When The Risk Is Worth The Gain


“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” – Seth Godin

We’ve heard countless times over how it’s better to risk than to wonder.

Over a year and a half ago, I picked up my life and moved to New York City. The more surprising part of the story is that I’d never stepped foot in New York once before moving, nor did I know anyone living here. It was the epitome of embarking on a journey into the unknown.

In a city of over 8 million people, I had me, myself and I.

Looking back now, I realize I was building a life I had not only dreamed of, but a life that would prepare me for all the decisions that would come once I arrived. I was inherently an
independent person. I’ve always been comfortable with handling change and I’ve always been the type to choose the bigger adventure.

There was no calling home if I was lost. I couldn’t expect to come home to Mom’s homemade dinner, and no matter how crazy things got, there was no turning back.

In the world of public relations, calculated risks are what prepare us to stand out amongst the crowd. You make decisions that you could fail at, no matter how strategic they may seem ahead of time.

I look at this journey as one of success. I moved out of my home country at 22, ready to build a life of my own. I was building a foundation in an unfamiliar world, but creating a life I’d always wanted – and I wasn’t going to stop.

In a matter of weeks I knew I’d found home. I found a city that fed off of hard work and
determination. I found like-minded individuals who went out of their comfort zone to prove something to the world – that they too were capable of great things.

I’m writing this post to not only reflect, but to also encourage anyone sitting at a crossroads wondering which decision to make. I had the option to stay in Toronto, start my career off an hour away from home, and be happy with wherever that led. For me, that was the easy choice. That was the lesser of the risk and it felt safe.

If I can give any piece of advice for young professionals, it would be to choose the riskier option. Uproot your life for the unknown, because on the other side is a world that will teach you
everything you need to know about challenges, fear and failure. But more importantly, on the other side of that risk is opportunity.

Two weeks ago I started as a Senior Account Executive at Clarity PR in New York City.

I did it.

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Trust: A Meaningful Five-Letter Word.


Trust takes years to buildseconds to break, and forever to repair.” – Anonymous 


The Oxford Dictionary defines trust as:

[The] “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. “

Whether it’s business or personal relations, trust is a five-letter word that holds a lot of
meaning. It’s the essence through which we build sustainable relationships and it’s the way in which we formulate countless decisions.

Trust is our ability to navigate safely through the decision-making process. When we ask
questions like: “Can I trust this person?” or “I have to trust that whatever is meant to be, will be,” we are mentally processing the reliability of the circumstance.

We use trust as a way to make choices that may not always have a definitive answer. Trusting your intuition, trusting the gut feeling you have.

For any individual, regardless of your industry, formulating relations is about building trust. It’s about understanding that the series of events, and the logical outcome of a situation, is built upon the strength in its foundation.

This means that as professionals in the workplace, we must work hard to gain trust in order to impact the outcome. In managing important relationships, we must create a sense of trust that what we provide is valuable and worthy of a continued interaction.

It is this sense of trust that builds a successful business. Without it, the future of a business is in limbo because trust offers a sense of stability to an organization.  It’s the idea that there exists enough faith in the desired outcome to progress the business forward.

Once trust is gone, it can never be fully restored.

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Target: What went wrong?


 “Your customers are responsible for your company’s reason for existing.” – Marilyn Suttle 

After billions of losses in the Canadian market, Target asks itself today: what went wrong?

According to the OECD Index people in the United States earn around $54, 214 US dollars
annually. Comparing this number to their Canadian counterparts, the average Canadian earns approximately $44, 017 US dollars per year.

The average disposable income in the U.S. is $39, 531 US dollars, versus $30, 212 US dollars in Canada.

So, what do these numbers tell us?

Americans and Canadians do not have the same spending habits.

Target Corporation initiated the transaction of expanding into Canada after the recognition that most Canadians do cross-border shopping, and in most cases, will make a stop at Target. So, why did the allure end so suddenly?

The failed expansion of Target Canada rests in the difference of cultural nuances between Americans and Canadians.

As a corporate communication consultant, our first point of reference in garnering consumer support is to actually understand who our audience is, and how they buy. Target Canada is an example where expansion happened so rapidly without truly stopping to think about consumer differences. After all, most of us will assume there isn’t a huge variation between borders – but that’s where we’re wrong.

There were subtle signs of an attempt to make Target Canada much like their U.S. chain,
including ramping up their Black Friday Deals – a usual draw for Canadian consumers. However, spending habits on Black Friday for the average Canadian is far from their American friends. Most Canadian shoppers are more than likely waiting for Boxing Day Deals, a larger draw for Canadians over Black Friday. Plus, the average Black Friday shopper is more than likely headed across the border to capitalize on better deals and a wider selection.

For a Canadian living in the United States, I see a drastic difference between Target U.S. and
Target Canada. Target Canada is met by higher pricing and minimal selection. The draw between the two stores were extremely different. The expansion of Target into Canada failed to account for a variation in transportation costs and supply demand differences. All relevant to the Canadian consumer.

Furthermore, the slogan “One-Stop-Shop” doesn’t resonate with the Canadian customer. The Canadian consumer tends to shop sporadically, searching for deals across a number of different stores. Where “One-Stop-Shop” resonated with Americans due to ease of use and logistics, the same shopping mannerisms don’t translate synonymously between the two countries.

The learning curve for Target Corporation here, and any corporation looking to expand either North or South of the border, is to remember who is buying the product. It’s not enough to
assume cultural similarities or spending habits. It’s extremely crucial to recognize the subtle variations in how people buy, and the difference in purchase decisions when targeting (pardon the pun) a new audience.

Tweet me your thoughts! @Sam__Dickson

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