13.12.12

Latest Issue of Brainstorm in the "Mail"

It's our final enewsletter for 2012! This issue celebrates some truly successful collaborations with our clients, awards won, new staff and offers some insights on measuring ROI. Read all about it in the latest issue of Brainstorm.

Not receiving Brainstorm (our quarterly company newsletter)? Sign up here.

7.12.12

Grandmothers Advocacy Network and Banfield-Seguin Celebrate GRAN's New Brand

Every now and then, in the marketing communications world, we get the chance to work with an organization that is truly making a difference. Working with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) was one of these times.

Over the past six months, Banfield-Seguin had the opportunity to work on a re-branding effort with GRAN. GRAN is a network of grandmothers and grand-“others” who advocate in Canada and around the world on behalf of children in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS, and the grandmothers who raise them.

On November 20th, our clients dropped in on Banfield-Seguin, giving us the chance to celebrate the success of the rebranding together. GRAN representatives from across Canada were present, and it was an occasion for tremendous gratitude, and even a few tears — on both sides.

GRANS front row, left to right: Marilyn Coolen, Andrea Beal, Gillian Sandeman, Pat Evans, Peggy Edwards, Hilary Elliott, Val Swinton, Linda Watson, Bonnie Johnson. GRANS back row, left to right: Kathleen Wallace-Deering, Marjorie Kort, Janet Wilkinson. BSL TEAM left to right: Christina Flavell, Peter Mulder, James Laing, Christine Hume, Bianca Manga, Nancy Webb.
 We want to thank Banfield-Seguin, your president Nancy Webb and the team that worked on this project,” said Peggy Edwards, proudly wearing her GRAN t-shirt adorned with the new logo.   “The new brand is working so well for us — it has unified the Grandmothers Advocacy Network and made us an even stronger force to be reckoned with.”

Peggy Edwards & Nancy Webb sharing the new GRAN umbrella!
“I was hesitant about working with an outside company to do our branding,” said Hilary Elliott, GRAN representative from Calgary. “I wasn’t sure of the process and if they would ‘get it’. How could they possibly come up with the right look & feel to represent all that we do and represent? When the logo options were presented, we were amazed by the designs and the fact that you understood us so well.”

When asked to say a few words about the experience working with GRAN, Director of Strategy Christina Flavell reminisced about that initial creative presentation. “We finished taking you through all the logo and tagline options and there was a brief pause, and then you all burst into applause. It was the most amazing and gratifying experience I think I’ve ever had in this business.” Associate Creative Director Peter Mulder agreed, saying, “We can’t thank you enough for your enthusiasm and passion throughout the project. It was such a pleasure for all of us to work with your organization.”
Marilyn Coolen tells us about GRAN going to Washington, DC!
Another GRAN representative, Marilyn Coolen from Halifax, shared her experience with the new brand. “We boldly applied to present at the World AIDS conference in Washington this year — never thinking that we would be accepted, being first-time applicants. Imagine our surprise when we heard we got accepted! We were so proud to have a banner with the new logo and tagline at our booth. And it worked! The new brand got people’s attention and they were drawn to our booth to find out more. As a result GRAN has established a new network of contacts farther afield.”

Overall, it was an evening that left us all glowing. It was an encouraging reminder that regardless of what we do day-to-day, there are always opportunities to give back and try to make the world a better place. It may sound sentimental, but it’s true. GRAN is out there doing it every day.  Take a moment to learn more about GRAN and their amazing accomplishments as a “a voice for grandmothers and children orphaned by AIDS in Africa” at www.grandmothersadvocacy.org.

4.12.12

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s our Campaign for the NAV CENTRE

It’s one of those places you really have to see to believe. A hidden gem along the banks of the St. Lawrence, the NAV CENTRE is Eastern Ontario’s largest conference and meeting facility. It’s fully equipped for productive business meetings and events, including excellent services to help you focus on business success. NAV CENTRE also has resort-like features (including a full-service spa and gym facilities) that will impress bosses and colleagues alike.

This comprehensive offering formed the basis of our campaign: “Be a Meeting Hero”. With budget cuts and an unstable economy, the role of event planner in many companies now falls to whoever is willing to do it. And it’s not easy!



NAV CENTRE has accepted the challenge of making “accidental planners” look like the Meeting Hero of their organizations. The secret is in its competitive pricing and excellent service offering.

 The campaign hinged on a website landing page (navcentre.ca/hero) and included print and online display ads, electronic direct mail pieces as well as Google Adwords and LinkedIn ads.

Perhaps you’re responsible for planning a company meeting or retreat? What are you waiting for? You could become the next meeting hero…

NAV CENTRE Campaign landing page


NAV CENTRE Be a Meeting Hero Campaign
NAV CENTRE Campaign lead gen form

3.12.12

Vlogging In: Place d'Orléans Contest Connects with Ottawa Fashion Elite

Nothing gets the attention of fashionistas quite like a shop-off.

To continue evolving the Place d’Orléans brand into a premier fashion destination, Banfield-Seguin proposed the Vlogger Search Contest, designed to reach fashionistas in a real and relevant way.
 
The contest began with a call for video entries, which were then narrowed down to 10 finalists. It all culminated in a spectacular event in which finalists were given a gift card and 90 minutes to shop, before filming a vlog describing their shopping spree strategy and its outcome. An experienced judging panel selected the winner, Amanda L. Conquer, who received $300 per month for six months in Place d’Orléans gift cards to keep shopping, shooting, and sharing her exciting finds online.

This dynamic, multi-faceted back-to-school promotion was designed to engage key audiences, tap into the “haul video” phenomenon (a recent Ottawa Citizen article on the subject can be found here), and potentially discover an online personality who could act as brand ambassador for the shopping centre.

To promote the event, we blended social media and local fashion community outreach with traditional marketing, including in-mall signage, radio and online advertising.
Fashion vlogger Search Facebook Contest Page
 
Banner ad on Loulou
A key objective of the campaign was to engage with top fashion bloggers and build their relationship with Place d’Orleans. So, at the outset, we invited the top 10 Ottawa fashion bloggers to be ambassadors for the Vlogger Search in order to connect with these women of influence and to attract high quality contest participants. We invited them to an exclusive VIP event, complete with swag bags and gourmet treats, during which they created their own vlog.
© Remi Theriault with LJ / Twenty York Street, Emily / Tinfoil Tiaras, Zara and Michelle / Ottawa Vélo Vogue, Emmett / Hippie Lace, Julie Lan / Pop Champagne, Grace / 613 Style, Marcia B Creative, Justyna Baraniecki / Chameleonic and Nini / The Fine Balance.
 The strategy worked beautifully.

We received incredibly positive feedback from the ambassadors who described the contest as “the best event ever” and generated 21 blog posts as well as numerous mentions of @placedorleans and the #vloggersearch contest. Ultimately, the initiative reached 485,000 people on Twitter and 30,000 people on Facebook.

Winner of the Vlogger Search Contest - Amanda L. Conquer (Photo: Brent Gervais)
Contest winner Amanda has since submitted four videos that can be seen on Place d'Orleans YouTube channel.

To make it all happen, Banfield-Seguin partnered with Made in Blog to reach out to the blogger community, and with Parade! to bring together the branded multimedia experience. The secret to success, though, was the tremendous support and enthusiasm of our clients at Place d’Orleans.

27.11.12

Banfield-Seguin’s Newest Team Member? Just Ask for Kelly

You could say our most recent hire was a Sens-ational one. After all, Kelly MacNaull comes to us from Capital Sports & Entertainment where, for the last seven years, she was marketing manager for both the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place.

Our newest Kelly — Banfield-Seguin now boasts three! — has a great deal of experience in project management and media planning for marketing campaigns across all media. She previously held positions at Acart and kbs+p (formerly Allard Johnson Communications).

Originally from Montreal, Kelly is now very involved in the Ottawa charitable community. She is the current Marketing Director for the CHEO BBQ and a past organizer of the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. All of which fits perfectly with her passions for good food, travel, and healthy living.

Kelly brings her expertise to our client services team as an Account Executive.

A Designer in Motion: New Team Member Joins Banfield-Seguin


You could say Annette Kozlowski has had a colourful career so far.

Our new Motion Graphics Designer joins Banfield-Seguin fresh from a 32-episode stint with TheSideProject as a graphic artist and animator, helping to bring a new TVO kids show called Beats in Bites to life.

Before that, Annette was freelancing in motion graphics for a wide variety of clients, including McMillan Agency, 27Forty Studios, Affinity Productions and Muse Fuse.

Her experiences included designing 2D and 3D motion graphics, compositing and creating VFX in videos in web and broadcast media for both government and the private sector.

Prior to her motion design career, Annette was an accomplished professional photographer. She put her technical and artistic skills to work at commercial shoots and events of all description — from weddings to corporate events to rally car races.

We look forward to putting her skills to work at Banfield-Seguin, as well!

26.11.12

A New Brand Takes Flight!

Even for a seasoned marketing communications agency, it is always a rare treat when you can build a new international brand from the ground up.

While we love the opportunity to evolve or refresh a brand, to be there from the very start is an exhilarating experience. Especially when that brand is a real forward-looking, future-changing concept like AireonSM.

So what exactly is Aireon, all about?

Aireon will leverage the power of the world’s furthest reaching Iridium network to enable — for the first time ever — a truly global, pole-to-pole aircraft tracking and surveillance capability.

Aireon is an innovative new company bringing together global commercial aviation companies and air navigation service providers, and plans to transform the business of air traffic management on a global scale by providing a surveillance infrastructure that will enable optimization of air operations around the world—while offering exciting new applications and business opportunities.

Using private capital, Aireon will provide the first opportunity for global air traffic monitoring starting as early as 2017. Aireon is truly a world’s first. Imagine being tasked with branding a potentially world changing concept that doesn’t quite exist yet. It is aspirational yet within reality’s reach. It was an exceptionally exciting assignment.

The team at Banfield-Seguin was in a unique position to handle the challenge of branding this new company—with our extensive and intimate experience in the telecommunications industry, particularly in satellite communications—we started out with a strong understanding of the client’s needs.

From name development to messaging, to web design, social media strategy, video and print production, our team worked closely with Aireon’s leadership team and the key stakeholders at Iridium to ensure consistency in messaging and a unified look and feel throughout all materials right down to the live web broadcast of the launch press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC on June 18.

Under Creative Director John Charette’s lead, the team was challenged with creating a brand that was not only unique but also accessible—with a diverse audience set that includes both industry experts and outsiders—the brand had to be credible but also easy to understand while existing in a tightly controlled and regulated industry.

The brand would have to be strong enough to entice the industry, relevant legislators, potential investors and partners while building excitement for a service that will only be fully available in 2017.

“Aireon was able to reap the benefits of working with a full-service marketing communications team that directed every facet of communications for a truly integrated approach,” said Charette. “Our team was able to facilitate a cohesive conversation about the corporate offering with the core proposition at the centre of each element.”

While Banfield-Seguin was able to provide a full-service offering, this was by no means a singular effort. Banfield-Seguin worked closely with Moveable Online who developed the website, and FTI Consulting who led the public relations support for the launch press conference on June 18. Brand development and execution was made possible by collaborative efforts with the Aireon marketing team.

“A project of this magnitude required a team that was able to understand all facets of the communications strategy, and integrate them into a full executed brand. We had very high expectations for this program which Banfield far exceeded. We could not have asked for a better result.”

- Julia Wilton, Executive Director, Corporate and Marketing Communications 

Editor’s note: The Aireon launch recently took home five Davey Awards for various components of the integrated campaign. Read more...

19.11.12

Global Sustainability Initiative Partners with Banfield-Seguin to Amplify Online Presence

Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Ottawa marketing communications agency Banfield-Seguin are celebrating the launch of GeSI’s newly revamped online presence – an important step towards future growth and success for the international e-sustainability organization. 
 
Formed in 2001 and based in Belgium, GeSI brings together many of the world's major Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies with international organizations to work on finding solutions for a more sustainable future through responsible, ICT-enabled transformation. 

GeSI contracted Banfield-Seguin in early 2012 to redesign its website and overall digital presence. The objectives of the multifaceted project were to encourage growth in GeSI membership, to support members' collaboration, ideation and project development, and to better communicate the critical role of the organization. 

“Working closely with GeSI, Banfield-Seguin used its content management framework to plan, design and build the new GeSI website and blog. We also developed a new private collaboration environment for partners and members, guided the use of social media properties, targeted e-newsletters and e-DMs, and set up measurement tools to track engagement,” said Scott Duncan, Senior Digital Strategist at Banfield-Seguin. 

“GeSI is extremely pleased with the end result delivered by Banfield-Seguin – our new website is simply amazing as evident from the positive feedback of GeSI members. The BSL team has been extremely professional and provided an excellent quality of service,” said Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI. 

To learn more about GeSI and the work of its growing network of members and partners worldwide, visit the brand new website: www.gesi.org

13.11.12

Social Media and Return on Investment

Great! Social media tools are free to use! I can put a video (for free) on YouTube, and have it watched by thousands of people. I can set up a Facebook page (for free) and really connect with my customers. I can post beautiful pictures of my products to Pinterest to be coveted everywhere. Sweet!

But wait! Social media isn’t entirely free. There are management and content development costs to consider.

So what gives? How can I convince my colleagues (or gulp, my boss or my investors) to pay to use something that’s free? By focusing on impact.

What follows are some approaches I use when considering ROI. They aren’t all financial.

Non financial impacts include brand recognition, visibility for products, key people or concepts, and customer insights.  These impacts can be measured many ways: looking at your search engine results, using perception metrics (provided by services like Radian6), doing your own analysis of the feedback you receive on Facebook or Twitter, using Facebook Insights or Tweetdeck. Depending on your business model, you many also be able to leverage your social media efforts to encourage stronger partnerships.

Financial impacts include cost reduction and revenue generation.

Of these two, cost reduction is the easiest to achieve and to measure. In the marketing communications business, we sometimes break down our communications into two categories – paid media (traditional advertising in print, radio, TV or online) and earned media (social media, blogger outreach and public relations fall into this category).

Here’s how cost reduction impacts work: If you have paid $1 to reach one customer through paid media, and it costs 25 cents to reach that customer through social media (by dividing the cost of managing social media by each time you reach a customer), you have reduced your costs by 75%. Bam!

The other financial impact looks at revenue generated by your social media efforts. Set a line in the sand (your sales and revenue growth at a moment prior to starting on social media), and then measure at monthly or quarterly increments after your accounts are up and running. If the rate of revenue generation or sales has increased more than the cost of running your social media, then you’ve taken an important step toward generating a positive return on social media investment. You must of course also consider outside factors – other marketing efforts and changes in the macro-economic context, for example. The more closely you can attribute sales or revenue growth to your social media efforts, the stronger your case.

Return on Investment =
Revenue Generated – Cost

  Cost
In most circumstances, a combination of both approaches should be considered. For example, generating positive perceptions will assist in growing your community, and in turn lowering your cost per acquisition or boosting revenue.

In another post, I’ll talk about a methodology that brings them all together.

But first things first: what kind of impact is most important to you?

6.11.12

Banfield-Seguin Wins 14 Davey Awards!

Banfield-Seguin is thrilled to announce that, together with our clients, we have been selected to receive a total of 14 trophies from the 8th Annual Davey Awards.

Banfield-Seguin demonstrated its versatility by winning awards with clients from both the private and public sectors, and for businesses located regionally, nationally and internationally. Our award-winning work also spanned various industries from telecommunications to culture to retail. We are also very proud to have been recognized for projects in many of our different areas of expertise as a full-service agency, including print, web and video. 


Many of the 2012 Daveys we received were for components of integrated campaigns, including five for the website and video we developed for the launch of an entirely new brand and company, Aireon, a future provider of global air traffic surveillance. 


Another two awards came for the website and video produced as part of our campaign to help global telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent enter the core routing market with its new 7950 XRS


It is also important to us that we won for projects with long-standing clients such as global satellite communications company Iridium (2), Canada’s National Arts Centre (3), shopping centre Place d’Orleans (1) and non-profit Bon Appetit Ottawa (1). For a detailed list of our 2012 Davey Awards wins, check out the document at the end of this post. 


Banfield-Seguin is very grateful for these distinctions from the Davey Awards, and would like to thank our clients and everyone involved who worked tirelessly on making these projects a success. 


About the Davey Awards: 

With nearly 4,000 entries from across Canada, the US and around the world, the Davey Awards honours the finest creative work from the best small firms, agencies and companies worldwide. 

The Davey Awards is judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 200+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.


List of 2012 Davey Awards Wins

25.10.12

Branding Presentation at “Bridges to Better Business" Conference



On October 17, our Director of Strategy, Christina Flavell, was the keynote speaker at “Bridges to Better Business”, a half-day conference offered by the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre. Christina’s presentation focused on Quality Branding, and provided specific recommendations to help small businesses develop quality brands that will help them succeed. The presentation fostered some great discussion about specific examples in the current marketplace, and what business owners can learn from them.

The “Bridges to Better Business” conference provides an opportunity for businesses in southeastern Ontario to improve their skills, learn best business practices and network with other business owners and economic development professionals from the region. A big thank you to Candy Pollard and the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre for inviting us to participate.

We have shared below excerpts from Christina’s presentation. If you are interested in more information on this subject, or other branding, marketing and communications sessions we can offer, please contact Christina at cflavell@bsl.com


12.10.12

Banfield-Seguin Bocce Tournament ends in epic pasta battle

On September 27th , the championship game of the 2012 Banfield-Seguin Bocce Classic was played in front of a crowd of enthusiastic employees and neighbourhood onlookers.

Banfield-Seguin’s front lawn evolved into a venue for some heated competition. What had originally started with a small group casually playing the centuries-old Italian lawn bowling game during our Thursday BBQ lunches, became a 3-month long, 10-team round robin tournament. 

To raise the stakes, we even pulled out Banfield-Seguin’s storied bocce trophy from the attic. It had been stored there since current company owners John and Nancy won it as a duo back in 2001. This piece of company nostalgia gave the tournament a “past-meets-present” narrative that made it difficult for anyone to resist participating (especially since our two leaders would be defending their title). 

The epic final game opposed the first place finishers from each group: 

Team Gnocchi 
(5-0 record in the Cream-Based Pasta division)

          vs.

Team Ziti 
(5-0 record in the Tomato-Based Pasta division)

Forced to play this decisive game one-on-one because their partners were both away from the office, Venise from Team Gnocchi and Pete A. from Team Ziti battled it out over a “best 2 out of 3 sets” game. 

After losing the first game 7-0, Pete rallied to take the next two nail-biters 7-4 and 7-4 to secure the win.

Needless to say, everyone who took part and watched this colourful ball-throwing competition had a great time – proof that in life, like in creative marketing communications, the simplest ideas often lead to the best results.




24.9.12

Banfield-Seguin at the NAC Gala

Banfield Seguin's "Team NAC" enjoyed a beautiful evening at the National Arts Centre's annual gala. Headlining the performance was spectacular young pianist Lang Lang, the “hottest artist on the classical music planet”, according to the New York Times. The NAC's gala raised $745,000 for the National Youth and Education Trust, a fund aimed at nurturing and developing the creativity of young people across Canada. We had a fabulous time - it's hard to beat an evening of world-class entertainment in aid of fostering youth and creativity. (We just need to bring a real camera next time!)

12.9.12

Fostering Talent, the Banfield-Seguin Way

I wonder if employers ever think about how important it is to keep their workforce busy, engaged and learning new things?

Let’s be perfectly honest for a second: How many of us have ever caught ourselves idling for a few minutes during a workday? Or found it hard to stay focused on and (dare I say it) excited about the tasks at hand?

To be fair, underutilization of workforce happens even in the most successful of businesses.

Image courtesy of iGadgetReport
Ever heard of Jonathan Ive?

For non-Mac fanatics out there, Jonathan Ive is an industrial designer whose ingenuity and creativity was/is instrumental in the revival of Apple over the past decade or so. The reason I mention him here is because, before the return of Steve Jobs in the late 1990s, Ive had already spent multiple years at Apple working in frustrated effort without anyone noticing him.

It was only once Jobs recognized Ive's unrealized talents that the designer was able to flourish and help the company become the industry leader it is today.

Taking a longer-term view

Having this kind of vision requires taking an unusual approach to work however.

In a prior lifetime, I worked in an industrial casting facility where there were a few employees who were classified as “floaters.” This meant that they were assigned to whichever department had the greater need for them at any given time. If you’ve got ca multi-skilled worker, what better way to offset disengagement than by allowing them to “float” between different jobs if they are open to the possibility?

Supporting your people means encouraging them to follow paths that might diverge from the conventional, pushing them to keep experimenting and learning (and allowing them the time to do that) and knowing that the benefits will likely manifest in a) a happier worker, and b) a uniquely-skilled worker who will eventually provide a better return on investment.

In short, investing in your people means taking a long-term, open-ended view with respect to development.

The Banfield-Seguin way

Working at a place like BSL – where people get hired on and stay on for multiple years – really makes one realize the benefits of trusting your people and mining the latent potential within them. For us, it simply makes greater sense to retain and nourish the people you hire, versus constantly looking for “fresh talent.”

Not only does doing this help your company develop a reputation as a great place to work, it fosters loyalty in your workforce and keep them connected to their jobs, which is preferable to having them feel bored enough that they start to feel unappreciated.

Ultimately, the longer teams work together and know one another (and your clients and business partners), the better the work they produce in the long run.

Look around your office

Could there be anyone with a genius seed waiting for the opportunity and encouragement to flower?

What initiatives could be implemented to make that come about, whether targeted to individual needs or company-wide ones?

Could you instigate a regular and open dialogue about ways for them to put their talents to more effective use in the workplace?

Let us know what you think.

30.8.12

Hot off the press: BSL's latest issue of Brainstorm

It's that time again! Another issue of Brainstorm ready for your consumption. This issue takes a look at the hot summer we've had--of course we mean the projects we've worked on, awards we've won, and new staff...
Read all about it in the latest issue of Brainstorm:

Not receiving Brainstorm (our quarterly company newsletter)? Sign up here.

22.8.12

An “extreme” social media strategy

What I find special about social media is that it’s a form of storytelling in the moment.  We can share our insight as something happens - whether it’s about a newsworthy event, a life milestone or a popular photo/video. And this is what, I believe, has contributed to the massive popularity of this online medium.

When putting together a social media content strategy for a company, the story’s theme often revolves around its products and/or services. What is so unique about working with our client Iridium – a global satellite communications company – is that their products can, at times, become part of the strategy. We get the opportunity to go beyond our terrestrial limits and plan a strategy for the people doing something extreme and adventurous.

The strategy is then framed by the tools we decide to use – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc – and we determine how to best tell the company’s story on these platforms in a way that’s appealing to their audience.

We recently worked with Iridium employee, Walt Everetts (Executive Director, Satellite Operations and SCS development), and his friend, Al Lepore, on how we could best tell their story of hiking Mount Everest – a lifelong goal for the two men. Iridium provided Walt & Al with an Iridium Extreme satellite phone for communications as they were out of terrestrial range.

We wanted these two men to be the primary drivers of this story for authenticity; therefore, we worked with Iridium to determine how we could tell this story on social media with only the phone. And here’s what we discovered:
This framed our content strategy as we created a Twitter profile for Walt & Al to share their progress and an account on ipadio for followers to hear the excitement in their voices as they were living this dream.

To supplement these live updates from the mountain, Walt & Al sent us photos and videos from their training and during their expedition. To house all of these assets, we created a webpage on Iridium.com as their hub, so people could learn about Walt & Al and track their progress.

What could have been perceived as a challenge – telling a story on social media from a region without terrestrial coverage – became a strength for this campaign. The combination of an extreme expedition and Iridium technology allowed followers to stay up to date with Walt & Al as they shared their experience of reaching Everest Base Camp while in the moment.

16.8.12

Confessions of a Pro(fessional)crastinator

I can’t believe I finally completed this article! I'm excited! I’ve been looking forward to writing down my thoughts on this topic for a very long time. As long I can remember in fact. 

But for some reason, I just kept putting it off… and putting it off… and putting it off… 

I think you get the point. What I’m talking about here is 'procrastination.'

You see, I’m what you call a pro(fessional)crastinator. And believe me when I tell you that I left the ranks of amateur “crastinators” a long time ago. I'm a lean, mean, easily-distracted machine! 

But don't get me wrong. For me, “waiting until the next day” to do something – whether it is a house chore or a blog post – is not really a bad habit. Or an obstacle to greater achievements.


Procrastination is a skill, a gift even! And I’m only half joking…

The Pros of Procrastination

When it comes to procrastination, the key in my opinion is not to pay too much attention to what’s not getting done. Rather, you should focus on what is getting done instead

If what you’re doing while procrastinating is of greater value to you than what you’re temporarily putting off, then you’re definitely not wasting time. In my case, as a creative strategist and writer, I see occasional daydreaming as way more valuable than, say… doing the dishes or filling my taxes, for example. It’s an exercise in imagination and problem solving, both of which are assets in my job. 

Procrastination can even have benefits for the task you’re postponing (that's right). Since it leaves you with a shorter amount of time to complete it, your survival instincts are forced to kick in and you start only paying attention to what’s crucially important. 

When everything goes well, the last-resort burst of energy produced can help you be more focused and efficient, and even come up with better, more creative ideas and solutions. It also helps that you’ve had more time to collect information and think the situation over before getting started. 

The Cons of Procrastination

Of course, there are also limits to the virtues of procrastination – eventually everyone has to pay their bills and clean up their apartments. We can’t just put this stuff off forever (or can we?). 

As you’ll no doubt have noticed, when you procrastinate, you’re more likely to feel stressed out and anxious, to cut corners and overlook details, and to do a poorer job on the task at hand than you would have if you spent more time on it. 

It’s easy to understand why most people try to avoid it.

But ultimately, I truly believe that there’s a productive way to procrastinate, if you’re willing to put up with a bit of uncertainty every once in a while. 

My advice is to take notice of what you do during “off” time and to try to become really good at it. And to only tap into your source of last-minute magic when you absolutely need to – otherwise, it’s bound to eventually run out. 

You’ll see, when used in moderation, procrastination can do wonders for all aspects of your life! 

How do you feel about procrastination? 

Do you have a success (or horror) story about procrastination? Or any tricks for making the most of your tendency to put things off? 

Please share them in the comments section (like, right now… not tomorrow… or later this week… NOW!).

13.8.12

Get ready to socialize: Social media expert Kelly Rusk joins Banfield-Seguin

Kelly Rusk recently came into the Banfield-Seguin fold, and that’s great news for our clients.

With her strong background in public relations, social media research and analysis and community engagement, Kelly really knows how to make social media work for businesses.

At agencies and on the client side, she’s created social media strategies and communications plans for local and national clients in both public and private sector. In fact, Kelly is a sought-out social media speaker and has presented at events in Ottawa, Edmonton, Toronto and Miami. She’s also President of the Ottawa chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, in which she leads the board of directors in fulfilling the association’s mission to be the voice of communications in Ottawa.

And now she’s ready to put all those awesome social skills to work for Banfield-Seguin clients. Want to find out more about Kelly? Check out her blog, her tweets, her Facebook page, her Linked In profile... you get the idea.

9.8.12

Banfield-Seguin: our company profile video

As a full service marketing communications agency, we sometimes feel like the cobbler's children--we are so busy creating great work for our clients that we don't have time to do it for ourselves.

Fortunately that was not the case with our company profile video. Our video team worked hard between client commitments to tell the story of our agency--from our beautiful stone heritage building in hip Ottawa neighbourhood Hintonburg; to our dynamic leadership team and working style; to the personality of our nearly 40 full-time employees.

This is Banfield-Seguin:


27.7.12

Family-friendly and responsive web design: a perfect fit for Ottawa Museum Network


For an organization devoted to history, the Ottawa Museum Network is remarkably with the times.

With the goal of driving both foot and online traffic to the 10 local museums that comprise the Network, the OMN wanted to update their brand as well as their website to better reflect their primary target audiences — families with children under 16 years, and the grandparents of these children. And they chose Banfield-Seguin to help.

To be more approachable, we developed a web strategy using an open source CMS that would allow for ongoing updates to be made to the site in-house – with limited design and technical support required. We also designed the new website with more images, more personality and more fun. To cater to busy Ottawa families, we made the information clear, super easy to find, and organized to fit the way families plan their social and cultural calendars. And, since families are increasingly on the move, we also designed it with a responsive layout to better fit their lives.

What’s responsive about it?

Basically, when we built the site, it was coded so that it automatically reformats for the device you are browsing with. In effect, it is optimized for viewing on your desktop, laptop or smartphone — all at the same time. The site was also built to allow the client to control the content the user views from each type of device.

The results have been pretty impressive. From April to June, 2012, year-over-year web visits have nearly tripled. And, assisted by a marketing campaign embedded with QR codes, the increase in mobile user activity is even more dramatic, with a 726% increase over the same period last year.

So if you’re looking for family-friendly fun this summer, look no further. And look on any device you want.

18.7.12

Organization 101 - Lesson 3: Orderly Workspace = Productivity

In this article we tackle… the cluttered workstation.

A lot of productivity has to do with being in the right “space”, both physically and mentally. For me, a clean, organized workstation is a must – I can't work if mine is messy.

But being neat and tidy is also not for everyone (some people like it, some people don't). What is truly important to increasing your productivity is to create the right environment and atmosphere to accomplish the tasks at hand.

You should consider these four elements: 

1. Work area
Ideally, you should have a different location for each of your activities. For instance, you could choose to answer emails while having breakfast, to take care of your main responsibilities while sitting down at your desk, and to do strategic planning when stopping by the nearest coffee shop.

Even if you have to complete all of your daily tasks within a few square feet of space, you can still train your mind to make connections with physical cues, such as sliding your chair over to a different part of your desk. 

2. Tools
Preferably, you should always have access to all the tools you need to do your job – all within arm's reach.  Doing this makes you more efficient and reduces your resistance to doing a certain tasks because they require getting up to go look for something.

For example, you could keep a note pad for capturing ideas or a “to do” list on the fly, or a few spare file folders and labels for quickly creating new project folders. 

3. Distractions
Some people are more productive in silence while others prefer working to the beat of their favourite music. Neither is right or wrong. The important thing is that you're aware of what types of distractions (or lack thereof) work best for you.

Try to take notice of how you respond to various environmental factors:
  • How do I function when I'm connected or disconnected to the Internet? 
  • Does having certain mobile devices turned on affect my productivity? 
  • How does my mind respond when I'm completely alone? 
  • Can background music help me focus? 
  • Does working some days from home lead to higher or lower productivity?

4. Surroundings

For your most important work, having an environment that you like spending time in is definitely a plus. If you have the ability to design your workspace, consider the type of lighting, colors and materials that make you feel good and inspire you. 

If a custom workspace isn't feasible, you can still make small improvements to your existing area, such as: 
  • Bringing in a small lamp with a soft white light bulb for a warmer glow 
  • Keeping fresh flowers or plants around you 
  • Putting up some favourite pieces of art or inspiring quotes 
  • Requesting additional storage drawers so that your surface is less cluttered 

By setting the backdrop for your day, you can reduce friction in the flow of your life and create better, more creative work in less time. 


What are some of your tricks to get the most of out of your workspace?

17.7.12

Enabling the best possible online shopping experience with Canada Post

As eCommerce continues to grow rapidly, so do shopper expectations. Recently, Banfield-Seguin and Canada Post worked together on a campaign for Canada Post Web Services, a solution that will enable the best possible online experience for shoppers. 

Banfield-Seguin developed an integrated campaign - including video, DM, print and online advertising - to communicate the benefits of Web Services through simple, clear creative concepts. The national campaign was targeted at both online merchants and eCommerce solution providers. 

Web Services is an important opportunity for Canada Post. The suite of eCommerce solutions integrates Canada Post shipping data and enhanced capabilities easily, seamlessly and affordably in a merchant’s ecommerce solution. 

Banfield-Seguin and Canada Post collaborated closely in determining the marketing plan, messaging strategy, and mix of tactics. Together we also developed a creative testing strategy to ensure we could continuously refine the campaign while in market. 

29.6.12

Canadian Flag Connection at BSL

Sometimes the best design is design that doesn’t get noticed at all. With Canada Day only a few days away, it occurred to me that the Canadian flag was a great example of “invisible” design. 

To be clear, I’m not saying that the maple leaf is not recognizable or that Canadians will not display it proudly all over the country this week. 

Rather, it’s just that the red and white design is so seamless – so effective – that people often take it for granted and never really learn about the creative process that brought it to life. 

So I decided I would share some of the history behind the design of our national flag. 

A Brief History of the Canadian Flag 

First, I should start by mentioning that Canada did not have its own national flag until 1965. After Confederation, Canadians used a hybrid flag that combined elements of the Union Jack with symbols of each province. This flag, known as the Canadian Red Ensign, served as Canada’s unofficial national flag. 

In the early 1960s, with the Canadian Centennial approaching in 1967, Canada’s government decided to adopt a new and distinctive national flag. Canadians were invited to send in their ideas and a committee was established to determine the best design. 

After reviewing hundreds of options, and sparking a national debate in the process, the Committee finally settled on a design by George Stanley, a professor of history in New Brunswick. And the new flag was officially inaugurated on February 15, 1965. 
 
But there’s more to the story. 

The maple leaf, which had already been used to represent Canada since the 18th century, was chosen to appear on the flag over other Canadian symbols to celebrate the country’s nature and environment. 

The stylized image of the red leaf with eleven points was selected by the committee over other proposed images of maple leafs after wind tunnel tests showed it to be the least blurry when tested under high wind conditions. 

As for the combination of red and white, it was favoured over more colourful designs to reflect the official colours of Canada as proclaimed by King George V in 1921. 

Design Has Deep Roots at BSL 

Personally, I find that reading about the creative process and the reasoning behind certain design decisions can really influence the day-to-day work I do as a graphic artist for BSL. But there’s another reason why the history of the Canadian flag is so fascinating to me. 

Recently, my family and I were going through old photos and documents at my parent’s house and we discovered a drawing done by my grandfather. 

To our great surprise, we realized that it was a design that he had submitted for The New National Flag competition back in the early 1960’s. 

His design (right) may not have won, and its detailed multicolour look might not fit the modern criteria for “invisible” design, but it’s obvious that it shows the pride my grandfather developed for his adoptive country after emigrating from England. 

And by the way, that’s another key to great design: passion. 

Happy Canada Day everyone!

26.6.12

Alcatel-Lucent and Banfield-Seguin challenge telecommunications service providers to rethink their core beliefs.

Alcatel-Lucent and Banfield-Seguin made May 22, 2012 a day for re-thinking the status quo. At its annual technology symposium, this year hosted in Silicon Valley, Alcatel-Lucent announced the launch of its first core router portfolio, the 7950 XRS. Banfield-Seguin worked intensely with Alcatel-Lucent to produce key launch marketing elements, including teaser and launch videos, web page designs, online banners, and the launch presentation for the event, presented by Basil Alwan, President IP Division and Head of Network Strategy. The campaign creative was all centered on the theme “Rethink Your Core Beliefs”. To watch the launch video, click here

Banfield-Seguin developed the theme to highlight the Alcatel-Lucent core router’s unprecedented ability to deliver scale, efficiency and versatility – without compromise. Traditional core routing approaches force telecommunications providers to choose between optimal scale and functionality on a single platform. Alcatel-Lucent’s powerful and innovative new core router combines scale and capability with flexibility, to address future needs. The campaign brought that unique advantage to life through eye-catching metaphorical imagery, balanced with hard-hitting facts and data. 

Thank you to our clients at Alcatel-Lucent for working with us on its bold and innovative entry into the core router market.

25.4.12

Making a Fashion Statement: Place d’Orléans Spring Campaign

Spring and fashion just naturally go together. That’s why the spring campaign for Place d’Orléans showcases the latest trends defining the spring season. And — from tangerine and polka dots to colour blocking and coloured denim — you can find them all at Place d’Orléans.

This season, we took the photo shoot out of the studio and into a private residence, bringing home just how accessible the new looks are for any lifestyle.

To make the campaign pop, BSL created print, radio and transit advertising, plus in-mall signage. We’re also harnessing a growing array of social media platforms, including new addition Pinterest. You can also check out elements of the campaign at Facebook, Twitter and placedorleans.com.


Click on photo to view magazine

Making a Splash at the 2012 Iridium Partner Conference

When you think of Hawaii, chances are that swaying palm trees, pristine beaches, and swim-up bars are the first things to come to mind. Exhibit halls, executive presentations and professional networking likely never come into it.

On February 7-10, Iridium Communications Inc. managed to combine them all seamlessly when it hosted one of the satellite industry’s most coveted conferences in Oahu aided by a significant team from Banfield-Seguin Ltd.

The three-day Iridium Partner Conference, which took place at the spectacular JW Marriott, Ihliani Ko Olina, offered more than 350 attendees the opportunity to gain insight into Iridium’s growth, product innovations and financial health. 40 exhibitors were also able to take advantage of a forum to discuss their latest Iridium-enabled solutions.

Iridium strategically positioned the 2012 Iridium Partner Conference as a professional event with plenty of return on investment for partners, and enlisted BSL to help articulate a new identity for the event. What started as a passionate discussion and a few sketches on a napkin soon evolved into a conference name, acronym, messaging and logo.

Everywhere is Here was born.

The new identity played off the global company’s corporate mark, Iridium Everywhere, with proof points of Here for Business, Here for Innovation and Here to Connect.



In the months leading up to the Conference, the Everywhere is Here identity, visual approach and messaging were implemented across a central webpage on Iridium.com. The login-protected page served up information regarding the conference, positioned it as a valuable business investment and hosted HTML forms where partners could register to attend, exhibit or do both. Creative themes were also displayed in interactive header graphics.

With registration rates surpassing expectations in November and December, the pressure was on to deliver an expertly marketed event. In close collaboration with Iridium, we went to work creating, designing, copywriting, editing, producing and outsourcing production requirements.

The outcome was an impressive array of strategically and visually stunning branded deliverables including all manor of signage, 5 videos, 50 executive and break-out session PowerPoints, electronic communications, displays, print collateral, …*gasp for air*… agenda, exhibitor guide, social media editorial calendar and branded giveaways.

Instead of third-party outsourcing, BSL — with our expanding video capabilities — was also tasked with of the on-site filming and shooting at this year’s event. Our crew of three photographers roamed the premises and attended evening events, snapping over 7,000 images. Testimonial videos were filmed in a dedicated studio area while product demo videos were captured in the exhibit hall.

Feedback for the event was overwhelmingly positive — and we feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to its success. Now we can’t wait to see what Iridium has in store for its partners — and us! — at the 2013 Iridium Partner Conference in Panama!

24.4.12

11 Things You Need to Know about Pinterest

1. How does it work? You join, you surf the web, and you "pin" things you're interested in. Then Pinterest helps you choose the best image, and voilà... it becomes a “pin” on Pinterest.com for those who share your passion to enjoy!

2. It's a very visually oriented social media tool. It’s a social bookmarking tool with pictures and a wicked layout.

3. You could call it "pine-" terest. Members pin pictures of things (and people) that they pine over - think Ryan Gosling, chocolate cake and those great new yoga jeans.

4. It's growing very fast – Pinterest had 104 million visits in March 2012, putting it in third place for most popular social media site behind Facebook and Twitter (and ahead of Google +, LinkedIn, Flickr, Picassa).

5. Pinterest has achieved 10,000,000 members faster than any start up in US history.

6. Recently, 97% of all Pinterest fans on Facebook are women, and about 60% of Pinterest users in the US are women.

7. Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Google+, YouTube and LInkedIn combined.

8. It's used by brands such as Gap - Pillsbury - Whole Foods - UNICEF.

9. You can use it for your brand to promote your best (and most photogenic) products and services.

10. If you’re going to use Pinterest, be careful to add value to the Pinterest user experience through what you’re advertising. You’ll turn Pinterest users off with shameless self-promotion.

11. You can give your brand personality with Pinterest. Pin stuff your brand is interested in. Design company? Pin beautiful art and design. Travel company? Pin images of remote locations.

23.4.12

Prepare to Interface: UI/UX Designer Craig Hooper joins BSL

We’re pleased to welcome Craig Hooper to the BSL team as our new UI/UX Designer. What does that mean? User Interface/User Experience Designer. Okay, but what — exactly — does that mean? It means he makes websites better and easier to use for those who actually use them. 

And he’s awesome at it. 

Craig excels at delivering design solutions that provide the end-user with smart, elegant, memorable, and intuitive online experiences, while solving specific problems and meeting business objectives at the same time. His talent for process, layout, conceptualization, typography, and design thinking clearly shows through in his work. 

Craig comes to us with nine years of experience as a professional interaction designer. You name it, he’s done it. He’s plied his trade at agencies, as a freelancer, and as a partner in his own design studio. He’s designed for virtually every sector and industry you can think of. 

And now he’s at BSL, ready to take on the next UI/UX challenge. Maybe yours?

20.4.12

Getting our Right Brains Turned On at the OFF Conference

At BSL, we’re always hunting for the latest trends and techniques. We read blogs, subscribe to magazines, take part in training seminars — all in an effort to find the best, most creative solutions to meet our clients’ marketing and communication needs. 

Image: Infopresse via Flickr
As part of this quest for “what’s next,” BSL recently attended OFF, the first annual conference on the future of creativity and innovation in business, presented by Infopresse at the Society for Arts and Technology in Montreal. 

Here are some of our key takeaways from the daylong meeting of the minds:

First, according to INSEAD professor and Harvard Business Review author Hal Gregersen, it seems that only 33% of human creativity comes from our genes. For Gregersen, this means that anyone, in any profession, can learn to be creative in their own way under the right conditions. In other words,
“It is possible for creativity to be “forced” and fed. You just have to know how to think differently. And to think differently, you have to act differently. And to do that, you have to talk to people who are different from you. You have to be curious, observe and make connections that others don’t see.” 
Others, like Yannick Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, believe that creativity is a much more complex and delicate thing to achieve, especially at the organizational level. “It cannot be simply integrated, it must be lived on an everyday basis. It is not implemented, but rather revealed,” said Mallat. And this starts with an organizational culture that embraces disruptive elements and makes breaking from the status quo a part of the daily routine. 

For many companies, the challenge with making a commitment to this kind of game-changing creativity is time — or the lack of it. For Francois Lacoursière, Senior Partner at Sid Lee, the solution is to "develop processes that favor speed and efficiency" for less creative tasks, like answering emails for example. If done diligently, this should free up more time to spend on what Lacoursière sees as the basis for innovation: non-linear work, collaboration, idea clashing and experimentation. 


Image: by Infopresse via Flickr
This organic, trial-and-error approach is also endorsed by Patrick Beauduin, Executive Director of radio at Radio-Canada (the French CBC). “The important thing is often not the results you get, but the path you take to get there,” explained Beauduin. “You have to tolerate error, and put your trust in it, because a failure can still be a success in the long run.” 

In the end, based on everything we heard at OFF, it seems that unlocking creativity and innovation, both at the individual and the organizational level, boils down to confidence. It requires a judgment-free environment where risk-taking is rewarded, where people actively listen to each other, and where a strong sense of trust and togetherness exists amongst team members. 

We hope that this information will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to “run towards tension,” as Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen put it during his presentation. 

Maybe you can start by identifying one thing you can do differently — right now — to make creativity a bigger part of your work/ company/ life? 

We would love to hear what that would be. And to help you make it happen. 

For a video recap of the OFF Conference, visit: http://www.infopresse.tv/videos/off-2012

For a photostream of the event, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/infopresse/off-2012