Today’s PR is Fast and Furious


I’m going to come clean. I’ve never seen a Fast and Furious film… and I don’t really have any desire to. But I do, however, quite like how the title pertains to today’s world of PR.

Any industry that is involved in media has to be more reactionary than ever, and able to shift direction swiftly on a moment’s notice. Failure to be prepared for a quick change in messaging can be disastrous. We’ve seen it time and time again in the last year with companies like Volkswagen, Subway, and Krispy Kreme, who failed to mitigate disaster as swiftly as they could have been able to, had they been more prepared.

Subway’s PR crisis began this summer when long-time spokesperson, Jared Fogle, was under investigation for possessing and distributing child pornography. While Subway cut all ties to Mr. Fogle quickly, elements of their brand remained unchanged for weeks, as the company scrambled to shift directions. Perhaps the biggest slip-up of all, was when the company forgot to remove the “Jared’s Pants Dance” game for kids from their website. If the company had properly accounted for each of their digital assets at the beginning of this crisis, the majority of corporate fallout could have been avoided.

You’ve heard it said it before that your brand is your most valuable asset and it’s completely true.

Having brand assets at the ready and accessible from anywhere is the key to success. But it’s not just logos and marketing collateral that needs to be at the ready. Corporate photography is also a critical asset to have on hand. That’s where CleanPix comes in. You might ask yourself, “why would I not just use a free file hosting service instead?” And here’s the answer: Dropbox is really only meant for personal use, whereas CleanPix is extremely agile, offers greater storage and adjustable user permissions for employees and external vendors. But the greatest benefit of CleanPix is that you’re able to quickly scan your asset library based on image metadata.

Unpreparedness in respect to your digital assets never ends well. It’s a lot like every other scene in a Fast and Furious movie, a burning PR wreck on the side of the corporate highway.

What Does Success Look Like For You?


I spend the morning talking to a group of intelligent and eager future marketers at Lethbridge College. While we like to think each generation of professionals is different from the previous, there is a common thread that runs through each of us. That thread is the desire to achieve success. What is different, however, is how each generation defines success.

For me, success has always meant that at the end of the day, I know that my talents and abilities were used in a way that impacted others. Some might call that cheesy, but that’s my true motivator.

I’ve been through the highs and lows of my career so far, and as an entrepreneur and content marketing specialist, I’ve learned how to build a brand in the modern sense and attract success in the traditional sense.

While there are several important lessons I’ve learned (thanks to some hard knocks), I’ve picked three to highlight and share:

  1. Always reinvent yourself. Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too. By finding what makes you different and exploiting it, you establish yourself in your own category. Remain forward-thinking and always look for your next big opportunity. Know when it’s not working and when to switch course. A smart content curator will share content their audience wants, not just what they like.
  2. “Stick-With-It-Ness” is everything. You’re going to get knocked down more than once. This is the point of your power comes when you decide to push through and not let that failure define you. Failure is an invitation to excellence – treat it as a lesson.
  3. Never do it for the money. Money is a result of your work but should never be your sole reason for doing it. If you don’t find purpose in what you’re doing – save yourself years of stress and just get out now.

How does all of this boil back down to digital brand management, you might ask? Ensuring success starts with protecting the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. I initially came on board with CleanPix because I believe to strongly in how the service benefits marketers. Your brand is your most valuable asset and should be treated as such.

However you define your brand and personal success, make sure you’re protecting those milestones you achieve along the way.

Teigan Reamsbottom, Content Marketing Specialist, speaking to digital media students at Lethbridge College

Teigan Reamsbottom, Content Marketing Specialist, speaking to digital media students at Lethbridge College

Elevate Your Brand With Emojis 😎💥


Pictures speak a thousand words. Especially if those pictures are fun, cute and engaging.

We’re bombarded with marketing messaging every single moment of the day, whether on our smartphones or listening to music streaming services… we can never escape from the noise. For me, that’s a great thing. It means I still have a job in marketing. For the average consumer though, it’s flat-out annoying. 😒

Millennials and Gen Z find this noise more annoying than any other generation. These two groups are game-changers who challenge traditional convention. They think outside the box 📦 and don’t take themselves so seriously. They also have completely different patterns of consuming content from any other generation. For example, they seldom watch traditional television, listen to traditional radio or read traditional newspapers.

Today, most of their content is consumed on smartphones. In fact, 1 in 5 consume their content exclusively on smartphones and do not even own a desktop computer. 📱 In the United States, younger millennials (aged 18 to 24 years old) spend an average of 91 hours a month using smartphone apps. That’s a lot of hours spent staring at a small screen! 😦

And that’s where emojis come into play. You’ve got to ensure that you’re using the latest platforms and apps to communicate (ex. Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope) in a style that’s familiar to the every day tone of your audience. This makes my job as a marketer more fun as I’m able to communicate in a style that is peppered with a casual tone and a light-hearted sense of humour.

One of the greatest benefits of using emojis in your social posts is that they transcend language barriers. Emojis are the worlds first truly global language. For international brands, this is a wonderful thing. But brands should be wary about overuse of these little symbols. They’re the salt and pepper of your tweets and posts, but shouldn’t be served as the full dish. 🍝

While there have been several high-profile success stories when it comes to emoji brand messaging (ex. Coca-Cola and Chevrolet), tread carefully when crafting strategies involving emojis. Start small and ease your audience in. Overuse of emojis will make your messaging feel foreign. Test which emojis your audience responds to, just as you would conduct any other type of brand testing. 📈

With an estimated 12,500 emojis tweeted every minute, be a part of the phenomenon, but do it in a genuine way that creates a two-way conversation. If there’s one thing we know for sure about Millennials and Gen Z, it’s that they loathe inauthenticity. If you want to get people talking about your brand using emojis, give them a compelling reason to talk to you first.

4 Lessons About Business From “Empire”


I love a salacious nighttime soap and I’m not ashamed to admit it. As a kid watching old episodes of Dynasty with my grandmother, I wanted to grow up to be just like Blake Carrington or Dex Dexter (actually that’s a total lie, because I always loved Alexis Carrington the most).

Okay, so I’m grown up now and I’m not running an international oil corporation, but I’m fine with that. I made the foray into the exciting world of digital content marketing here at CleanPix.

I don’t typically have time to dedicate to watching television these days, but I can’t seem to get enough of Fox’s hit show, Empire. The program’s writing is groundbreaking and the music is incredible. But on top of all that, I’ve got to say that there are some great lessons presented in this show about succeeding in business.

Truth is, not unlike any other industry, the entertainment industry is cutthroat and crowded with people desperate to be noticed. That’s why you’ve got to be on your a-game, with a high level of self-awareness and a perceptive eye to what’s happening around you.

Let me break it down with a few key business lessons to take away from Empire:

  • Grow future leaders from within your organization. Just as Lucious Lyon was grooming his sons, Jamal, Hakeem and Andre to take over the family business, there should always be a succession plan in place within your organization for key leadership roles. It’s a fact of life now more than ever that your best people will eventually move on. It’s a new business world we live in, one where people are more comfortable moving around from company to company in pursuit of something different.
  • Love what you do. If you’re not passionate about your work, there really is no point. And let’s break it down even further: you get one kick at the bag in this life. Don’t waste it by doing something you despise just to make the rent. Cookie and Lucious live and breathe their work because they are so passionate about it. That’s how it should be for all of us (but perhaps with a  much healthier work-life balance than these characters).
  • Dress to impress. Cookie Lyon is the master at dressing to make a statement in the office. In this day and age, if you want to get ahead… BE DIFFERENT! This hasn’t always been the case in the business world, but today, originality and fresh thinking are embraced rather than viewed as a weakness.
  • Don’t date people you work with. This is common sense, and a lesson that nearly every single character in Empire needs to learn. Office relationships almost never end well. Having a clearly separated work and personal life benefits both your work performance and your stress levels outside of working hours.

Empire returns tonight on Fox and CityTV (note for millennials: the show will be available for streaming on AppleTV and at midnight)

Das Brand: Your Most Valuable Asset


In 2007 during my last year of high school, I purchased my very first car. It was a sleek yet sporty Volkswagen Passat. My father insisted I buy a Volkswagen because the company had a stellar reputation of producing quality vehicles that literally run for years with minimal repair. It was a wise investment on my part, I drove that vehicle right into the ground and seldom had any major mechanical problems.

Even before that experience, I have always been impressed with Volkswagen’s marketing and advertising. They have consistently stood apart from competitors and leveraged their reputation to grow the company outwards. In 2015, Volkswagen soared to new heights when it officially overtook Toyota in global vehicle sales.

It takes decades of hard work to create the brand status Volkswagen has achieved. Which is why I find it so shocking that VW risked their most valuable asset and left their entire brand and reputation in shambles when the current emissions scandal leaked. They may be able to recover from the financial distress, but the damage done to their brand over the past 48 hours is irreparable.

It’s lesson for all of us: Your brand is much more than just a logo – its a complete culture. You must to go to whatever lengths possible to protect your brand, because it truly is your most valuable asset. Secure your visual assets with a brand asset management service and protect your cultural assets with strict policies that enforce the integrity of your brand throughout your organization.

Your reputation is much more important than slick business decisions that may save a quick buck. When your words no longer carry any weight, your brand is virtually worthless.

Volkswagen may still have a legion of enthusiastic customers out there (I am one of them), but they have a long, difficult road ahead to repair the damage that has been done.

As a shameless plug to close on, give CleanPix a 14-day test run to secure your brand files. If we’ve all learned one lesson this week, it’s that you can never do enough to ensure the security of your brand.

10 Things We Love About Chicago

Chicago, or “The Windy City” as it is often called, has all of offerings you’d expect from a major city: world-class museums, vibrant shopping districts, great nightlife districts and fantastic cuisine. According to a recent study by air charter company, StratosJets, Chicago is more friendly to tourists than any other city in the US.

We’re making our own trip to Chicago this week to take part in the Henry Stewart DAM Conference, and wanted to share a list of our ten favourite things about the city. If you’re in town, stop by our booth at the conference, or perhaps we’ll run into you at one of our favourite hotspots:

  1. Lakefront trail – Running along 18 miles of Lake Michigan, the Chicago Lakefront Trail connects a plethora of beaches and amenities. This trail is a must-see for cycling enthusiasts and runners.IMG_8931 2-BikeWalkLincolnPark

  2. Oak Street Beach – A Chicago hotspot during the summer, Oak Street Beach boss several cafes, volleyball courts and spectacular views of the city skyline.Chicago-Oak-Street-Beach-downtown

  3. Lincoln Park Zoo – One of the oldest zoos in the United States, Lincoln Park Zoo is spread out over 35 acres near North Lake Shore Drive. The zoo’s exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys and other species totally nearly 1,100 animals.DIGITAL CAMERA

  4. Chicago-style pizza – You can’t visit Chicago without enjoying an authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. We recommend checking out Pizzeria Uno, Pizano’s Pizza, The Art of Pizza and Burt’s Place.dscf2573002

  5. Taking selfies in front of “The Bean” – Formally known as Cloud Gate, this public sculpture by Indian-born British artist, Anish Kapoor, is the centrepiece of AT&T Place at Millennium Park. If you visit Chicago, you must make time to stop by to take a selfie or two.Cloud-gate

  6. Lyric Opera of Chicago – The Lyric Opera of Chicago offers a full opera season, from October to March, with well known classics. 10458897664_bc67072ffa_b

  7. Second City comedy theatre – The Second City is a comedy dynasty started in Chicago and later spread out to Toronto and Los Angeles. The Second City has produced television programs in both the United States and Canada including SCTV. The Second City has launched some of this generation’s greatest comedians and comediennes. Check their lineup and order tickets to see a great comedy show while you’re in town.secondcity

  8. Intelligentsia Coffee – Started in Chicago in 1995, this coffee hotspot is known by locals as having some of the best brewed coffee and lattes in town.Intelligentsi

  9. Art Institute of Chicago – Located in Grant Park, this institute features a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in its permanent collection. Current exhibitions include Charles Ray, Deana Lawson, Liz Larner and James McNeill Whistler. If you’re looking for something different – check out The Oriental Institute Museum, featuring finds from excavations in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Israel.AIC-Facade

  10. Garrett Popcorn – Most Chicagoans have no doubt been to a Garrett Popcorn shop. The popular popcorn chain just celebrated a 66th anniversary this week. While you’re in town, make sure you pick up a bag of one of their wildly popular flavours like CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn.sign

Bonus tourist tips:
– Don’t want to give yourself away as a tourist? If you buy a hot dog from a street vendor and squirt any ketchup on it, you’ll probably get dirty looks. Chicagoans do not under any circumstances put ketchup on their hot dogs.
– Don’t buy Cubs tickets in advance. Show up shortly before the first pitch for a discount.

Benefits of Brand Asset Management for Marketers


I’ve been working in the marketing and communications industry for years, both as an employee and an entrepreneur, and it isn’t often I discover a new tool or application that’s as useful as CleanPix. That’s actually why I joined the CleanPix team.

Here’s the thing: as a marketer, you have a million projects to balance at once. Having to locate and send brand files while keeping up with rights management requirements can be a hugely unproductive waste of your time. Utilizing a digital asset management service literally saves hours of valuable time each week. This is why I came on board to help share the CleanPix story with other business professionals.

So here’s how it works: Once you upload your brand asset’s into CleanPix, you’ll have rapid and agile control over your files. By making both the rights management process and delivery workflow simple, you’re able to interact with press and media at the drop of the hat, whether you’re at work or off the clock. Compared to other brand asset management systems, I found CleanPix to be the best service with a clean, simple and user-friendly interface.

It can be a full-time job just managing and sending out brand files and marketing materials to vendors, media and colleagues. CleanPix is able to help automate this process by granting access to key players via specific permissions, which can make the life of any marketer or public relations professional so much simpler.

My comments might seem biased, since I now work for CleanPix, but something in the article surely must have piqued your interest, so I encourage you to test out a 14-day trial of CleanPix to test the claims I’ve made above. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

5 SEO Best Practices in 2015


When it comes to the search engine optimization of your website, there are a lot of grey areas. When you’re not a SEO expert, knowing where to put your time and resources can be a difficult task.

Traditional marketing has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. Old school strategies are out – avoid social bookmarking, link directory submission, spinning articles, press releases with anchor text and automated link builders.

Instead focus on these trends, which are sure to “future-proof” your website and ensure the relevance and power of your marketing strategy for the long term:

1) Content. Google’s current search algorithms scan the internet for fresh content. This is why a blog and social content strategy is key for boosting your SEO. While content on its own is a great practice, content that people interact with will take your SEO to even further heights. Focus more on quality content rather than just keywords.

2) Social signals to search engines. Your social media presence plays a big part in your overall SEO standing. Great content is more important than ever – and when the content is of a higher quality, the social shares will be higher as well.

3) Mobile friendly. Mobile friendly websites are now a mandatory according to Google’s algorithms. And it makes sense, the majority of internet usage occurs on smartphones. In 2015, there are 50 billion local searches using mobile devices – make sure you’re found in those searches and a part of those conversations.

4) Conversations over keywords. Like we’ve mentioned above, the old school methods of growing your site’s SEO are no longer relevant. Quality content is the lifeblood of your organization’s SEO strategy. All of your written content should encourage conversation and engage your audience.

5) Link building. More so than just having your link posted on other webpages, strive to have your site linked through organic brand mentions. As we’ve mentioned above, content gets more of the focus than simply keywords and links, so try to think about the relevance and social popularity of the sites your own website is linked on.

Achieving your SEO goals really does start with having a fully-realized brand that is ready to easily be shared with media, external vendors and the public. Organize your brand assets and manage them easily by utilizing a brand asset management service like CleanPix. Take advantage of a free 14-day trial today, with no credit card or commitment required.