Social Media Update 2023

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 info@chonafecanlas.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 – A New Blox. System That Will Help You Reach Your Goals

A Good Curveball

Has life thrown you a good curveball

What is a good curveball, you ask?

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. 

A Good Curveball

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 my time at Clearbridge Business Solutions ends, I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve learned here that will carry me into my new role at Longboard Architectural Products.

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!

Become Indispensable

1- Relationships 

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:

Courage

A growth mindset

Initiative

Risk

And most importantly…talent. You can’t duplicate indispensable work. I truly believe this!

The Playbook

A pièce de résistance, I hope you find value in reading it!

Download a PDF copy here.

Here’s to the future, everyone! Y’all are invited!

The Power of Infographics

Capturing imagery + text in an intertwined relationship is fascinating work. There’s something about mingling elements, contrasting colours, and purely expressing a message that excites me.

Infographics are a great example of this type of communication. Well done work leaves me breathless (in a good way). So, to jump right into it, here are some things to consider when creating powerful infographics.

First, a basic definition:

in·fo·graph·ic

/ˌinfōˈɡrafik/

noun

An infographic (information graphic) is a representation of information in a graphic format designed to make the data easily understandable at a glance.

Why do we use them?

Infographics are a great way to communicate ideas quickly and effectively. They help to simplify the process of presenting a message or data and help to establish connections, patterns, and relationships that allow us, as the viewer, to gather specific information.

Why are they important?

Poor content incites boredom. What’s poor content?

Anything that’s too wordy, difficult to understand, or mind-numbingly full of roundabout detail. And it’s not about getting a quick fix. Some of us—me on occasion—enjoy digesting a mouthful of words. Still, no one can deny that pictures make everything easier to take in! 

In 2019, 74% of marketing content contained a visual element. That’s not surprising, considering a whopping 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Leaving us to believe that when you come across visually appealing content, you are much more likely to retain it. You might even share it with someone else after you’ve frolicked in its delight. 

Shareability is huge.

Taking inspiration from that which is shareable is also a thing.

I often create based on how much I liked LOVED something. I am graphically illuminated so much easier these days with all the impressive infographics to learn from!

They’re important, guys, for so many different reasons. But to summarize—infographics are important because they help us tell a story in a way that’s accessible to our audience.

Just the words below will let you know why.

Words that your infographics should be

What’s the blox. way to create infographics?

Follow these steps:

1 – Find an appropriate ‘chunk’ of content you would like to translate pictorially, or that is so dang interesting, it’s already sparking imagery in your head.

2 – Follow your brand guidelines—typeface, colour, spacing, tone etc.

3 – Create to your heart’s content but make sure each element flows into the next. Continuity is critical, or you risk altering the message or even worse, spreading an inconsistent idea.

4 – Aim to make your infographics attention-grabbing and playful. People are much more likely to engage if they’re looking at something that incites positive emotion.

5 – Incorporate text carefully and precisely The text you add should uplift and reinforce your main message. Make sure it supports the imagery you are using!

Now, the fun part.

Here are some infographics I created for Clearbridge Business Solutions.

I am so excited to share these because designing them was such an enjoyable experience. I feel like I achieved what I was going after—visually describing our work and what we want to be known for (our #bestwork). I hope you like them! If you have any suggestions for modifications, let me know, I am always happy to make things #better!

Yearning for more design content? Check out these blog posts:

A Design Thinking Process

Blogging Graphic Design Process

Logo Design

Why I Love Asynchronous Communication (a.k.a. Emails)

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.

The strategy behind it? Starting, stopping, continuing. Perpetually. The true definition of email really—asynchronous. This is also marketing. For a later topic!

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!

Entry 1

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!

Entry 2

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.

Learning Your ABCs – A Quick Guide to Effective Communication Practices

Effective communication is simple, straightforward, and accurate. 

a

b

c

It follows a linear path and is easy to digest. 

a a

b b

c c

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?

It’s Time!

(A poem about AI or conversely celebrating My New Job)

As cryptic as it may be, the time has arrived.

Surprise!” it squeals with utter delight.

After all that hard work, you’ve finally made it here.

I’m ready. She’s ready. She’s finally prepared!

“Where are you going?” it asks quizzically.

Well, I am headed toward reality.

It’s bursting at the seam from being grappled for so long.

I’ve been waiting, hankering, perfecting my song.

“Do you know where you’re going?” it asks once again.

Well, I certainly have an idea. The spot is a delight. Filled with smiling faces, happy circumstances and scenarios of hard work.

“Well, welcome home then, I suppose!” it pats my back congratulatorily.

Why, thank you, my friend! Now, let’s pencil this in!

A little explanation:

On Monday, March 14th, 2022, I had a wicked phone interview that started with a compliment about the same content you’ve been passionately reading here on ChonaBLOX. Swiftly, I was scheduled super bright and early the next day, Tuesday, March 15th, 2022, to meet the CEO and Operations Manager of Clearbridge Business Solutions. I walked away from that interview, thinking I had done horribly. And as I arrived at work, I furiously texted my husband, saying, “Man, I’m worried. I don’t think I did that well.” But it turns out I did because I received a phone call within minutes saying they wanted to offer me the job! So, it’s done. I’m starting a new journey with my new company, Clearbridge. So excited! This is going to be a lifetime experience. Can’t wait to get started!

What’s new with you guys? Drop me a line anytime!

A Design Thinking Process

I’m no design wizard, but I have an eye for harmony and style!

These images were created as draft ads for a publication. They are not final but simply an example of my design strategy at work.

What strategy is that, you ask?

Well, for a multitude of reasons, there is always a small group of work that stands the test of time. I hold on to these works, for I know they will come in handy later.

And so, I found some old designs used to create our persona project Facebook ads and decided (ever-so-decidedly) that they were appropriate to appropriate (see what I did there) for this particular task.

So alas, using my trusted canvas called Canva, I copied the design in the new dimensions and spent about 2 hours iterating upon iteration, if that could be a thing!

So, what are your thoughts? Which one speaks to you the most? Which one do you think the team went with? Let me know!

Agtech Career Series

I am so passionate about educational marketing. It inspires me to look beyond the standard expectations of my role. For this project, I tried to situate myself in the mind of a teenager reading a presentation about a job in farming. It’s so much more than that though. It’s igniting their energy with thoughtful and calculated design. It’s creating flawless headlines and engaging copy that will leave them fascinated and motivated. More urgently, it’s about arming that younger generation with the knowledge to pursue a rewarding career in an ever-growing and transitioning industry.

Our primary call-to-action invokes us to – farm smart start today. We’ll provide you with the education and the technology to succeed. To change your operation for the better. To help the planet survive. So let’s band together and fill each other with hope to prepare ourselves to fight with our minds and hearts to beat global problems like a growing population, food waste, and climate change.

I hope to participate in more projects like this in the future and maybe even join the classroom for some face-to-face interaction and hands-on teaching!

Read more about the project I launched here. Alongside a blog series, these are the assets I designed for the students:

And here are the blog graphics that were used to complement the content. I mimicked a rainbow effect because the colours of a rainbow positively impact our brains, affecting emotions, mental clarity, and energy levels. We all know long nights of studying could take advantage of a rainbow or two!

But Local First Facebook Ad

The ‘support local’ movement is a force driving change worldwide. It moves people to want to purchase fresh, healthy products from farmers. It creates a connection between shoppers, where we can ignite conversations to examine how we’re doing our part and why it’s so important. Products are showing up more readily and in places where you least expect to see them. Overall, there is a feeling of togetherness, kindness, and open-mindedness that helps promote awareness and captures the interest of new, existing, and prospective customers.

I wanted to create a fun digital ad that spoke to the nature of the ‘support local’ concept, one that explores options (expressed using a carousel format), eliminates predisposition (articulated in the ad copy), and ultimately grants us the ability to choose (the call-to-action ‘but local first’) – take action (decide what you want to eat for breakfast) or take action through inspiration (are your eggs local? Well, you can get them laid the same day of delivery! How awesome is that!). The inspiration trickles through in a matter of seconds affecting all those involved (conveyed through various images, colours, animation, and the image of a family). As individuals watching the ad, we feel more attuned to thinking about what’s on our plates, how it got there, where it comes from, and why our consumption habits can negatively or positively impact the planet. The focus remains on the following values –

Support local

Empower people

Help the planet

Grow the community

What are your thoughts on this ad? If I could make one change, I would use a graphic of a globe in place of the farming graphic (at the end of the video). Does it speak to you and make you feel empowered to support local? Let me know your thoughts; open to discussing with you!