Author: sam

“Strategic communicator.”  It’s  a ubiquitous moniker in the PR industry. In practice,  strategic communications plans are anything but consistent. So, what should one expect from a communications expert or agency when one requests a result’s-oriented plan? Here’s our take on the four key components:

Situation Analysis

Before a plan can be devised, a thorough audit of a client or project environment should be taken.  This is a situation analysis and is the foundation from which plan recommendations are made.  

This process incorporates research,  audits, risk assessment and analysis  in order to gain insight into the current landscape. It should also include thorough briefings with you, the client, and with relevant stakeholders so that business goals, objectives, and target audiences are understood.  A solid comprehension of a client’s position in the marketplace from differentiators, marketing strategies, and public perceptions to market conditions, and an analysis of stakeholder communities all contribute to an insightful situation analysis.

Strategic Approach

Once the situation analysis is complete, your agency should have the information required to make recommendations that forms an overall strategic approach in a summary.  You should expect goals, strategies, objectives and program specific tactics within a defined scope of responsibilities. It also entails confirmation of target audiences.  

Goals are higher-level concepts about what needs to be achieved, a strategy is the approach, objectives are the steps to accomplish a strategy and a tactic is a tool used to achieve the objective.  

To be successful in supporting goals, your agency should commit to objectives that are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive (as well as consider overall strategy). And, tactics should consider an integrated mix of activities that ladder up and support the strategy and will reach target audiences, such as media relations, experiential marketing, influencer campaigns, digital and social, events, community outreach, government relations, and employee and internal communications initiatives, etc.

Scope & Budget

It’s important that your agency defines scope.  This allows a client and the agency to understand the roles and responsibilities associated with executing the strategic plan.  Within the scope are detailed timelines, human-resource allocations, program guidelines and key milestones/deliverables.

Strategic communication plans should also include budget detailing costs for all recommended tactics as well as any administrative outlays, third party costs, and out of pocket expenses. Budgets should also be able to scale up or scale down given that communications planning process is often fluid and may require periodic adjustment.

Measurement and Reporting

An approach to measurement and reporting should be set during the planning process and take into a consideration a regular cadence throughout a campaign in order to monitor and assess continuously. Successful communicators do not wait until the end of campaign to evaluate. Reporting could include feedback from research, audits, surveys and focus groups to digital and social data (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter all provide activity and engagement reports), as well as media relations analysis and event management metrics. If possible, integrating business results such as sales or engagement results is a terrific way to connect communications objectives with business objectives.

To find out more about how Mansfield Inc. can create a successful strategic communications plan for you, click here.

Welcome to another of our “Best Of” series. If you would like to be notified when our articles go live, please send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

July was full of new advertisements, some better than others. While the regular car, clothing and beer ads hit our screens, so did some ads that hit a bit harder with a deeper message. These ads take the cake for being the best of July, as not only are they aesthetically-pleasing and attention-grabbing, but the messages they portray are important and well said.

GoldieBlox- “#BeLikeHer”

GoldieBlox is a children’s multimedia company that challenges gender stereotypes with the world’s first girl engineer character. GoldieBlox not only creates inspiring toys, but ads as well. In their latest ad campaign, #BeLikeHer, the ad highlights inspirational women throughout the past year that young girls can look up to. The fun, inspirational ad is one of the best ads of July for obvious reasons.

P&G- “The Talk”

P&G’s latest campaign, ‘My Black Is Beautiful,’ is an attempt to start stronger conversations about racism and discrimination. The ad is so effective because the intimate conversations the parents and their children are sharing about racism show the hard conversations that are necessary due to discrimination. The eye-opening ad is hopefully successful in starting conversations and opening peoples’ eyes to racial biases.

Twitter: ‘#SheInspiresMe: Denice Frohman Sets the Stage’

Twitter released a video campaign this month called #SheInspiresMe. The video showcases Poet Denice Frohman performing her poem on inspiring women. The ad only runs a minute long, but is effective in showing an array of women posing during the powerful poem. Quick and effective, much like an Apple ad.

Prego: Welcome To The Family | First-Generation College Students

Prego released this touching ad right in time for students who are getting ready for their first year of college. Seeing as some first-generation college students may not have the same support system as others, they tend to feel more alone than their peers. Prego welcomed first-generation college students from San Diego to a ‘family’ dinner to bring them together with fellow students to share a meal and to become a new college family.

Björn Borg: ‘Borg Open – Tennis Across Borders’

With Donald Trump’s infamous promise to build a wall between USA and Mexico, there have been mixed opinions from both countries. Björn Borg’s ad is wondering why nations are separating when they could be learning from each other instead. They created a tennis match on the border to represent an open world where sports can unite, rather than divide, people.

tourism_bannerWelcome to another of our “Best Of” series. If you would like to be notified when our articles go live, please send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

How much does marketing affect your decisions? Reading positive reviews on a product may influence a purchase, but what about when choosing your next travel destination? Every year, cities, states, provinces and countries release tourism ad campaigns to attract travellers. While seeing a tourism ad campaign may not lead you to book the next flight out, they are useful in creating awareness around an area you may not have considered travelling to before. These campaigns typically showcase the region’s places of interest, happy visitors and unexpected highlights but the best ads dig deeper into what makes the destination truly special to create an effective and memorable ad.

So if you’re still wondering where you should take your summer vacation, we’ve rounded up the six of our favourite tourism ad campaigns of 2017 to give you some ideas.

“Discover Los Angeles: Everyone Is Welcome”

In April, Discover Los Angeles released their global tourism campaign “#EveryoneIsWelcome.” The campaign is intended to remind travellers that everyone is welcome in LA, regardless of the country’s controversial ‘travel ban.’ The campaigns motto, “we believe that what makes us different brings us together. Help Los Angeles share this welcome message with the world,” is a strong one and paired with this ad makes LA look like a good destination to travel to this year.

Tourism Toronto: “The Views Are Different Here”

Our very own Toronto released one of its best tourism ads to date. “The Views Are Different Here,” showcases Toronto’s multiculturalism, the highlights of the city, iconic Toronto moments like Bautista’s bat flip and of course Drake (the title of the ad is a play off of Drake’s ‘Views’ album). The ad is not only extremely well done, but properly advertises the best things about Toronto that make it a great city for anyone to visit (or move to).

VisitSweden: “Sweden on Airbnb”

In a great marketing and tourism idea, Sweden listed the entire country on Airbnb to encourage visitors to get a true experience of the country. The ad is creatively done with the narrator outlining the perks of his home, which is actually just the entire country and its nature. In Sweden, the freedom to roam is a rule which gives citizens the freedom to do anything from sleeping under the stars to swimming in all of the lakes, and now you too can enjoy the freedom in Sweden.

 Switzerland Tourism: “#InLoveWithSwitzerland”

The first Indian ambassador for Switzerland Tourism, Ranveer Singh, starred in this ad to showcase his love for Switzerland. Singh runs through his favourite things to do in Switzerland, which includes enjoying the serene views Switzerland is known for, but also includes moments of adventure, like skydiving. The ad does a good job of showing a side of Switzerland that isn’t always showcased.

Nova Scotia: “Let Nova Scotia Surprise You”

This is Nova Scotia’s second year running their “Let Nova Scotia Surprise You” tourism ad campaign. The campaign runs on digital ad banners and videos, televisions and billboards. The campaign aims to show potential tourists things about Nova Scotia that they may not expect to do or see. Ending at the end of this month, the campaign is successful in highlighting the province’s lesser known attractions.

The Philippines: “Experience The Philippines”

The Philippines’ tourism ad is full of bright colours, adventures and happiness: basically, everything you’d want on a vacation. What makes this ad unique? The ending. The campaign slogan, “when you’re with Filipinos, life is better,” is highlighted at the end of the commercial when it’s revealed that the tourist is blind. “You don’t have to see to feel you are home,” is a heartwarming end to an otherwise well-done tourism ad.

 

Pride Month and the annual Pride parade was a success in Toronto this year. Thousands of people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, came to the city to join in on the festivities and show their pride. It wasn’t just people showing their pride, but companies as well. Brands that stand with the LGBTQ community in solidarity took Pride Month as an opportunity to show their commitment to supporting the community, as well as using the opportunity to give their brand some positive publicity. Although all of the ads that were made to support equality, some stood out from the rest.

These are the 10 best Pride Month ads of 2017

Nike: Amazon Mother Leiomy for Nike #betrue

In honour of Pride Month, Nike released a video campaign featuring vogue dancing legend, Amazon Mother Leiomy Maldonado aka “the Wonder Woman of Vogue.” The ad shows Maldonado dancing through the streets and with others as an emotional narration by transgender artists Precious Angel Ramirez reads out inspiring questions. Maldonado was the first transgender woman to be on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. This is only one video of a larger “Equality” initiative by Nike.

Mercedes-Benz Canada: Painted with Love #LoveTransforms

Mercedes-Benz Canada celebrated Pride Month in Toronto this year with art. The campaign told the story of LGBTQ people who have been affected by abuse and hate speech. One Torontonian, Daniel Malen, had his home vandalized with a homophobic slur, which inspired the #LoveTransforms campaign. Mercedes-Benz unveiled and documented a mural on a warehouse at Dovercourt and Dupont. The mural is full of bright colours and positive messages. It was quite successful as tons of Torontonians posted the mural on social media with #LoveTransforms to spread the message.

TGI Fridays: TGI Pridays

TGI Fridays was the main partner of Oslo Pride this year, Norway’s largest LGBTQ festival. All Oslo-based restaurants transformed from ‘TGI Fridays’ to ‘TGI Pridays.’ Along with the colourful restaurant and brand makeover, the restaurants changed their washrooms to gender-neutral, the menus, uniforms and blankets were all rainbow-coloured and a ‘Pridays Shake’ was created with proceeds going to The Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

Terri & Sandy: Barber Polls #StandForTrans

One barber shop wanted to stop discrimination in barber shops and salons, as many transgender men and women face discrimination in these public spots. Barba, a men’s grooming shop, wanted to show their pride this year by creating this ad against transgender discrimination. The shop went even further by offering customers the opportunity to get their hair dyed blue, pink and white (the colours of the transgender flag) for free during Pride.

GoNOLA: “Reverse Parade”

New Orleans was ready for Pride Month months before it actually took place. During Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation ran a reverse Pride parade, which had members of the LGBTQ community walking backwards, removing their costumes, makeup and wedding rings. The idea was to represent progress and as a testament of the city refusing to go back in time and to always stand up for their LGBTQ community.

Equinox: “LGBTQAlphabet: Six Letters Will Never Be Enough”

Equinox perhaps created the most creative ad to celebrate Pride Month this year. The ad grows the definition of “LGBTQA” into the full alphabet with 26 different definitions of ways to communicate who you are. The ad portrays messages of love, support, positivity and of course, pride. The incredible choreography done in the ad is another reason why this ad became one of the top Pride ads of 2017.

Kimpton Hotels: “Let’s Never Stop Dancing”

For more than a dozen years, Kimpton Hotels has been offering hotel deals during Pride. This is the second ad vogue dancer Leiomy Maldonado starred in to support Pride. Maldonado starred in their ads as well as offered dancing classes to visitors. The hotel chain is also making a donation to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth.

Uber: Whatever Your Road, Ride With Pride

Uber showed their pride with an ad about what Pride means to its partners, drivers and riders. Uber used some well-known members of the LGBTQ community, like makeup YouTuber James Charles, to spread the message. The short ad and their slogan “whatever your road, ride with pride” was a good way to spread a positive message about both Pride and Uber as one of its allies.

Skittles: Give the Rainbow

Skittles capitalized on Pride with a creative ad campaign that stripped skittles and the packaging of all of its colour. The campaign slogan was “during Pride, only one rainbow matters,” which is why they took all the colouring out of the candy and the packaging. It turned out to be a successful and creative campaign that showed the company’s pride for the LGBTQ community.

Lush Cosmetics: Valentines Day

lush

Lush’s campaign was actually for Valentine’s Day, but it caused up such a stir on social media that it was rediscovered during Pride. The campaign consisted of photos of a gay couple and a lesbian couple bathing together in a bath using Lush’s products. After all of the positive messages they received, Lush posted some behind-the-scenes shots of the photo-shoot affirming their commitment to the LGBTQ community with #loveislove.

When it comes to creating images to represent your brand, you want to make sure they are aesthetically pleasing. These images can be used on various platforms, such as YouTube, blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, website pages, videos and even logos. To create images that please the eye there are some basic principles of art that are easy to understand and fundamental to create an attractive image; these include colour, composition and text.

First, use colours that complement each other: the colour wheel.

colourwheel

The simplest way to do this is to use colours at the opposite ends of the wheel (as shown above). These are called complementary colours. For example, yellow is complementary to purple, as green is complementary to red. Another option is to use three colours that are an equal distance from each other, such as red, green and blue, or orange, purple and turquoise.

In the image below, you can see where complementary colours are used. The green and red trees complement each other, the same way that blue complements the orange.

Other tactics you can use are to use all different shades of the same colour such as light blue to dark blue (called analogous) or create a black and white image with a strong accent colour.

colour

Second, use strategic composition: the rule of thirds.

ruleofthirds

Have you ever seen the grid on Instagram before you upload an image? This is a common practice used by artists and it is called the rule of thirds. It is a grid placed over the image that is made of three horizontal and three vertical lines. The theory behind it is that the subjects of your image should be in a box or on the line. Using this principle makes the image more pleasing to the brain and makes it appear balanced. Notice how in the image they are also using complementary colours- blue and orange.

Third, do not use more than two fonts and make the size legible.

guinness

Using one to two fonts will make your text easy to read. Too many fonts will be distracting to your audience.

Keep in mind the destination of the image. If it is a picture going on Instagram where people will be seeing it on a smaller screen, the font should be larger. However, if this is for a poster, the text can be smaller relative to the image. For example, Guinness used smaller font in this image as it was going to be printed large for distribution. They also included only two types of font on their image, incorporated the rule of thirds and complementary colours (although muted, the yellow Guinness symbol complements the purple undertones of the image)

Finally, listen to your gut.

These principles are great tools to creating a pleasing image, but ultimately it must look right to you. Do not be scared to try new things.

Happy designing!

Find out more about how we can help with your social media accounts here.

Canada 150 was a huge celebration across Canada, even more so than our usual July 1st parties. This is of course because we were celebrating 150 years of Canada, which turned out to be a big deal. All across the country the parties lasted four full days and nights and thousands of fireworks were fired off in celebration.

Social media blew up in shades of red and white and was bombarded with #canada150. In case you had somehow forgotten that Canada’s 150th birthday was this year, brands were ready with ad campaigns weeks before the big day to promote Canada, share proud Canadian messages and undoubtedly, to use the opportunity to capitalize on Canada’s birthday with some funny and heartwarming ads.

These are the best 8 Canada 150 ads:

Tim Hortons: ‘Born on Canada Day’

It should come as no surprise that Tim Hortons came out with one of the best ad campaigns celebrating Canada, as it is one of the main Canadian brands that most Canadians enjoy every day. Tim Hortons released this heartwarming ad for ‘those who’ve shaped out country and to those who will,’ however this commercial isn’t the only thing Tim Hortons did to ring in the big 1-5-0. Tim Hortons rolled out a surprise ‘Roll Up the Rim,’ which offers the regular prizes along with 10 trips across Canada for 10 lucky coffee-drinkers. Tim Hortons in the States also decided to participate by offering a poutine donut as a nod to its northern neighbours.

Coca-Cola: ‘The Great Canadian Chase’

Coca-Cola Canada created a great ad joking about the stereotype of Canadians being nice. Chasing a Coke bottle through Canadian cities, the two teenagers end up friends by the end of the ad- classic Canada. The ad was successful in wishing Canada a happy birthday in a funny way, along with promoting Coke.

Sport Chek: ‘Pillar vs. Cake #Canada150’

Sport Chek’s ad features one of Toronto Blue Jay’s most loveable players, Kevin Pillar. The sports company celebrates the best way they can: getting an athlete from one of Canada’s favourite teams to hit a candle from a birthday cake with a baseball from 150 ft away. Yes, Pillar does it, and yes, Sport Chek nailed this birthday ode to Canada.

Roots: ‘Celebrating 150 years of being nice’

Roots Canada created an ad focused on Canada being nice, however, rather than take the funny route, Roots focused on Canadians being nice throughout Canada history. The ad showcases historical Canada moments and people, like Terry Fox. The ad acts as a larger call to action, as Roots is working towards raising $150,000 in support of WE Indigenous Youth Empowerment Programming.

KFC: K’ehFC

kehfc

KFC is celebrating Canada Day by slightly changing up its branding for the summer. The new buckets of chicken will read “K’ehFC” to celebrate the classic “eh” that Canadians say all the time. You can check out the new branding on K’ehFC.ca or better yet, KFC’s first ever Canadian store, which is located on 8th street in Saskatoon, will change its sign to K’ehFC to show off its Canadian pride. That’s some good marketing, eh?

WestJet: ‘the #MostCanadian airline ever’

WestJet’s Canada 150 ad came out right before April’s Fools Day as it acted as a joke that WestJet was turning into the most Canadian airline by changing it’s name to ‘Canada Air.’ Other than just the joke aspect of the commercial, the ad is quite funny as it goes through stereotypical Canadian things like cross-country skiing, constantly saying “sorry” and curling. WestJet successfully said April’s Fools Day and happy birthday to Canada in one shot.

Chevrolet Canada: ‘The Canadian Dream’

Perhaps one of the very best Canadian commercials was Chevrolet’s. ‘The Canadian Dream’ focuses on personal experiences being more valuable than possessions as the commercials showcases tons of Canadians, all of different ages, genders, races and religions. Saying “everyone is welcome in this dream” is Chevrolet’s way of representing Canada as inclusive and kind, and it’s a great way to highlight the positive attributes of Canada.

President’s Choice: ‘#EatTogether’

President’s Choice has been ready for Canada 150 for the entire year as they released this ad on December 31, 2016. President Choice’s mission? To get Canadians to leave their phones behind and eat together. The heartwarming ad shows one woman’s journey in getting her apartment floor to enjoy a potluck meal. Here’s hoping that on Canada 150 lots of meals were shared and enjoyed as much as this one was.

The first day of summer has come and gone and ad agencies are showing off their excitement with summer ads. These ads feature everything that reminds you of summer: the beach, the heat and the long, carefree days. However, our favourite ads that welcomed summer this year aren’t just the ones that present the dog daze of summer, but the ones that go a bit deeper. Whether it’s bringing a social issue to light or creating the nostalgic feeling of summer days when you were a kid, these ads have a good way of making you excited for summer 2017.

PlayStation: “Sunshine Day”

PlayStation’s summer 2017 commercial opens with stereotypical shots of a summer day, but the ad quickly shows that there is no where to be found in the pool, eating ice cream or playing outdoor sports. Instead everyone is inside huddled around a PlayStation playing a video game. This funny ad is completed with ‘It’s A Sunshine Day’ by The Brady Bunch playing in the background. This short ad is effective in welcoming summer, while also showing that PlayStation days don’t end just because of warm weather.

Canon: “365 Days of Summer”

Canon is on one of our “5 best” lists again and it’s no surprise with their #liveforthestory campaign. This ad revolves around Zoë Kravitz’s summer story and the ad is beautifully done. Narrated by Zoë, the ad reads as a love letter to summer. The ad plays as a tiny window into her summer and it resembles all of the best moments of summer: hot days, long nights, friends, love, happiness and the ability to make new stories. Canon is asking everyone to share their story with the #liveforthestory to win a 365-day trip around the world.

Malibu Rum: “Human Party Animals”

Malibu Rum released an entire series of commercials to promote the upcoming summer season. Their approach was to create a mini series of funny commercials along with another series addressing an environmental issue. “The Epic Beach Run #BecauseSummer” is the series of commercials featuring Instagram star, The Fat Jewish. These short ads are merely funny commercials aimed at promoting the rum while focusing on summer. The second series the company released is ‘Party Animals Hero #HumanPartyAnimals,’ which is the company’s call to action to help preserve sea turtles’ habitat this summer. The informative ad asks its viewers to share #HumanPartyAnimals picture this summer and Malibu will donate $5 per picture to @earthwatch to help save sea turtles.

Coca-Cola: “Guess My Name- Coca-Cola Summer”

Coca-Cola never fails to miss out of producing great summer commercials. One of their summer ads this year brings back their bottles with names. The ad is short, sweet and reeks of summer with the summer heat, the local pool and young love. Simply asking to share an ice-cold Coke to help answer summer’s most important questions- like the name of your crush- the ad is successful is promoting summer and Coke’s name bottles.

Father’s Day is an opportunity companies take every year to make unforgettable, touching ads. While some brands use the day to promote their latest stereotypical dad item- think BBQs, watches and golf clubs- others look beyond the material items to take a deeper look at what dads really mean to us.

By celebrating dads with creative advertisements, brands have the opportunity to create touching Father’s Day ads while also promoting their brands as family-oriented. Americans alone are expected to spend $15.5 billion on cards, dinners and gifts on Father’s Day this year, and marketers are likely to spend about $2 billion on ads to take advantage of the day. Every year a few ads seem to stand out from the rest and become the best of the day and ad agencies definitely didn’t disappoint this year.

These are the top five Father’s Day ads of 2017:

SickKids: Night Shift”

Much like their most recent Mother’s Day ad, SickKids took a unique approach to promoting Father’s Day. Their ad follows a real life dad of a SickKids patient, Frank, as he runs his construction business. The ad ends with Frank arriving at SickKids hospital to see his wife and start his ‘night shift’ with his daughter as she’s in the neonatal intensive care unit. The ad works as both a touching reminder of hardworking dads are and as a call to support the SickKids Foundation this Father’s Day.

Gillette: “Go Ask Dad”

This is Gillette’s second year using their ‘Go Ask Dad’ campaign for Father’s Day. Their campaign is based off of their research that 84 per cent of guys say their main source of information is their phone, while only 13 per cent go to their dads. The touching ad shows sons realizing their dads give better advice than their phone through a clever fake app. Gillette doesn’t show any of their products in the ad, and they don’t have to. It’s a good move by Gillette to bring positive attention to the brand through a touching ad.

Foot Locker: “Father’s Day”

With the NBA draft right around the corner, Foot Locker took this opportunity to make a short Father’s Day ad with this year’s top NBA prospects. The ad is short, witty and quite funny for anyone who has been following the NBA. The highlight of the ad is Lonzo Ball taking funny stabs at his dad as his dad is infamous for being outrageous in the world of basketball. Even without knowing about the Ball family, the ad is still relatable for any kid and dad who constantly joke around with one another.

Dove: “Celebrate Men Who Are There To Care”

Dove is known for creating heartwarming ads and this Father’s Day was no exception. Their ad is unique because rather than just celebrate dads, it gives a shout out to all the men in our lives who care: grandfathers, teachers, uncles and coaches specifically. The ad is a nice reminder to thank all of the men in our lives who care. Once again, Dove comes out on top with a great, touching ad.

Buffalo Wild Wings: “Watching”

This ad is less than a minute long, but that’s all it took to show the unique relationship between a father and daughter. The ad shows a little girl copying the actions of her dad as he watches a sports game on TV. He doesn’t realize until the end that his daughter has been matching his actions. “The love of sports is something that’s shared. Here’s to those who pass it on,” is the motto of the commercial, and it’s a good one. It’s a relatable commercial for anyone who has bonded with their dad over a shared interest.

The world of advertising is fiercely competitive. Brands compete against each other for the highest sales, most popular advertisements and to be the most loved brand overall. Some brands largely ignore their competition and just focus on their own agenda. However, other brands take a slightly more aggressive approach with their advertising. This is how ad wars begin.

Rather than be coy about their competition, these brands use humour and satire to fully call out their competition. These huge brands don’t shy away from getting dirty to outdo their rivals, and from a consumer’s point of view, these are some of the best ads to watch. Ad wars are highly entertaining, they start tons of conversation about the brands online and they create an opportunity for the brand being called out to respond in a creative way. Brands directly calling out their competition is not a new marketing method, yet it seems just as effective now as ever. As social media and digital marketing continue to quickly evolve, ad wars are right there growing alongside technology to make even bigger and better ads.

Here are 5 advertising wars going on right now:

 1. EBay vs. Amazon

EBay’s newest ad is starting off their new campaign ‘Fill Your Cart With Color.’ Unlike some other ad wars, Ebay doesn’t actually say or show Amazon’s logo, however, the beginning of the ad is meant to represent one of Amazon’s shipping facilities. With the boring, brown boxes rolling through a bland facility, EBay sharply contrasts the situation by bringing bright, bold colours into their operation. The ad not only snubs Amazon, but shows EBay delivering packages that represent their customers’ passions and individuality. This is the first of an entire campaign that will showcase EBay as a more colourful competitor next to the “beige” Amazon.

 2. IKEA vs. Balenciaga

When Balenciaga released their new $2,000 tote bag the internet was quick to react. This was of course because the Balenciaga bag has a strong resemblance to the well-known IKEA bag, known as the FRAKTA. IKEA was quick to react with a print ad, “how to spot an original FRAKTA bag,’ which instantly went viral. Since then, IKEA has been working on a new ad that revolves around the FRAKTA. “The Blue Bag” celebrates the various uses for the FRAKTA around the world. Calling the FRAKTA ‘the hardest working bag in the world,’ is no understatement in this commercial. The low-key snub to Balenciaga is when the voiceover talks about how the FRAKTA is for everyone, no matter how much money you have. “That design, function, and quality shouldn’t be just for a few,” is the punchline, and obviously, the $2,000 Balenciaga bag isn’t for many.

 3. Apple vs. Android

Apple is perhaps one of the leaders in ad wars. From 2006 to 2009 they ran their now famous “Get A Mac” campaign, which was a long series of ads explaining why Macs are superior to PCs. Since then, Apple has continued to create ads that directly poke fun at their competition. At the beginning of May, they released their newest string of ads from their ‘Life is easier on an iPhone’ campaign. The three ads quickly point out why an iPhone is better than Android and they are classic Apple: visually appealing, short and effective. They tackle the security, contacts and smoothness of an iPhone all ending in the link “apple.com/switch.” And yes, when you go to the link the site lays out exactly why the iPhone is superior and how you can make the switch from an Android.

 4.  Coke vs. Pepsi

The rivalry between Coke and Pepsi is legendary. For decades this ad war has raged on with no signs of slowing down. Anyone who has been following this competition was probably on the edge of their seats waiting for Coke’s reply after Pepsi’s massive fail this past April. However, Coke didn’t take the opportunity to deliberately bash Pepsi, as Pepsi did that all by themselves. Two months before Pepsi had released their ad, Coke had just re-released their 2014 Super Bowl ad, ‘Together is Beautiful,’ which highlights inclusivity and a culturally-diverse America. This proved to be great timing as the two were heavily compared. More so, Coke’s newest summer ad, ‘Pool Boy’ again has undertones of inclusivity and equality, in a light-hearted way. Pepsi, your move.

 5. Audi vs. BMW

Audi and BMW have consistently gone back and forth taking jabs at each other through their ads. Whether through billboards or commercials, these car companies are not afraid of boldly calling out each other by name in their ads. In Audi’s latest ads they take a stab at the BMW X3 by comparing its performance to the Audi Q5. This isn’t the first time Audi has taken shots at the BMW X3 while promoting the Audi Q5, as the last commercial focused on calling BMW drivers ‘conformists.’ This ad focuses on the Q5 literally leaving the X3 behind because it’s superior in performance, and specifically, speed. This ad is short and sweet, but quickly gets to the point that one car is better than the other.

LinkedIn is the cousin of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is a social media network like the others, but is much different in how it helps you network. High followers, connections and engagement are the goals among all social media, however, because LinkedIn is solely a business and employment-oriented social media service, the strategy is different than the others.

There are 500 million professionals on LinkedIn, meaning you have millions of opportunities to network and get yourself and your business noticed. The two keys to running a successful LinkedIn page are to post consistent, engaging content and to strategically self-promote. Investing time, and potentially some money, into your LinkedIn account will give your business a networking advantage.

Organically improve your LinkedIn engagement with these five tricks:

1. Content is key

As with any social media site, the content you produce is vital to the success of the account. Sharing and reposting relevant industry articles is a good way to stay active, but the best way to differentiate your LinkedIn account and grow an active and engaged audience is to post unique content and offer your own expertise to answer your connections’ questions.

Original content, even if it’s just a short thought or a question for your connections to engage with, is a good way to start a conversation. It allows your connections to share their thoughts and opinions, which will naturally give your page exposure.

For quality content, pay attention to the questions and industry problems your connections share. Sharing your own blog post or writing a status update with a solution to the problem is arguably one of the best ways to promote engagement and gain more connections. Establish yourself on LinkedIn as an expert in your industry and you will see significant growth.

 2. Join relevant groups

LinkedIn has over one million active groups and as a user you can join up to 100 different groups. Joining an industry-related group is a sure way to raise your engagement levels as most members in groups are highly active on LinkedIn. Being a member of a group is an effective way to learn new marketing strategies, engage with others, gain new connections and create an actively engaged audience. Additionally, engaging with other group members’ posts will give you valuable insights into current industry news and trending topics.

 3. Personalize your account

Unlike Twitter or Instagram, personalizing your LinkedIn account doesn’t necessarily mean you should ditch the professionalism. If there’s any social network to maintain a professional page, it’s LinkedIn. However, there are some strategies you should implement into your strategy to put a personalized touch on your page.

  • Post consistent status updates about your business. Include photos or visuals to gain more attention on the post.
  • Send personalized (not spam) messages to connections. Whether it’s thanking them for the connection or a message to discuss a business endeavour, a personalized message helps to create memorable connections.
  • Share your own blog posts. Tip: share only the intro of your blog post so your connections have to click through to your site to read the entire article.
  • Share images, videos and infographics whenever possible.
  • Post consistently and constantly. It’s estimated that if you post 20 times per month you will reach 60 per cent of your intended audience.

4. Always outsource and promote

You should always be self-promoting your accounts. Especially with LinkedIn, as it’s a professional social media network, promoting it along with your business is an easy way to gain more exposure. Add a link to your LinkedIn account on all of your other social media platforms, as well as on your website. However, perhaps the best technique, and one that isn’t used often, is to integrate your LinkedIn account into your email signature. This is a free way to self-promote the account and it will definitely open doors for more connections and higher engagement.

5. Experiment with sponsored posts

Increasing your engagement can be hard as expanding your reach beyond your current following is always a challenge. This is where LinkedIn’s sponsored posts come in. Sponsored posts are an opportunity for you to put money behind your post to ensure it is seen by the right people. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn users are online for insight on their industry, so members will be much more likely to engage with a sponsored business post. LinkedIn will ensure your post is seen by the right audience, which will naturally raise your engagement and give you new leads. LinkedIn’s analytics will also give you real-time information on how your post is doing, which will allow you to see just how effective a sponsored post can be for your page.

Learn more about how Mansfield can help improve your LinkedIn here.