Archives For marketing

Boarding the WestJet Bandwagon

MH3 —  December 10, 2013

You know what I love best about the WestJet Christmas promo video that was soaring to 4 million YouTube views when I started writing this tonight?

Not the fact that the airline’s project lead for this campaign is a former employee of mine.

Not the fact that I was secretly (?) tipped off by a WestJetter the week before it came out. No, not by my ex-Trojanite!

Not the fact that I probably wasn’t being tipped off, but in fact being used as an influencer to hopefully spread the word.

Not the fact that I cry much too regularly at Christmastime, a condition I blame on Jimmy Stewart and his performance in my fave flick of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life.

No. The thing I love best is that this video was done by a company, WestJet, that treats its customers like it’s Christmas 365 days a year.
This has long been their differentiator and it’s entirely genuine. Hence, when you see this video (and if you haven’t, stop reading my drivel, grab a box of tissue, find a quiet place, dial up Google, and get ready to smile), you believe it to be genuine. Even though, in reality, it’s a stunt. A marketing activity. A promotion. Scripted. Contrived. Amplified. What could be more horrific?! Marketing!

Doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful piece of marketing by a company that walks their talk.

So kudos to WestJet. Not just for the video, but for a little lesson for all of us in marketing.

Imagine if we all treated our clients like everyday was a holiday?

Fan-tastic

MH3 —  October 30, 2013

Over the past couple of years, the industry volunteers who drive the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada have been working their fannies off to build an organization that is more relevant, valuable, and attractive to the marketing community. This morning proved they have achieved their lofty ambitions.

Every couple of months the SMCC holds breakfast forums in Toronto. In past years they have been hit and miss. Some have had great content, with poor attendance. Others have been attended en masse, only to showcase disappointing content. Finally the light went on and made enough people at the SMCC executive table realize that poorly orchestrated events were more than bad events. They were actually reflecting poorly on the entire sponsorship marketing industry. How can you sell the C-suite on the ROI of sponsorship marketing when our own industry events have zero ROI?

Flash forward to 2013 and you now have all-star panels such as this morning’s featuring my pal Don Mayo of IMI, Jacquie Ryan of Scotia, Nathalie Cook from TSN, Iain Chalmers of Diageo, Alan Dark of CBC and Kyle McMann from the NHL. Today’s 8:00 AM seminar was held in Real Sports, which was great except I had never seen the place sober before. (Bummed that none of the usual waitresses were working either, but I did recognize a couple of their moms serving coffee.)

The topic of conversation was “The Elusive Fan,” with the NHL and its partner programs utilized to illustrate the theory that Fan Value is the key for sponsorship ROI for all parties: sponsor, property, and media rights holder. It’s a sound theory that extends beyond the NHL case study, although hockey is a perfect lesson for us all.

More important than the topic is the effort of the SMCC execs and the commitment of the speakers to ensure that the sponsorship marketing industry in Canada grows, flourishes, and is duly recognized for its impact on business success. That’s ROI for all of us!

Hey SMCC, you have won over this elusive fan.

Leading from the Front

MH3 —  April 11, 2013

How do I summarize a week where it seemed every waking moment was filled with inspiration kicking me in the butt?

Some of the motivation was formally delivered. I witnessed a riveting speech delivered by General Rick Hillier at the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Sport Events Congress. His central message about inspiring others and inspiring yourself revealed that his approach to motivating troops abroad was grounded in ensuring they stayed connected to being Canadian – a sip of Tim Horton’s coffee, a Christmas dinner made by a CO, a visit from the Stanley Cup.

Some of it arrived unexpectedly but in formal settings. In a meeting at Rideau Hall, I was enraptured to hear Bernard Shinder talk about how the event we now call Canada Day was created in the 1970’s by a group of well-connected Ottawa business leaders. Canada Day in Ottawa is a must do event for every Canadian, but in its early days was held away from the shadow of Parliament Hill, as the government feared it may flop!

Some out of the blue. An impromptu offer for a ride from the above Rideau Hall confab, found me being chauffeured by none other than General Walter Natynczyk and hearing about his three children, all proudly serving in our armed forces around the world. How energizing the words of a proud father were, discussing the love his offspring have for serving their country.

Some grew organically. Specifically from Charmaine Crooks, Debbi Wilkes, and Loreen Barnett participating in a Women of Influence panel, moderated by the non-influential male known as MH3, also at the CSTA event. Their voices combined to form a chorus of motivation and insights for women pursuing a career in sports marketing. To quote Debbi Wilkes, “Don’t let anybody else write the script for YOUR life!”

Some were ensnared in the jaws of defeat. Unfortunately at the hands of the US Women’s hockey team who upended Team Canada, in the gold medal world championship game, with their superior skills and sizzling skating. But defeat can be a powerful motivator and all of us should emotionally team up with our women for revenge in Sochi.

I misled you. This wasn’t even an entire week. It was actually only three days. And it wasn’t a butt kicking. No – it was more of a motivational stampede to catch up to those leading from the front!

 

 

Summer School

MH3 —  March 6, 2013

Seems to me that the weather must be getting nicer, based on the flurry of summer job inquiries I received this week.

Friends, clients, ex-clients, suppliers, neighbours, net-workers are all sending me the same email. This email details the ambitions, talents, and virtues of their son/daughter/niece/nephew/neighbour who are looking for that perfect summer opportunity. This email tells me they NEVER hit people up to arrange summer jobs. This email forgot they said the same thing last spring!

Bring ’em on I say. It’s candidly the best channel for recruitment.

But I would like to offer some unsolicited advice to the young nominees who are approaching us for work, to help ensure they get the best shot at the best opportunities this summer.

1. My name isn’t “Mike”. Yep, happened today in fact. A second year student emailed “Dear Mr. Mike Harrison” for a summer job. Guess they teach name recognition in third year. (I politely, for me, emailed them back and said Mike wasn’t hiring, but Mark might be if they wish to try again.)

2. Our company name is TrojanOne. No space. Capital O. Not T1.

3. Enough of the petty stuff… here is an important one. Brevity! Don’t send me your cover letter, resume, and three references all expertly compressed and PDF compatible. Sorry I don’t have time! I am going to flip your email to one of my hiring gurus along with a quick comment: “Mandatory Hire”, “Please Interview”, “Up to You”, and “This kid puked on my lawn last summer…”. So don’t bother filling up my in-box young stars, send me something short, and…

4. Sweet! Hey if you want to work for us, don’t just send me a form email. Customize. Personalize. Humanize. Here is a real life quote from an applicant yesterday:

Dear Mr. Harrison,
Thank you so much for considering me for a potential summer position.

I saw my mother’s email to you … maybe she should be the one going into marketing and promotion. To be described as tall by her is unreliable, at best, and “busty”… maybe relative to my twelve year old brother.

I look forward to hearing from your “hiring dude”.

Hilarious! I hope we have hired her already.

5. This is the most important tip. Figure out what you want to do, how you want to learn, and whom you want to meet. Then be disciplined and diligent at getting it. Summer jobs can be great experiences. They can be great fun. They can be hard work. They can be a great party. They can be a great foundation. There is no right answer. However you need to figure out how you want these four months to impact your future, because whether you realize it or not… you’re not headed to a job, you’re headed to Summer School.

Oh Canada, We Love Our BeaverTails

MH3 —  February 21, 2013

Sorry Classified, but the lyrics to your song made the perfect foundation for my title this week.

Our mascot may be a “damn Beaver”, but the BeaverTail delicacy is taking a strong run at overtaking the animal. I know this from two days of highly scientific research conducted earlier this month…at my ski club.

On Saturday of Family Day weekend, in rolled the BeaverTail wagon and you would have thought Santa Claus had arrived. Dozens of cries of “BeaverTails!” echoed throughout the hills. Kids began a delicate, yet complex, negotiation with their parents to a. receive the necessary permission to upgrade the octane level of their midday snack by several thousand kilocalories; and b. to secure the necessary second-mortgage type financing they would need to complete the transaction.

I hadn’t really understood the fascination and fanaticism the BeaverTail brand elicits. I had heard of the Obama Tail served to President Barry during his first visit to Ottawa in his premier term a few years ago. I had seen the huts when we went to Quebec. A friend had shared a far-fetched tale that Bryan Adams once declared that his skill in differentiating a Beaver Tail from a Timbit was supernatural, or All-Canadian, or something. (I am taking liberties here with the actual telling of Adams’ story!)

But how could something so enthralling be created in wee wee wee little Killaloe, Ontario? I have friends who live there and they have never mentioned the furless deep-fried fountain of taste bud ecstasy. Perhaps like me, they hadn’t experienced the love I witnessed this past weekend.

The obsession with the Tail defied all experiential marketing logic. The truck was noisy. The line was long – at one point kids were waiting 40-60 minutes! The price? Good on them for charging mega bucks for fried dough. There was no pre-promotion, no Facebook app, no post event press release.

But if the BeaverTail two day sale where I ski is any indication – they know their consumer, their consumer loves them, and I am one very impressed, and disciplined observer. Disciplined?

Yes, I was practically a Biggest Loser Hall of Fame level participant in my resisting the urge to succumb to the Eve-like temptation of a Skor flavoured BT. You are probably underestimating the level of self control this took. Summon your inner Willy Wonka and visualize a fantasia of chocolate covered faces surrounding you. Soon to be decaying teeth blazing in choreographed smiles. Majestically chocolate ‘stached upper lips on pre-pubescent faces. Chins dripping in sprinkles, sugar, and M&M bits not quite captured by their alligator jaws.

Admit it. I’ve done it. I’ve overwhelmed your senses. You want some damn BeaverTail!

Give Your Everything

MH3 —  May 10, 2012

On Monday I was privileged to play a very small part in the Toronto launch of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s new brand campaign.

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Best Behaviour

MH3 —  May 2, 2012

Despite doing what I do for the past 72 years, I finally understood the secret to measurement of sponsorship and experiential marketing ROI. Yes, between bites and pleasantries, I managed to keep my lips sealed long enough to hear the gospel.

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Practice What I Preach

MH3 —  April 19, 2012

With religious fervor, I have been sharing lengthy sermons to whatever congregational victim is within earshot. In some cases the congregation has been made up of my staff, my kids, their friends, my neighbours, my clients, my suppliers, my peers, my twitterverse,

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The Agony of Defeat

MH3 —  March 29, 2012

I don’t know if you read Success magazine. I admit, I do. And I listen to the monthly CDs featuring the publisher Darren Hardy. And I read some of their “self-help” publications.

Some of you may find this sort of publication cheesy. In a way I agree. But I also find a lot of value in them. It’s always good to spend a few quiet moments reflecting on my professional and personal life.

The most recent issue really resonated with me. Unfortunately. Continue Reading “The Agony of Defeat”…

NHL All-Star Weekend Rocks

MH3 —  February 2, 2012

My apologies to Allstar Weekend for borrowing their URL to entitle my blog! But it was the first title that popped into my mind, and I am too pooped to come up with something else, so I don’t give a poop if they don’t like it. Besides, I have no idea who this band is…

Just kidding!

Nevertheless, NHL All-Star Weekend does rock in countless ways. You may not understand unless you’ve had a chance to be part of more than just the game. The NHL has taken this weekend and elevated it to a major, major, major league marketing extravaganza.

Whether it be the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair, or the Energizer Lithium Lounge at Saturday night’s party hosted at the Molson Canadian Hockey House, there is something for young and old. Continue Reading “NHL All-Star Weekend Rocks”…