I wrote a book!

Hello friends. Thrilled to share that I’ve written and published a book. The entire process took me 52 days from idea – to being on sale on Amazon. I will share some tips & tricks on self-publishing in the future, but for now…

Introducing… The Sh*tstorm that was 2020. It’s part ABC book, part yearbook, all sh*tstorm. And it’s available now on Amazon. The book takes a look at major events from the year 2020.

Everything in the book actually happened, although much of it does sound made up. Some moments you’ll never forget: a global pandemic, Trump losing the plot. And some moments you’ve probably already forgotten: Parasite winning all the Oscars, UFOs being confirmed by the government, Murder Hornets.

This book may look like it’s for children, but it isn’t.

And like every company that has contacted you during the pandemic, we are all in this together, just like the events we all experienced that are in the book.

It was a pretty cool experience getting the book completed and I leaned on many folks. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped along the way, and I am super excited to be able to share it now with all of you. Also built this website for the book as well.

I guess I’m an author now, right? That is so 2020! And let’s all remember the year that we’re all trying to forget, by buying this book! Thanks for your support.

That Time when Luke Schenn and I broke the rules at Sick Kids Hospital

Originally posted this as a Twitter Thread which seemed to resonate with some folks…

Here is the story in full…

Watching Luke Schenn hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup makes me think about the time Luke Schenn and I broke the rules at Sick Kids Hospital. Rewind to a number of years ago, when I was running the Leafs Social Media team.

That job was filled with perks, but also some really tough days as well. Tough because very few on the organization saw the role for what it was: a storyteller. Most thought ‘There’s the guy who sends tweets’. That is super frustrating and probably deserves a thread of its own, for another day. Anyhoo, back to the story…

Every year, the Leafs visit Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Rain or shine, winning season or losing season, the players always show up. It’s written in contracts that X amount of public appearances are mandatory but the Sick Kids visit is one no player wanted to miss. This goes the same for staffers. I was lucky enough to ‘cover’ the event numerous times, but one time really stands out.

Let me set the scene: the entire Leafs team shows up and waits in a room. There’s some chit chat, but all definitely aware we are in a hospital for children. Right next door there is another, larger room that is more like a family room filled with couches, bean bag chairs and some fun things: air hockey, bubble hockey, board games, puzzles. This is the room the players and kids who are currently patients meet in. The initial meet is more for the cameras, as kids and their families walk in and are met with the whole Leafs team. Players are in their jerseys so it’s easier to know who is who. It’s a pretty magical moment to see faces light up. Yes the kids are over the moon, but you can also see it with the parents. This is a nice break from the treatments, the stress and anxiety that comes along with their situation. Everyone wins. Like I said before, it’s magical. This is phase 1 of the visit. The mixer, if you will. All your favourite news organizations are there doing what they do. Then the cameras get shut off and go away. Stories get filed. The players on the other hand head to phase 2 of the Sick Kids visit.

With bags full of Carleton The Bear toys and other hockey related Leafs merch, the players break into smaller groups and visit the rooms of kids who were not able to come to the mixer. This means kids who are not mobile or kids who are in situations that cannot allow them to be in larger groups. It also meant kids who don’t have long to live. This is something that you cannot prepare for. There was only one rule and the nurses and staff stressed it: outside of the family games room, NO PHOTOS are to be taken. Part of why I was there was to take photos but I totally understood the no photos rule and followed it – no problem.

So Luke Schenn and I got paired together for the phase 2 part of the Sick Kids visit. At this point I believe Luke was 21 or so and just got named or was about to be named an assistant captain of the Leafs under Ron Wilson. He was really showing growth on the ice, and from what I was witness to, really showing growth off the ice too. So here we were, at the hospital, going room to room talking to families and visiting kids in really challenging situations. Luke was great. Not much of a talker but finding common ground with a gift, or some hockey talk with the kids or parents, and of course signing autographs when asked. We visited four or five rooms and then we walked in to our final room of the day and we were not prepared.

There was a small child, a boy, about 7 or 8 years old… It was hard to make out what he looked like as he had so many tubes and wires covering most of his face and a pretty large apparatus surrounding him. Many noises and beeping sounds filled the room. It felt like the mechanical parts were trying to drown out everything else. My heart sank. I thought what a cruel world we live in that this child has to go through this. I looked at Luke and he seemed calm and right when I was about to ask him if he was ok, the father of the child popped out of a chair and introduced himself to Luke. He was wearing a Leafs jersey. And told us he and his boy were huge fans. I pictured the dad and his boy trying to watch Leafs games through the all the wires and machines. I pictured them not being able to high five each other after a goal, I pictured them not being able to hug after a win. My heart was aching for this dad. Luke and him were winding down their pleasantries, and the dad asked for a photo. Now remember, the staff hammered home NO PHOTOS. They – Luke and the dad – looked at me. I couldn’t get a word out. The dad handed me his phone and they both went on either side of the son’s bed. They posed, and just as I was about to take a pic, my head was overwhelmed with thoughts… ‘What if the flash sets off a reaction of some sort?’ ‘What if the operation of This phone hurts this child in some way?’ ‘What if I break the rules and the entire Leafs organization gets blamed?’ I pictured my face on the front page of every news site and the years of hate getting sent my way. I was getting dizzy and about to fall over. Then the Dad walked over thinking I was having an issue with his phone, and in a soothing voice said ‘I am giving you permission to take this photo, this may be the last photo we have of our son.’

I lost it (on the inside) and was barely holding in the emotions, the sobbing that I wanted to so badly to release. Then Luke gave me a head nod and mouthed ‘it’s okay’. We were doing this. This photo was getting snapped. And like that, it was taken. The dad stood up and took his phone back, then asked me if I had children. I said I did. A girl who was 4. He then asked Luke if he had children, to which Luke replied “I’m only 21, so no.” We all shared a brief laugh. That nervous laugh of realizing our hockey heroes are… still sometimes just kids themselves. So when I saw Luke Schenn, now 30 years old, lift the Stanley Cup the other night I thought of that boy, that family, that moment, and sometimes it’s ok to break the rules.

When Someone You Know Is Let Go

I originally wrote this in 2014, but it feels appropriate for today. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was just a matter of time before people across many sectors would be furloughed, let go, laid off – or whatever it’s being called today.

Friends, a few thoughts as we wind down the year: specifically to those who lost their job or knew someone who lost their job this year. If you were ‘let go’ … I have some good news for you… it will be okay. It may not feel like it right away, but things will get better and you’ll be better for it. Sometimes a dramatic, emotional event like being let go is the exact thing you need to grow. It happened to me.

Years ago, I was let go from my job in radio and I was crushed. I built something so special with some amazing people and in an instant, it was all gone. Reality hits you hard. You see, we had just welcomed a brand new baby in our home. Speaking of that home, the roof was leaking, as was the foundation. It really felt like nothing would ever fix all the leaks; both the actual and the metaphorical. Then, over time, with hard work and a whole lotta love and support, the water stopped (just keeping the metaphor going here). The big takeaway was that I used to live to work and slowly started to figure out that I had it all wrong. Time – and more specifically time spent with people I love – was the only thing that mattered. Losing my job was the trigger to figuring this out. In fact, when I was riding the subway home after getting ‘shown the door’ I was a wreck. It was like a scene from a movie: I had a small cardboard box that held a few items, my eyes were glassy and I was in and out of crying the whole way home. I kept thinking, “What am I going to say?” “How do I explain this?” “What are we going to do?” I even thought about not telling anyone. Like, maybe, I can fake it for a few weeks while I find something else. Then I walked through the door of my house and it all became clear. I scooped my baby into my arms and a calmness came over me. I said to my partner “I was fired”. She said something like ‘those idiots don’t know what they just did” and then we laughed a bit – maybe a bit nervously. And that was pretty much the only conversation we had about it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was nothing. If you just lost your job, I know how it looks and feels; like the world is closing in. The anxiety. The unknown. The fear of not knowing what is next. I PROMISE YOU the world is not closing in on you. That’s just a temporary sensation. It will go away. The unknown is to be embraced. It is not scary. It is full of possibility. In my career trajectory, I thought it was an unsurpassable brick wall, but it was just a small speed bump – and not even a real speed bump. More like the kind of speed bump that has been scraped over by snowplows for years. Like a teeny tiny blip. That blip was an amazing life lesson. What I learned about myself was extraordinary. Almost to the point where I considered thanking the guy who ultimately had to terminate me. (Update: I never thanked that fucker. I just moved on)

When I hear about people losing their job, I feel a deep emotional connection to them. I feel there are things I should say, or things I should do. When I was let go I received two phone calls right away. One from my friend Zeke and one from my friend Martin. I will always remember that they took the time to call me and not just to say ‘sorry to hear’, but more about future plans. If you are working with someone and one day they get let go, I promise you that picking up a device and communicating with them in some way will mean the world to them. Maybe not right away, but they will always remember. A year after I was let go, my buddy Martin (Yes, the same Martin as above) was also let go. I called him right away and he answered his phone with ‘You beat me by one!’. We laughed. He meant he was the second person to call me and I was the first to call him. We remembered. We then talked about the future, just like when I was let go.

As this tumultuous year winds down, take a moment and think about the people you know who’s life has changed. Check in on them. Send a message. Say hello. Talk about the future.

Either way, thanks for reading. I really do appreciate it. Here’s to the future and cheers to spending more time with the people you love.

Join Me And Go Plaid For Dad

I’ve recently joined the Plaid For Dad Executive Council supporting Prostate Cancer Canada. The Council is made up of super smart and talented people (I know what you’re thinking… why am I there? but please keep reading…) who all believe that mPFD_PCC_2017_LOGO-ENore awareness and support will lead to inspiring a nation of Canadian men to, um, do what needs to be done. If detected, 90% of prostate cancers are treatable. 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in their lifetime.

#PlaidForDad is a national campaign that involves people and workplaces across Canada fundraising in support of Prostate Cancer Canada. It all revolves around the Friday before Father’s Day – and the weeks leading up to that Friday. Yes, we wear plaid – but there’s so much more. That’s where you come in…

I NEED YOUR HELP!

I’m looking for leaders like you to bring #PlaidForDad to your place of work. I’m looking for creators like you to inspire workplaces to take part. The size of the workplace (big or small) does not matter. We need more workplaces taking part. We need more workplaces challenging other workplaces.

Here’s one simple step to get your workplace involved:

1) Register Your Workplace

Then you’ll get a tool kit and some advice on how to inspire and lead. Ideas like bake sales, pizza days, BBQs, prizes, all ahead of the big Friday. Challenge other workplaces.

That’s it. Sign up your workplace and then you’re a part of something special. Any questions, get in touch with me on any platform:

on Twitter

on Facebook

on Linked In

Here are some stats to help motivate you to take part:

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.58.59 AM

You are in good company… celebs

Joining the Plaid For Dad Executive Committee is part of my commitment to help 40 charities (Read all about #IMPACT40)

The Tale of FLOW 93.5

TOStarphoto1Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end: The tale of FLOW 93.5.

This isn’t a diss blog. This isn’t a former employee dishing the goods on what was right and what went wrong. This is a story about a brief period of time at a radio station in Toronto, Canada. If you’ve come here for negativity, you came to the wrong place. Yep, that’s me in the photo above rocking the sweet flow and sideburns. Now on to the story…

T’was Winter in T.O.

It was winter in 2000. I met a lady named Michelle Price. She was the Program Director at Milestone Radio, which was recently awarded a radio license to broadcast in Toronto. Michelle was full of energy. She radiated a ‘boss lady’ presence but was soft and caring at the same time. She had a little twang in her voice, so I figured she was from someplace in the southern U.S., but couldn’t be sure. She said “y’all” a lot, which I loved because how can you not love that? There were some truly amazing people already on board. Aisha Wickham, Nicole Jolly, Keith Davis, Farley Flex. This group was part of the team that campaigned and fought for a radio license for OVER 10 years. They fought and clawed alongside members of the community to build a case for the Urban radio signal. It was a campaign that saw the Milestone group get shut out and passed over, then finally in 2000, get rewarded with the 93.5 signal. When I say it was much more than a radio signal, I hope that gives you some perspective. This wasn’t just a media company acquiring signals, this was the chance for a community to be represented in radio form. I did not understand the fight for this voice before I joined the team, but I quickly understood the scope of importance within the first few minutes of employment. I was very proud to be a part of this team. Some may remember me as ‘the white guy’. Did I even just write that? I did.

FLOW was almost called WHAT?????

How many times in one’s career can you say you launched something new? Especially in radio, where new stations mostly only happen when formats flip. Occasionally there is a new license awarded and I feel a kinship with those people because I know what they’re going through. Picking a logo, a look & feel, a first song, a PR stunt, business cards, letterhead, systems, processes – all new, all for the first time. So when a small group of us (Michelle, Nicole, and Farley) went to TAXI Advertising and Design for a look at some logo suggestions, it was very exciting. We were in a large room with a number of big boards stuck up on a wall. There were four boards and each was covered. One by one, the TAXI folk revealed each board, which were all ideas for a radio station name and logo. The options were: The Beat 93.5. FLOW 93.5. Dancin’ 93.5 and… wait for it… Yo Mamma 93.5. No, I’m not joking. That was an option. A real option. And the tag line that was written right underneath the logo, again wait for it… “You Better Listen To Yo Mamma!” So anyways… It was clear that FLOW was going to be our name. The work TAXI did was outstanding. I’m sure they won awards for it. In my experience that was the measure of success for Ad Agencies: winning awards. Like, why even do any work if some panel of your peers is not going to give you some type of trophy, right? I kid, I kid. Seriously, it was a great logo and a great campaign that accompanied the logo. The vinyl/afro image with Jill Scott’s Love Rain Down into Ludacris’s Southern Hospitality. The middle finger equalizer. Amazing design. Truly amazing.

flow_ad_chords flow_ad radio-station-afro-small-39332

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio People Alongside Non Radio People.

This was a theme I noticed right away. There were some people who worked in radio previously, but not many. Some of the talent were radio people and some weren’t. On the talent side, I feel this worked. Michelle (the PD) put teams together. There was a mix of raw talent hosting shows with people who had been hosting radio programs for years. As a guy in the Promotions and Marketing department, I saw this as a huge opportunity. I felt the on air hosts were hungry and just wanted to do cool stuff. There were no rules, no bad habits. Just a desire to be a part of this thing we were building. They were not robots just giving the time and temperature and backselling music. They were part of the DNA of the community that helped get this radio station on the air. Now for a walk down memory lane…

The Morning Rush
Mark and Jem in the morning were incredible. He was always willing to go above and beyond to make things work and she was so graceful and offered an energy that really brought balance to a morning program. I felt that they acted like a married couple, but not just any married couple. The fun couple. The couple who were awesome parents yet still found time to be social with friends. A couple you wanted to know. I felt like I needed to add stuff to the show so people got to know them. I figured people would feel the way I felt about them. I wanted our audience to think of them as part of the family.

Urban Suite with Rich Fagan and Slim.
We were going for a ‘just a couple of friends hanging out’ vibe. It sort of worked. Rich was a good dude who was brand new to talking on the radio. Slim was a radio vet. I’m pretty sure Rich and Slim would agree that the dynamic was kind of hit and miss. Slim was actually my favourite DJ to work with. He was such a pro. Whenever we brainstormed things for his show, he just got it. I felt he could accurately transfer the things in my mind to the radio. Rich showed so much promise. I always pictured him in the movies. He worked really hard to learn a brand new craft in a short amount of time.

The Trauma Unit with DJX and J-Wyze
I grew up listening to the Power Movement on CKLN. I used to tape (on cassette) DJX’s mixes and then play them for friends. I discovered a world of hip hop because of that program. I was shocked when I met DJX for the first time. We were practically the same age. So basically, when I was stealing my mom’s cigarettes and skateboarding away from the cops, this kid my age was mastering mixing and showcasing the soundtrack to a culture. I felt really small and like I probably should have paid attention more in school. I kid. J Wyze was pure energy. Like if fire could catch fire and then present a radio show, you’d have Jelani. I remember always thinking that I wish I could bottle his energy and share it with others. Like that scene in the movie Rudy when the coach is yelling at 1st team athletes wishing they had half the heart of Rudy.

Denham Jolly.
Denham had the biggest, strongest hands you ever shook. I mean, they were like rocks on top of boulders. He was pretty intimidating when you first met him, but over time there were cracks in the armor. At the time I was hired, there was another gent named Jason who was hired the same day as me. We were both in the Promo/Marketing depart. He was to focus on events and I was to focus on everything else. Jason did not come from radio and I was shitty at running events, so I thought it was a perfect match. I don’t quite remember how long Jason lasted and I’m sure he went on to bigger and better things, but his first name will always stay with me… because of Denham. You see, Denham did these ‘little’ things, which I think were a series of tests. Tiny, little tests. The very first meeting I had with Denham, um, sorry… Mr. Jolly… he called me Jason. ‘Nice to meet you, Jason’, he said. I corrected him right away. ‘Sir, my name is Jonathan, not Jason.’ We had a 20 minute discussion on the vision I had for the Marketing/Promo Department and at the end he said, “Well, nice chatting with you, Jason.” For the next year, he would call me Jason about one in every 5 interactions. I thought it may be something in his brain that actually thought my name was Jason, so I let it go for the most part. Then, after an entire year and after he calls me Jason for the umpteenth time, I correct him for (what I hope is) the final time. “Denham” I said. “What is it?” he answered. I took a deep breath and said, “You know my name is Jonathan, right?” He paused for what felt like 30 seconds then cracked a little smile, winked at me and said “Yep” then walked away. As he was walking away I said “Nice chatting with you Dylan”. He burst out laughing and then said, “I like you Jonathan. I really like you.”

Farley Flex.
One of a kind. So generous. Huge heart and the smile to match. I’m glad Farley was in my life and still is in my life. Everyone needs a Farley on their team.

There were so many amazing people when we launched FLOW 93.5 back in the day with the first song: Roots Rock Reggae by Bob Marley. The launch party with Jagged Edge and Farley’s coat – which I believe was chinchilla. I could go on and on with stories and maybe some day I will. I know I am leaving out some very important people and for that I apologize.  Now that FLOW 93.5 is no more, with the recent rebrand to 93.5 the MOVE, rest assured that it is in good hands. Newcap know what they are doing. 93.5 the MOVE will hopefully find a place in the hearts of so many, just as FLOW did before them.

There will be critics who will point the finger and call out the Milestone/FLOW team. There are many reasons to call them out, and you can totally do that. I may write some day about that very topic, but today I’m focused on the positive. Reflecting on someone like Aisha Wickham who is an absolute champion and role model to so many. People like Scott Palmateer who worked tirelessly and relentlessly behind the scenes. People like David Marsden, a radio legend who made a cameo. People like Jonathan Shaw (the juiceman to my milkman) who just gave and gave and gave. When I think about the few years I spent with Milestone/FLOW before moving across the street to 102. The Edge, I cannot help but smile. We did some pretty cool things. It was like a baby taking their first steps. Their first words. Their first smile. Their first scraped knee. Their first FLOW BACARDI HALLOWEEN PARTY! LIVE TO AIR ON FLOW 93.5! LADIES FREE BEFORE 11PM! CALL AHEAD FOR BOTTLE SERVICE!

Thanks for reading.

@JonSinden

In My 40th Year, I Have Big Plans

Hands group

On December 2nd (my 40th Birthday)… I’d like to make a pledge. A vow to give back. A commitment to create high impact change 40 times over.  Introducing #Impact40

But first, a little background…

Years ago a smart man named Terry Williams introduced me to a charity called Youth Assisting Youth. Terry was on the board of YAY and brought it up one day when I mentioned I was interested in volunteering my time somewhere. For reference and for what they do… it’s like the Big Brothers that no one has heard of. (They have since changed their name to The Peer Project). After Terry told me all about them, I was super interested in volunteering my time, so I showed up to an informational meeting. I enjoyed the idea of mentoring a young boy who didn’t have a father figure in his life. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a father figure in my life and always felt if I had the opportunity to help fill the void for someone else, I would step up. After the meeting I spoke with Terry on the phone and although he applauded my initiative and welcomed the idea, he asked me to think about making an impact far greater. So for the next 6 years I worked for YAY, but not mentoring 1-on-1. Instead I helped conjure up marketing plans, event ideas, and media relationships. I could impact YAY much deeper if I focused on the two things most charities seem to want: awareness and money. We crushed it. I was really happy with the foundation I left behind when I eventually moved on to other charitable work. Work that included many years on the BoobyBall committee where we came up with some pretty memorable things, like the “I <3 Boobies” digital campaign.  So, Terry was right and I’m forever grateful. I feel I left things better than I found them and made a deep, meaningful and lasting impact.

So here we are. The urge to make a lasting impact is back, but I need your help, big time.

This is #Impact40

I’d like to offer my skills, donate myself 40 times. I want to create high impact long lasting legacy for 40 not-for-profits, charities, and/or start ups.  The timeframe is the calendar year of 2016, but it really begins right now.

Help Me, Help Them

I need you. I need your direction. I need your belief that I can help. (Was there ever any doubt? Come on!!) I’m looking for you to guide me to the ‘who’, so I can help the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. I do not want your money or your donations. I’m not asking you to sponsor me in any way. I am looking for your endorsement and your introductions. If you know me, know my work and know what I bring to the table, then connect me with the proper people.

If we don’t know each other and you don’t know my work, and at this moment, you’re thinking ‘‘Um, who does this guy think he is?”… let me start by saying: Hi, My name is Jon. I’ve done some pretty cool things in my career. I’ve been blessed to be able to dream, create and innovate over 20 years in the sports world, the radio industry and, currently, the beer business. You can see more here. The common thread in my 20 years as a marketer has been HIGH IMPACT. I wrote that in ALL CAPS to give it more effect.

Who Will Benefit The Most?

Charities with a small to medium size team that need an extra mind. Not-for-profits that could benefit from a seasoned marketer. Start ups that are still trying to craft the blueprint to help change the world.

I will update #Impact40 as often as I can in this blog. Also, I’m cool with any way you’d like to connect. This blog, Through this website. On Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In.

Let’s see how this goes. Taking your suggestions and personal intros now…

JS

5 Commandments of Sports & Social

Stadium_image

Thanks for dropping by. You must love Sports and Marketing, or Digital Content and Social Media.  Me too.  We`re practically twins. Since we are so similar, then I know you`re going to dig this post… I mean… Thou shalt not love this post!

Content Marketing is becoming a standard business term, and for good reason. The modern Marketing Executive will focus on creating the best possible content to tell the most relevant stories in order to reach key objectives: Awareness, Ticket Sales, Community Relations, and Corporate Partnerships. Sprinkle in some Digital Strategy and you are now talking about  the (potentially) most consumed content coming from your brand directly to fans. Whether it’s on your website, mobile, CRM or social, remember, it’s ALL DIGITAL and it’s where your fans are.  If you are in Sports or Marketing or Digital, my 5 Commandments are for you!

1) Be There

There are two types of moments: the ones that just happen (which you react to) and moments that you create. (I write a lot about moments) Being in these moments with your audience should be the number one priority on your list. Put yourself in their shoes. What are they talking about? How are they feeling? Does it make sense for your brand to be talking about and feeling the same things? I’ll answer for you… in general… yes, it does.  How are you creating and publishing real time shareable content that fans actually want to consume? It`s goals, touchdowns, home runs, big plays, final scores, broadcast info, pre/post game video… which are all opportunities for interaction. The story is being told with or without you. Why not contribute (in a big way) with the mountain of content that surrounds you and your marketing and digital team. If you feel an emotional connection to your brand, then others probably do as well. I do not need to cite a study that proves fans are emotionally invested in their teams. They live and breathe it. Living in the moment is paramount.

2) Be Prepared

  • Step One: Create a Digital Content Plan
  • Step Two: Tent Pole Moments and the P.D.P Rule
  • Step Three: Follow The Plan, and add to it anytime.

Your Digital Content Plan is the core of every piece of content you make. Wrap this around ‘Tent Pole Moments’ like Drafts, Free Agency, Live Games, Trades and you are well on your way. The beauty of a proper Digital Content Plan is that you can adjust on the fly. New technology will appear, new opportunities will develop. It’s all good. Keep innovating, adjusting and improving.

Consider a player on your team that is reaching a milestone soon. What is your plan leading up to the milestone, during the milestone and after the milestone? Video, articles, photos, photo galleries, interviews, infographics, images, live streams. Everything and anything your team creates should incorporate the 3 phases of the event; pre, during and post. I’ve often referred to this as the P.D.P rule. You down with PDP? Yeah, you know me.

When I was at the Toronto Maple Leafs , we noticed that fans asked the same few questions every game day. One of them being “Who is starting in net?” So we created two quick videos with our goalies staring right in to the camera and announcing they were the starting goalie. Depending on who was in net, we posted the proper video to our social channels and website. 6 seconds of shareable video answered thousands of fans at once. Small gestures sometimes can have the biggest impact. These quick videos became a series with no event being too big or too small to create a video around. We made Happy Birthday videos, Happy Valentines Day videos and more. It sounds small, but the impact was huge.

Also on the note of being prepared, here`s an example I love showing. Since I`m a bit of Star Wars nerd I felt compelled to own`May The 4th` with the teams I represented. So every year, the date rolled around and we posted some simple but effective stuff. Fans loved it, and got involved:

May4_Leafs May4_Raptors     May4_RapsFan

3) Be Ready

Anything can happen in your world: transactions, hirings/firings, Harlem Shakes, Ice Buckets, who knows what’s coming next. Your digital team needs to be able to react. A few years ago, when news broke of a monkey running free in an Ikea, my heart stopped. (I thought, too good to be true!). When an image surfaced of this monkey wearing a winter parka (like Bain from The Dark Knight Rises) we at the Toronto Maple Leafs reacted right away. No approvals, no discussion… we needed to be first. Our graphic designer mocked up the monkey in a 1963 Stanley Cup celebration photo. It was black and white, and perfect. Hundreds of thousands of impressions and tens of thousands shares across multiple platforms. We considered it a success. It took a few days for other brands and other teams to jump on, but we were first.

IkeaMonkey

 

4) Be Aware:  

You are a content factory. You are surrounded by things that you take for granted. The content that your fans are craving is all around you. Every nook of your building. Every employee. Your history. Your future. There are thousands of stories… How are you telling each one? There is also a long list of current corporate partners and potential partners that want to help you tell these stories. Partnerships formed around content that people actually want will beat out manufactured and processed every time. If you are aware of what your customer wants you will find a way to embed partners, and everyone wins. Sit down with your partners and listen to them. Listen to their needs. I guarantee that together, with partners you will be able to dream up (and fund) some really compelling stuff. Or you could always do a search for the Ultimate Fan to win the Ultimate Experience and sit in the Ultimate Seats! Not sure if sarcasm comes through in words, but if you could not tell, the whole `Ultimate`thing is sarcasm. Anything with the word Ultimate in it, usually sucks. I just had to say it.

5) Be Authentic.

You do not need to ‘jump in’ to every conversation. Some brands are really reaching and chiming in on things that our out of their scope. Pick your spots. Maybe celebrity deaths are not the ‘opportunity’ you think they are to sell tickets. Do the things that feel right in the moments that feel right. Always think like your fan. What would they say? Below is a tasteful nod to the passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors from when I was with the Leafs. No call to action, just a simple image to capture a moment. He passed during a Leafs game, and the franchise was historically known to play his music during games… so it made sense. This one image reached a Facebook audience of 1.38 million users via 17,000 shares and 18,000 likes. But really, the numbers are irrelevant. This was all about the right thing to do.

RIPStompinTom

There you have it. The 5 Commandments of Sports Digital Marketing. Hope you enjoyed this piece. I’m always open to evolving the list, so feel free to reach out: @JonSinden on Twitter. Or find me on Linked In.

JS

A brand, a moment, and some really great human beings.

I talk about moments all the time. How does your brand capture and capitalize on a moment? The moments surround you right now. How are you going to take part in a meaningful way? Many brands try and jump on moments and fail. You probably see it every single day. This is not one of those moments. This has a happy ending. It’s the story of some friends who gave a brand (in this case a sports team) the opportunity to do some good. I cannot do the moment justice, so here are some words from the man at the centre of this moment. His name is Sean Boulton and here is an excerpt from his personal blog…

A note from an overflowing heart

From time to time, you come across a story about a company that does something above and beyond, and creates a loyal, lifetime customer as a result (in fact, if you want to read stories like that, Scott Stratten’s fantastic book “UnMarketing” is a great place to start). But what do you do when you’re a brand that already has a massive, loyal following? How do you take a fan and turn them into a fanatic — an evangelist? This is that story. Well, actually, this is a story about friendship and community. It’s a story about how technology can bring people together and create bonds that can affect your life in ways you wouldn’t have ever imagined. It’s about putting the “social” in social media. This is that story. Okay, it’s both those stories. And buckle up, because this will be a bit of a read. But I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything more important. Please click here to open up Sean’s blog. It’s a great story, I promise.  SeanBoulton

5 Content Marketing Tips

Content_Marketing_Statistics

1) Everything is content.

Let’s face it, you’re so close to your brand that you may miss some amazing content opportunities… but relax… here’s how you will never miss anything ever again. Just remember ‘everything is content’. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, the stuff you do, the hallways you walk, the people you work with, the emotions you feel, the challenges you face are ALL RELATE-ABLE BY SOMEONE. Sorry for yelling. Tell those stories. Snap a photo, write a blog entry, take a video. I promise you, great content opportunities completely surround you at this very moment. The skill – which can be taught – is to recognize that everything is content and content is all around you.

As a life long Marketer I was always searching for that unique thing that would put my brand over the top. It hit me one day that I was surrounded by these things. In fact, the ‘things’ were endless and limitless, and through technology we can tell every single story we have. We just have to start.

2) Tools In Your Tool Belt

Are you part of a staff of hundreds whose sole purpose is to build content? Didn’t think so! It’s probably just you, am I right? Okay, maybe you and some others all chipping in to build up your social channels with relevant material. Marketing Mangers and Digital Marketers (like that’s two different things now-a-days, right?) joining forces with Social Media Managers and Community Managers all for the greater good. Now, who does what? Core strengths I look for – beyond a person being awesome – are:

  • Social Channel Know How: I know that could mean many different things, but some brand experience is always best for me. Just because you have have a personal FB account does not qualify for anything. Well you may be qualified to be someones’ friend, but that’s about it. Add Me. lol.).
  • Skill in video creation, editing video, and Photoshop.
  • The actual equipment to do each of the points in (b)
  • Ability to hold a conversation. I’m not joking.
  • Live the mantra that ‘Everything Is Content’ and have no fear to capture that content.



3) Document What Your Competition Doesn’t (Or just do it better)

Here’s an experiment  Go to your competition’s YouTube channel. Probably some cool stuff there. Most companies (if they even have a YouTube channel) put what they would consider the ‘gold’ up. Most stuff is highly produced, maybe even ‘production house’ produced. Don’t be afraid of stripping it down. (Note: I am not saying you should strip) Customers, fans, clients, employees can live with a shaky video if the content is great. Show your stuff. Show what goes on in your world.  I always like to think of video as a show. Like TV shows, even if it’s 30 seconds long. YouTube is just one place. There are many places where you content can live. Is your business in these places? What type of content are you putting there? What type of content is your competition putting there? Something you see everywhere now is “Behind The Scenes” content. Is yours better than theirs?

4) Swing Away!

Hit Homeruns! and Triples, and Doubles, and Singles, and Bunts, and Fouls, and just about everything else. Let’s be real… If you try and hit a homerun every single time, you may strike out more than often. But that is totally okay. Not every piece of content is going to get those shares or likes or comments that you’re hoping for.  Just be consistent and pay attention to what is getting traction, where it’s getting traction, and when it’s getting traction. Your content plan should be super easy to build next year. if you pay attention this year. 

5) What’s Your Plan?

I’ve always thought that “Awesome Stuff Gets Shared”, but that just doesn’t cut it in a boardroom. A plan is needed. A long term strategic plan with a tactical and itemized slant is my choice. Did that sound too corporate? Whatevs. But here’s the good news: Building a plan should be super simple. Ideas are the easy part; proper execution of ideas is the hard part. Also the beauty of a Content Plan in this day and age is that it can change tomorrow. Technology changes and evolves everyday, so should you and your plan.

Hope that makes sense. As always, any thoughts or opinions on the post are greatly appreciated. I’m JonSinden on Twitter and I always enjoy feedback.

::js 

4 Steps To Your Dream Job

dream-job-nowHave you ever heard; “You have the coolest job!”. I have too. Back when I was Marketing and Promotions Director of 102.1 the Edge, people used to always say “You have the coolest job!” Before that when I was part of the original team that launch FLOW 93.5, Canada’s 1st Urban radio station, people used to say “You have the coolest job!” Well, I’m here to crush all that. The coolest job in the world may be what you are doing right now. If not, then what are you waiting for? It’s out there, go get it. Here’s some tips to point you in the right direction…
Step 1: What excites you? What are you in to? Do you love cars? Is it baked goods or toothpaste or clothing or technology? Think of some brands you are in to. Write them down somewhere… we’ll get back to that later.  Think of some activities you love to do: is it shopping or eating or creating or planning or organizing? Write down some of the activities you like doing… we’ll get back to that later. Consider an exercise that your high school guidance counselors may or may not have shared with you. If you could spend the rest of your life getting paid to do something, what would be? Maybe you have an answer right now or maybe your don’t. Either way, it’s cool.Step 2: Who Do You Know?Remember that list of places you think you may want to work? Brands that you’re in to? So you have this list, now what? Very recently a friend told me his dream places to work. It was all related to the aerospace industry. He listed about 5 companies by name and said “It would be a dream come true to work for one them”. I asked him if he had any friends or acquaintances that currently work there or have some connection to these companies. He did not have any.

You need to build your network as wide as you can, or as focused as you can. If there are places you want to work and you don’t know a single person there, then you’re doing it wrong. Your network can help you. That’s actually why you have said network. Use it. Do whatever you can to get a foot in the door at one of your target places. Cold call, email, try and connect, buy coffees, get meetings… rinse and repeat.

Step 3: Listen.

What are you good at? Be honest. Remember that list of ‘things you like doing’? Take it out and try to assess if you are actually good at these things. You do not do this alone. You need input. Talk to the people closest to you. Friends, family, current managers & associates, along with past managers and colleagues. Sometimes the things you think you are great at may not be the things you are actually great at. Put on your big boy or girl pants and listen to what others have to say. Really listen.

Step 4: Get Ready. 

Hate to be the one who has to break this to you, but sometimes not everything is at is seems. A lot goes in to a workplace. Some of which you may not like. What you may think is your dream job, may be more like a nightmare. A work environment is a complicated ecosystem. The people, the space, the culture, the work, the politics, the hierarchy, the hours, the left-over cake in the kitchen. There are many things that may turn you off of your dream job. Just prepare yourself that anything can happen. Just because you thought this was the job for you, doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. You can change your mind. It’s ok. On the flip side, sometimes it does work out just fine. If so, congrats.

4 simple steps. Many of which you are probably doing already. For the record, I have not found my dream job yet. I love what I do and the people I do it with, but I’m convinced that my dream job has not been invented yet. Maybe one day I’ll get around to inventing it. As always I’m Jon Sinden on Twitter if you’ like to connect about this blog.
cheers,
::js