Archive for the Advanced Communications Category

The Future of Music Marketing?

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags , on December 2, 2012 by Stewart

By now you may have heard of an artist named Sonny Moore, otherwise known as Skrillex.  He has released several big hits in the last few years and just like any other artist needs to find a way to sell his music.  Enter Skrillex Quest, his new online flash game that you play with one of his new song (Summit) playing in the background.  Of course, there are links provided to buy the song in iTunes and to go to his Facebook page.  I found this to be a very novel way to change the way that an artist reaches their audience and gets them to listen to the song, in this instance you listen to the same song multiple times to the point that it became completely stuck in my head by the time I had finished the game.

Finding new ways to engage the audience is of paramount concern in an industry as clouded as the music industry is.  By doing this through a game it engages the listener and makes them feel like they are getting a lot more when they decide to buy the album or even just the single song after it was stuck in their head.  Another instance of engaging the audience came from one of Linkin Park’s new single Lost in the echo where you could become part of the music video which makes you want to watch the whole video just to see which pictures will show up there.

Both of these experiences are very engaging for the user and ensure that they at least give your song a chance to make a strong first impression while separating it from a lot of the other music that is available for download on the internet.

Link to the game is available here


Top 10 BUS-330 Learnings

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags , on December 1, 2012 by Stewart

So I have spent a semester blogging (there are still a couple more posts to come) and taking an Advanced Communications class, I thought it would be important to list the top 10 things that I have learned from this class, in reverse order:

10. Communications written by people in this field are everywhere, there are so many good examples out there but also a large quantity of bad examples; finding that distinction is very important.

9. There is a constant need for communications at all levels of an organization, even when things are going well it is important to continue to strengthen existing communications networks so you will have more control for the future.  Strong communication breeds success.

8. Make sure that you think of all the ways your communications could be interpreted, it is important to remember that like-minded people will often comprehend things the same way that you do.  It is important to check for understanding amongst multiple publics.

7. Often times a lower word count can be a benefit, it is much more important to maintain reader’s interest for a short period of time where you can get across your main points than to seek interest for a long time in an attempt to inform more fully that ultimately fails because the reader has been lost.

6. You can always remove words from what you have written, every edit you will find something to fix, a way to say something in a better way, don’t be afraid to edit.

5. There are a lot of opportunities for some very interesting jobs in the world of communications, these opportunities can present themselves in many ways – be open to them.

4.  Align your work no matter what you are writing for or designing, aligning makes a world of difference in readability and gives you the ability to draw your reader in from a distance.

3. Be flexible, timelines quite often change and you need to be prepared to adjust to that at all times and work within the timeline that is given.

2. Graphic artists are worth their weight in gold, I find it easy to come up with the vision for how I want everything laid out.  The transition from vision to paper can take a lot longer than expected at times.

1. Think both inside AND outside the box, come up with simple ideas which can come from anywhere and build from there but never forget the simple idea that started it all.


Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this blog this semester, who knows, maybe I will be back on it again soon!

Comparing Annual Reports

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags , on December 1, 2012 by Stewart

For our in class assignment we were asked to compare annual reports of three different companies.  After looking at the long list of Canadian companies I realized that there were a minimal number of companies that I had either heard of or interacted with as a consumer.  So like many other people in the class I chose to look at Lululemon, Lionsgate and TELUS first, because I had heard of them but after downloading and taking my first look at the reports it became quite clear that these were completely different reports; of course, they were different in content but they were also vastly different in the way that they were formatted and presented.

Lululemon had used a video rather than an actual paper report, I suppose it made it more personal and obviously less harmful to the environment but as an investor I don’t know how impressed I would be.  If the company was doing well – like Lululemon is – it would be okay, but in rough times I would want to know much more detail than any video could hope to provide.  Nonetheless, it provided some interesting content and overall I thought it was a refreshing and interesting way to present such a report.

Lionsgate must have spent all their graphic design budget on the movies because their annual report was devoid of colour, design or really anything that would have made it interesting to look at.  None of the important facts were highlighted in any way that would catch the reader’s eye.  The only colour that I saw in the report was a single shade of blue that was used to colour the company’s name.  Overall, from a communications perspective I have to say that this was the worst report by far.

TELUS restored my faith in companies making paper reports, they had used colour, design and alignment perfectly to draw the reader’s eyes to the right parts of the page and present all of the relevant information.  Furthermore, they had brought forward all of the important numbers and placed them on one page.  Everything had been coloured if it required attention or was numbered so that the pages of the report were easy to keep track of.

I felt that the TELUS report was the most effective, followed by Lululemon and in last would have been Lionsgate.

All of the reports are available at the links below if you are interested.

TELUS is available here

Lululemon Athletica is available here

Lionsgate Entertainment is available here


Design with Aligning

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags on November 26, 2012 by Stewart

One of the things that I learned from reading the non-designer’s design text was the importance of keeping things consistent; the way to book presents what you should do right next to what you shouldn’t do provides a stark contrast as to how much more effective it looks when things are properly aligned.  Not only does it make it easier to read if you are interested and want to read the whole thing but it makes it easier for you to scan the entire page of information and pick out the most interesting content.

In class, there was talk that people only read 20% of what is on the page when they are reading online, this also has an effect on the way that we must align and place content on the page as people’s attention spans grow shorter and shorter over time.  I read the other day that a slowdown of just one second on Amazon’s website response time could cost the company upwards of a billion dollars over the course of a year, that’s a lot of money to lose over a second.  It goes to show the importance of having the information that people need easily available and ensuring that people are able to get where they need to go quickly.  The same place that had the Amazon fact also said that people will wait less than three seconds to see if they find the information before abandoning the website altogether in favour of another webpage.

It all points to one conclusion, if your content is not easy on the eye, there is always somewhere else to look, especially on the internet.

Oh… That’s Bad Marketing

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags on November 26, 2012 by Stewart

I was sitting the other day and listening to a conversation at the Commowealth Recreation Center between two people.  The annual craft fair was on and they were discussing their distaste for the “marketing” that had caused there to be a three dollar admission charge to the craft fair this year.  I was sitting there thinking to myself: “is this really marketing’s fault?”  As I listened and they ranted about how they thought it was outrageous and how it would almost certainly result in there being almost no one attending this year.  Problem with this was, when I came into the parking lot on that day I was forced to engage in a 10 minute search for parking, not something that ever happens when I go to Commonwealth.

So clearly, these people had missed out on this experience when they had come to park on this day.  However, this raised a more important question, is it marketing’s fault that they had decided to charge an admission fee because they knew that this would not deter people from attending, in fact, it may have served to improve the experience for those that did attend by lessening the crowds that were filling the entire area.

As time goes on, I think that these types of admission fees will continue to surface, or increase over time as it may be and it raises the question for me as to whether these fees are “marketing’s fault”?  What do you think, do you think that these are the fault of money hungry marketers or just an inevitable evolution over time?

TED Talks: Michael Pritchard

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags , on November 26, 2012 by Stewart

This TED talk focuses on a new product that takes dirty drinking water (as you will see in the video, this water is VERY dirty) and with only a quick, short process it is able to be cleaned.  This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that we as humans handle disaster response as it will allow us to avoid the tent cities that pop up all over the place when there is a natural disaster.

What really makes this TED talk interesting for me is the smoothness with which he presents while he demonstrates his product.  His product clearly has lots of research and a strongly thought out execution plan for how it will be implemented into these new situations.

it would be interesting to see how his presentations to government organizations would differ from his TED talk, TED is usually very informal and in some ways almost conversational whereas government organizations would expect a much more formal presentation.  This would be a case where he would have to adapt his presentation and likely his message as well to meet the needs of a new audience; perhaps, using a more numbers based presentation would help him appeal more to investors.  It is also quite possible that keeping his presentation the way it is would work very well for him as it makes people feel at ease.

The video can be found below.

The Best Option?

Posted in Advanced Communications with tags , on November 26, 2012 by Stewart

With the 100th Grey Cup taking place this past weekend it raised an interesting point around choosing the correct public for your message.  Two of the performers for the halftime show were Carly Rae Jepsun and Justin Bieber.  This left me wondering if they were aware of who actually watches the game? Would they run an ad during the Grey Cup that was for a young girl’s clothing or something along those lines?  I wouldn’t know if they actually did this as I elected not to watch; partly based on my disinterest in the CFL and partly in protest of their selection of a halftime show.

It turned out that during the halftime show Bieber was somewhat unsurprisingly booed by the fans that were there.  How could the CFL be so clueless as to who watches their game?  I understand that they wanted to put Canadian content on the stage, especially during the 100th Grey Cup but could they not have found an act that was both Canadian and a better representation of the past 100 years of this event?

Conveniently, Wikipedia has provided this list of all Canadian Musicians, maybe the CFL should consider looking here before the 101st Grey Cup?