zuLIVE

zuLive is home to musings from the zuCrew, photos, and generally anything that interests us. Don’t expect anything too polished, this is where we let it all out.

The Potential of Untapped Data

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Data: humans are generating more and more of it and at an increasing rate. So much in fact, that 90% of the data that exists today was generated in the last two years alone.1 Big corporations have taken advantage of the huge value this data represents by focusing their efforts on collecting it - including intimate details of our lives. From our likes, dislikes, location, and political leanings, to our “private” conversations, data mining has stimulated a buzz around privacy concerns.

An infinite resource

I recently read two articles which provided an interesting perspective on how BIG “big data” has really become. The Economist makes the bold claim that “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”, and draws many analogies between the two industries. Both oil and data

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Top Three Lessons from Day One of The Gathering 2016

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Day One of #TheGathering2016 has been a whirlwind of inspiring and thought provoking speakers from some of the world’s best brands. While we take a moment to process the day’s events, we reflect on a few of our top takeaways so far:

  1. Know who your monsters are. What are you fighting against? Is there a cause you stand behind, a misperception of your brand or business that you need to clarify? For Airbnb, the monster they had to tackle was the concept of “the stranger”. In order to overcome the hesitation that hosts and travelers have towards sharing space with someone they don’t know, Airbnb launched a campaign to make the scary familiar. By knowing what it is that keeps potential customers away, this opens up the opportunity for brands to combat it face on.

  2. Build your brand on

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Hello Saskatoon. The Internet has arrived.

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When zu started out back in 1995, there was no such thing as Internet in the home or at work. In fact, zu was one of the first businesses in the city to have internet access, when on February 8, 1995, WBM began offering that service. Soon after, the Interactive community began to evolve.

In 1995, there were a few “clubs” around; SMUG (Saskatoon Mac Users Group) was the most active and most of the people at zu became members, often logging into their BBS on a 2400 baud modem (I remember getting a 14.4k modem which seemed as fast as a race car at that time). But this was a small group, with a limited focus.

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The first “big thing” in our industry was the development of the Saskatoon FreeNet, which gave people free access to the Internet in late 1995 or early 1996. I remember having

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Build Value Through Service Design

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Every business, government and non-profit organization shares a basic, fundamental equation; they possess a core internal group of individuals who provide some type of good or service to an external audience. Traditionally, these two groups are brought together through the efforts of marketing. To be an effective marketer, an organization will divide consumers into market segments and, through research and statistics, will create one-way messages that can be delivered to targeted audiences. Most often this is in the form of advertising. 40+ years ago this was an extremely efficient way for an organization to communicate to audiences. Media consumption was far more predictable, and a well-placed 30-second television spot could reach wide swaths of a market segment.

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Unfortunately for

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What to Expect at MoSo 2015

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zu’s Design Director, Zach Perkins, on CTV Morning today to discuss the speaker lineup at MoSo2015.

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Marketing is a Strategic Driver for SMBs

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As marketers, we’re always trying to find new ways to engage our existing and potential clients. We are constantly seeking out the latest solutions that technology has to offer, observing the best in our industries, learning from them, and adapting our own best practices. For many of us, it’s the reason we get out of bed in the morning.

Before reading a recent report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit, and commissioned by a leading marketing automation solution, Marketo, I was blissfully unaware of the battle that is being fought by many marketers in their small to medium sized organizations. The epidemic, it seems, is that marketing tends to be seen only as a cost centre, and not the demand-generating, funnel-fueling, shareholder-pleasing center of intelligence that it

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Establishing Your Online Presence

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We were invited back once again to CTV Morning Live to discuss setting up your own personal or business website, and the benefits of transitioning into a more customized web design. Ryan speaks on the issues of device compatibility, ease of use, and suggests Facebook as an inexpensive way to get started.

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Digital Spring Cleaning

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Albert sat down with CTV Morning Live to discuss digital spring cleaning, including some best practices for protecting your online reputation. From avoiding questionable situations to deleting old accounts, Albert suggests that the key to save face is to “be boring online.”

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Why Aren’t We Better at Branding?

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Your brand: it’s the essence of your organization, foundation, slo pitch team, dance troupe etc. Yet we’re still left wondering why so many fail at creating one.

So why aren’t we better at branding? I ask this because we are in the middle of the largest branding exercise and don’t even know it. With the majority of the modern world connected to social media through mobile devices, it’s a wonder why we haven’t been able to transfer our razor sharp personal branding skills to digital marketing with the companies we represent.

For most of us, like it or not, social media has turned into our personally curated ‘museum of me’. Sure, we are all creeping profiles and discovering new content, but that’s just half the fun. When it comes to managing our own profiles, it’s time for everyone’s

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Improving Experience Through Stories: 2/3

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About a month ago I wrote a post about improving experience through stories, the idea that stories are what tie us all together and the importance of stories as they relate to your brand. zu recently began work on the City of Saskatoon website redesign project and I found myself thinking of this beyond business and reflecting on the stories that unite us as a city. Stories can be great motivators and can help put meaning and context around complex tasks and challenges. So here’s a quick story about this lovely place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the impact it’s having on the website redesign project.

I’ve always identified myself with Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I mean after all, that’s where I was born, raised and graduated high school. “Speedy Creek” was where I identified myself to

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How Will CASL Affect Email Marketing?

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The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is the Federal Government’s attempt at curbing unsolicited consumer electronic messages (aka SPAM) and unwanted software installs. It defines specific cases in which businesses are allowed to mail consumers, and lays out some severe penalties for non-compliance. This is news of note for anyone in charge of their organization’s email marketing strategy. Here are some key highlights to focus on now:

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The legislation comes into effect on July 1st, 2014.

This means that there’s a short grace period right now where companies aren’t affected by the restrictions. You may be noticing a lot more messages from contacts or suppliers; this is due to those companies making sure that they have an existing relationship with you before the law comes into

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The UX Lunch: Three Takeaways

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zu and MPATH (specializing in user experience design and digital strategy) took the user experience presentation on the road to Regina, Saskatchewan with a new spin to engage communication and digital marketing professionals.

“Ain’t no mountain high enough” UX lunch at Crave in Regina on May 8 2014

Albert Jame and Derek Leverington spoke to a packed house at Crave Restaurant. The key takeaways this time around were a set of tactics for improving user experience by bringing consistency to customer and stakeholder touch points. Here are three takeaways:

1. Create journey maps to align touch points and enhance user experience

Albert spoke about the importance of cataloguing your organization’s touch points and creating a journey map. Every touch point should be considered when

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Improving Experience Through Stories

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A few weeks ago, Derek Leverington (MPATH Engagement) and I gave a talk at Innovation Place in Saskatoon about User Experience. The audience of over 60 people was broad so we kept the session high-level. Our goal was to use this talk as a catalyst to get companies to start thinking about their overall customer experiences, both offline and online. We touched upon the ‘power of stories’ as part of your brand experience, but we weren’t able to expand on this due to the limited time that we had. So here’s a bit more:

“The power of stories” is the concept that having deep knowledge surrounding about an experience, a company or an item makes everything about it a little bit better. It’s about sharing that thing that makes something unique. Think of a pair of hockey pucks. They look the same,

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