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6 Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself:

What are you saying? After branding, a user-friendly interactive website is likely one of the most important tools that you need for your business or organization. Your online messages including Social Media postings, along with cohesive marketing collateral, make a big difference for increasing your business. To help you get started in the thought process, here are 6 Marketing Questions you should ask yourself:

1. If I’ve never heard of my business, is it absolutely clear ‘WHAT IT IS?’ that I do?
2. Do my messages immediately identify the ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?’ question?
3. Am I consistent in my branding across ALL print, logo, tagline, ad, POP item, website and Social Media?
4. Do I have a UNIQUE printed piece that I could give to my clients that encourage repeat business?
5. Does everything I do include my website ADDRESS?

6. Most important of all? Do I tell people what it is that I want them to do? Everything needs a CTA (Call to Action) Read about CTA’s here >

A special thank you!

We thought we would take a moment to show our appreciation to you, our clients. To us, it’s all about relationships. Thank you for including Engine Communications in your marketing success.

Here’s to a great Fall season! Need Help? We’re here for you. Let’s Chat!

~ Your Engine Communications Team


Organic FaceBook Promo with The Trails!

In less than a week, we reached 14,600 people on Facebook alone. Now that’s the POWER of Social Media!

We’ve posted on their website, throughout Social Media channels and on their Facebook page.

It was so successful, we repeated for June in time for Friday the 13th, the FULL MOON & Father’s Day!

FaceBook Promo without Paying for Ads!

Coming next:

  • New print map
  • Interactive map
  • Local business coupon booklet
  • Billboards, magazines in GTA & Ottawa.

Looking to attract tourists? Visitors to your business? Partner with them!

Call Cindy 613.478.1444

Words That Get Your Content Shared!

Well, this is one handy Infographic!

We do quite a lot of Social Media Management over here at Engine. It certainly is true that WHAT you SAY and HOW you SAY IT makes a big difference in engaging people online. Of course the ‘Likes’ of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on, change the rules all of the time, but your audience always reacts to engaging content. Because, guess what? They’re human!

What’s the Rule?

Be real. Be transparent. Provide interesting, valuable information (CONTENT) via images and text to keep user’s interested. Practice different ways of sending your message. Here’s a handy guide that offers great insight on how important your words really are.

Need help with Content Marketing? Contact Us >

Great Campaigns Produce Great Results

As a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series of books by George R. R. Martin, I have been watching the development and promotion of the new TV series: Game of Thrones, with a keen eye.

HBO’s promotional campaign is great example of a successful integrated marketing campaign. From seizing the throne, to free bicycle throne rides events and then integrating it with a Facebook, blog and Twitter campaign, HBO had a great promotional campaign.


They placed giant throne replicas around major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Then, people got their picture taken which were then posted on Facebook and Twitter as “seizing the throne.”

This strategy is great for many reasons. First, giant thrones in a major public area will create attention and buzz from traditional media and word-of-mouth. Second, posting the pictures on Facebook gets people to spread the word to family and friends which further promotes the new TV show. Third, people will then post and talk about these events occurring (such as this blog!)

These promotions were highly successful judging by the 4.2 million viewers who tuned into the first episode.

Although HBO had a large budget, they used it efficiently. By showing these events across all possible mediums, they used their dollars wisely. Make sure you do the same when planning and promoting your events.

Brand that Facebook Page!

Recently I read an article from Techipedia about “Building the Perfect Facebook Page for 2011.” This article breaks down and simplifies the page layout. It is a great resource for companies, small businesses and not-for-profits.

Normally, the a page looks like an extension of Facebook with your logo on it; however, customizing your page will easily create brand awareness and continuity. Many people realize the importance of a great looking website, but underestimate the importance of a great looking fan page.

Having an underwhelming fan page will get you an underwhelming response. Companies such as Pepsi, Red Bull, and McDonald’s realize the potential opportunity and have created a page that is consistent with their image and looks fantastic.

Creating a branded, stylistic Facebook page will entice customers to check out your company. You will get your message out, not Facebook’s. Talk with us today and we can help your brand successfully use Facebook Pages.

Tumblr: The next Star?

Recently I have begun to experiment with a new (2008+) and growing media tool: Tumblr. The tool combines Twitter and Blogging to create a “micro-blog.” Instead of short posts on your WordPress or Blogger account, you post small updates on your Tumblr page. These updates can be larger than Twitter’s 140 character limit, but users are encouraged to keep updates small. Multimedia can be uploaded to a page directly, much like a blog or a Twitter pic link.

Tumblr wants you to Save Twitter for short links and updates, blogs for longer discussions and Tumblr for longer than Twitter updates but not long enough to merit a new blog post.

On one extreme there are blogs (long, in-depth) and the other extreme is Twitter (short and shallow). Tumblr strives to hit the golden mean and let users post medium posts, enhanced with embedded multimedia.

My favourite feature is the news feed, which standard blogs do not have and acts just like the Twitter feed. Users can “reblog” their favourite posts directly from the news feed.

Does it work? From what I have seen so far, Tumblr is easy to use and is quite unique. If it was not for their technical instability I think Tumblr would be the next big social media platform.

The instability means that users can never know whether their posts will be posted or lost. They won’t know if people will even be able to access their page when Tumblr servers go down. Tumblr will not continue to grow if users become frustrated with technical glitches.

Tumblr is a neat tool and has a vibrant community if they can fix their issues I can see it becoming quite popular. I definitely recommend checking it out and see if it is useful for you and your organization.

Is Tumblr the way of the future, or is there some other site out there that is thriving and growing? Let us know what you think. You can check out my work-in-progress Tumblr at:

Questioning Your Marketing Vision

Being in the marketing business, I question myself daily as to what makes me tick. What motivates me to buy a product, use one service over another, or donate to this or that non-profit? All of our clients have competition within their industries, the local market, or even on an international level. In the simplest terms, our challenge is to identify why someone would want to use their service/product over the competition’s, and to capitalize on those features using the various tools in our marketing repertoire.

Sometimes this challenge is easily overcome. Other times, you’re faced with a bigger issue. Today, I had a bigger issue.

Whenever I need a jolt of creative inspiration, I go to my favourite website, TED is an amazing database of lectures by some of the world’s most famous minds in fields as diverse as marketing, nuclear physics and religion. This site has everything. This morning, I found myself trolling it’s categories once again for a spark of genius that would lead me to my eureka moment. And guess what? I found it!

In his TED talk entitled, “How great leaders inspire action” Simon Sinek challenges traditional marketing theory in such a brilliant way that I found myself bouncing out of my seat in excitement. Not very professional, I know. But on the plus side, I found the answer to my bigger issue, and my client will be better positioned to reevaluate their vision and positioning within their market.

As Sinek says, traditional marketing theory states that people want to buy a product, or an end result. This simply isn’t the case; it’s not how the brain works.Biology teaches us that the human brain is wired to be purpose-driven. This means that selling potential members on the vision of the organization is the key factor in motivating people to buy what you’re selling, so to speak.

People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it. ~ Simon Sinek

This rule is exemplified in the Apple computer brand. Apple makes good computers, but so do many other manufacturers. But Apple sells them differently. Apple doesn’t just sell a good computer – it sells an ideal. It positions itself as challenging the status quo. Anyone who wants to do the same should buy an Apple. Apple sells to innovators, to creatives; it speaks to the, “Why?”

My question to you is: Are you asking “why” about your brand?

As luck would have it, I also stumbled across an organization that’s doing this right. World Vision Canada’s Five for 5 initiative is doing a great job at communicating the “Why?” to their target audience. Here’s a video example of what I mean.

What other organizations do this right? Have you questioned your marketing vision lately?

Social Media for Small Business

Thanks to the team at Hastings County for inviting me to speak to a group of entrepreneurs, from all over the region, about Social Media for Small Business. Despite some technical difficulties with the internet (which ended up being a good illustration for the technology gap business owners face in rural Ontario), the day was really successful.

We introduced the group to the basics of social media, explaining how it could benefit their businesses. There was so much more I would have liked to accomplish, but we covered quite a lot with limited internet access. However, I did promise that I would make my slideshow for the workshop accessible. (We didn’t make it past the fourth slide, but we did have some lively conversation!)

For those in the group who were able to sign up for Twitter, here are a few people you’ll want to follow:

Daryl Kramp, MP Prince Edward-Hastings – @darylkramp

Mayor Neil Ellis – @MayorNeilEllis

Councillor Bob Dolan – @Councillorbob

Hastings County – @HastingsCounty

Bill Glisky – @BillGlisky

Dan Taylor – @CreativeDanT

You can find a list of local folks on Twitter, HERE.

This is also a great resource: Time Magazine’s list of Eight Big Ideas for Small Business.

Thanks to those of you who were able to join us, and to Hastings County, and the Marmora Town Hall for their hospitality!

CARE Canada: International Women’s Day

2010_iwd_logo_rgbWe all know that I’m an advocate for non-profit organizations that focus on social justice. Being in PR and marketing, I’m always interested to see what new, innovative methods non-profits are using to communicate their messages, and champion the needs of their clients.

One of my favourite non-profit organizations to watch is CARE Canada. Last year, I was fortunate enough to interview their President, Kevin McCort, an incredibly passionate, creative leader in the field. Kevin and his team stepped up to the plate in a big way recently in Haiti, partnering with Oxfam and Save the Children to create the Humanitarian Coalition. Jointly, they raised over 13 million dollars to bring aid to those affected by the earthquake.

CARE’s work extends far past disaster relief. Their mission is to fight poverty through the empowerment of women and girls in developing nations. Using education, economic development, health care and HIV/AIDS programs, as well as disaster and conflict relief, CARE Canada is working with communities around the world to achieve their goals.

The results are inspiring, to say the least. You can imagine my excitement when I was contacted by their Communications Manager, Kieran Green, who wanted to give me the scoop on their plans for International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day, held annually since 1911, on March 8, is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. To kick it off tonight, CARE is hosting the 1-night-only Canadian premier of “Half the Sky Live”, inspired by the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It features live musical performances, celebrity commentary, and chronicles the struggle of poor Ethiopian women who overcome sexual violence and discrimination. It’s the first time a non-profit development group like CARE has commercially released a film to both entertain and raise awareness of a global issue.

On Monday, March 8, CARE will be celebrating International Women’s Day with an innovative awareness campaign. I’m going to let Kieran tell you about it:

With our focus on empowering women at the core of our poverty-fighting work, International Women’s Day is a natural fit for CARE for spreading the word about our work, and about the importance of women in the fight against global poverty.

This year we were looking for something that could be both a symbol, and also a simple activity for engaging Canadians, and raising awareness about International Women’s Day. We thought about the red ribbon for AIDS, the pink ribbon for breast cancer research, and about the wrist bands other causes have adopted. We wanted to do something in that vein, but at the same time unique and attention-getting.

Then we remembered the old folk tradition of tying a string around your finger to remind yourself of something you don’t want to forget. The idea was born. So for International Women’s Day we want all Canada to wear the string as a reminder of all the things the women of the world have achieved, and of all the things that are yet to be done.

It’s easy to do – you don’t need to buy a ribbon or any special equipment. Just cut a piece of string, or wool, or yarn, or ribbon, and tie it on your finger. And it’s not just for this year. Our dream is for the string to become the globally-recognized symbol for International Women’s Day year after year.

How fantastic is that?! Taking a familiar tradition (the “awareness” ribbon), and giving it a unique twist (the “reminder” string) is such a cool idea. It’s easy, the audience understands the concept, and through the use of social media, people can become a part of the campaign in ways that just weren’t available in the past. Through Facebook and an interactive Flickr album, supporters will be able to take part in this initiative in a deeply personal way.

A mentor of mine once said to me, “Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be loved. And everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves.” CARE Canada’s International Women’s Day campaign fits this bill. We’ll be taking part. Will you?



Why We Should All Be a Little More Like Steve Nash

nashI’ll admit, I’m not a huge sports fan. I think Sunday’s match up between Canada and the USA in Olympic Men’s Hockey, was the first time I’ve watched a full, televised game…Ever. But before you start throwing sweaty gym socks at me, I have to admit that I really, really enjoyed it. How could you not?! I can finally understand why sports is such big business.

Hockey aside, I’m not totally ignorant as to what happens in the world of professional sports, and who the players are. One name that’s always stood out is Steve Nash. I know he’s an amazing basketball player. I know that he didn’t even start playing basketball until he was in eighth grade, and that at a mere 6’3″ he beat the odds in terms of making it big. I even know that he’s a five time All-Star and two-time NBA MVP with career per game averages of 14 points and 7.6 assists. That’s right.

But when I picked up February’s Fast Company Magazine and saw him on the cover, I was intrigued. What business lessons could I learn from an NBA player?

It turns out that there aren’t many lessons we can’t learn from Steve. This reluctant “anti-brand,” household name, holds up in his off-court ventures as well as he does on the court.

Here are my Top 10 reasons we should all be a little more like Steve Nash:

1. He gives 100% – No one can call Steve a slacker.

2. He focuses on opportunities rather than setbacks – The man plays pro basketball despite the odds against him, namely height and a serious back injury.

3. He trains hard – Whether physically prepping for his day job, or becoming an intern at a marketing firm for the summer to understand this side gig, Nash isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

4. He’s not afraid of failure – He improvises on the court, and off. The man isn’t afraid to take risks.

5. He gives back – Remember when we were talking about corporate social responsibility a few weeks ago? Steve takes “giving back” to heart. The Steve Nash Foundation is a prime example of this.

6. He’s action-oriented – Rather than simply waiting for others to do the work, he takes on jobs himself, like writing scripts for commercials, and producing his own videos. He does it all. (See #4.)

7. He embraces change – Despite his reluctance to become a “brand,” he assumed the role with zeal when he saw how much good he could accomplish by doing so.

8. He’s a new media pro star – Production company (Meathawk Productions)? Check. Viral videos? Check. Twitter account? Yup. If Nash is doing it, maybe you should too.

9. He’s humble – With so many people feeling the need to “be somebody”, Steve exudes a reluctant celebrity status, marked not by the need to impress, but to make a difference.

10. He plans ahead – He knows he’s not going to play basketball forever, and has already assumed other roles to plan for this future. Staying innovative counts.

Steve is changing the game of business by making his own rules, and forging ahead with intent and creativity. How are you changing your game?