spirit visually.

Rumour has it, we like design around here as well. So we thought we’d take a look at some past logos, in honour of the torch run, and let you know our favourites.

olympic2Fillmore’s Picks

Albertville, 1992 and Calgary, 1988.

Kathy’s Picks

I prefer Helsinki Summer 1952 for the sole reason that it definitely has the “retro” feel. However, for fun colour and movement I prefer Barcelona Spain – I’d love to go to Spain one day. Calgary 1988 hits me in a nostalgic way because I remember watching Elizabeth Manley win silver in women’s figure skating. It was so exciting!

Bryna’s Picks

olympic5For purely nostalgic purposes, I agree with Kathy regarding the Calgary 1988 logo. I think it was the first Olympics I was really aware of, and it held a certain grandiose mystique in my seven year old mind. Plus, I liked those bear mascots!

As a grown up, I love the Athens 2004 logo, but I think it lacks the movement that you might associate with a good Olympic design (ie. Barcelona, Nagano, even Torino). But I still think it’s gorgeous so it’s my favourite.

Kerry’s Picks

olympic1I am quite torn as to which one I like the best. I would have to say that it is between three: Lake Placid Winter 1932 (really love the feel of this one and the image of the skier); Sapporo Winter 1972, and Calgary Winter 1988. Funny how they are all winter ones! If I absolutely had to pick, I guess it would be 1972–awesome color combo with the silver and red, it looks crisp and clean (not too busy like some of them) and easy to understand. Love the snowflake! 

olympics8Shaun’s Picks

Vancouver 2010 as it’s the most sophisticated/modern design of late. Taking the colour from the rings was smart, and they didn’t overdo it with the fonts.


For a complete list of Olympic logo design, check out this link.

What are you favourites?

Kathy’s Spin Class Update


Well, today is my last spin class at the gym – Mindful Movements. I never thought that I would be able to keep it up, but I have!

I will admit, though that I did miss 2 classes for being sick, and two more classes for movie night (oops)…but all in all I don’t think I’ve done too badly! It actually was one of the tougher things I have done for myself recently, so I will give myself a pat on the back and a “good job Kathy – you rock”.

The instructors are very knowledgeable, and have been very supportive. They do an awesome job at motivating me that’s for sure! They definitely have made my experience a positive one. In saying that, I’ve decided to continue with the gym in January!

They are working on their new schedule at the moment, but it should be up on their website very soon, if you are interested in treating yourself to a new healthier you for the New Year. I’m looking forward to it.

2010 – Bring it on!

Take a look at the Engine Communications Facebook Fan Page today as well. We’re discussing the ‘facelift’ that Gatorade is getting in 2010 with a mini-case study by Bryna.

Monday Morning Reads

j0438525Coffee. Check.

Music. Check.

Articles to inspire. Check.

A list of what I’m reading this morning:

AdvertisingAge’s Book of Tens – The ten best of everything media, design, marketing, and more. If you’re in any creative field, this is a must-read. If you’re not, it’s still a must-read. So read it. Now.

Fast Company: Mr. Social – I have to admit, I always wondered what Demi saw in him. How Ashton Kutcher has proven me wrong, and why he matters to the future of social media.

The New Yorker: Branded a Cheat – I’ve been trying to avoid the Tiger gossip machine, but for us PR/marketing types, this is going to be a case study. Put down the US Weekly, and pick up the New Yorker.

Wired: James Cameron and Avatar – What James Cameron’s epic new film means for movies, media, and the future of communications.

Ad Week 2010 – I’m not so much reading this as I am madly planning my itinerary. But if we’re talking inspiration, then I can hardly leave it out.

What are you reading? Who’s inspiring you today?

On the Road

j0438811Last week I started talking about finding your voice online. As mentioned, I was on a search for nuggets of wisdom that would point me toward this, and I wasn’t having much luck. I’ve also noticed that more and more, who we present ourselves as online, is having increasingly dramatic consequences in our daily lives (Click here and here for examples.)

Why should this matter to you?

As professionals we need to know who we are. Discovering our voice is critical to success in the workplace. As a young pro, it’s part of the stage that I’m at, but I have a feeling that these questions arise throughout our careers. Equipping ourselves with the tools to assess these situations is another important element of our work life.

Rather than simply talk about this, I’ve decided to use myself as a guinea pig. I’m going on a journey–a journey of self-discovery that I hope will help you to find out who you are as well.

So let’s begin…

As John Donne said, “No man is an island.” I’ve enlisted some experts to help me take this trip into my psyche. The first is Murray Comber of Life Concepts, Leadership, Team & Career Development.

Murray is a Corporate Soft Skills Trainer and Career & Work Consultant from Eastern Ontario. Since 2001, he has worked with high level government officials, and leaders everywhere from big business to non-profits, to help them to understand themselves and the people they work with.

Using both temperment and type assessments, he assists individuals in determining their personal career paths, strengthening their leadership competencies, building teams, and encouraging peak performance. He’s been kind enough to agree to help me out next.

I’ll be taking a variety of tests to assess what makes me tick. This could be a bumpy ride! Stay tuned, and make sure to check out Murray’s site while we wait for the test results.

In the meantime, my colleague Nate Riggs (another expert you’ll be hearing more from soon in the Engine Room) from Huber + Co. Interactive in Columbus, Ohio, sent me this link to find out my Myers-Briggs Personality Type. I’ve posted the results on our Facebook Fan Page. Try it out, and let me know your type!