Don’t be a brand; be brand new

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Why your personal brand may be limiting

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. May 4, 2016

At a young age, we created an identity for ourselves. This identity follows us like a shadow throughout our academic, professional, and even romantic endeavours. We become this persona of what people see us as, and we measure ourselves by our accomplishments within that scope.

While establishing a personal brand for yourself may be useful if you are marketing your services to employers, I don’t believe it should be a strict guideline for you to live by. As human beings, we should be allowed to have the freedom to explore. This exploration nurtures growth, a type of metamorphosis that can only happen when new experiences are injected into our lives. You cannot experience anything new if you live your life as a brand.

Let’s say you love rap music. It’s your thing. It’s your brand. Everyday you wear your headphones and you listen to rap. People know you for that and you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to anything else. That sounds like a pretty limiting life, doesn’t it?

It’s important for us to put aside our preconceptions once in awhile and be open-minded. Your brand shouldn’t be rap music; it should be music or art. While you can specialize in rap, you will have a more diversified understanding of music if you listen to the whole range. Rap can be your passion, but if you want your brand to grow and mature—and not just be a pretentious shadow that throws shade at other people who don’t like what you like—you have to broaden your horizons and explore.

It’s easy to establish a brand for yourself and live within those boundaries. People expect you to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and act a certain way. We like when things are predictable. After all, that is why McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart are so popular: you know what to expect. However, unlike billion-dollar corporations, we as human beings need to have the flexibility to shift gears without upsetting the shareholders.

You are not a brand. You are a person. You might have followers, you might have employers, and you might have friends that will expect you to behave in a way that fits their branding, and that’s fine. You can wear a persona like a uniform. You can be professional and friendly, but you must also be pushing yourself beyond those that are already around you. While those within your vicinity will influence and support you, they also act as a black hole that is pulling you deeper and deeper into a character that is merely their expectation of you. Don’t be that character. Don’t be a brand.

When you wake up tomorrow, be someone who dares to do something different.

Don’t use the brand’s name in vain

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Passionate brand loyalists condemn popular child curse words

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. January 6, 2016

Cheez Whiz, the delightful brand of cheese spread, is getting a lot of press recently as a group of brand loyalists have gathered together—from coast to coast like butter toast—to rise against the blasphemous use of the brand’s name.

A survey conducted by the Consumer Packaging Press found that the most common brand name used to cuss is, in fact, Cheez Whiz: 75 per cent of children under the age of 13 had used the name in a way of expressing anger 2 or more times. The second most common is, of course, Fudgee-O, with 40 per cent. In third is Gray Poupon, as in: “Aww! Gray Poupon! We are out of normal mustard!”

Delicatessen and linguistic expert Susan Rumchata said: “It’s not the brands’ fault that they have such hilarious names that blend so well with traditional swear words. The responsibility falls on the parents. They need to understand that at an early age, their children are learning more colourful language—let them—if they need to call out Jesus, let them! It’s more Jesus’ fault than it is the Cheez Whiz people’s.”

It has been well documented that some time ago there lived a guy named Jesus Christ. He was an entrepreneur who made a lot of good bread, wine, and woodwork. But due to his poor business acumen, supply couldn’t meet the demand. Consumers would say, “Jesus Christ!” in vain—a lot of vain—when their orders failed to ship. Not long after the company launched, Jesus Christ Inc. went bankrupt and the founder was crucified.

Cheez Whiz brand loyalists—they call themselves Cheez Wizards—see a clear parallel between what happened to Jesus Christ Inc. and what is happening with Cheez Whiz today.

Cheez Wizards spokesperson and single mother of four Brie Pumpernickel said: “You know what it is? It’s bad PR. You know what kills? It’s not global warming or terrorists or processed-cheese. It’s bad PR. And all that starts with our children. We must teach our children to respect brand names. This will ensure that the brands that serve us continue offering the same high quality products we want. Do we really want to live in a world without Cheez Whiz? I ask myself that every morning after making breakfast for my four Cheez Wizards.”

Safeway jam aisles were literally jammed with Cheez Wizards last Tuesday as a public protest took place. The sole purpose of the rally was to erase the phrase “Cheez Whiz” from the English vernacular as anything other than the name of the product. Anyone of any age that uses the brand’s name in vain will be sentenced to an eternity of dry, whole wheat bread. It’s some kind of hell, for sure.

Rumchata reminds us that there are plenty of lame-ass swear words out there for those moments when you have to curse in front of children: “‘Fiddlesticks’ is always a good one. ‘For Pete’s sake’ is great too. I’ve never encountered a Pete or Peter who was bothered by it. Anything that rhymes with ‘duck’ also works. You know, you stub your toe and you just shout, ‘Duck!’ It’s as satisfying, I’ll tell you that much. People will crouch over though, it’s weird.” She added: “Words are weird.”

Tapped Mobile Launches in Canada with Top Tech Partners and Brands

Last week, Tapped Mobile announced its official launch in Canada, offering brands a new approach to marketing.

The Canadian mobile advertising market will grow by over $135 million this year, and Tapped Mobile is partnering up with leading mobile ad tech companies to bring the highest quality products and services to Canadians.

Some features that Tapped Mobile’s partnerships will deliver are store-level mobile location data, first video ad units with social sharing, several in-stream video ad units, location-based retargeting, mobile research and many more.

Tapped Mobile was founded by Jed Schneiderman, Eric Shedletsky and Mark Shedletsky in 2012 with its headquarter in Toronto. The executive team combines for over 25 years of marketing, ad sales and mobile start-up experience.

“We scour the world for the best mobile ad technologies,” said Tapped Mobile President Jed Schneiderman. “We screen them vigorously and bring the best ones to Canada so that you can be ahead of the curve, delivering huge value to your brand and reaching your consumers in the most trusted and proven ways possible.”

Schneiderman was a senior management at Microsoft and CTV before he founded Tapped Mobile. He also took on a strategic marketing role at MTV, AOL, and Procter & Gamble.

Several Canada’s top brands have already signed on with Tapped Mobile. After six months of operation Tapped Mobile have been advertising across different sectors including wireless, cable, auto, consumer packaged goods, QSR, travel and more.

“We ensure each and every campaign is optimized in three ways” said Co-Founder of Tapped Mobile, Eric Shedletsky. “First, we help our clients leverage the best mobile technologies; then, we pinpoint the exact right audience across a huge list of top tier publishers and utilize the best performing ad units to deliver strong ROI.”

Brands and companies are paramount to technological innovations and Tapped Mobile, with its respected reputation will be expected to deliver top-notch ad tech for companies across the country. With Canada’s mobile marketing industry in high demand, there is no better place to start than here.