Blogging in the Corporate Communications Industry

Blogs can be an incredibly powerful tool in the corporate communications industry and are, indeed, a crucial one. How can one profess to be knowledgeable in social media without walking the walk and talking the talk? I put emphasis here on talk because, let’s face it, that’s what brought most communications professionals into this industry: they love to talk and write. Well here’s your chance! And you get more than 140 characters to do it.

Global public relations agency Edelman has a number of blogs on the go, with a few originating from their Vancouver office. This week’s post by Patti Schom-Moffatt, co-general manager of Edelman Vancouver, contains a thought-provoking discussion entitled, Can we be authentic and in PR? A number of comments by PR professionals provide an insightful conversation on the topic. This type of post not only provides a forum for this type of discussion, but gives clients and potential clients an idea of the agency’s philosophy and voice.

Recommendations for corporate communications bloggers:

  1. Maintain a human voice. Blogs are wonderful in that they allow for a writer’s voice to come through. In the corporate world where written text is often dominated by things like annual reports and marketing material, isn’t it refreshing to read something where you can virtually hear the writer speaking? Keep that human voice coming through.
  2. Keep it short. If it’s too long, people won’t read it.
  3. If the content ain’t valuable, it better be entertaining. But even better, make it both.

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Fluevog Facebook fan page

I’ve recently become interested in Facebook fan pages as they are used in conjunction with a social media marketing strategy. If you want to see an example of a very active company fan page, I’d direct your attention to John Fluevog Shoes. This is the kind of local company that would likely hire a communications specialist to help set up its social media. Perhaps it did, because its fan page looks well established and popular.

This very successful Vancouver shoe maker has an impressive 16,765 “people who like this,” and it seems these Fluevog fans really, really like these shoes. Some posts from today are:

I am crazy about saddle shoes – these are glorious!

I’d be happy to take those off your hands. No charge. Don’t thank me, I’m happy to help out.

Is there a shoe heaven somewhere?

The company posts pictures of new designs, a video of how their shoes are made, comments from customers, photos their customers have submitted of themselves wearing their Fluevogs, friends’ events listings, etc. One fan even uploaded a video of him having his Fluevogs shined.

What I like especially about this page is the amount of activity and frequency of the company’s posts. It is very active and, I’m sure, this reinforces customers’ loyalty to the brand. It shows the company as grassroots, funky and very responsive to its customers.

The page could be improved, however, by customizing its appearance to be more in-line with the company’s website. As well, one event promoted at the top of the page has already happened, showing that while the company does respond to posts, it should perhaps pay more attention to keeping the information it posts fresh.

I’ve never owned a pair of these famous shoes, but my interest is certainly piqued by the loyalty shown by Fluevog friends!

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Looking at Joe Fresh

Joe Fresh is a line of clothing designed by Joe Mimran and sold by Loblaws Canada. Since its introduction, the Joe Fresh brand has grown to be sold in about 300 stores across Canada, primarily in Loblaws’s Real Canadian Superstores, where the stylish and affordable clothing for children and adults can be purchased on the weekly grocery shopping outing.

Joe Fresh is gradually rolling out some stand-alone stores, such as a successful location in downtown Vancouver. The chain is now venturing into the formidable New York City market and has been in the news in recent months about this brave venture where other Canadian brands, like Tim Horton’s, have tried before them and failed. No doubt, the brand is utilizing communications strategically and the Canadian brand’s US adventure has received favorable press coverage.

What are people saying about Joe Fresh on Twitter? I looked at the free tracking tool Monitter to see. The process was easy to use and yeilded lots of results very quickly. Here are some of the recent Tweets with a sentiment rating below that I have assigned:

Loving Joe Fresh’s 2011 Runway Presentation. Hurry up Spring. I wanna wear pretty clothes


I don’t understand why we need 9 boxes of white tanktops at joe fresh….


#FF to a great brand that will be coming soon to the US! Love Joe Fresh!!!


Joe Fresh is opening at Heartland!! loves it!!


At Joe Fresh shopping!!! Someone please come get me, I can’t stop! :O lmfao


Ughhh… Why are the models in the Joe Fresh catalogue wearing socks and sandals? #notcute


@rosapark What did you buy? Joe Fresh is actually one of the things I miss most about Canada!


@rosapark Sweet! When I worked from home for a few months, I was addicted to Stephen&Chris – they showcased Joe Fresh clothes all the time!


That’s all the tweets I could see about Joe Fresh. The clothing line comes out with an overall rating of +4, so I would say that’s quite positive for the brand (although socks with sandals? Maybe that should be worth negative 2!).

While the tracking tool was easy to use, I couldn’t go back any further than what appeared on my screen. The last tweet was listed as 15:23, and I assume that was today. So if I wanted to see tweets any older than a few hours, I would need to find a different tool.

Another gripe I have with Monitter is that I had to sort through irrelevant tweets that merely had “joe” and “fresh” in them somewhere. And some of those tweets weren’t very savory, if you know what I mean!


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Social Media Release — The Heart Truth

Client Contact:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Eileen Melnick McCarthy, Director Communications
613.569.4361 x 318

Agency Contact:

Edelman Vancouver (on behalf of Heart and Stroke Foundation)

Stars wear red to share ‘The Heart Truth’ about women’s heart health

Canadian celebrities to walk Heart Truth Fashion Show runway for Heart and Stroke Foundation

  • For the first time, male Canadian celebrities will join female models on catwalk
  • Heart Truth Fashion Show shines the spotlight on women’s heart health
  • Event: March 24, 2011
  • Fourth annual Heart Truth Fashion Show will see Canadian celebrities modeling one-of-a-kind red dresses by top Canadian fashion designers

PDF of full release

See this photo and more on The Heart Truth Flickr photostream.

Watch our YouTube video here

Go here to download a broadcast-quality public service announcement


About The Heart Truth Fashion Show

About Heart and Stroke Foundation

Approved quotes:

“We know that heart disease and stroke remain the leading cause of death for women in Canada1 – more than all cancers combined,” says Bobbe Wood, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “And this year, we’ve enlisted a few good men to walk our runway, sharing ‘The Heart Truth’ with men across Canada to help protect the lives of women they love.”

“We’re reaching Canadian women with this lifesaving message: it’s time to take charge of your heart health”, says Wood. “Make healthy lifestyle choices, monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and advocate for the care you need from your doctor. And to Canadian men, we say support the women you love to protect their heart health.”

*Additional quotes available upon request to Edelman.

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The communications industry and social media — a marriage made in heaven?

The relationship of the communications industry — public relations and marketing — and social media, should have been, one would think, love at first sight followed by a quick marriage. What is social media for companies but a new way (or hundred new ways) to get their message heard?

For many, it is so and early adopters have reaped the rewards. However, some public relations professionals (dare we say, the older ones? I can say that because I’m getting there) were slow to embrace social media and perhaps even now prefer other communications tools — traditional media outreach, for instance — to the brave new world of social media. Social media is what everyone now wants to learn and is turning to communications professionals to get them there, but the professional communicators ares sometimes like that teacher who is only one textbook chapter ahead his students.

Of course, the communications industry is as varied as the clients it serves, so a sweeping statement makes no sense. Social media lends itself to some industry clients better than to others. A video game maker would not have the same communications needs as, say, an auto parts manufacturer or a municipal government. Mr. McLuhan’s catchy phrase — the medium is the message — has never been more true. But communications professionals must be social media savvy so they know when to use it and how to do so effectively.

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Video blog on non-verbal communication

Check out my video on non-verbal communication, which was inspired by the article on body language at  I offer a few tips on how to appear confident when meeting someone for the first time, which is so important in the business world.

Thanks to my cameraman and son, Nicholas, and my daughter Jaimie, for loaning me her white board.

Please watch my video. Thanks!


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Easy grammar help

Nobody likes a grammar prig, I know. I don’t like them either and, yes, grammar is boring and sometimes complicated. But it does make your meaning clearer and your writing easier to read.

After 13 years of public school, four years of university with a major in English, journalism school with a course dedicated to grammar, and years of writing and working for editors and bosses who exhibited a wide range of grammar pickiness, I’ve learned a few things.

There are things that I wish someone had explained to me early on. Here’s my top ten list (hands off Dave Letterman!) of things I wish I had known earlier than I did:

  1. While having good grammar doesn’t make your writing sound smart, using bad grammar makes it sound dumb.
  2. It’s easy to google grammar questions and get quick answers. This is how I was able to prove to a grammar-picky boss that there are no hyphens in “meeting face to face,” as opposed to “a face-to-face meeting” (the latter is an adjectival form necessitating hyphens, whereas the former isn’t).
  3. Here’s a contender for the most frequent grammar mistake: its vs. it’s. This is one I didn’t get until grade twelve because it goes against logic. Apostrophes, as we all know, usually denote possession. For example, Susie’s car is black. Therefore, many, many, many people think it’s is possessive. It isn’t. This is the exception that proves the rule: It’s is the contraction of it is. Its is the possessive form. For example, It’s raining outside = It is raining outside. Here’s an example of the other kind of its: The car has four wheels. Its tires are black = The car’s tires are black.  

    To remember this one (it’s easy to get them mixed up), just alway say it is in your head when writing it’s to make sure you’re using the right one.

  4. People are “who;” things are “that.” So please try not to write, I love people that are friendly. It’s I love people who are friendly. (Sorry for the vacuous examples.) Companies are “that,” not “who”.
  5. If it’s something you can count, it’s a “number.” If it’s something you can’t count, it’s an “amount.”  So, The company had a large number of customers; the website had a large amount of traffic.
  6. This is related to Number 5. Again, if it’s something you can count, use fewer. If it’s something you can’t count, use less. There were fewer people at this year’s Christmas party. There was also less to drink.
  7. This one is similar to Number 3: your vs. you’re. Your is the possessive form: Your brother is annoying. You’re is the contraction of  you are: You’re the sunshine of my life. (Again, vacuous; sorry.)
  8. Too = excessive (Too much of a good thing can be bad for you.)

    Two = more than one and less than three (I think we all know this one).To = directional

  9.  Lets versus let’s. The former means “allows.” The latter is a contraction of “let us.” The teacher always lets us get away with this one. So I said, “Let’s get out of here.”
  10. A comma splice error occurs when two sentences (complete thoughts) are joined by a comma. This is done all the time, but is incorrect:I like this sweater, I’m going to buy it.These are two complete thoughts and should be two separate sentences or joined with a conjunction (and, but) or a semicolon:I really this sweater; I’m going to buy it.

Thanks for listening to my rants. Maybe this is completely unimportant to you, or maybe you have some of your own grammar pet peeves to add to my list? Feel free to add your own in the comments!


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