All posts tagged Vancouver

Do you hear what I hear? Listen closely, brands.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Vancouver after delivering a keynote to a great group from RBC. I’m no BC resident but I’m there enough to know what a Japa Dog is, when to avoid post-game hockey demonstrations and most importantly, where to stay.

Normally, I stay at the Westin Grand. The service is great, the rooms are nice, the location is pretty central and – as weird as it may sound – I love looking out at the Public Library. This trip was extra special, though. At one point, I simply tweeted this:

I certainly wasn’t fishing for anything. Hell I didn’t even think they would be listening.  Like all good brands, they were. This was their response.

When I informed them that I was there, they asked if they could do anything to make my stay more enjoyable (nice touch). I privately messaged them (no need to air dirty laundry) that housekeeping had failed to provide shampoo in the room. They immediately corrected the problem.

But they didn’t stop there.

Mid-afternoon, they sent someone up to my room with a huge carafe of ice water, a tray of fresh fruit and chocolate and this thoughtful note:

Brilliant! While all of us celebrate huge customer service stories like KLM and Mortons, it’s small responses like this that separate the brands who get it from those who don’t. Here’s why:

1. They were listening. And they responded.
A lot of brands use SM channels to solve problems and avert PR disasters (as they should) but the potential is so much greater. Your clients ARE talking about you and listening gives you a chance to learn, be proactive, and be brilliant.

2. Operational integration.
Conversing with some SM teams is like talking to a call centre in India. Sure, they’ll pass your message along but you never feel like they have any power to do anything. When your product has a live, face to face component, they should have the power to affect it. Westin’s SM team had the power to fix a problem AND send a gift to my room quickly. Nice.

3. Transparency.
Even though I privately messaged them with my tiny and insignificant issue, they actually responded publicly with an apology. They actually shared their oversight with the world even though I gave them the opportunity to keep it private. Top marks.

4. Dialogue continuation.
When my friend Warren Porter  responded to my tweet, they engaged with him, too. They even complimented him on his glasses (they are pretty nice). The Westin was like the friend you like introducing to other friends. They could have got in and got out but instead, they were genuinely interested in the conversation and stayed around at the party long after the finger foods were gone.

Congratulations to the Westin Grand management and staff for providing a great lesson on what brands can do to create magic for their customers. As a result, they’ll be hearing even more positive comments in the future.


Free stress balls! Free stress balls!

Among us self-appointed cool people in marketing and advertising, trade shows don’t really bubble to surface as a priority. The common belief is usually,

“A trade show? Isn’t that where Dockers-wearing sales people wander past pipe and drape booths to collect free stress balls and celebrate a product launch with the members of Honeymoon Suite?”


I was recently named Chief Content Curator for Dx3 Canada, Canada’s largest trade show dedicated to digital advertising, digital marketing, and digital retail. It’s not a full time job or anything – it’s kind of like being appointed a jury head at an award show. I’ll work with the advisory board (some of Canada’s brightest digital minds) to design and deliver a relevant learning experience for all the attendees and participants.

Admittedly, I haven’t attended a ton of trade shows but I know MY business and we need this one badly. Here’s why:

Talk has to be followed by action.

Trust me, I know how valuable conferences are. Hell, I speak at a ton of them and know critical they are. They allow us to  pause. They allow us to think. They allow us to hear unique perspectives, brilliant case studies, and people we would never get access to. They can shape our thinking, confirm our thinking, or point out that we really haven’t been thinking.

At some point, though, that talking has to translate into action.

Did someone convince you that digital signage is critical to retail success? Great. Now get off your butt and buy some. Wondering what mobile advertising platform you should use? Talk to all of them in one place and get on with it.

The St. Lawrence Market for Innovation

Sure, the peameal bacon sandwiches and loud vocal jarring between vendors is great but what I like most about the St. Lawrence market is that everything is under one roof.

The web is a market itself but when you want to actually meet people, demo a product, negotiate a price, or show off your stuff, you need to visit a technology market every once in a while. And when all the important players have set up shop at that market, it’s even more valuable.

We are better business professionals when we talk and listen. But we’re best when we turn all those those conversations into action.

See it. Hear it. Demo it. Feel it. Play with it. Compare it. Order it. Buy it. And most of all, get on with it.

I look forward to working with the great people running Dx3 Canada as well as the brilliant Advisory Board. Hope to see you there.

Dx3 Canada takes place January, 2012.

Speaking of talking, I’ll be hosting the Art of Leadership in Toronto on June 6th and the Art of Marketing in Vancouver on June 9th. Brilliant speakers, relevant content, and fun all around.

The Art of Learning at the Art of Marketing.

Image of Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk.

Image via Wikipedia

Something that keeps coming up in consumer research is what we call, “The State of O”. Overworked. Overtired. Overburdened. Over-connected. There’s a lot going on in our lives and it feels like we can’t jam anything else into our busy schedules.

But we have to.

If we don’t occasionally step back, take a breath and actually think about things, we run the risk of being almost exclusively reactive. That’s not good for our brands, our companies, or our careers. That’s what I love about the Art of Marketing. (Full disclosure: I’m hosting Monday’s event in Toronto). It gives smart professionals a chance to hear from some of the industry’s most forward thinking individuals.

This time, you’ll hear from:

Guy Kawasaki
Jeffrey Hayzlett
Gary Vaynerchuk
Dr. Sheena Iyengar
Avinash Kaushik

I’ve shared the stage with Gary and Avinash before and they’re both incredibly gifted speakers. I’m really looking forward to meeting and hearing the rest. I have 3 tickets to give away to Monday’s event. Here’s all you have to do:

Place a comment below. I’ll get someone else to pick random numbers and give those individual the tickets. Contest ends at 4pm today.