Tim Hortons’ identity crisis

A poorly-chosen menu and questionable marketing led to a leadership shakeup. Innovation through trial speeds up change. But successive failures cast doubt

Tim Hortons’ identity crisisTim Hortons has had what is likely one of the strangest years in its history. Most of the iconic chain’s decisions in recent months have been inexplicable. Canadians have been left scratching their heads. Take the Beyond Meat burger as an example. Tim Hortons took this well-promoted plant-based item off its menu in September 2019,…

The first rock ’n’ roll Christmas

That a guy nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis had tackled sacred songs was offensive and sacrilegious to many. But it was perfect marketing

The first rock ’n’ roll ChristmasTeenagers in the 1950s couldn’t escape the music of their parents. Despite radio’s new-fangled Top 40 and the attendant infiltration of rock ’n’ roll, the sounds of the past were all around. This was particularly the case for Christmas songs. But things began to change in late October 1957, thanks to Elvis Presley announcing the…

Social media levels playing field for small business

Only half of small businesses in Canada survive their first five years. Digital tools are critical to their success

Social media levels playing field for small businessSocial media levels the playing field for Canadian small businesses and unlocks economic growth, says new research revealed Tuesday by Facebook Canada. The report, Empowered In The Digital Age: Leveling the Playing Field For Canadian Small Business, said only half of small businesses in Canada survive their first five years and accessible digital tools are…

The invaluable power of healthy skepticism

Usain Bolt became the fastest human being ever by eating – wait for it – Chicken McNuggets, not following the latest health care fad

The invaluable power of healthy skepticismKicking off her wonderful book from earlier this year, Christie Aschwanden asks a seven-word question that might help us recover some sanity for our hyper-affluent, marketing-mad society. “Do any of these products actually work?” Aschwanden asks in the introduction of Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange…

How startups can build better brands

Fifty nine per cent of consumers would rather purchase new products from brands they know and trust

How startups can build better brandsBuilding a company is hard work, but building a brand is even harder. Brands, after all, have the power to outlive the products and services that hold the company together. Branding is about the beginning-to-end customer experience. It includes everything from your social media presence, customer engagement, content, copywriting, company culture, and graphic elements. The…

WestJet launches innovative advertising/marketing campaign

Calgary-based airline WestJet has turned marketing and social media into an art form in recent years with its advertising campaigns that sometimes go viral. On Monday, the company launched its latest campaign focusing on its commitment of treating people like people. "We want the travelling public to know that as we become a global network…

Creating a clear and enduring brand

Abagail Vanmerlin of Brand Theory talks about why encapsulating the culture, values and long-range vision of a company is so important

Creating a clear and enduring brandAbagail Vanmerlin is owner at Brand Theory Inc. What is Brand Theory and what does it do? Vanmerlin: We are a full-service creative agency specializing in the strategic branding of mid-to-large business-to-business organizations. By full service, I mean that we offer a suite of brand deliverables which can be anything from interactive and responsive website…

How to make your advertising more effective

Good advertising works to capture attention, elicit emotion and get responses, but most advertisers don't know how to go about achieving those goals

How to make your advertising more effectiveAdvertising can stimulate desire. Not that any advertising I ever participated in when I was single resulted in crowds of female admirers. However, working in the health food industry, I would often strive to create in my customers a desire for better health. My ads would try to kindle a response that would generate traffic…

Do you know the rules and goals of the game of business?

Unless you have a clear idea how to accomplish your goals, and what the goals are, you might just be chasing elusive dollars

Do you know the rules and goals of the game of business?Emily hit the golf ball and started running. Swinging her club mid-stride, she repeatedly hit the ball and kept sprinting toward the first hole. Our yelling and laughter confused her and finally she stopped. “What are you yelling about?” she turned to us defiantly. “You told me that the goal was to get the golf…

The great protein war pits chain against chain

The great protein war pits chain against chainThe great protein war is heating up as several major restaurant chains embrace the plant-based movement while others firmly position themselves as guardians of the mighty meat-eater. It’s getting hard to keep track. A&W, Canada’s first Beyond Meat ambassador, started it all a little over 12 months ago with its surprisingly successful campaign. Since then,…

Loud and proud about disrupting the sexual health industry

Joey Pomerleau talks about the unusual business model he adopted to allow Wednesday Co. to service communities that have been overlooked

Loud and proud about disrupting the sexual health industryJoey Pomerleau is founder and CEO of Wednesday Co. What is Wednesday Co. and what does it do? Pomerleau: At its core, Wednesday Co. is a subscription condom company. We deliver condoms every month to your doorstep. You set it and forget it, then it’s there when you need it. In the greater scheme, Wednesday…

Helping cult-capable brands make their mark

Chris Kneeland of Cult Collective talks about working with clients to achieve heightened levels of brand relevance and customer adoration

Helping cult-capable brands make their markChris Kneeland is co-founder of Cult Collective. The company is based in Calgary, Alberta. What is Cult and what does it do? Kneeland: Cult is an audience engagement firm. That means we help brand leaders better connect with customers, prospects and staff in ways that significantly impact business performance, marketing return on investment and internal…

Beyond Meat should look beyond meat

Beyond Meat’s fixation on replicating the taste and texture of natural products like beef has become the company’s greatest weakness

Beyond Meat should look beyond meatBeyond Meat lost almost $10 million in its second quarter, but it beat expectations on revenues. Regardless, Beyond Meat is now worth US$14 billion U.S. and is Wall Street’s best-performing initial public offering (IPO) so far this year. But it does face challenges. Beyond Meat’s stock price has increased by more than 800 per cent…

Why brand awareness is a key part of complex marketing

Lisa Shepherd of The Mezzanine Group talks about the shifting awareness of the need for broader marketing tactics

Why brand awareness is a key part of complex marketingLisa Shepherd is founder of The Mezzanine Group. How are mid-market companies changing their view on the role of marketing and its impact on business? Shepherd: Companies are changing their views on exclusively focusing on lead generation as the sole outcome for all marketing activities. Historically, companies primarily saw the marketing function as distributing promotional…

All the food we eat has been modified by humans

The world of food marketing is full of deception. The truth is there is very little that’s 'natural' about our food, but that doesn't make it dangerous

All the food we eat has been modified by humans“All natural” is a food marketer’s delight. Customers love it, the words generate positive thoughts, and there’s no official definition or standard at all. It means whatever you want it to. That’s why so many food products have the word “natural” somewhere prominent on their labels. The word sells product and represents a free-for-all for…
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