Sunday, September 20, 2009

Siera Bearchell has Me to We Style

Siera Bearchell age 16 from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is the reigning Miss Teen Canada - World. You can follow Miss Teen Canada on Twitter, and keep a close eye on her Flickr photostream for updates on her amazing life as Canada's youngest celebrity.

Here's young Siera in ME to WE Style video telling us all about the charity work that's being done in cooperation with Craig and Marc Kielburger of Free The Children; she's supporting ME to We and all the good work they do, including their responsible clothing and volunteer trips.

Miss Teen Canada-World provides the winner with the opportunity to be an ambassador for Canada with the mandate to empower youth to take a leadership role in their communities. The girls have already studied first-hand what it feels like to be a positive role model, and all have contributed to projects in their community by raising funds for Free The Children. By July 6th, the girls had collectively surpassed the goal of $20,000 and on Saturday, July 25th presented a cheque for $49,700 to the charity!

Michelle Weswaldi, the Miss Teen Canada- World pageant director is quoted as saying, “We thought that since the winner will be volunteering in Kenya in 2010 on a Me to We trip, it should be a requirement for the MTC-W Competition for each national delegate to raise $400 within their communities towards Me to We's charity partner Free The Children,”. The winner will be invited to participate as a volunteer on a Me to We trip. This experience is to gain first-hand interaction by visiting a Free The Children project overseas. Their commitment to youth is to engage them in global development and social issues education so that they take action to make a difference.

At age 16, Siera Bearchell is now preparing to take that trip and proudly wears and writes about Me to We on the Miss Teen Canada - World blog. In addition to being a talented writer, this attractive teen is also a confident speaker, and a dedicated golfer. Keep your eye out for more videos from Siera here in the near future.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Marketing The Search For Miss Teen Canada

Promoting The Search for Miss Teen Canada –World is all about building a brand. It’s a ground up social media marketing experience that has evolved from what used to be a pageant event. This 'celebration' is so much more now... When we agreed to market this event, we asked the same questions every one does about pageants and teenage girls. And then we realized after talking with the girls, and hearing their stories filled with hopes and dreams, that this is a chance to step up and step out. The slogan Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful is more than a catch phrase.

These girls are from all walks of life and they all want to make a difference. To many it’s a stepping stone to a future that will give them the opportunity for continued education, scholarships and more. The fact that they have chosen Free the Children as their charity of choice is telling and each of the 50 finalists is working hard to raise $400.00 each.

Brand Relevance and Social Media Marketing
One thing we know for sure about teenage girls and brand relevance is that marketing to youth has to be authentic and relevant. So we opted to go for a ground up approach and be where they are. We know that social networking is part of their culture. Who else but a teen can be called the communications manager in her family? The social media marketing initiatives created by Rob Campbell of Smojoe are completely on target. Here's a partial list of the Miss Teen Canada Contestant Blogs:

The MTC-W Contestant Blogs are designed to create a pipeline for finalists and sponsors to the MTC-W website. The practice will increase our client's Google page rank, and feed an ongoing conversation about The Search for Miss Teen Canada-World. Creating a blog squad using the 50 finalists will increase brand conversation marketing opportunities even more, as each girl talks about her experiences and communicates through her communities. It’s relevant, authentic and experiential. These blogs will really get the word out, as they engage so many communities at once. Add some national and local PR by our sister agency dkpr public relations inc. and you have the recipe for a powerful 'ground swell'.

Brand Relevance and the website
Brand relevance is also about the website destination. So we hired Richard Carmichael because of his vision and his understanding of what this target needed to experience as well as what sponsors required. It also needed to be first class on tight budget; first class because our goal was and is to bring the word integrity into an area that many have forgotten or view on a less than positive note. What’s been created is visual, engaging, and easy. These days a website is a corner stone marketing tool. It can make you money or loose you money –simple as that. We knew that our site needed to be on target and sustainable.

Miss Teen Canada- World is Katie Starke, here is her blog!

Michelle Weswaldi, the director of the Miss Teen Canada- World, has gone coast to coast selecting the final 50 finalist’s who have the ability to be role models, leaders and ambassadors for Canada. This is particularly important for two reasons. Miss Teen Canada-World is the only competition who is licensed to send the winner to Miss Teen World in Houston Texas. She will also be travelling with Free the Children to participate in the building of a school for kids in a country like Africa. Their story will become her story to tell. It all happens on July 25th at the John Basset Theatre – Metro Convention Centre in Toronto.

Brand Relevance: The final Event
As the competition date, July 25th, quickly approaches, Ms. Weswaldi, EnCourse and dkpr, are working to make sure that the final event is more than a competition. It's an event that's entertainment, but also a place where sponsors are proudly showcased alongside the brand. Our sponsors are integrated throughout competition week (July 19th to the 24th) so that our finalists can experience their support first hand

Brand Relevance: Final Thoughts:
Brand relevance is more than a catch phrase. It’s taking the time to understand the target beyond demographics in order to speak to them in their language and in places that they frequent. Social Marketing couldn’t be more experiential or more relevant for The Search for Miss Teen Canada –World.

Marketing Reach for the Rainbow

Earlier this year, EnCourse Strategic Marketing and Communications was hired to provide marketing consultation for Reach for the Rainbow, a not-for-profit organization that offers programs and environments of inclusion for disabled children and youth. Working with their partners, Reach for the Rainbow (“RFTR”) focuses on providing these children and their families with the chance to grow together and create memories. This summer, RFTR is teaming up with the National Post, Air Canada Kids’ Horizons and Canwest for the “Every Child Belongs” campaign to drive donations.

Marketing “Every Child Belongs”: “Every Child Belongs” is a collaborative effort involving the National Post, Reach for the Rainbow, Canwest, Air Canada’s Kids’ Horizons and EnCourse. They say it takes a village to raise a child and our mutual efforts are blended to drive donations that ensure the continuing efforts of Reach for the Rainbow.

Today, there are many charities reaching out to children in need and presenting them with opportunities. What makes “Every Child Belongs” different from the rest? All of Reach for the Rainbow’s efforts focus solely on children with physical and development disabilities through inclusionary environments.

If you would like to support this cause, donations are fully tax deductible or partially if you choose to enter a draw to win one of three trips offered by Air Canada’s Kids’ Horizon. While we hope that this will provide a bit of incentive to the general public to donate to “Every Child Belongs”, it is important to remind you that these children, aside from their disabilities are just as loving and joyful as any other child.

Marketing for a not-for-profit organization is not easy. It is a very competitive market, at the best of times, and the larger charities often get the wealthiest share of the available funds and volunteers. Reach for the Rainbow is a smaller not-for-profit organization that does not receive any government assistance. Partnerships like those with the National Post, Air Canada Kids’ Horizon and Canwest are an important part of generating awareness. Reach for the Rainbow is also active with other fundraising initiatives throughout the year such as the 23rd Annual Crystal Ball happening in November, the BMW Ultimate Golf Challenge and more.

At EnCourse, we strongly believe in giving back and are excited to continue our work with Reach for the Rainbow to ensure that they accomplish their ultimate goal of helping disabled children.

Final Thoughts:
Children are one of the world’s most precious gifts and to give them the chance to grow in a loving and caring environment is something we are proud to be a part of. Donna Trella, Executive Director, founded Reach for the Rainbow 25 years ago because of her own daughter, Dove. She believed then, as she does now, that every child belongs. The opportunity for them to attend one of Ontario’s most popular camps is life changing for them and their families. EnCourse is ensuring that their message reaches the widest audience possible and is excited for the success of this campaign.

Marketing Yourself

In today’s economic climate Brand Relevance also applies to the individual especially if you are looking for a job- your dream job. Working with a head hunter or posting on line resume is not enough. People don’t realize they are marketing themselves with that two pager with a cover letter. With such a saturated market, full of experienced and upcoming businesses, you need to differentiate and be unique from the crowd of applicants. This is where networking comes into play and the opportunity for you to showcase yourself in a more personable atmosphere.

Brand Relevance: MarketingYourself:
Many jobs these days are not advertised or publicized in the public and are mostly only known about the “hidden job market”. To access this market, you must know how to network within your current surroundings.

This starts with knowing who to talk to within your family, friends, fellow co-workers, etc… By starting with the people close to you, you are already building a word- of- mouth network foundation, and in hopes that they will spread the word as well. Once you start to gathering information about potential job leads and different companies, you need to start organizing your profile. This includes strengthening your resume and cover letter to reflect your point of difference and your promise. Remember that you cannot rely on old resume for its content or design since it will not be a true testament to your achievements and strengths, to date.

Next In addition the internet. Generating buzz and popularity online is quickly becoming a dominant trend and social marketing outlets, such as Twitter, Linked In and Facebook, are becoming popular for companies and individuals to showcase themselves. Social media marketing is becoming one of the strongest ways to network within your respective industry, whether as an employer or an employee, thus it is a beneficial channel for both parties.

Be proactive in following up with your leads (send emails, make regular phone calls, etc…). Building a relationship with them is very important and connection is what brand relevance is all about. Even if your skill set might not fit their needs, they could very well recommend you to a partnering company. Therefore, it is evident that word of mouth marketing does not just end at potential employers but goes much further if you’re able to successfully market yourself.

Final Thoughts:
As demonstrated, networking is a “no pain, no gain” approach. With the right efforts, the beauty of networking comes with great short term and long term benefits. Whether for personal or business reasons, marketing yourself will always give you that competitive advantage and confidence that you’ll stick out from the rest.

Brand Relevance

Brand relevance is about your brand being and staying significant in the minds of your consumers. It is about being able to deliver an outward promise to your customer that goes beyond your mere product and service. Being relevant means that your brand connects and resonates with the consumers, educates them, and provides them with a deeper meaning to their life.

Brand Relevance:
Achieving brand relevance, today, is much harder than perceived since traditional marketing strategies are no longer effective enough. Brand relevance includes a much more thorough understanding of your consumer, your market, and your brand. After reviewing these analyses, a company’s response and strategy to obtain brand relevance is a fundamental success factor.

Gaining awareness in itself is a challenging task, in that your brand must be exposed through the increasingly popular channels today, including all media and social marketing outlets. The message you deliver through these marketing channels will begin your path to achieving brand relevance.

Your company’s message is your company’s promise. Brand relevance means that your promise is authentic and differentiated; your consumers will overlook the price and the competitors to remain loyal to your brand, in the short and long term and throughout all stages of the economic cycle.

Also contributing to brand relevance is the meaning behind your brand: what it stands for and how committed and consistent it is in conveying that meaning to the general public. These days, consumers look past brands that only market for short- term profits; those brands become irrelevant, very quickly. Instead, they are attracted to brands that strive for that consumer connection by expressing themselves through diverse means, while maintaining their roots. Brands that are constantly re-inventing themselves and challenging their consumers, while being consistent in delivering their promise are the ones that become relevant in their respective product categories.

Final Thoughts:
Brand relevance is often an overlooked objective in marketing plans. Many companies are quick to assume that strategies being recycled year after year have already established themselves as being relevant in the market. Unfortunately, with an ever evolving society, including new technologies and fresher marketing channels, old- fashioned marketing tactics are becoming weaker and weaker.

More than ever, today’s aggressive market poses the urgent need for brand relevance. Companies must look beyond their comfort zones and learn to take risks to be differentiated and unique. As well, the brand relevance objective and initial promise must be consistently revisited and pursued diligently.