Social media, email, and content marketing expert specializing in building project maps using the RACI chart method | Helping B2B companies implement a 9-point strategy to drive long-term and sustainable growth
Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing how companies manufacture, distribute and improve their products. But how does it impact businesses from a marketing perspective?
Characterized by increased automation and “smart” machines and factories, Industry 4.0 differs from previous industrial eras because manufacturing companies now have informeddata (data + research + experience + personal insights) to help them manufacture their products more efficiently and productively across the value chain.
As a positive example of social, economic, and environmental responsibility, Industry 4.0 provides an incredible opportunity to share and expand on core concepts (for a manufacturing company, these could be ideas like efficiency, reliability, and speed) via targeted and strategic messaging. I’ll talk about a 9-Point Marketing Strategy later!
You can achieve this by promoting modern, forward-thinking concepts that can help differentiate you (this is USP) from others (competitors) in the marketplace.
Your USP or Unique Selling Proposition makes your business better than your competitors and is the reason why customers should buy from you. A USP informs every business modality, including brand management, slogans, developing and describing new products and services, and how you interact with clients. A strong USP will put your customers needs front and center.
Here are topics that can help build your USP as a manufacturing company (wanting to dial into Industry 4.0 concepts in messaging) –
Increasing revenue and profitability: Industry 4.0 creates a more efficient and higher-quality production process and opens up marketing avenues for differentiating your product user journey against others in the marketplace.
Optimizing processes for improved outputs: The need for integrated systems and the results they can produce will drive greater collaboration and communication among producers, suppliers, and other stakeholders in both the technological and marketing domains.
Leading with high-quality products: You have a tremendous opportunity to realign and refocus quality and demonstrate to the world how new technologies can benefit and synergize the entire manufacturing industry, putting you in a position to lead the way with how you position your brand.
The impacts of Industry 4.0 (automation, “smart” machines and factories, etc.) can work conceptually and integrate into a marketing plan or strategy. Take its main outputs (for automation, think efficiency, reliability, speed) and apply them in cross-functional applications (namely, your content and messaging).
For example, if your drive for “efficiency” is to make your products easier to manufacture and is achieved thanks to new technologies like “smart factories”, then the output would be how it contributes toward messaging concepts like industry-best lead times (meeting on-time delivery requirements of clients) and added capacity to provide exceptional customer service (improving the client experience by developing enduring relationships at every touchpoint).
Today, I am developing a streamlined approach (that’s the 9-Point Marketing Strategy!) and testing various campaigns and projects to attain current goals and inform our future work. Of course, ensuring my team is collaborative and agile while leveraging informed data to drive the vision and mission forward.
It will be exciting to see what new product innovations (and process changes within marketing) grow from Industry 4.0.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Share, share away!
Hey everyone! My gosh, has it been a long time! I’ve been so busy working on my career that I haven’t had two seconds to post on my personal website. Transparency aside, I wanted to share a new series based on a weekly project I run at work called Social Media Update. In this series, I touch on social media and general marketing strategy, and I thought it would be great to share it with you all.
I’ll work my way back to when I started at Longboard, so here is our first instalment! Have fun with it, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out at email@example.com.
Finding the ‘intriguing angle’ is the idea that we can focus on big-picture topics like our core aspects (innovation, sustainability, quality) to create compelling content that impacts our target audiences.
When creating social media content, we can ask and answer a couple of questions:
Q: What is a significant concern for our business and other businesses today?
A: Our audience demands a greater understanding of where and how our products are sourced and manufactured.
Q: What approach can we take?
A: We can and should comment on sustainability by promoting a transparent and traceable approach. This entails a mix of carefully curated messaging that effectively positions our differentiators while driving an emotional reaction from our audience.
For example, we could share that all production is on-site and that we have an incredible production team that helps to build our premium products. We would also mention that we pursue responsible consumption and production, which helps create sustainable architecture that positively impacts the environment and the communities around us.
Our team is mindful that we must not fall into the trap of hoping word will get out and the customers will come. Through proactive and strategic messaging, we can understand why we do what we do, and share that message with the world.
So, what did you think of that? Do you feel inspired to identify some core aspects of your business, then do a deep dive into how they can impact your target audience? Please share your thoughts!
A good curveball is an opportunity (remember, problems are opportunities) to:
1 – Own your dreams.
2 – Reimagine the world.
Own Your Dreams
To own your dreams, you must recognize, acknowledge, and value the fact that something is waiting for you out in the world.
It is there to fulfill.
It exists to make you happy.
You are satisfied when united (or reunited) with it.
It becomes a part of you and can be shared with others.
Owning my dreams is being connected to work I’ve always envisioned doing—building a sustainable and scalable brand that will influence people inside and outside the operation.
Reimagine the World
Second, to a good curveball is our ability to reimagine the world. Through a clear and defined vision and mission, we can accomplish anything. With a good heart and holistic stance, our world can become something better, more equal and more understanding.
Reimagining the world involves pushing boundaries, setting new standards, and developing a structure or process that leads to innovation, progression, and growth.
I think I get thrown more good curveballs as I age, so I hope this becomes the norm and the opportunities don’t cease!
As I continue to inspire and empower people to make a difference in their daily lives, I recognize three things that matter to me today. Of course, there’s always more, but let’s get started with these!
One of the biggest influencers in my marketing career has been the formative relationships I have built over time—in both the long and short-term. Having a direct report has taught me to be vulnerable and courageous as I’ve had to steer a small team in a viable direction while maintaining strong, personal connections which benefitted the entire team. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to work directly under the Founder and CEO of Clearbridge, Ryan Kononoff. He has taught me many things about engagement and the effort required to make meaningful projects matter to an audience. I am also thankful for every other team member I’ve had the chance to grow alongside.
You are bright.
You are dedicated.
You are special!
2 – #goodenough
This is one lesson that has helped me to conquer my perfectionism. I recall working on one of my first projects, a new brand book (or later called a Playbook), which in scope was a huge undertaking that could have demanded months of work. But with the knowledge that a marketer should be agile, or as the Agile Marketing Manifesto states –
“To keep up with the speed and complexity of marketing today, we must deliver value early and often over waiting for perfection.”
In creative marketing, we challenge ourselves by generating work that is original, unique and that manifests a change in its surroundings. In analytical marketing, we must use data sets to quantify results. Pairing the two (creative + analytical marketing) is where #goodenough truly shines—we can experiment to determine what approach works the best, and we don’t have to wait to be enlightened. We should find insights with every movement or decision we make!
3 – Indispensability
I rarely finish an entire book in one sitting. It’s often hard for me to finish it at all. I prefer to scan information and read what will be of value to me. Such was the case with Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. As he writes –
“You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”
Such an important lesson because it’s much too easy to forget your worth. We must use every inch of our being to recognize and become more self-aware. In marketing, the potential to get lost in a sea of tasks and activities might forsake where the value truly lies—creating, ideating, and examining the wonder and change that a type of approach can incite.
Being indispensable takes:
A growth mindset
And most importantly…talent. You can’t duplicate indispensable work. I truly believe this!
A pièce de résistance, I hope you find value in reading it!
I love to write, and emails are a breath of fresh air.
No editing. No fancy words. No issues over length. No need for profundity.
It has been almost five years since I left Bell Mobility to pursue a career in marketing, and one thing that has drastically changed is how often I communicate via email.
I miss the simplicity of it all. I miss reaching out to my clients daily. I miss the back-and-forth motion that builds connection.
At Bell, I had so many great relationships; I used email to build better ones along the way. It was just so damn efficient. Templates allowed the writing to take shape quickly. In mere minutes, I was sending off concise and compelling messages. Over and over again. Each email was re-read once, at most twice, and then sent so I could continue to the next case. It was a beautiful workflow, and it was all supported by Salesforce.
And by the way, I am trying to write more like Seth Godin. Also, finding my way back to my university days. My favourite professor and mentor, Paul Woodrow, graded an essay I wrote on the fallacies of Coca-Cola, commenting in tiny writing and bright green ink, “Swift and punchy, Chona!”
So begets my email manifesto –
I will always try to write swift and punchy.
If I can remember to, that is.
Alas, I have a pop quiz for y’all.
I want you to decide which entry below is authentic, meaning not edited. And which one is “fake”, as in completely and utterly revised from its original style + tone.
How can you tell? What gives it away? Which is written better?
Ah, so many questions to ponder, but if only we had more time.
Off to bed, now, enjoy the exercise!
For all my years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, some of my fondest memories included writing emails. I loved how fluid and uncomplicated it was to craft messages on the spot without spending copious amounts of time editing. I would not mind working on some ideas to “wow” our current and prospective customers with something easy to read, memorable, and impactful!
I spent many years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, crafting friendly and professional emails. I thought it was so exciting (yup, I love communication!) to be able to write something on the spot that didn’t require any editing. It’s an art form really. Would love to work on some ideas to incorporate more emails into how we communicate with our customers.
Job hunting can be gruelling. For six months, I searched for the perfect fit. I did everything I could to embrace the energy, excitement and engagement that comes with it, but frankly, I was exhausted. Each step required work. Hard work. It felt like a fight for my future. I was gaining momentum, but I did not feel empowered. I wanted to make positive decisions that would bring me closer to achieving my goals. So I created a mission statement to give me a sense of purpose. I added it to my resume with gusto –
My vision as a marketer is to empower and inspire people to make a difference in their daily lives.
These words, within my experience, proposed change as a way to improve and move forward. Suddenly, I was motivated to find the next step in my career and not just a new job. Suddenly, I was searching for similar words in job descriptions as a way to feed out mismatched opportunities. I felt like I was in control. By developing this meaningful statement, I was working on myself. I started to see that helping others was important to me, and I wanted to find work that would help me grow into a person who could Make Change Happen.
Making my routine move, I visited their website. A sentence, written in white, spread across the front page drew me in. Helping you do your best work. It reminded me of my mission statement! I envisioned the word empowering substituting the word helping and knew at that moment that my marketing mind was intrigued. Then I thought, what is my best work? The answer to that? Me. I decided right then and there that Clearbridge was invested in this tagline—they want to empower their customers to do their best work and employees to be the best versions of themselves. This brief exercise in recognizing worth drove me to apply, and the rest? Keep reading.
We always have a choice and the option to take the first step. In the context of job hunting, if we choose the best option, that is, making positive decisions that bring us closer to achieving our goals, then we are empowering ourselves. The concept of connection becomes a critical building block here. Connection is about linking two entities that work better together (think: peanut butter & jelly). When you take time to recognize a connection (they stick so well together) and then work toward building that relationship (how many versions of a pb & j sandwich could you make), you are creating the best ways possible to put yourself in a favourable circumstance (eating the pb & j sandwich), and there is nothing more empowering than that (delicious).
Learning to see
Since becoming a marketer, I’ve been inspired by the work of Seth Godin. He says you can’t be seen until you learn to see, and this was my experience applying for the Marketing Coordinator position at Clearbridge.
My first interaction was with Amanda, the People Operations Coordinator. Bright and outgoing, she started our conversation with a compliment. Now, how often would that be the way to begin an interview? I was drawn to this approach. She acknowledged me (creativity and all), and I appreciated that. Acknowledging or demonstrating gratitude and acceptance is one of the best ways to get to know someone (am I right Amanda?).
After a spirited discussion about my interests, work history and marketing experience, Amanda reinforced our connection through her use of positive language and overall eagerness to empower me through the next step. I was impressed and wanted to learn more about the position and the company. I was starting to see what Clearbridge was about! She scheduled a meeting with the CEO (Ryan) and Operations Manager (Allison) early the next day.
The interview went smoothly, and I noticed something about Ryan and Allison. They were both contemplative, friendly, and engaged. There were moments when I got stuck on a few questions—I get nervous. I used these opportunities to find inward answers and show my resourcefulness. There was a lot of feedback. It felt like we were all learning from each other. By the end of the interview, we were smiling pretty hard, and for the first time in a long time, I felt seen.
I returned to work feeling ecstatic about the new connections I had made. It felt like they were offering me the opportunity to take my career to the next level, focus on what mattered the most, and grow as a person and creative marketer. Minutes later, I received a phone call from Amanda. To my delight, they offered me the position!
Doing better is often described as arriving home. This is what I felt when I joined the team at Clearbridge. Suddenly, there was a better space for me to dream and create (more peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, right). I was welcomed into a cool, bustling office filled with natural sunlight and a sense of possibility. During my first week, it felt like each day was a chance to do better and become a better person. Someone my peers could rely on. I learned that my true calling was not just about fulfilling a lifelong dream or pursuing an arbitrary passion. It was about being connected with the right people and being in the right place at the right time.
Sitting at my new workstation, I leaned back into my ergonomic chair and beamed.
When you know something is just right, you know it is (I can’t stop with the pb & j references!). But there are a lot of clues that can help you see better.
Here are some I can take away from my first week at Clearbridge:
When the team takes time to put you through a well-thought-out onboarding process, you know they are devoted to empowering you, helping you feel ready to take on the responsibilities of your new role.
Working in a space that promotes collaboration for someone with creative inclinations is living the dream. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
Joining a company that embraces change is everything. This especially matters when you’re creative because ideation thrives in a facilitative environment. If I’m able to grow creatively, I know I will become a better marketer and, in turn, can create and develop the best ideas because I am part of a group of people now who value that too.
Feedback is essentially a means of trust. It allows us to discover possibilities, and at the same time, we earn the right to discover our peers’ communication styles. Once we unlock this type of interaction, we can evolve as human beings and accomplish larger goals, like I’ll be honest—changing the world!
In pursuit of innovation
Seth Godin says, “The first step on the path to making things better is to make better things.” This is now my truth since joining Clearbridge.
I’ve always been driven and ambitious. From a very young age, I partook in various extracurricular activities, from public speaking to creative writing and sign language classes to competitions with my classmates on who could act out The Babysitters Club book series with the most panache. Life back then was always about showing the world who I was and what I was capable of.
In my first week at Clearbridge, I feel like that kid again, taking on my dreams as if there were no limitations. I’ve also learned a thing or two about communication strategy. For one, you need a dedicated team that wants to make change happen for anything to improve. You also need to be laser-focused on outcomes and putting the best systems in place to win in every situation. We must constantly be challenged to innovate in our domain, then share our knowledge with one another, our customers, and partners.
We are doers
From snacks of every kind (lots and lots of chips, locally-made ice cream, and most critically, Phil & Sebastian coffee) to a business book library, the environment at Clearbridge supports doing. There’s no hiding in a cubicle as if you didn’t exist. It’s more like—look around you and see. See everyone and everything in its place. I’ve already started working on a social media strategy that will educate and engage our audience around technology, helping them find pertinent information (hello cybersecurity), how-to-dos, tips, tricks, and hacks that every person can find handy. I am also working on a company manual that entails everything from branding guidelines to who we are to our communication strategy. It will be a living document and serve as an introduction for future Clearbridgers.
Building great relationships with great communication
So, it all comes down to this—through empowerment, connection, communication, and the desire to do better (and find the best ways possible), we can succeed in work and life. I know that’s a big statement to make, but since joining the team here at Clearbridge, I feel that is the journey I am on. What’s more, I am starting to build strong relationships founded on intention. We are all here to do great work. We all want to understand that. I hope my time will be productive, meaningful and filled with positive transformation for Clearbridge and me.
How did you feel when starting a new job and what made you think it was the right choice? Share your comments; we would love to hear them!
Effective communication is simple, straightforward, and accurate.
It follows a linear path and is easy to digest.
Still, in its best forms, it can empower and inspire us to uncover new ways to respond to business demands and challenges. This is change!
a b c
For example, by understanding what type of communication drives our customers to choose us over the competition and then using that data to promote growth, we can harness communication to cultivate opportunity.
a b c
a b c
Here are some things to consider:
Be self-aware and understand the need to adapt your message to your audience
Communicate what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you are going to get there
Build a system or process, then be accountable and track your progress
Focus on transparency, empathy and consistency to elevate trust
Create opportunities for learning and development
Practice active listening to understand and feel the situation
Share your milestones, challenges, concerns and victories
How do you develop an effective communication strategy? What are some important values that support your communicative work?
We all wonder about things, everyday things, that lead us to research and ponder.
For example, are you starting a new diet? Curious about trying fresh, healthy food? Just nosy about the history of something? Well, these graphics will satiate you.
The #AllAbout campaign explores a variety of fresh, local, and healthy products, giving customers the chance to learn something new in a colourful and digestible way. As part of an ongoing strategy to define the tagline #TrulyFarmtoTable, I explicitly position an image at the bottom of a newsletter, like my brother Alan would say when we were kids eating dinner at the dinner table –
“The Ultimate” a.k.a. the last bite.
It satisfies and perfectly wraps up the meal (conversely idea) (metaphorically conversation).
Are you munching on words or proverbial nuggets or just vegan nuggets?
Well, these images will work in the same way! Once again, satisfying and perfectly wrapping up your dinner.
Another analogy – who didn’t chew Bazooka bubble gum only to unwrap the tiny comic folded neatly on the inside? Take it apart. Pop the pink gum. Immediately unravel the humorous reward.
It’s a ritual in a sense, and these graphics were indeed a ritual to create. So, I hope you enjoy them and that they will entice you to…Munsch!
A grid, which features multiple images split into a visually appealing frame, is one way to brand your business on Instagram.
Three benefits (that connect in the end) –
Command attention: make a lasting first impression; if a viewer’s average attention span is about eight seconds, they will have some time to absorb what you have to present to them.
Stand out: imprint your audience’s mind with a quick taste of your identity; give them immediate access to your information and interests while establishing credibility and authority.
Tell a targeted story: communicate who you are to your existing and potential followers while stimulating emotions, and on a practical side, organizing the layout of your images into a narrative.
I created these grids when reviewing the masses of content I have made over the past year for DirectFood. store’s email marketing strategy (a whole other topic on its own). I like how the colours and shapes seem to speak to one another, and the creative copy helps deliver a message in tune with the selected graphics and photographs.
If you like this sort of work, let me know. I’m happy to share more impromptu design posts here for you!
The stack of magazines was impressive. Elle, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit and People. As a 13-year old, I just wanted to fixate and rip, fixate and rip, fixate and rip. Slowly, I was adding to my expanding wall collection, and I was proud. How were the ‘best’ images selected, and what made them ‘iconic’? What mattered to me at the time—creativity, originality, colour, composition—made it onto my closet doors, locker and school binder clear insert. If I could think of these images in my sleep, they became iconic. I will never forget one in particular. The triangular red and white logo juxtaposed against a black and white photograph of a girl pouting while a man anticipates…
What intrigues us about this image? Almost instantly, we find ourselves peering in, linked to the experience. We sense she is in the wrong place; however, we do not feel that she does not belong or would rather be elsewhere. Time and space are interrupted. We ask ourselves, “Will it occur?” But the chain of events does not matter. What matters is that we are suspended in a rare and captivating moment. And because the image is black and white, we are transported to the exact scene where the ‘film’ unravels. Then the bold red of the typeface and the logo bring us back to life, and we are suddenly alive; the advertisement has won us over…without a guess!
If we know that people can impact an ad’s efficacy, should we consider using people on food packaging? Could we use the interaction between a man and a woman on a coffee bag, for example? In my opinion, yes. Imagine this. A tired corporate executive finds herself standing in a Whole Foods Market. There is no one around. Soft music flutters in and out of her ears. She is standing in the coffee aisle, looking at bags and bags and bags. There’s so much unique packaging, she’s not sure what to choose. But then she sees it—a couple set in black and white. The photograph is beautiful; the packaging seems bound by eternal love as the image wraps fully around the product. It portrays something the executive longs for on a deeper level. “I’ll go for this,” she thinks, grabbing it to pay.
Using people in ad imagery is not a new concept, but could potentially be an innovative idea in the food and beverage domain. We know that ads are geared to make us think and feel. And there’s a whole range of themes emotional ads can trigger, from love to empathy to excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent valuable time and money on a product that didn’t trigger an emotion somehow. Even if it may go unrecognized—the power and influence of an emotional experience are unforgettable.
Should packaging portray a feeling using images of people? And if so, what are the most effective ways this can be executed?