The Winnipeg Renaissance: How effective social media is driving culture & business

The Winnipeg Renaissance: How effective social media is driving culture & business

If 'man is the measure of all things', then 'the people are the measure of all things in Winnipeg', and the Peg is beaming with great people doing incredible things.

It's no secret that Winnipeg has turned a corner from down-and-out fly-over city to must-experience, culture-hub on many travelers' wish lists. Part reinvention and part rebirth, the Keystone province's capital city has most certainly renewed the creative spirits of Peggers, old and new. With boutiques, coffee shops, cocktail bars, arts, music, festivals and much more, the Peg has been stepping up its game in a big way.

However, this post isn't a love-in for all the hipsters to tweet about, haters to hate about, or scenesters to... scene about. Instead, it's an observation on the tools, technologies, and methodologies which have helped spark this Renaissance. Just as the invention of movable type began spreading ideas during the second half of the 15th century (and well beyond), a new form of communication has helped spread the word of local arts, music, cuisine, entertainment, fashion and more in today's day and age. And just as Gutenberg's printing press brought technology which had a profound impact on all areas of life for centuries to follow, so to have new technologies had a major impact on modern life. Digital marketing, specifically social media, has democratized the ability for Winnipeg's independent business community to reach large groups of people with more connectedness than ever before.

But having a soap-box isn't enough. Just because you have a megaphone doesn't necessarily mean people will listen to what you have to say. The smart local entrepreneurs, the ones who are doing social right (see Albert St. Cocktail, King+Bannatyne, Bronuts, to name a few) are following best practices; consistent tone-of-voice and visual-style, mixed with user-generated content, customer-engagement, and tasteful promotion. While start-ups may yet to have budgets that support mixing traditional media with their digital efforts, they can look to other local brands such as St. Vital Centre for inspiration through their effective use of outdoor, radio, and print advertising in cross-promoting their marketing strategy.

When integrated correctly, digital and traditional marketing can be cost-effective, interactive, and memorable in a way that doesn't focus on interrupting people, but rather on engaging with them. As a full-service ad agency with nearly three decades of experience, Fusion has seen the arrival and passing of many trends (can you Xerox that for me?), technologies (remember pagers?), and fads (QR codes, just don't.) - and through it all we have helped our clients be successful by approaching each business challenge with sound strategy, smart tactics, and compelling creative.

Fusion Hip Hop Playlist on Apple Music March '16

Fusion Hip Hop Playlist

Fusion Playlist - Apple Music 2016

Hey, so here's a playlist I've been working on this past week. It includes some of my favorite trap, NYC stuff, bangers by electronic producers with hot features and a few things in-between. Some old, some new. All Apple Music users need to apply!

It will bump in the whip or elevate your *cubicle; your choice!

Fire emoji.

- R


*Playlist may contain some NSFW lyrical content, depending on how relaxed your cubicle is :)

3 Tips for Communicating with Clients

I don’t profess to be an expert when it comes to communicating with clients. However, in the six years that I’ve been in this industry, I’ve certainly learned a lot about communicating with clients, managing expectations, and building relationships. So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that have really helped me:

1. Recap the discussion
As an Account Manager, I have a lot of face-to-face meetings or phone calls with clients. It’s often faster to get answers or work through things with clients this way. However, sometimes these calls or meetings last an hour or more and decisions can be made and then remade, and it’s hard to keep track at the end of what’s been decided upon and who’s doing what. Which isn’t helpful if it’s your job to act on those decisions afterwards!

A fellow Account Manager used to always close a meeting by summarizing the following: 1) what decisions were made, 2) what she was expecting the client to do, and 3) what the client can expect her to do.

Ever since then, I started doing the same. I think of it as CYA and a good way to ensure you’re all on the same page. And it lets the client know that you were listening and informs them of what they can expect from you afterwards so there’s no confusion.

2. Send one email – not five!
Clients are busy. That’s probably one of the main reasons they’ve chosen to hire you! So don’t waste their time and send them five emails a day, when you could be sending one. Your client is more likely to respond to one email anyway, so summarize all your thoughts/questions into one succinct email. (Hint: it also makes it easier to find answers later, if you’re not having to wade through numerous emails!).

3. Be upfront about changes/problems/delays
They say it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Well, I don’t think that rule applies to clients. I would much rather tell my client if their poster will be delayed because of printer issues, than have them email me that they never got it the day it was due. No one wants those kinds of emails. It may be a small thing, but it chips away at the foundation of trust you’ve built up with your client. So be upfront – even if it’s hard. Your client will understand (they’re human, too!) and appreciate the proactive communication.

What are your tried-and-tested tips for communicating with clients?

OS X: The Chief Update.

OS X: The Chief Update.

To my delight, Apple just released its next iteration of the ever-evolving OS X. I generally get very excited about the minuscule updates and improvements in software and UI, so today’s release of ‘El Capitan’ was no exception.

So what’s different with El Capitan? The new ‘custom font’ still makes me feel uncomfortable… Apple. But, I understand it’s been hitting the accessibility gym hard. A hiding menu bar, split view, a flat ‘spinning wheel of death’, new Notes app, improved Spotlight, pinning Safari tabs, and maps including transit routes are a few noteworthy changes.

However, my favorite feature has to be Safari’s new ‘Develop’ tools. It has a responsive design mode within Safari that lets you quickly, and easily, test out a page design using different user agent strings, screen sizes, and device types. So neat, I'll be putting this functionality to the test asap.


Anyone loving or loathing the new San Francisco system font?

Sidebar: El Capitan (Spanish for The Captain, The Chief) is a peak in the Yosemite Valley, California; 7,564 feet.


How a Commercial Brought Us Max - National Dog Day

In honor of National Dog Day, here’s the story of how Max came to be part of my family:

6 months after I started working at Fusion, converted by the cuteness of a long-haired chihuahua named Coco, I knew I wanted a dog. I just had to convince Kent. Once he was on board (it didn’t take much), talk quickly shifted to what breed we wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember all of our criteria, but I distinctly recall both of us at some point mentioning the “cute dog in the toothpaste commercial.” I’ve tried to find this commercial several times over the years, with no luck. The whole commercial was red and white and filmed like a musical, with the running theme of choosing the whitest item in the bunch. (It must have been for some new whitening toothpaste). At one point, a group of dogs is shown, and when one is plucked from the group, it’s the fuzziest super white dog. We both thought it was the cutest dog we’d ever seen, and liked the fact that it wasn’t a common breed. We literally googled “white dog from toothpaste commercial” and eventually figured out it was an American Eskimo. More googling revealed that there was an American Eskimo breeder in Manitoba, and within 2 months, we brought Max home.

Max, the day we brought him home from the breeder


To this day, we can never remember what toothpaste brand it was (Colgate? Crest?), but we will always remember the face of those smiling dogs. So, lesson learned marketing peeps, if it’s a brand recall you’re going after, don’t feature cute dogs your ad!

Fusion Summer Mixtape '15

Fusion Summer Playlist '15

Hot Summer Playlist

For my next playlist installment, I’ve put together some tracks from my favorite albums of the past month.

Find the playlist, on Spotify, here!

Jamie XX’s ‘In Color’ and Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ definitely topped my list and are still in heavy rotation – aiding in the ebb and flow of creative juices at work, and providing warm vibes at home on the balcony. Vinyl copies of both were promptly scooped up...

On another note, in addition to being one of the most fun listens of the summer – Everything Everything’s ‘Get to Heaven’ has by far the best album art I’ve seen all year. Hilariously intense and vibrant; this illustration is a little whacked. Much like their take on progressive indie pop. Check it out!

- Rob



Everything Everything

To the Blade
Get to Heaven
Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Ur Life One Night
Can't Keep Checking my Phone
Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty
Stage or Screen
Tame Impala

Let It Happen
The Less I Know the Better
Reality In Motion
Clarence Clarity

Alive in the Septic Tank
Hudson Mohawke

Very First Breath
Scud Books
Jamie XX

I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)
Loud Places
The Rest is Noise

What's Your Type?

What's Your Personality Type?

Working effectively as a team is important for any workplace, but especially for an ad agency. We rely on each other for guidance, morale, collaboration and even friendship. Teamwork creates a positive environment for everyone and plays an important role in the success of a project.

To improve communication, you have to take the time to get to know your team. By taking a personality test and sharing the results with your coworkers, you can find out how you best interact with different personality types. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is the most widely used tool for determining personality types in the world, and the results are surprisingly accurate.

Ask everyone in your office to quickly take this survey and share the results with each other. Are the majority of you introverts, or extroverts? Who are focused on the big picture, and who's more concerned with minute details? Knowing how to handle different temperaments can save a lot of time, create understanding, and avoid potential stress. Plus, the test is kind of fun to take. ;)

You have to answer 70 questions, and it takes roughly ten minutes to complete. Your answers will place you in one of four temperaments: artisan, guardian, idealist or rational. These have four subcategories, which will determine your personality type.

I was a healer (INFP), in the Idealist temperament.

Here’s what I learned:

"INFPs are sensitive, caring, and compassionate, and are deeply concerned with the personal growth of themselves and others. Individualistic and nonjudgmental, INFPs believe that each person must find their own path. They enjoy spending time exploring their own ideas and values and are gently encouraging to others to do the same. INFPs are creative and often artistic; they enjoy finding new outlets for self-expression."

- adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information
- patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details
- keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well to most others
- because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone
- follow their heart, not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling
- they have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion
- [The healer] might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project booklet. (YES.)
- Their aptitude for foreign languages is unmatched. (I love learning languages. Weird.)

Famous INFPs: Kurt Cobain, Princess Diana, and Audrey Hepburn.

After you find out your personality type, I recommend reading more about your profile online. There's a lot of websites out there that provide even more interesting information.
So what personality type are you? Let me know if it was accurate, or not! Check your personality, here!

Photo via:

Fusion Spring Mixtape '15

Fusion Spring Mixtape '15

Everyone needs a solid seasonal soundtrack. I've put together a playlist of some favorite songs to go along with the spring vibes in the air! Check it out on Spotify:



Bodyache  -  Purity Ring
Fineshrine  -  Purity Ring
Black Out Days  -  Phantogram
Fall in Love  -  Phantogram
By Your Side  -  Daniel Johns
Dissolve  -  Daniel Johns
Chained  -  Daniel Johns
Coffee  -  Miguel
Do You  -  Miguel
Hurting  -  Friendly Fires
Live Those Days Tonight  -  Friendly Fires
Blue Cassette  -  Friendly Fires
27  -  Young Fathers
Rain or Shine  -  Young Fathers
Nest  -  Young Fathers
Alright  -  Kendrick Lamar
Brand New Car  -  Action Bronson
Baby Blue  -  Action Bronson
Easy Rider  -  Action Bronson

P.S. Who's pumped to see Purity Ring next week?!


Soul Design

This post may be somewhat biased. I say that because my life revolves around any opportunity I can find that allows me to drive. Whether it's at the track in my s2000, in my living room on my PlayStation, or with my Hot Wheels in front of my iMac - I’ll find a way.

Automobiles are often times viewed as a tool for transportation, and not much more. Indulge me while I take this opportunity to remind everyone who doesn't have 5w30 running through their blood; there is beauty and soulful expression in this form of design. Heart and soul goes into their creation, which translates to a heart and soul of their own. You can sense it through a glance, and be consumed by it through your hands and body.

When their potential is tapped into, these intricate man made machines harmoniously carry out their purpose and transform into something that is more than the sum of their parts, (much like a the human body?!). They can’t feel, but the best ones do come ‘alive’. With all that said, lets look at some car-porn. Does that flag any not safe for work filters, Peter? Oh well...

RIP Top Gear <3

So you want more Instagram followers?

In our current social media-filled world where everyone is vying for attention and trying to increase their following, it’s important to have a strategy. I’ve put together a few tips that can help improve your Instagram presence if your business hasn’t been getting the results you want.

First, let’s talk about followers.

When someone is deciding to follow you, it’s very much like a first impression. People know what they like, and really know what they don’t like. Someone will give your page a quick once over and decide if they like what they see in seconds. Of course I’m generalizing, but it helps to think of social media this way. As a whole, how are you portrayed at a glance?

Here are a few different types of followers. Try to decide who you have the best chance of appealing to, and figure out how you can cater your content for them.

1) The Beautiful Photo Lovers

Beautiful is the operative word here. Everyone has different taste in photography. Some people are minimalists, some people like cheesy clip-art. (Okay, we all know what camp I’m in.) But, quality tends to prevail and result in the largest following. People who follow accounts with gorgeous photography either do it for their own inspiration, to add a little beauty to their day, or to wish they took the picture first.

Even if your company isn’t H&M, photo quality matters. Uploading photos that are pixelated or over-edited will rule out these potential follows, and even worse, you may appear unprofessional. Invest in a good camera or quality photo-editing app if you want to go the extra mile. I recommend VSCO Cam or Afterlight. Please avoid over the top editing – I'm talking to you bokeh lovers!

2) The Avid Learners

Ah learning, the greatest joy in life. Before Instagram, I didn’t even know what “detox water” was – apparently adding fruit to your water helps rid your body of toxins. Who knew! There are multiple, wait thousands (millions even?), of fitness-themed accounts that are chock full of inspirational quotes, meal tips, training videos, etc. Users who follow accounts like this are interested in the subject matter, and want to learn more on a daily basis.

When you serve up insightful content it makes people feel like they’re making progress just by looking at photos. Other account themes include: foodie/recipe ideas, fashion/styling tips, DIY, bodybuilding, makeup how-to’s – you name it. If you can teach, then teach! With an account like this make sure you deliver, and offer up lots of fresh, useful content. Videos, quotes, infographics – that’s all great. Just stay on topic, please.

3) The Half Cousins Twice Removed

Take advantage of your employees connections, and invite friends from Facebook and your contact books! Invite them all - why not? People whom you have a distant connection with, locals/businesses who are close to you geographically; chances are they’ll know you too and might even follow back. Think of all the people you follow just because you know them. They may not have the greatest photos, but you support them to keep that connection.

4) The Adoring Fans

Whether it’s someone you idolize, a brand/store you love, or a growing movement you’re curious about; people like to be in the loop. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people, sell it. Please your fans with insider access, a variety of content, and posts that showcase your personality. This goes for celebs, stores, news outlets, events, and new businesses.

5) The Jokesters

I can’t disregard all the joke accounts out there. I love @Seinfeldcaps and @menshumor pictures. I think the motive goes without saying.

(Combining elements from all of the above would result in a killer account, in my opinion.)

Here are some more tips:

Be consistent. Choose a clear focus for your account and stick to it. If I’m following you strictly for pictures of nature, I don’t want a #selfie or breakfast photo thrown in there. Know your audience, and try to anticipate what they will like. Isn’t that all Instagram is, in a nutshell?

Find followers from like-minded accounts. For example, if you’re a yoga company, try following Lululemon followers. Chances are they’ll like you too. Also, who else might your target market be following? Hmm..

Use hashtags right, and sparingly. Using appropriate hashtags can bring in interested followers who have specifically searched that hashtag for content. At the same time, hashtags can look spammy. And no one likes spam. If you can come up with your own hashtag, that’s even better. But please, only use it if it makes sense. The growing trend of every new campaign just throwing together a hashtag is annoying. Who will ever use those!? Realistic usability is key.

Don’t annoy people. Two posts a day, maximum. And that’s pushing it.

Connect, connect, connect! Share your Instagram posts on Facebook and Twitter to show your existing followers you have another social media presence. Why not? Give your content another place to live. You never know who might be scrolling through your feed in the future.

Timing matters. Are your fans on mostly in the morning, or at night? Think about it, when do you check your feed most often?

Find your followers. Don’t just sit there and wait for people to flock to you. Search relevant hashtags, or look at specific geo-tagged locations where your target market might be and follow those people.

Use Iconosquare. is a great tool for gaining insight about your account. It provides key metrics to help you find out who your most engaged followers are, what time of day brings the most engagement, and what your daily follower gain and loss looks like. Just be careful, this website is addicting..

And remember, when someone follows you, they have essentially agreed to let you into their life. All your photos and messages have been allowed in their feed, and you should appreciate that. Make sure to engage with your followers and give comments and likes. Because, well, that’s just a nice thing to do.

We currently run the Instagram account for @stvitalcentre if you want to see how we do social media around here.

Audrey also runs the Instagram account @gowpg, and ours, @fusionadgroup. Follow for a follow? ☺