BNN’s The Disruptors: Financial Technology, crowdsourced lending, and what it means for the banking industry

financial district

The banking and financial industry are not immune to disruption and this was the focus on this week’s The Disruptors, on BNN.

The show focused mainly on three companies: Payso, a company looking to disrupt your wallet; Grouplend, which crowdsources loans; and Financeit, a company attempting to change financing through technology.

But what does all this disruption mean for traditional banks and financial institutions?

There seemed to be a consensus with co-hosts Bruce Croxon and Amber Kanwar that the big banks will always be valued for their security and stability, and regulations will always influence change. But there’s no doubt that technology will ultimately change behaviours — especially with the proliferation of mobile- and cloud-based technology.

“What we’re seeing is that (with the emergence of) cloud and mobile, the new consumer wants to be treated differently, and the companies that can give them what (consumers) need are going to be the companies that are going to be successful,” said Financeit CEO Michael Garrity on the show.

Ultimately, it may be the consumer with the last word on this as consumers further embrace technology.

Bruce Croxon summed up the entire show by stating, “it’s an unbelievable time to be a consumer.”


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Deflategate: A Case of Poorly Played Crisis Management

press conference

They’re calling it “the biggest non-domestic violence, non-murder accusation PR disaster an NFL team has faced in a very long time.”

While the press is having a field day with the fallout from Deflategate, brands are happily lining up take the metaphorical kick.

And like any good PR catastrophe, it even has its own remix.

So how did a few suspiciously under-inflated footballs inspire a news circus that just won’t quit? The answer can be traced back to the early hours of the scandal.

It was an error of strategy as much as a failure of morals,” says sportswriter Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “Humility would have quelled the controversy, but the Patriots’ arrogance sparked it.”

A series of indignant denials — including Brady’s lapsed memory about the existence of a locker room attendant — ensured both the NFL and the press would continue their pursuit.

online news over time

As the chart above shows, mentions of Deflategate in online news stories in May have been consistent and sustained since news of the NFL’s punishment of the Pats was made public. And while article volume peaked on May 12, this past Monday still had more than 2,000 online mentions — almost all of them being negative toward the Patriots.

Even worse, a recent report from Marketing Arm’s Celebrity DBI determined that Tom Brady’s endorsement value has plummeted from 967th to 3,027th in just a few months. “Brady had been on par with celebrities like Cameron Diaz and John Hamm, but his trust level is now equivalent to that of conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly and actor Billy Bob Thornton,” according to The Score’s Caitlin Holroyd.

Kilgore says Brady should have swiftly owned up to the meddling, cut a cheque for the fine ($25,000) a week before the Super Bowl (in early February) and killed the story before the alternative compounded it into an ever-newsworthy scandal still going in May.

In the end, it seems, the Patriots broke more than a few rules with the league: they also broke the cardinal rule of crisis management, which is to react immediately and consistently with full transparency.

Brady’s blasé attitude (“this isn’t ISIS”) and the Patriots’ response were vast miscalculations, particularly given the delicate environment in which they were operating. Hot on the heels of the Ray Rice scandal, the NFL is all too aware that they’re in the red when it comes to public relations these days — and Deflategate hasn’t helped with that.

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A sneak peek at Engagement + Impact: CPRS Annual National Conference

On May 31st, hundreds of PR and Communications professionals will flood Montreal for the annual Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) conference: Engagement + Impact.

As a bronze-level sponsor and enthusiastic attendee, MediaMiser is excited to share this sneak peak of next week’s events:



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What’s the most effective and least expensive marketing tool out there? An award win.


You’ve just completed your latest book and laid it to rest on the nightstand, and now you need to take a trip to the bookshop (or visit their online store) to pick up something new.

Without anything specific in mind, you walk through the front doors of a behemoth chain store only to find yourself lost in a sea of titles. What catches your eye and makes you decide on one publication? Is it the artistic cover, the summary on the back, the snippets of quotes from reviewers? How do you ultimately conclude that this is the book you want to read?

Like many decisions we make, we want to hear how someone else’s experience has been. We need a recommendation that tells us we are going to get our money’s worth from this purchase — and in the case of literature, a seal of approval can make all the difference when making your selection. If that stamp on the cover declares a prestigious prize win, then it has to be worth reading. Having “New York Times Bestseller” emblazoned across the cover is a sure sign that this book has been read and enjoyed by the masses.

It’s no different for companies in need of assistance in public relations, communications or marketing. How do you select a firm that’s right for you? It doesn’t matter how sexy your website is or how many followers you have on Twitter. What matters most is your firm’s achievements.

Most, if not all, agencies will highlight award wins on their homepage, or a dedicated page listing all their awards and accolades. This gives the client a sense of comfort, knowing that their fate rests in the hands of a firm that has been recognized for its many accomplishments. They know when they hire you that they’re going to get the best possible service.

As long as the award carries prestige in its field and the judges hold a certain stature, this is the best and least expensive marketing tool you can find. A list of awards can go a long way in bringing in new clients and retaining your existing roster.

Here are five tips on how to put together a winning award submission:

  • Creativity and originality can speak volumes. Think outside the box and come up with something new.
  • Describe the strategy behind your campaign. This can really show how well you know your client and their audience.
  • Fast thinking and quick turnaround in a crisis situation can make all the difference. Show how you have managed to take a negative and make it a positive.
  • Execution is key to displaying how masterfully you have employed your PR techniques to make an impact.
  • Results need to be backed up with convincing metrics and analytics. Show how you increased your media outreach, social media engagement or membership.

Ensure you do your research: find reputable awards programs and enter to win. Take a little tour through your competitors’ websites and have a look at the programs they’re entering and winning. Find which categories work best for your campaign and enter them all!

Whether it’s nominating a younger member of your team for a local Forty Under 40 or Business Woman of the Year award, or a national recognition or even a large scale global initiative, many PR and communications awards programs can really be the best bang for your marketing buck.

Did you know? MediaMiser’s sister company, Bulldog Reporter, has its own PR Awards program: The Bulldog Awards. Visit to find out more.


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Are Marketing and Public Relations’ focuses too narrow? Study suggests so.


There’s no question that both marketing and PR want more C-suite influence, but according to a study by a Baylor University researcher, corporate communicators and marketing teams are often in direct competition to be in those coveted boardroom seats.

“So few seats are available that it’s often an ‘either/or’ for PR and marketing,” said study author Marlene Neill, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, according to a news release. “People perceive them as quite similar,” although their responsibilities are distinctly different.

The research indicates that both groups’ focus on the C-suite is too narrow. “Everybody wants more power and influence, but strategic issues arise at the division level, as well as executive-level committees,” Neill said.

The study, Beyond the C-Suite: Corporate Communications’ Power & Influence, is published in the Journal of Communication Management.

Neill conducted 30 in-depth interviews with senior executives in three Fortune 500 companies and a fourth multinational company that has been featured among Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest-growing private companies.

None of them included both marketing and PR executives in the C-suite, she said.
Those interviewed included executives in corporate communications, marketing, sales, human resources, investor relations, finance and operations, as well as division presidents.

“The executives’ interviews indicated that corporate communications and marketing do supply distinct and essential services that justify their membership in executive-level decision teams,” Neill said.

While PR executives in corporate environments generally manage social media, reputation, internal communications and government relations, marketing executives had influence due to their expertise in market research and branding.

Factors affecting the power of PR and marketing are industry type, CEO preferences, organizational hierarchy and domain expertise.

“PR had a bigger role with companies handling crises and reputation, while marketing was more dominant when the company was focused on branding and sales,” Neill said.

She suggested that both groups need to build internal relationships with their colleagues to educate them on the contributions they can provide. For example, in one company, the corporate communications group initially was excluded from the decision team for a wellness initiative. But after an unsuccessful launch, the communication team provided key messaging about why employees’ health matters to their families. Participation rates increased.

“It requires an effort on the part of the manager of public affairs to really build the internal relationships … so that people always think to call them,” said one public affairs executive.

In the interviews, executives discussed these issues: transition from a print to an electronic publication; public relations’ response to two crises; a merger/acquisition; fee increases across business units; appearances on a national television show; an employee wellness program; and a new business partnership.

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How to effectively repurpose content

Repurpose content

New research from loyalty and marketing agency Customer Communications Group (CCG) shows marketers three ways to recycle content marketing and conserve resources while keeping the content funnel full.

“Even with a solid team of content creators, it can be a challenge to develop original pieces for every single content marketing need and channel,” said Sandra Gudat, president and CEO of CCG, according to a news release. “The solution is to repurpose. Marketers can take existing content, make some tweaks and create content for new channels. It’s one of the most efficient ways to fill content channels without overwhelming financial and personnel resources. These three steps will help businesses get their own ‘content recycling’ program underway.”

Step 1: Run an Audit
Take an inventory of your company’s existing content. It often surprising how much is already available to repurpose. Here are some common sources to pull from:

  • Website
  • Product information sheets and other sales collateral
  • Testimonials
  • Training materials and video tutorials
  • Proprietary surveys and studies
  • Press releases
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Existing newsletter articles

Step 2: Review Your Plans
Keep content inventory in mind as you develop your content calendar. What topics on your calendar are already addressed by existing materials? Start mapping out the connections.

For example, if you’re planning a newsletter article about identity protection, can you base it on security information from your website? If you want to do a series of social media posts on fall fashions, can you pull from product information sheets or a recent commercial?

For each existing piece of content—and for any new, original material you develop going forward—try to identify three to five different ways you can re-use it. This will create even more efficiency in your content development efforts.

Step 3: Revise and Reuse
Now you’re ready to start tweaking the existing content you’ve identified so that it’s appropriate for the calendar topics and channels you’re aiming at.

For instance, if you’re re-purposing a training video into a customer-facing blog, you’ll need to adjust the voice and terminology so that it’s consumer-friendly. If you’re turning website content into an infographic, you’ll need to hone the message down to its most engaging points and add meaningful graphics.

Content Made Easier
Obviously, repurposing content still takes forethought and time. But particularly as marketers get in the flow and start identifying re-use opportunities upfront, they find that filling their content marketing demands isn’t nearly the challenge it used to be.

Find out more about recycling content and many other content marketing tips and strategies that build loyalty and boost the bottom line by reading CCG’s Guide to Content Marketing.

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BNN’s The Disruptors: Wattpad, Uber VS FedEx, Facebook and the New York Times, Pressboard, Snapchat, Eyecheck, and Balsillie’s Globe and Mail article

On this week’s BNN’s The Disruptors, Bruce Croxon and Amber Kanwar conduct interviews with Wattpad, Pressboard, and Eyecheck. They also discuss Sofia Vergara and Snapchat, Uber delivery service VS FedEx, Facebook’s partnership with newspaper publishers, and Jim Balsillie’s op-ed in the Globe and Mail.

Breakdown of Twitter discussion:


Watch the full airing of the show on BNN.

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Top 10 excuses small businesses make for not using PR


I’ve met so many small business folk lately who profess a desire to wage content PR campaigns, then continue to invoke a long list of lame excuses not to, even though in their heart of hearts they know they need to work to build their businesses. Anyway, here’s a list of popular excuses…

1. No Time: “I’m too busy” … right, better to wait until you have the time—meaning you have no work.

2. I have nothing to say: OK, you’ve been running a successful business for some time and you have learned … nothing? Start by considering your prospects’ / clients’ pain points and write about how you helped solve their problems.

3. I can’t measure ROI for PR: Depends how you measure. If you expect a published column to produce “x” new business calls the day of publication, OK. But dig a little deeper and you will find considerable impact from SEO to your LinkedIn profile-ranking lift.

4. PR doesn’t sell: Well, PR tells what you do best and if you cannot harness that content to your sales efforts, find another gig.

5. I can’t write: B—S–! You’ve been writing your entire career, from proposals to reports, memos, cases, etc. You can write, just sit down at your desk, close your office door and hit those keys. You will quickly have a first draft.

6. I’ve got no database: Once you’ve been published you need to push that content out to your prospects, clients, etc. If you do not have a new business database, you aren’t even trying to market your wares. Dude, start by reviewing your Xmas card list and then buy some bulk email software (only $49).

7. Everything I do is proprietary: My client will fire me if I reveal details. Of course Disney, Pepsi, etc. won’t let you go public with your contributions to their success, but you can discuss, without naming names, the lessons learned that will be of interest to potential clients.

8. Everyone already knows me: Lucky you, Mr. or Ms. Popular! Just what do they know about you, unless you are already a published author and keynoter. Think about your clients, not your ego, and share your knowledge.

9. Nothing I do is newsworthy: Hello Mr. Boring. Surely you are doing something if you run a profitable business. Dig a little deeper and you will see there’s lots of issues to turn into content.

10. I can’t afford it: Finally, the real reason—you’re too cheap to invest in building your business. I won’t argue with that excuse. Just keep on keeping on, while your competitors grow right past you.

Sure, mounting a successful content marketing campaign to drive your business forward requires investments of your time and treasure. But to turn one’s back on the power of PR is foolish. However, be very careful when selecting a PR firm. Perhaps I’ll explore that issue next time …

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How has Facebook monitoring changed?


As a result of changes implemented by Facebook on May 1, the ability to perform keyword searches is now gone from the Facebook monitoring experience.

Instead, only Facebook page monitoring will be supported through the social network’s Application Programming Interface (API). This is due to privacy concerns over divulging user data.

These changes will affect all software and services provided by all companies that currently monitor Facebook.

In anticipation of these changes, MediaMiser initiated a two-pronged approach to ensure a rich, relevant Facebook monitoring experience:

  1. We have introduced technological changes to support the new Facebook Graph API 2.0.
  1. We have undertaken the task of discovering Facebook pages relevant to our clients’ accounts, along with building a library of pages that clients can then use to do keyword searches. This ensures that our clients’ accounts are only delivered content relevant to their business or organization.

If you have any questions on the best approach to monitoring Facebook, please contact us.

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A PR win: How Microsoft leveraged its most valuable resource — its user base

Windows 8 Start Screen Angled


When one thinks of computer technology or software in the context of brand loyalty, most people think Apple.

But over the last two decades, Microsoft has also done an admirable job leveraging its loyal user base to help other Microsoft customers — many in Microsoft’s user base will defend Microsoft as fervently as Apple’s, while also singing the company’s praises.

That passion naturally transfers to supporting less-experienced users, which ultimately translates to lower support costs for the company along with happier customers.

Microsoft also formally recognizes these customers for helping others better understand Microsoft products. They call them their Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs.

For more information about Microsoft’s MVPs and similar programs from other great brands like Fiskars and Ford of Canada, please download and read our free Brand Advocacy whitepaper.

Brand Advocacy Whitepaper


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