Tag Archives: PR

When The Risk Is Worth The Gain

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“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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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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