8 Takeaways from Communications Week #CommsWeekCA


What a busy week this has turned out to be - cannabis was legalized across Canada on Wednesday, we celebrated Small Business Week, a new Royal pregnancy was announced and who knew it was also Communications Week?!

This year was the first time we celebrated Communications Week in Canada beyond celebrating it in New York, London, Chicago and Hamburg. I had the opportunity to attend the first-time event on Thursday, bringing together some of the best communications professionals to network and discuss timely topics like media/journalism, diversity, and branding in the communications realm.

The speakers were brilliant and provided a lot of catchy take-aways (shared with a lot of honesty and humour).

Here are 8 tidbits from the event:

  1. Choose social media platforms based on time investment. How much time do you have to put in to create content that resonates with your audience/marketplace - David Pagnotta, Founder & EIC, Fourth Period Media

  2. Competition is healthy in the digital space - it pushes us all to be better, more innovative and think differently - Jacqueline Leung, Founder & EIC, Pressed News

  3. Its not why/what to influence, it is how. You can influence in person, not just on social media. Social media platforms are just distribution channels. You need to determine your message/brand voice first - Joanna Track, Founder & Executive Published, The Bullet

  4. [When discussing multicultural advertising and showcasing all the incredible people associated with Hip Hop like Drake, Serena Williams, Jay-Z, Lebron James, etc]. Hip hop has evolved with the times and reinvented itself. Hip hop is an economic powerhouse - its people have reclaimed its narrative, its confident in itself, it knows its worth, the leaders of the industry are from the industry and will ensure its art form. Its why Hip Hop doesn’t have a diversity issue. - Dabo Che, Founder CHE Industries

  5. Don’t build a brand, build an identity. You don’t have to build a brand if you have a strong identity. - Shaharris Beh, CEO Hackernest

  6. Canada is more socially-aware and socially responsible than the US. Before brands come into the Canadian marketplace (or you go into any marketplace) do your research and homework first (its why brands like Target and Sam’s Club have failed) - Sheryl Johnson, Chief Insights Officer, BTI Brand Innovations Inc.

  7. Develop a relationship with media before you need them - Jodi Echakowitz

  8. Telling our story hasn’t changed.. we’ve always been telling our story.. but the way we tell our story is what has changed (when referring to social media and the digital space) - Erin Bury, Managing Director, Eighty-eight agency

If anything, the event made me think of how so much of what the speakers were talking about is what we need to think about in agriculture and food:

  • have we evolved in the consumer space like other industries/brands have to leverage existing trends (i.e. social media, influencer marketing, etc)

  • our industry were early adopters of social media but have we continued to evolve and adapt as social media has changed?

  • we need to listen to our audience/marketplace first before wanting to tell our side of the story

  • choose communications/social media platforms wisely and strategically (not every social media channel is needed!)

  • have we truly built the relationships we need as a sector to further our message (i.e. media, brand influencers, other sectors)

Most importantly, the event reminded me that communications isn’t just social media. Communications involves many facets - media, photography, branding, advertising, print, radio AND social media (even though the digital space is the way of the future) A good reminder for all!

We're Live!

Welcome to our new home at Crowley + Arklie Strategy & Co.

This has been years in the making. We are proud to {finally} make things official and launch our digital communications agency. We have big ideas, a lot of creative juice and the tools to execute.

There are three things we’re passionate about, well I guess you could say four: people, communicating, agriculture and social media.

So what are we doing here?

We believe that every brand, business and executive should be good at communicating.

There really is no excuse in today’s digitally-crazed world where access to information (or anything!) is at our fingertips. That’s why we're on a mission to help transform the way brands, businesses and executives communicate in agriculture-food and beyond through digital and social media. 

The services we offer are what businesses, boards and executives need help in most: digital and social media, communications planning, campaign management and execution, media training, branding and more. Overwhelmed yet? Let us help you.

We’re glad you found us at our new home. Take a few minutes to browse and look around, learn more about our story, who we’ve worked with and by all means, get in touch with us so we can chat further about how we can help you.

Thanks for coming along and sharing in this new adventure with us.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

7 Ways to Manage Your Digital Footprint

If you visit here often or we follow each other on social media, you would have noticed some changes last fall to my photography and branding.

It was just some simple, subtle, yet positive changes that helped to spice things up around here and on my social platforms. Hello, new headshot! :P 

Its like when I re-arrange furniture in my house when the seasons change, it is the simplest thing to do and the BEST feeling when its done. In the social world, you really always have to be changing it up to keep fresh, continue to evolve and be noticed as you and your brand grow and evolve.

The intended change was good because it made me realize how you have to take continued stock or inventory of your digital footprint. Simply put, you have to keep track of all your social profiles. Sounds easy but it isn't.

Even if you’re not rebranding, having all of your passwords and log-in information in one place is a good place to start. This made things SO much easier for me when I went to do my rebrand and proudly post my new headshot across all my social platforms last fall.

This blog post can serve both individuals or even businesses and social/digital managers that manage their company's corporate communications and brands. Here are 7 things I learned last fall with my rebrand for how you too, can easily manage your digital footprint at any point in time.

7 Ways to Manage Your Digital Footprint

  1. Create and maintain a locked password document (that requires a password to get into the document). This should contain all of your social media platform passwords. This is an easy way to keep organized, period.
  2. Establish and set your brand guideline. This will ensure you execute your brand with consistent colours, fonts and look/feel across all social platforms you use. It is best to create a mood board and then a brand board to always refer back too. I've provided my latest rebrand branding board below for your reference :)
  3. Once you've set your 'look and feel', hire a professional photographer to capture your brand - it’s a wise investment and some of the best money you will spend!
  4. Have a consistent logo/photo/headshot across all of your social platforms.
  5. When/if you decide to change your logo/photo/headshot, take the time to update your bio and descriptions with the same consistent wording and put this across all of your platforms.
  6. Update your website or your blog at the same time to reflect any of these new changes and introduce your new rebrand.
  7. Review your analytics on each of your social platforms and website/blog to determine what platforms are working best for you. When you rebrand, its a perfect time to add new platforms, change the function of existing platforms or decide altogether to stop using certain social platforms if you find you're not getting the ROI for the value you're putting in. Your followers on each of your social platforms will tell you a lot about what they consume from your brand.

If you have questions about your own social media profiles, need help in rebranding or want to know more about the analytics behind your social platforms,let's get in touch!

The Power of Unity Through Social Media

I've been finding this post hard to write. For someone who wordsmiths for a living, I found the words hard to come by - to properly formulate thought into sentences. It reminded me though that in times of crisis, sometimes all we have is our words.

Thirteen days ago, we witnessed anyone's worst nightmare. The tragic bus accident that resulted in the death of 16 people who were part of the Humboldt Broncos hockey organization. It is something that no family, friend, team, community or country should ever have to experience. They were a team of passionate individuals on a bus travelling together to play hockey, the sport they love. Its a sport that our country loves - a sport that is ingrained in our cultural fabric as Canadians.

As things unfolded that night as I watched on social media and in the days following, our country came together, united, to help a small Saskatchewan town mourn at an unimaginable time. It really was incredible to watch as everyone dropped what they were doing, to mourn together. It didn't matter who you were or where you lived, no matter where we were across Canada, we mourned and showed our support together in any way possible. Because of the physical distance, a lot of that was done through social media.

It dawned on me that Monday morning after, as I walked past the local Canada Post office that had their hockey stick taped to the window in support of the Broncos, just how powerful social media really was in this time of grief.

I use social media on a daily basis and for work, but never before had I witnessed something like this on social media that brought us together in the way this did. Social media really played a crucial role in how information was not only shared, but how it brought people together. Here are just a few incredible examples of just how powerful social media has been:

  • Watching the initial updates from people posting about the accident late that Friday night, Twitter seemed to be the platform as to how parents, friends and organizations were initially communicating about the accident.
  • Once news began to break about the horrific accident, social media was where people began to mourn publicly and share their memories of the people who had passed.
  • It was how information was being shared publicly for those who needed to seek mental health assistance to cope with the tragedy.
  • The Go Fund Me page, that has now surpassed $13 million, was created and it became the place that people could go too to help provide financial support, which so many people have did.
  • People registering for organ donation spiked after one of the players, Logan Boulet gave the incredible gift of life through his organ donation. This was shared throughout social media and it reminded all of us to consider organ donation {If you would like to check if you're an organ donor or to register, you can visit beadonor.ca. I just checked the other day and had thankfully already signed up as an organ donor}
  • Those from near and afar, from all around the world, put out hockey sticks on their porches in solidarity to pay tribute to those lost in the accident and pictures were shared using the hashtag #SticksOutforHumboldt
  • Last Thursday on April 12th, everyone across the country wore their hockey jersey using the hashtag #JerseysforHumboldt which was documented across social media. Even Drake wore his Broncos jersey at the Raptors playoff game.
  • And social media is how the team is honouring and remembering its loved ones who were tragically lost. A website has now also been created and shared online to honour their memories.

In an unimaginable time like this, I couldn't be more proud to be Canadian. I also couldn't be more grateful for social media and the positivity that was harnessed throughout social media platforms to bring us altogether, united as a country at a time like this. It truly is incredible how powerful our words have been and how they have been used on social media to bring us together. Humboldt, we are with you!


"Embrace Bold:" My 2018 Buzzwords

This is a big post for me.

Not only is this my first post of 2018 but this is my first ever PODCAST! (Can you hear my excitement through the cap locks?!)

Starting a podcast was a goal I had in 2017 but I kind of had a baby, so I wasn't able to get around to getting this goal done. BUT, I'm kickstarting 2018 off in the best way possible and I'm making my first post here on the blog, my first podcast!

2017 - Beautiful Chaos

In my first episode, I reflect on 2017 and the 5 goals I committed to achieving last year. I'm happy to say, I accomplished 4/5 of my goals but by far, the best thing we did in 2017 was welcome our healthy baby boy Blake in May!! He is by far the greatest thing we'll be able to say we EVER did. Its incredible to think love creates life like this. I summarized last year as 'Beautiful Chaos' but I also stuck to my buzzwords 'Adapt and Adjust.' Isn't that what parenthood is all about.. adjusting and adapting... all.the.time?!

2018- Embrace Bold 

I also share in my first episode, my 2018 buzzwords which are 'Embrace Bold.' This was partly inspired by the Little Book of Hygge and Oprah's recent Golden Globes acceptance speech which if you haven't saw it yet, you can watch it here or read the full transcript here. Based on this mantra of 'Embrace Bold,' I'm also sharing my 5 goals for 2018 on the podcast.

Take a listen to my first podcast by clicking on the play button directly below. I hope you enjoy listening and I'd love to hear what you think.

Oh and by the way, HAPPY 2018!