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Kobo has proven big brands can seldom afford to beg forgiveness

By Leo Valiquettekobo_logo

While Canadians lament the shaky future of BlackBerry, I wonder how many have been following the PR nightmare that’s been faced by another Canadian brand, Kobo.

I heard Kobo chief executive Michael Serbinis speak in May at the Canadian Digital Media Network’s Canada 3.0 conference. I enjoyed the image of patriotic pride that he painted, characterizing Kobo as an upstart in the ebook world that has successfully challenged, not one, but many entrenched Goliaths for global dominance.

He also spoke of Kobo’s commitment to independent authors through its Kobo Writing Life self-publishing arm. About 10 per cent of its best-selling titles, he said, are from self-published authors.

But the warm and fuzzy relationship with the indie community hit the skids earlier this month.

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Canada’s focus needs to be on tech products, not research

By Denzil Doylehigh tech

Canada’s current prime minister seems to have a better understanding of the impact of technology on the country’s economy than most of his predecessors. He is not afraid to refer to key reports like the Jenkins Report and to engage in dialogue with the trade associations that are relevant to the industry. However, he would be well advised to urge his speech writers to be a little more selective in his use of the phrase “R&D.” Like most politicians and bureaucrats, his speeches suggest that if we just do more R&D, our payback from the technology that it creates will be automatic. As a result, they have established goals for R&D in Canadian industry, and they have been critical of Canadian industry when those goals are not met.

What we must do is focus the dialogue more directly on Canada’s share of world trade in technology-based products and services and less on R&D. For example, it would be refreshing to hear the PM make a statement like, “It is unacceptable for a country like Canada to have such a large trade deficit with the rest of the world in technology-based goods and services.” The dialogue will not be easy; the definition of high technology can be vague and so can its value on both a national and international basis. Worse still, there is a strong lobby for the status quo and it is generating lots of R&D dollars, particularly for government laboratories and universities.

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Great articles roundup: Copywriting, crowdfunding, lean startups, marketing and Canadian technology

By Daylin Mantykalink

It’s Friday again, which means we’ve compiled a short list of the top articles we read and loved this week. Compliments of Business 2 Community, The Globe and Mail, VentureBeat and Marketo, these posts were shared extensively throughout the startup and marketing communities.

First up, an article that reminds us about the definition of copywriting, followed by a post on crowdfunding in Canada. Third, we’ve selected a highly-shared article that challenges the notion of the lean startup methodology. Next, a post that explores how a background in physics can help with a career in marketing. We conclude with an optimistic outlook for the Canadian tech scene.

What is copywriting and why is it not content marketing?

Julia Spence reminds us that although copywriting and content marketing are often used in the same context, they aren’t synonymous with one another. This post is a good refresher on what copywriting is and what a copywriter does.

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Are surveys the last great Potemkin village of media relations?

Fireworks_crimeaBy Francis Moran

Grigory Potemkin was a Russian nobleman who, in an effort to impress his benefactor, empress and lover, is supposed to have erected facades of villages throughout Crimea when Catherine the Great came on an excursion through the southern regions of her empire in 1787. The purpose was to suggest that there was something far richer and more substantial behind the facades, which is what people mean when they say something is a Potemkin Village.

Now, most scholars agree that Potemkin’s fraud on his lover was probably not anywhere near as extensive as was once commonly held. I wish I could say the same for public opinion surveys, that great Potemkin Village of media relations that persists into today.

You’ve read, heard or watched enough of these to know what I’m talking about. Indeed, it’s a rare edition of any major daily newspaper or newscast that doesn’t feature at least one story built around a survey commissioned by some corporation or association. The media gloms onto the survey’s easy numbers as well as onto the illusion of accuracy and authority associated with the supposed scientific methodology of public opinion surveying and, in the process, readily serves up the sponsoring organization’s agenda or point of view in a way that no self-respecting journalist would ever agree to do if the opinion was presented in any other fashion.

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Unshackle your local marcom efforts from head-office control

By Leo Valiquette unshackled

“We will embrace blogs just as they cease to be effective.”

Such was the lament of one of my clients during a recent conference call.

Here’s the context. This is an organization in an industry where thought leadership and subject matter expertise are fundamental tools for business development. News bulletins and newsletters have, to date, been the most popular means for publicizing and promoting the organization’s principals as both service providers of choice and as sources of comment for the media.

But this organization’s own internal metrics and pilot projects are suggesting that a blog might represent a better expenditure of resources. Blogs can build loyal followings and they can be better tweaked for search engine optimization.

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Recent Comments

  • Bob Bailly : Your new mode of working means no face to face interaction yet you call yourself empathetic. How can removing yourself from daily human social interactions and possibly understand what makes other people tick. Research from UCLA suggests messages conveyed face to face are understood primarily by reading body language (57%) and tone of voice (35%), and that words convey only 7%. By interacting only through computer based non-video technology is like weightlifting only using your right forearm.

  • Anna : As a freelancer who spends much of her time on the computer writing, I find that I have a brain which connects empathically to people despite how much time I spend on technology. In fact, I am not happy being immersed daily in what I called 'imposed' social interaction (social interaction brought on by having to interact with co-workers). Such social interaction used to make be egregious, used to make me dislike co-workers, and have a generally negative view on work life. Furthermore, people like me who are generally empathic can 'hide' in our homes and be safe from others while we work; safe from their criticisms and aversions, safe from bullying and harassment. Furthermore, our talents as writers, photographers, or whatever, flourish absolutely under one important condition - freedom. I support moving work to an online domain because I see also how harmful the 9 - 5 is for people; how it drains them, how its endless cacophony of alarm clocks and ringing bells--lunch hours and lunch rooms, forced staff retreats and uncomfortable interactions with bosses--is killing them. I support allowing technology make us more efficient, happier. I support voluntary--not forced--interaction. I support eliminating the workplace altogether and creating NEW modes of working, either from home or through community-based platforms such as outdoor spaces.

  • 5 Ways to Engage With Your Brand Voice - icuc.social : [...] “A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal. A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.” [@TechAlly, Francis Moran & Associates – via Francis Moran & Associates] [...]

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