May
20

Ottawa Citizen “reinvents” logo, Website, the wheel.

My take on the new Ottawa Citizen design – and my hope for better in the future.

So here’s the big story in my local paper: “Postmedia and the Ottawa Citizen today unveil a reinvention of the local news business.” But after looking it over, it’s not the local news business they are re-inventing. It’s something far older. Something that already works

Here's my take on the ad campaign that accompanies the launch.

Here’s my take on the ad campaign that accompanies the launch.

The Ottawa Citizen is Ottawa’s oldest newspaper, tracing its roots back to 1845, when it was called The Bytown Packet then renamed The Citizenin 1851 – right around the time we were undergoing our own rebranding from Bytown to Ottawa. Over the years, [Read more…]

Aug
08

Telco Brands: the Fair for Canada FAIL in one picture

Rogers, Bell, and Telus blow their big chance. By being themselves…

My friend Ottawa blogger and media commentator Mark Blevis has put out a couple of smart and incisive critiques of the “Fair for Canada” campaign by Canadian telco mega brands TELUS, Rogers, and Bell. Please do go ahead and read the MarkBlevis.com and Full Duplex posts.

But I think the many, many problems with this PR blitz can be summed up in one picture – brought to you by your three friendly Canadian mega corporations.

Sorry big Telcos, the combined boards of Telus, Bell, and Rogers don't qualify as ordinary Canadians to, you know, ordinary Canadians.

Actual screen capture from the Fair for Canada mini-site:

Sorry big Telcos, but the combined  “Bell, Rogers, and TELUS Boards of Directors” writing a letter to Stephen Harper doesn’t qualify as “What Canadians are Saying” to the rest of us, you know, Canadians.  [Read more…]

Jul
17

Farewell to a fearless storyteller. Alex Colville

Please join me in sharing an Alex Colville Painting today on Facebook

I noticed an interesting and powerful trend among my Facebook friends today. In honour of Canadian artist Alex Colville – who passed away in Nova Scotia yesterday at 92 years old – they’ve been sharing his work through their cover photos, avatars, or Facebook posts.

And it has made his work come alive for me again.

alex_colville_1953_soldier_and_girl_at_station

So I joined them…

AC Dennis Van Staalduinen

My Facebook page with Alex Colville’s 1962 painting called “Ocean Limited”

I have been deeply inspired by Colville since I was introduced to his paintings in grade nine by Mr. Ross at Confederation High School. My teacher was a die-hard fan of strictly realist art and had little time for abstraction or “fakery”. But still, he loved Colville and praised his work loudly as an example of the triumph of realism.

I loved it too, but for the opposite reason. I loved how Colville could take “realistic” scenes and elements, strip out many key details like shadows and blemishes to focus on simple forms, and create this mythical, dramatic, and often creepily ominous moment. Every Colville painting made my head spin with stories and questions. [Read more…]

Jun
21

Social Media Case Studies: my students want to write yours!

Algonquin Social Media Students 2013 Accelerated ClassMy Algonquin College students need real world subjects for their social media case studies.

As many of you already know, when I’m not doing my regular brand naming, storytelling, and strategy gig with Brandvelope Consulting, I moonlight as an instructor in the Social Media Certificate program – teaching professionals how to use social more effectively – at Ottawa’s Algonquin College.

In the next two weeks I’ll be starting two new versions of the Applied Social Media in Business class – the one week Accelerated version starting on Monday, and the seven week evening program starting Tuesday, July 2.

The Applied Social class is all about studying and developing real world social media case studies. We try to help our students understand in practical terms how social fits into real world workplaces and business strategy situations. From customer service to research, content marketing to old-school promotional marketing, small business to agencies to big brands. We try to cover a mix.

But the case study needs to be REAL: And this is where we need your help. [Read more…]