Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

Archive for October, 2008

The Vancouver Sun’s Webcast

Posted by AHA Creative on October 31, 2008

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

The Vancouver Sun held a live Webcast with editor-in-chief Patricia Graham yesterday. It was an interesting thing for the Sun to do. Traditionally media has talked  “at” us – and while the Sun has been good about cautiously jumping into the interactive/online media trend, this Webcast is a step further into reaching out to their readers.

The topic of the Webcast was the new format of the Sun. And, as you might expect, there were definitely a few people who didn’t like the change. Graham handled herself well – she came across as authentic, caring and real.  It’s often easy to think of the person that runs the Sun as off in some big office, barking orders, bossing reporters around, making lots of money, and not really giving a stink about the people out there reading the paper. For those few minutes, Graham dispelled that myth and gave us a peek into the person who is at the head of the line, when it comes to bringing us our news.

There were a few technical glitches, but overall – it was a good first effort and when it comes to interactive media online, the production value is nowhere near as important as the content and the connection.   The technology might get a C+, but Graham gets an A in my book.

Of course, this kind of thing being my profession and my passion, I have a few things I might do differently.  I would have had a few shots of the newsroom or even a short video clip of what it’s like at the Sun that viewers could click on. It would have been nice to see what goes on in there. We’re all curious.

When I went back to find a link to share the Webcast with you, I couldn’t find one. Now, that might be because I am posting early today and my coffee hasn’t hit my bloodstream yet and I just couldn’t find it … or maybe they aren’t going to let people who weren’t a part of it view the Webcast.  I think it would have been good to let others who might not have known about the Webcast or couldn’t make it, view it on their time.

Overall, I think they did a good job.  And I think that the people at The Sun are getting it. They are seeing that the world has changed and are evolving to meet our needs. It will be interesting to see what the next Webcast is and where Graham takes the Sun interactively. 


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Seth Godin’s Tribe

Posted by AHA Creative on October 21, 2008

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

Seth Godin is a genius. While some might label Seth a marketer, I am not sure that’s the right title. He is definitely a communicator and he understands social media. And by that I don’t mean the technology, but the foundation of it, the passion, the heart, the art …the listening, the collaboration. He just gets it. 

Here is a great example of reaching out and creating an exceptional brand experience. Seth’s new book Tribes just went on sale. All of the people that pre-ordered his book, received an advance copy last week and Seth asked them to give the copy they bought to someone that might like it. Nice touch, and it shows how well he understands his people.

Along with that, for .95 cents, yep less than $1.00 (U.S.), you can buy an MP3 download of the book – 3 hours and 43 minutes of it, narrated by Seth. (Go to iTunes and search Seth Godin.)

He goes even one step farther though – which is what we have come to expect from Seth. On his blog, he reached out to his “tribe” and asked them to write an e-book. You can download it for free – and it’s substantial – more than 240 pages.

Seth took what could have been a great thing for him and turned it around so we all felt a part of it. He made us truly feel like a part of his tribe.



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“Getting it”…or not.

Posted by AHA Creative on October 20, 2008


Below are two great social media examples, one where the organization understood how to take advantage of the simple tools available and another where they missed the mark.  The stories are a few months old, which is a lifetime online, but worth checking out since they give a good contrast between good and bad.

Got It
EA Sports responds to a YouTube video posted by a fan of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 game.  The fan’s video pokes fun at a ‘glitch’ in the game where Tiger Woods appears to be walking on water.  EA created their own tongue-in-cheek video using the real Tiger Woods.  Click here for the fan’s original and EA’s reply, and here for responses from the blogosphere.

Really Didn’t Get It… In fact, it makes you wonder ….what were they thinking?

3M had a great opportunity to embrace a consumer’s creative use of their product and its viral success – instead they blew it.  Click here for the posting on David Meerman Scott’s blog (one of our all-time favorite bloggers) where DMS originally posted about the sticky situation, and here for responses from the blogosphere.

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A-Twitter Over The Election

Posted by AHA Creative on October 15, 2008

Post by: Patsy Worrall of QUAY Strategies

It was interesting to see how online communication has changed the coverage of the federal election. I watched the coverage last night with a double focus. Of course I wanted to see who would be elected Prime Minister. The other was to see how the coverage and the campaign process has changed as a result of the growing use of online communication – such as Twitter.

Check out Susan Ormiston’s clip about Twitter, if you aren’t familiar with this microblogging tool, this will help explain it a bit.  

Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Jack Layton used Twitter in their campaigns. Harper has two Twitter accounts – one for English Canada and one for the francophones. Layton had one. I did check to see if they were all a-twitter last night, but their accounts were pretty quiet. Unlike others out there who were busily tweeting away about the election.

I happened to be watching CBC news last night – and they were all over Twitter. It made for interesting and interactive coverage. The Tweets were in real time and it gave the coverage some urgency and excitement that may not have been there before.

There was lots of discussion online last night and lots of Tweets going on. Check out this Canada Votes 2008. Online communication is becoming more and more “typical.” It is being used daily – by organizations, political parties, politicians and by busy professionals who want to connect.

It is definitely an interesting time to be a communicator. 


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You Can Trust Mom …

Posted by AHA Creative on October 15, 2008


Putting your customers at the forefront of your brand and encouraging them to speak freely with each other is a risky move that requires confidence – confidence in your product, your service, but most importantly in the experience your customers are having.

Disney World has embarked on a ride of their own, creating an online panel of 11 real moms and one dad (all Disney enthusiasts).  Visitors can log onto this “Moms Panel” and ask questions, anywhere from the merits of strollers to how to make reservations.  Panellists then reply, with tips, suggestions, and tricks learned from past visits to Disney World.  Their responses are honest and completely unedited by Disney.  Check it out here.

Here are some other facts that might interest you about this initiative:
• Panellists get a nominal fee of $75.00 and a trip to Disney World for their family for participating.
• Applicants are already clamouring online to meet the deadline for next year’s panel.
• The site boasts a number of other resources, such as how-to videos by moms for moms and an extensive search of questions and answers.

The testimonials provided by these online “moms” have resulted in visitors spending more time on the site and have converted more visitors to trip-bookers.

Disney World has applied the successes of social media to their offerings by creating this online panel.  Facilitating a customer-driven conversation has strengthened the relationship visitors have with both the product and the brand.  It will be interesting to see what other companies are bold enough to follow suit.

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Book Review – Consider The Source

Posted by AHA Creative on October 14, 2008

Post by: Della Smith of QUAY Strategies

Book Review: Consider the Source

Rating: 4 out of 5 Bridges

Consider the Source is a worth a read and it’s worth keeping around as a reference. It lists online sources for news – from Al Jazeera to The Christian Science Monitor. There is a wide range of information available on the Internet and this book helps make sense of it – and provides some information on the credibility and authority levels of each site through a rating system. (Review rating systems work for us. They work so wel that we adopted our own rating system for book reviews – as you can see above.)

The print is a little outdated (it was published in 2007 and we all know that when it comes to current and relevant information online, 2007 is a LONG time ago.) You can, however, go online to which is a great site for updates in the news world. In the big picture, they have done their best to keep the information as current as possible.

I think it’s important to go to news sites that don’t necessarily reflect your opinion, to understand different perspectives and to look at them with an open mind. There is a great deal of information on these sites that you might not normally see. A few I would recommend (and to be clear, I do not necessarily agree with their views) are:

Al Jazeera – the English version of the Arabic language network. This has breaking news and features plus background material that includes profiles and global reactions. This comes to you from a very different perspective than North American media.

Christian Science Monitor – there is a lot of information here that is relevant and valuable to today’s world that has nothing to do with religion or spirituality. This site is a very good source for international stories.

All Africa – there is more going on in Africa than you realize, don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn more about our world – and about a place that is full of news.

AARP – the American Association for Retired Person’s site is full of information. The definition and perception of a retired person has changed over the past few years. This is a lively, informative, relevant news source that speaks to baby boomers and the start of the Gen Xers thinking about the second part of their lives. – one of the leading news communities on the Web, connects people to the information and discussions that matter to them in every North American town and city. A top 10 online newspaper destination (comScore, March 2008), the site links news from 50,000 sources to 360,000 lively user-generated forums. Topix also works with the nation’s major media companies to grow and engage their online audiences through forums, classifieds, publishing platforms and RSS feeds. –  this site offers comprehensive companion websites for more than 1,300 PBS television programs and specials, as well as original Web content and real-time learning adventures. There are than 175,000 pages of content — from news to history and the arts to science and technology

The book is well written and while I didn’t agree with all of the site ratings, I would strongly recommend this book. There is good information here on where to get the news from a global perspective and by using this book and visiting the sites, I would bet you see the world in a bit of a different light. I know I did.

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Better Late Than Never

Posted by AHA Creative on October 1, 2008

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

I have been so focused on watching the chaos and confusion in the U.S. this week that some interesting news in Vancouver didn’t get posted. Last week in the Vancouver Sun, there was a piece on the Web’s Top 20 Most Visible People In Vancouver.

This is a big deal – and it showcases how connected and engaged we are in social media. The people on this list are influential and a great source of information, check out their blogs. We have several of them listed here on our blogroll and as soon as I get a minute – I am going to go and check out the two or three that I am not familiar with.

On a side note, it’s always nice to see smart and talented colleagues acknowledged. We have worked with Darren Barefoot and his partner Julie Szabo from Capulet Communications on a couple of projects. We are always impressed with their knowledge and expertise – and their great approach to work and life in general. We were very happy to see Darren’s name not just on the list – but at number one. Congrats Darren! Be sure and check out Darren’s blog.


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