Taking Better Photos for Social Media

Long gone are the days of posting any photos you like on your Instagram account – sorry to be the bearer of bad news. To stand out among the other 800 million active users, you need to try a little harder. Photos need to be crisper and more professional looking, your feed needs to be cohesive, and to top it off, you need consistent engagement to make sure your posts are seen by your followers.

Keep reading for a crash course in photography from someone who spends way too much time taking and editing photos for social media.

 

Lighting

The difference lighting makes in a photo is huge.  A photo taken in a dimly lit restaurant where you can barely see the food doesn’t have the same effect as a vibrant, bright photo showing how fresh the produce is. Some lighting issues can be fixed with editing, but it’s much easier to get it right the first time. The best lighting for photos is natural light, but not direct sunlight, which will overexpose your photo. Dimly lit photos will also lose some of their quality, especially if the photo was shot on a phone. Brightening a dark iPhone photo can result in grainy, low-quality shots that look (and probably are) over-edited. Haphazardly throwing Reyes on your photo right before posting won’t help your cause, either.

The lighting in your photo will also affect the colour and the mood. Photos with less light will feel moodier and be more monochromatic, while brighter photos will be more vibrant. Colour and lighting is super important, not only when it comes to the quality of your photography, but also when it comes to branding and consistency in your Instagram feed. Ideally, you want your feed to be uniform – think of it as one large picture rather than separate pieces. By keeping the lighting and colour similar or complementary in your photos, you can make sure your feed is consistent with your branding.

 

Balance

Creating a balanced photograph begins by arranging both positive and negative aspects within your frame, and by making sure one element doesn’t outpower the others. There are four main types of balance to consider when composing a photo: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and crystallographic. Symmetrical balance creates a sense of harmony and emphasizes sameness, though it can also feel boring and static. In a symmetrical photo, both sides are evenly weighted on an axis in the centre.

Asymmetrical balance is created by having unequal weight on each side of your composition. Typically, asymmetrical balance is more dynamic and interesting, but it can be more difficult to achieve because the visual elements are more complex. A good rule of thumb is to balance a dominant visual element on one side of your frame with a handful of lighter elements on the other side.

Radial balance occurs when all the elements of your photo radiate (get it?) from a common centre. The easiest way to think about radial balance is to picture looking down a spiral staircase. Maintaining a focal point is easy because the element you are trying to emphasize will be in the middle of your photo.

Crystallographic balance is balanced chaos. Think about the perfect Instagram flatlay: everything in the photo is in the exact right spot, but it is not super clean. There is no clear element being emphasized – each element shares a uniform emphasis.

Remember, balance doesn’t always have to be split down the middle. Vary the angles and composition of your photos to avoid a boring Instagram feed.

 

Contrast

Creating contrast within a photo makes sure that your elements aren’t blending together. You can create contrast with colour, with shapes, and with sizes. Contrasting colours is the easiest to imagine – put light colours beside dark colours to make both colours stand out, for example. Colour contrast becomes especially important when shooting on a set background because you don’t want to lose elements of your foreground to your background. Have you ever seen those hilariously tragic school photos where the subject is wearing the same colour shirt as the background so they look like a floating head? Yeah, contrast is important.

Contrasting shapes creates interest within a photo. Especially within a crystallographically balanced photo (this is a test to make sure you were paying attention – did you pass?), varying the shapes you use creates a more dynamic photo. A great example of this is taking a photo of a table with lots of food on it – using some circular plates with some rectangular platters gives the eye more to look at.

Contrasting sizes helps draw attention to your focal point – the bigger the element, the more important it seems within the frame. In general, contrast makes your photos more interesting and gives the viewer more to explore while helping get your message across more effectively.

 

Space and Framing

The way you frame your subject also says a lot – sometimes, the elements you leave out of a photo say just as much as the elements you leave in a photo. Negative space is a beautiful thing – the absence draws attention to the important elements of your photo and keeps your frame from becoming too busy.

This brings us nicely to framing. The framing of your photo can make your composition more dynamic or create a sense of unity and harmony. If you want your photo to look orderly, frame your subject so that the lines in the photo are parallel with the edge of the photo. If you want to add interest to your flatlay, create interesting angles between the edge of the photo and the subjects in your frame – seeing space is important. You can also create interest by framing your photo in an unusual way – like by having the background take up the bulk of the frame while keeping your subject small.

 

Lastly, one of the best photography tips is to take lots of photos. Don’t snap your shutter once and call it quits – play with your framing, your angles, the lighting, and the composition to make sure you capture something that works. How many selfies do you take before finally posting one? Probably a lot more than one (your camera roll doesn’t lie).


The Best Plants for Your Office

We’re no strangers to office plants. In fact, we’re unofficial experts at keeping our space full of happy and healthy greenery. If you find yourself killing more plants than you’re keeping, check out our list of low-maintenance options to bring a little green to your office.

 

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plants are almost impossible to kill and are known for their ability to survive in unsuitable growing conditions (hello, fluorescent lights). They can grow anywhere from 8 inches to 12 feet high, but they grow very slowly. Indirect sunlight is the best option for this hardy plant, but it’ll survive in full sunlight and low light as well. The biggest killer of snake plants is overwatering  – you want the soil to completely dry between waterings so that the roots don’t rot.

There are around 70 different species of snake plant, which all look slightly different. “Mother-in-law’s tongue” (aptly named because of its sharp, pointed leaves – genius) is most common for gardening, but we recommend the robusta species for offices. Its leaves are shorter and wider than other species of the snake plant, making it ideal for compact spaces. It is also lovingly dubbed the “bulletproof plant,” so that should be an indication of how impossible this plant is to kill.

 

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is a really hardy vine that quickly grows green, glossy leaves. It is one of the easiest houseplants to grow, as it doesn’t need much sunlight or water – making it perfect for the neglectful plant-lover. The biggest chore with Devil’s Ivy is that it just keeps growing and growing.

If you find the vines of your plant getting too long, trim them, place the trimmed vines in water for a couple weeks until they grow roots, and then repot them. Endless plants for you and all your friends (or for yourself, we don’t judge).

 

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are favourite house plants. They are ridiculously easy to care for and, get this, flower in the springtime. They thrive in the shade, though some varieties can stand more light than others. In the summer, make sure you water peace lilies frequently. If you want extra happy plant babies, mist the leaves too. Slow down on your watering in the winter, but don’t let the soil dry out. You probably won’t underwater a peace lily; they are more prone to dying from overwatering.

The flowers on this plant last for a long time, and you can actually force your plant to bloom twice a year. Keep your plant fertilized and in the shade, and you could have flowers on your desk for several months of the year, and the peace lily will never whine about you not texting them back.

 

Air Plants (tillandsias)

Air plants are the most low maintenance plant – they don’t even need soil. How, you ask? Magic. They do best in areas with indirect sunlight, but really can survive anywhere. While air plants don’t need soil, you still need to water them. Depending on the type of plant you have, the watering methods will vary. A safe bet is soaking the plant in a glass of water around once a week. This will let the plant absorb water, or relax after a long stressful week. After you’re done soaking the plant, gently shake off the extra water, dry it off, and you’re good to go.

 

Plastic Plants from IKEA (fejka)

Did you kill even the most hardy of plants on our list? You must have a talent. May we make a suggestion? Maybe plants aren’t for you. Keep your space green without the hassle of ever needing to water a plant, ever. Bonus: avoid the humiliation of sneaking another dead plant out of your cubicle.   

 


Social Media Apps to Watch

The world of social media is constantly changing and social media management is becoming an increasingly specialized field. Social media managers have to be effective at copywriting, photo and video editing, and graphic design. Luckily, more technology has come to the rescue – all on your smartphone. Now, you can retouch photos, plan content, edit videos, and analyze performance all in the palm of your hand.

 

ColorStory

ColorStory is great for editing photos on your phone. It’s perfect for intensifying or fixing colour on photos, adjusting lighting and exposure, and cropping and straightening – not to mention the filters available. What is really great about ColorStory is you can save your editing steps as a custom filter, which makes creating cohesion in your Instagram feed much easier. No more run-of-the-mill Clarendon, Gingham, or Sierra for you.

 

Price: Free with in-app purchases available.

 

Boomerang

Hopefully you’ve heard of this one. Boomerang is an offspring of Instagram allowing you to create mini looped videos by taking 10 quick photos and threading them together. Boomerang is also a feature in the Instagram app when you switch to camera. Warning: using Boomerang may lead to a sharp increase in the number of mimosas you drink with your friends due to the unstoppable urge to Boomerang your group cheers.

Price: Free.

 

Canva

Canva is created to be easy to use for both designers and non-designers, with customizable templates, fonts, filters, photos, and graphics – making it a great tool for quickly creating a graphic to post on social media. It is available as a website to use on your desktop computer, or as an app on your phone for when you wake up in the middle of the night panicking about the graphic you forgot to make.

Price: Free with in-app purchases available.

 

Adobe Spark Video

Spark Video helps you create videos quickly on your phone by giving you access to stock photos and graphics, and royalty-free music. You also have the option of applying a theme to your video, which will prompt Spark to add in camera movement and change the shot to add interest. Like Canva, Adobe Spark Video is also available on your desktop – look out, Spielberg.

Price: Free with in-app purchases available.

 

Lisa

By analyzing your Instagram feed, Lisa will help you answer that age-old question: which picture should I post? The algorithm will compare your photos to photos that typically do well on Instagram, helping to increase your engagement on posts – which in turn moves your post up in Instagram’s algorithm. And you’ll stop clogging up your group chats with 10 versions of the same photo taken at slightly different angles.

Price: Free.

 

Planoly

Planoly lets you schedule your Instagram posts and Instagram stories, like many other existing apps. What sets Planoly apart is its ability to let you visually plan your Instagram feed. You can upload up to nine photos at once to see how they will look as part of your grid, helping you maintain consistent branding (or helping you see that you may have posted too many pictures of your dog lately). The app also lets you view your engagement on each post and will auto-populate hashtags.

Price: Free with in-app upgrades available.


Winnipeg Coffee Shops

Staying Caffeinated in Downtown Winnipeg

A collection of Winnipeg Coffee Shops

Anyone who has ever got me a present has ever bought me a coffee mug or travel mug at some point; my Instagram feed is overwrought with pictures of lattes and coffee shops; my natural smell is coffee, and I think my blood is more coffee than actual blood.

What I’m trying to say is that I know coffee, and I know who makes the best coffee.

Please enjoy my list of Winnipeg coffee shops responsibly and know your caffeine limits; the coffee shakes aren’t good for anybody.

 

Thom Bargen - 250 Kennedy

The second incarnation of the Sherbrooke location has a more extensive kitchen, and they take advantage of it. They have lots of made-in-house pastries available, as well as delicious pieces of artisanal toast available. The coffee shop is also really big, with a mural painted by Gabrielle Funk, a plant wall created by Verde, and white marble tabletops – its practically begging to be in all of your Instagram pictures. And, most importantly, they make a mean latte.

 

Fools & Horses - 379 Broadway

The space of Fools & Horses is fantastic. The Broadway location has floor-to-ceiling windows facing Broadway, which provides beautiful natural light, and also ample opportunity for people watching. They also work hard to source as much of their food as possible locally to reduce their carbon footprint, often act as a venue for social and cultural events, and work to build a more prosperous community. Bonus: they also have beer and wine (!) on tap.

 

Parlour Coffee - 468 Main

Parlour Coffee arguably serve the best coffee in the city (unless you ask Dave) and are also about a five-minute walk from our office. They brew ethically sourced coffee from North America, including Dogwood Coffee, which is roasted just a block or so away, and serves baked goods made by Oh Doughnuts, Tall Grass Prairie Company, and Beet Happening.

 

Forth 171 McDermot

Probably one of the physically largest coffee shops in Winnipeg - if you can reduce it to just a coffee shop. While they make great coffee, they have a lot more to offer. They are outfitted with a café, an art gallery, a bar, and for the two months of bearable weather we get, in Winnipeg, a rooftop bar. To boot, they host about a billion events a month.

 

Clementine - 123 Princess

Although they are primarily known for their food (which is amazing, by the way), Clementine also serves up great coffee and espresso, which are available to go, but I recommend that you stay and eat their Brussels Style Waffle or Braised Bacon Benedict while you get your daily dose of caffeine.


Winnipeg in the Summer

Fusion Summer Lovin'

It’s officially summer in Winnipeg – the time of year when the city becomes festival central and we all remember why we brave those frigid Winnipeg winters for six months of the year. It’s seriously worth it to see how this city transforms into a hub of music, theatre, patios, and everything in-between during the summer months. All of us, at Fusion, are ready to take it all in and in case you’re wondering how to make the most of a glorious Manitoba summer, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of the top summer activities that we recommend you add to your warm-weather calendar this year:

Our Favorite Summer Activities

Haley

Favourite thing:
“Being on the lake (kayak, paddle board, windsurf, ski, etc.) at the cabin!”

Why it’s her favorite:
“I’m surrounded by nature AND when I get tired I can float and enjoy a beer… it's all about balance. :)”

 

Dolores

Favourite thing:
“I don't know if it's my favorite, but I cherish it. I get up and walk the dog at about 6:00 am almost every morning.”

Why it’s her favorite:
“I am usually the only person out and it's peaceful; the wind is calm and the smell is so amazingly fresh. Like I said, it may not be my favorite, but every morning I am so grateful to have nature all around me and total peace. And my dog of course.”

 

Morris

Favourite thing:
“Hit the links.”

Why it’s his favorite:
“I don’t look very good in yoga pants but I still seek out tranquil, healthy activities in the summer months. The many great golf courses scattered throughout the province gives me that.”

 

Hannah

Favourite thing:
“I love packing a picnic lunch with gourmet cheeses, baguette and fruit, then loading the dog into the car and finding a nice spot in the sun at the dog park.”

Why it’s her favorite:
"It’s an easy, inexpensive and delicious way to spend time together, and our dog absolutely loves playing with new friends!"

 

Kathryn

Favourite thing:
“I love hiking in the Whiteshell region.”

Why it’s her favorite:
“The terrain is a little more challenging than the flat prairies, and the smell of spruce trees is pure therapy. Plus you can usually forage for wild raspberries or blueberries along the way. :)”

 

Kaitlyn

Favourite thing:
“It’s so hard to pick a favorite! I love heading out to Folk Fest every summer – it’s always a highlight.”

Why it’s her favorite:
“Finding a new band that you’ve never heard before and listening to music under the trees at the smaller stages in the forest is pure relaxation.”

 

Kara

Favourite thing:
“Warm summer evenings.”

Why it’s her favorite:
“Some of my favorite memories with my friends are low-key, almost accidental long summer nights hanging out in one of our backyards. I love it when the sun goes down but the temperature stays up – it feels a little magical. Or maybe that’s the wine. ;)”

 

Dave

Favourite thing:
“My favorite summer thing to do is arrive at our cottage.”

Why it’s his favorite:
“A switch goes off in my head as soon as I get near and I feel totally relaxed.”

 

Rob

Favourite thing:
“Obviously racing my car. But also driving my Honda to somewhere new to explore lake/small town. Basically getting out and away to find nature and spend time outside.”

Why it’s his favorite:
“There are lots of nice escapes to find that aren't too far. It removes you from life's routines and responsibilities – allows me to enjoy just being alive.”

 

So there you have it! In case your summer wasn’t already jam-packed with amazing ways to take advantage of the weather and subsequent activities, we hope these suggestions give you some great ideas to explore your city (and province) during these fleeting months of nice weather! Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let us know what you’d add to the list!


Snapchat vs Instagram Stories

Snapchat Vs. Instagram Stories

Who wins the award for most popular and effective platform?

We know, we know. Snapchat Vs. Instagram Stories...

The debate is seemingly endless. Below, we weigh in on the two platforms and where they stand on stories.

The Story Behind “Stories”

In the span of two years, social media “stories” have sashayed into the spotlight as the it-feature on major platforms. If you’re still not clear on the difference between a “story” and a post, a story is a temporary post (still photo or video) that is intended to casually update friends and followers on the last 24 hours of your life. As competition between social media platforms has grown fiercer, user traffic has ricocheted between the two apps that have most fully embraced the story: Snapchat and Instagram. Despite the different experiences they offer users, these two heavy-hitters are in the middle of a long war to dominate our free time, and the stakes are high – the loser of the Battle of the Story risks joining networks like Myspace and Vine in the footnotes of the social media history books. To better examine the clash between the apps, let’s take a brief look at how far they’ve come.

The Facebook Exodus

Instagram, which gained popularity as users started to tire of bloated Facebook newsfeeds, started out as a concept that was strong by virtue of its simplicity. An easy-to-use, simple-to-navigate platform for sharing photos, Instagram’s creators hoped users would use their day-to-day moments to spark conversations. And for some time, they did just that – as grandparents grew steadily more interested in commenting on those Saturday pre-game photos, younger audiences fled Facebook’s ranks to join Instagram, a community still veiled in perceived exclusivity.

The Flatlining of Flat Lays

As the number of Instagram users rose, so did the standards for a “worthy” post. The average user, dejected by the impossibly crisp, curated content flooding their feeds, began to post less and less frequently. The closing demographic gap between Facebook and Instagram, mixed with content saturation at the expense of engagement, was creating a vacuum for something new. Something more casual. Something, perhaps, TOO casual. Something like Snapchat.

Snapchat Snaps Into Place

Prior to becoming a craze, Snapchat had a pretty shady reputation for being a hookup tool for young millennials, offering a space to exchange “private” photos with the peace-of-mind that came with self-destructing content. The app weathered on through the day of the 16GB base-model smartphone, as the only photo-sharing app that wouldn’t eat up precious storage space. It was perhaps a stroke of pure luck that Snapchat had the opportunity to shed its former skin – as a place to show your nudes to people you didn’t trust very much – and become an absolute obsession for the under-25 crowd. With a clear line between sponsored content and user content, and by giving users closed-loop control of who could see their Snaps, Snapchat was in a prime position to annex the casual appeal Instagram was founded on.

Killing the Ghost

Almost as if on cue, Instagram had a breakthrough: if the newsfeed concept had managed to shapeshift successfully to work for so many platforms, why couldn’t the concept of stories? The instant-sharing, low-key feel of stories could co-exist alongside the carefully-built photo grids attracting droves of followers on Instagram. The inception of Instagram Stories didn’t take more than 24 hours to start catching the attention of Snapchat devotees, and with the recent introduction of filters, the crux of Snapchat’s model, reasons for users to stay on Snapchat have dwindled to pure force of habit.

Snapchat Steps Up

Now, Snapchat is trying to carve out a new angle by offering Our Story, a collaborative tool that lets users contribute to a master Story from several users at once. Snapchat loyalists are already lauding the potential of the new feature, which may buy Snapchat much-needed time as it plans its next competitive edge.  It’s a smart move on Snapchat’s part, removing the pressure on users to assert their individuality and focusing on creating shared memories– albeit, memories that disappear after 24 hours.

Topping the Charts

So, who will prevail? Snapchat or Instagram?

On the great stage of social media stories, Snapchat is like Rihanna: a good girl gone bad, gone good again – emerging from a scandalous background to offer a carefree experience strengthened by great collabs.

By contrast, Instagram is like Beyoncé: a strong starter who, after a brief lull of career vertigo, came back stronger than ever and ready to mow down the competition.


Fusion Archives

Fusion Throwbacks: A Peek into the Archives

Fusion Throwbacks: Logos, Letterhead, and Graphic Design in the ‘90s

Before the days when a logo update was a few clicks away or layout edits could be done in a mere half hour, the process of design was very, very different. Fusion originated back in 1992, and although our original logo and letterhead were created using some of the more “old-fashioned” methods, it’s interesting to consider how they’ve stood the test of time. We’re four weeks into our Fusion Throwbacks project and today we’re digging a little deeper into some of the work we’ve featured recently on social media.

Fusion’s Original Logo & Letterhead

Fusion has its origins in the early ‘90s when founders Dave Wilkie, Terry Kuzina, and Derrick Coupland teamed up to follow their mutual vision for innovative design and advertising. When the Fusion name was being created, the founders were thinking about the power of the sun; its energy and forward momentum. Our original logo was created to represent an explosion of brilliant ideas permeating from a collaborative team, with the Fusion name demonstrating these same concepts. One of our designers, Morris, remembers seeing the logo as a newbie designer working, at that time, for another company and thinking it was, as he describes it, “wicked.”

The original Fusion logo was designed long before the age of digital renderings and quick fixes in Photoshop. The designer built the logo by hand using the “old-school” method of rubbing down dots from a Letraset (press letters) sheet – a method that was time-consuming and complicated, but also tactile and creative.

FWS Construction Logo

Our identity design for FWS Construction is another example of a logo that has remained relevant since its creation in the late ‘90s. The logo that we created for them is still in use today – which speaks to the longevity and timelessness of the design. We used the plumb line imagery to represent their role in the construction industry, and reiterate their brand message of accuracy and precision in everything they do.

Looking through some of the collateral materials we created for them reminded us of days gone by, when print products used to be a major factor in design projects and branding. Although those days are long behind us and we love the digital world and creating design and campaigns for new platforms, we still have a soft spot for beautiful print design and finishes.

CanWest Global Art Collection

This book of Canadian art that we created for CanWest Global is another reminder that good design doesn’t age and can be appreciated whether it was created 10 years ago or 20. Filled with work from local Winnipeg artists as well as more famous Canadian artists such as the Group of Seven, the designing layout of this book was a lot more like creating an art gallery than it was creating a normal printed piece, and the result is timeless. All of the artwork in the book was from the CanWest collection and many pieces could be seen hanging in their corporate offices. The late Izzy Asper, the founder and CEO of CanWest Global, was a renowned art lover and wanted to share that love through the creation of this book.

We’re just getting started with our Fusion Throwbacks and we’ll keep featuring different projects every week on Instagram, with #FusionThrowbacks. Check back on the blog monthly for more details on the projects that are still dear to our hearts. If you have questions or are interested in getting your own project started with us, drop us a line at info@fusiongroup.ca!


Before You Hit Post...

Before You Post... A Checklist

A "Before You Post" Checklist

Ever find yourself hovering over the post button on Instagram or Twitter, wondering if the hilarious gif you just found is actually as funny as you think it is? Ya, us too. That’s why we thought we’d share a few of our favorite tips for keeping your posts relevant, engaging and curated for your target audience. Make sure you take note of these tips before you post.

The next time you’re wondering whether or not to hit publish on your favorite social media channel, try these three simple steps before you post:

  • Show someone. You’ve crafted the perfect caption/photo combo and you’re ready to send it out into the world, but it might be a good idea to see how your tone comes across to someone who’s not you!
  • Check for grammar. You definitely don’t want that one follower on your account to point out an embarrassing typo. (We’ve all got a grammar fanatic lurking, just waiting for us to slip up…) A great trick to try is reading your caption backward to make sure your eye doesn’t accidentally skip over something obvious or easy to miss.
  • Preview your post. Pre-schedule your posts in a scheduling app for Facebook or Twitter and use an Instagram grid planner. These are great tools that give you a chance to preview your post and see how it looks on your grid or channel. Pre-planning also gives you a chance to 'sleep on it', which can be helpful. You might have thought it was funny yesterday, but realize today that it could be even better.

Double-checking spelling and running ideas past the team is a no-brainer when we plan social media campaigns and manage accounts for our clients. Our whole team is behind the post button to avoid those awkward posts that don’t quite hit the mark. Any ideas to add to the check-list? Wondering what it would be like to have a team running YOUR social media channels? Get in touch: info@fusiongroup.ca. We’d love to hear from you!  


How We’re Celebrating 25 Years

How We’re Celebrating 25 Years

Time flies when you’re having fun, and we’ve had a lot of fun over the past 25 years! 2017 is a big year for us and we’ve got a few fun things planned, because after all... We're celebrating 25 years!!

Inspired by a Tree Tragedy  

Several cold winters ago, the tree that stood in front of our office was destroyed in a tragic snowplow accident. While our dream of planting another in honor of our 25th birthday was sadly not possible (the city tells us we’ll likely just lose another comrade), while discussing it we realized that a tree is actually a great metaphor for our 25 years of putting down roots in Winnipeg. Some of the most exciting developments and changes in this city over the past 25 years have come through our doors – we had a hand in projects like MTS Centre, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the SHED, James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and several provincial elections, just to name a few. We love our home, and we’ve grown and flourished together with the city through many seasons and changes. It’s been said that he who plants a tree, plants hope, and on our 25th birthday, we’re not only remembering our roots but planning for the bright future ahead. Gone, but not forgotten, our tree’s legacy will live on.

Digging into the Archives

When the Fusion team got together to brainstorm birthday celebration ideas, a lot of stories were thrown around the boardroom table. Dave remembered the first-ever Fusion summer getaway, and Morris reminisced about his favorite logo designs of years past.

As we went further down the rabbit trail of office anecdotes and stories from long ago, we realized that so many of those old projects have brought us to where we are today. While we’re all about innovation and staying ahead of trends, we haven’t forgotten our roots. Over the next few months, we’ll be digging into the archives for 25 weeks of #FusionThrowbacks on our social media platforms.

Onwards and Upwards

On top of giving you a peek at Fusion projects of old, we’re also doing a little bit of redecorating both online and off. Most notably, we’ve given our website an overhaul, and we’re excited for you to have a look around here, exploring our recent work in everything from social media and websites to branding and advertising. Our office space is also getting a fresh look with brand new window artwork. Be sure to take a look next time you’re strolling through the Exchange District, and give us a wave.

Lastly, we need to say a big thank you to our clients, suppliers, colleagues, and friends for sticking with us for a cool quarter century. Our amazing clients and staff (both present and past) have made Fusion the place is it today – a place we are each proud and excited to be a part of. Looking forward to another 25 great years!


Why Choose Content Marketing?

Why Choose Content Marketing?

Content marketing has moved from a niche brand offering to a marketing-must in a big way. It’s hard to think of a brand that doesn’t offer some kind of personalized content for its audience.

These days, people have unparalleled control over the ads that reach them. They can skip commercials, exit online ads, and skip YouTube pre-rolls after four (long, anguishing) seconds. Traditional advertising is now served up alongside the content that people are really trying to engage with – whether it be an article, Mad Men episode, or viral cat video. What’s different about content marketing is that it provides engaging and relevant content in and of itself.

That’s not to say that content marketing should stand alone. A brand can’t start a blog and end all other marketing and advertising efforts. More importantly, a brand can’t launch a blog without strategy. Content marketing should weave flawlessly into social media marketing and complement traditional advertising. It should match a brand’s personality, and be in-tune with its audience.

Good content marketing engages people and gives them something to come back for. Doing it well takes imagination, intuition, and strategy. And though every business should offer some form of content to their audience, they shouldn’t do it without strategic planning. It takes work and focus. But a successful effort can further brand awareness in an unprecedented way.

One success story we can speak to is Spark, a fashion and lifestyle blog we developed together with St. Vital Centre. Even though Spark was something we had envisioned for a while, it took years to come to fruition. There were marketing phases we had to undergo to ensure that there was an engaged audience ready to consume our content. We created a plan that was multifaceted, moving in stages from awareness and branding, to social media engagement, to content offering.

Early in our relationship with the Centre, we worked on increasing brand awareness with billboards, transit, and in-Centre signage. We spent time creating awareness of St. Vital Centre as an accessible and relatable lifestyle brand. Once awareness was achieved, we began to work on creating a more interactive and engaged brand, by building a social community and focusing on two-way advertising versus the traditional one-way. We created a social media presence for St. Vital Centre, and engaged audiences with contest microsites, quizzes, and frequent giveaways. We also began to elevate the fashion facet of the brand, producing unique style and beauty content for social media and seasonal campaigns. The high audience engagement and overwhelmingly positive response confirmed both the desire for this type of content, and its ability to affect sales.

For us, a blog was a natural fit for St. Vital Centre. Their brand is stylish and fun, aspirational but attainable, in-the-know without being a know-it-all – the perfect voice for a fashion and lifestyle blog. There was a void of high quality fashion blogs in Winnipeg, and we saw a perfect opportunity to fill that void.

Spark has been producing content for just over a year now, and together with our client and a talented support team, we continue to produce content that excites us as much as it informs and delights our audience. Developing good content is no easy task, and involves ongoing planning and post writing, coordinating and directing regular photoshoots (including booking models, photographers, and videographers), website maintenance, and more. Aside from content development, we are also in charge of bringing traffic to the blog. We achieve this through social media, contests, email subscriptions, in-Centre hoarding and backlit posters, and even in-store, on our “As Seen On Spark” product tags and stickers. Spark averages over 4,000 hits per month, and is steadily increasing.

And most importantly, the Centre has continued to report ongoing sales increases in key categories since the blog's inception.

www.stvitalcentrespark.com