Monthly Archives: January 2015

Trust: A Meaningful Five-Letter Word.

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

Trust.

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?

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 “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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New Year, New Opportunities

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Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.” – Marissa Meyer

Earth to Sam… Are you there? Hello?

Yes, I’m back!

After a brief hiatus, I have returned. To all my readers, I’m SO sorry it took this long.
Let me explain.

In September of 2014, I began the journey into my final semester of my Masters at New York University, which meant a few things. First, since I fast-tracked my degree I would have a heavier semester than most. The semester would be spent writing my thesis, fulfilling a practicum placement and on top of those two (which are considered a full semester),
I would be completing two additional courses needed in order to graduate –
Crisis Communication and Reputation Management. In case you’re wondering, I survived.

The months of hiatus were spent researching, planning, and building big projects. I conducted my thesis research on reputation management and branding initiatives using digital platforms in the airline industry. A mouthful – I know. The end result was to produce a best practices guide for airline companies in using digital platforms and how this corresponds to proving a return on investment. It was a daunting task at first, but the guide proved to be a valuable resource in an industry faced with innumerable complications – especially with communication.

On the other end of the spectrum, my practicum was to work alongside the New York Knicks to develop an integrated marketing plan that could be implemented as a means of promoting and building their current efforts. It was an incredible experience understanding the realm of sports public relations and the strategic ways they go about communicating with fans.

So, what now? Well, as many of my readers know, I am originally from Toronto but relocated to New York to complete my Masters. Now that they’re over, I’m hoping to stay in the city (fingers crossed!) and find a job. I’m currently doing all that’s related to the job hunt!
Resumes, cover letters, and of course networking!

It’s a new year for new opportunities. I’m excited to see what this year has in store.

I’ll be back later this week with some more posts!

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