Exploring the retail conundrum with BDO

What are consumers looking for from their shopping experience and how are brands shifting to address these expectations?

A decade ago, Canada’s retail landscape revolved around the decision to invest in eCommerce and find that balance between bricks and mortar and online. It has since shifted into manufacturing practices and supply chain, and the rise of “fast fashion.” Today, we’re seeing a tension between luxury and artisanal on one side and value driven brands on the other, with the players in the middle getting increasingly squeezed out. Canada’s retail landscape is volatile but immensely fascinating industry to watch.

Eric Matusiak, partner and national retail leader at BDO knows this all too well. Tune in as Eric and Ken discuss what’s next for the retail sector, what the heavy-hitters are doing right, and how retailers everywhere must consider a pivot, such as integrating more experiential in bricks and mortar shops.

 


What’s next in Canada’s cannabis sector

A discussion on product innovation, branding and de-stigmatization

Canada's cannabis sector has been fascinating to watch over the last 13 months as a fully legal and regulated sector. From the peak investor highs to the on again and off again rollout of the retail play, particularly in Ontario, to the release of edibles, beverages and topicals. It's certainly not been boring. Yet what often gets lost in all the market prognostications, regulatory laments, and the way in which retail opportunities are being allocated, is the manner in which marketers in the space are handling brand building and brand reputation in an entirely new industry. Tune in as Andrew Rusk, head of marketing, digital and communications at Canopy Growth discusses what’s next for the cannabis sector in Canada, delving into product innovation, strategic partnerships and the continued de-stigmatization and education that the sector continues to face.


Nailing down brand identity through design

How office design can be integrated into brand story telling

Design, and designing with branding front and center, are fast becoming a vital part marketing and brand image. It can be both immensely in your face while also sophistically subtle and nuanced. Overall, an office space can do a lot for a brand, according to Gensler Toronto. Design director and principle Annie Bergeron and Marketing and communications director Tamarisk Saunders-Davies discuss how office design plays a role in marketing and storytelling, establishing a healthy office culture and provide an effective space with tactics like signage and wayfinding.

 


A discussion on disruptors and their mindset

In this episode of The Pivot, we chat with Nick White, Head of Growth Marketing at Wealthsimple.

It seems that brands who disrupt the market don’t think of themselves as disruptors, while the opposite can be said about those who have been disrupted. Marketers who use this moniker incorrectly could be seen as being inauthentic and not trustworthy.

Tune in for Nick’s insights into how WealthsSimple views their company’s presence in the market along with the way they have built trust with their customers while not overwhelming them in the ever-confusing financial landscape.

Have a listen to the latest episode of The Pivot here:

Hear from other Canadian senior marketers on The Pivot, talking about our CMO Lab research and how they, like you, are adapting.


The risks and rewards behind Toronto’s Fun Guy execution

Capitalizing on the momentum of a brand partnership

Suddenly as a marketer, the stars align, the clouds part and everything comes up roses. That was certainly the experience of New Balance when they globally signed Kawhi Leonard, who went onto win the 2019 NBA championships for the Toronto Raptors. Marketers can only dream of an opportunity like this. Jon Purdy, Senior Marketing Manager at New Balance Canada led his team through this exciting challenge that captured the attention of the country.  From fun guy t-shirts, to king of the north crowns, Jon’s team took advantage of the attention to cut through the clutter and keep his brand top of mind. Tune in to hear Jon’s insights into sports marketing, brand authenticity and taking risks.


A discussion on transparency and reputation management

Why brand building and brand reputation management must go hand-in-hand

Many believe that public relations and marketing can be two different but complementary practices, but merging the two together builds a better brand. Communicators must use their power of story and persuasion across all channels to see brand reputation management as a brand building thruster. On the other hand, marketers must put a greater emphasis and sensibility into risk managing their campaigns and decisions. During his time at the Toronto Transit Commission, Brad Ross not only managed the organization’s reputation, but played an integral role in growing the brand and earning the trust of its customers. Tune in to hear Brad’s insights into reputation management during his days at the TTC and how transparency remains a key element in communications.


A new era of influence

How brands and agencies can better choose the right influencer and work with them more effectively

Circumstances related to transparency, editorial integrity and ethics, are now shifting the whole ground within the influencer category. The way in which brands work with influencers has changed and will continue to shift dramatically over the next few years. Tune in as Barry Choi, a personal finance and travel influencer discusses the growth of his own personal brand and outlines how agencies and brands can better choose the right influencers and work with them more effectively to achieve better results.


Don’t dictate data and insights

Making informed decisions

With the increasing access to data, it’s no wonder insights have become the fuel for just about everything in communications and marketing. From market polling to algorithm-based insights, data is only as objective as the content it's fed, which itself could be filled with bias. To influence decision making, marketers need a diversity of data and research. Tune in as Andrew Grenville, author and Chief Research Officer at Maru/Matchbox discusses market research and how marketing and communications practitioners can connect with insights partners to take a problem solution approach to data and insights. Andrew examines the trouble in the insights industry is facing with the explosion in data and information, the decreasing cost of doing it, and an increase in the need for informed decision making.

 

 


Finding the right tone and personality for your brand

How can a brand’s personality drive business results?

For many brands, selling a product or service can be purely transactional and straightforward – but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to strategy for retention and new business leads, it’s important to keep brand tone and personality in mind. Using humour and enthusiasm has proven to be a good strategy for this episode’s guest – Shannon Lee Simmons. As a personal finance expert and co-founder of The New School of Finance, an advice-only financial practice, Shannon has used humour, enthusiasm and even real-life experiences to make the complex information of financial planning more digestible. Her team’s approach eventually led to the business growing from one employee to eight since 2012. Tune in for her insights into how she’s developed a personality for The New School of Finance and how brands should leverage their own personality to attract new audiences.


Understanding AI in communications

How can communicators better understand the impact of AI?

In the world of communications and marketing, we have no option but to learn, adapt and apply new techniques and technologies. In PR, we've evolved into integrated communication practitioners, to better understand and integrate social and digital plays into our storytelling. Marketers needed to master new digital platforms to amplify campaigns and access greater metrics and data. Now, we face artificial intelligence. It will change, upend, and influence like nothing before it. Tune in as Martin Waxman, artificial intelligence researcher and Seneca College instructor delves into the world of AI and how marketing and communications practitioners must understand the basics of artificial intelligence in order to develop strategies on how to approach it.