Updates From the Social Front

It’s the last day of March and we’ve made it through the three worst months of the year, in terms of weather, that is.  On the contrary, these past three months (yes, it’s been that long since I’ve written a post, sadly) have been chock full of exciting happenings.

For one, I started a new role and left my life in advertising to bitter-sweet results.  I love my new job and the path I’m on, yet it was hard to leave the family I’d been a part of at JWT.  C’est la vie!

My sister is planning a big trip to move to London and is leaving in one week, so the past few months have been full of prep, packing, visa applications and dinner discussions about life changes.

I’ve been helping various friends and new acquaintances with their social media and branding, which has me very excited.  I’ll definitely keep doing this as a passion project.

So that is it! I will write more now that spring is here and I have settled in to my new role.

Try This 2-Step Exercise in Discovery

DeathtoStock_Medium91

A few summers ago I travelled with my mom to St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was for the CCAE (the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education) Conference. While I spent many of the days wandering through the charming town and jogging the narrow pathways cutting across the cliff side, my mom attended the sessions and joined me in sampling the finest East Coast breweries in the evenings. A perfect vacay (imo).

On the final day, I was able to join in for the conference’s Keynote session withJessica Holmes, famously known for being a cast member on The Royal Canadian Air Farce on CBC. Not only is Jessica extremely talented and funny, she’s also a gifted speaker and had us all enthralled with her personal tales of success during the time she spoke.

There was one particular exercise she asked us to do that stood out most for me and that I still tell people to try to this day. I want to share it with you.

Start by writing down the names of the three people you care about most.
Next to each of their names, write down the one quality you love most about them.

Once you’ve done that, scroll down.

***

A little further…

***

Ok great… stop.

When the room had completed this task, Jessica began to explain the significance.

“Each of the characteristics that you love most in the people you care about is actually one of your top traits,” she said. She explained that what we love most in others is what we try to apply most in ourselves.

I looked at mine. The three traits that best explained me were: humour, sanity and kindness. Ha! Sanity is what I get from my mom.

Try this exercise. It’s fun and gives you some insight into self-perception – something you may not have gathered from other self-discovery exercises. I still use it to this day when people ask me to describe myself. As hard as it is to talk about what you are best at, this approach always seems to work.

Melanie Reiffenstein is a specialist in brand experience. Follow her on Twitter@MelanieReiff or leave a comment!

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

Ademoiselle’s 2014 in Review

I cannot wait to blow this blog out of the water in 2015! Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more to come!

Happy New Year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why I’m Going Home to Eat Broccoli and Drink Wine

MSDMATI EC010

Sounds awesome, right? Sorta.

My fridge contains what I have to look forward to when I get home from work. It also contains what I have to succumb to eating upon return to my apartment.  Those two things are wine and broccoli and the events of my lunch hour are the cause of this.

Today, over my lunch hour and in the Zara change room, I realized one thing.  I don’t think even Gisèle Bundchen feels like she looks good in the Zara change room.  Or in any change room.   Honestly, the only retailer who has their act together when it comes to the change room is Victoria’s Secret.  And that says it all.

A change room is like a chokey for women.  Remember the chokey from the movie Matilda?  It’s a closet-sized punishment space with nails and stakes poking outwards in every direction, making it extremely likely for anyone inside to have a full fledged claustro-panic attack.  Well, in change rooms, there are mirrors instead of spikes and, instead of the crushing blackness, there are baseball stadium-strength light bulbs illuminating everything. This is the modern female change room, ladies.  I don’t know about you but when I’m at home I don’t try something on in my closet and then stand 6 inches from a mirror to determine if it looks good.

screen-shot-2012-05-13-at-14-40-11

As Gretchen Wieners suggests, you don’t buy something without asking your friends if it looks good on you first.  So I proceeded to attempt to document about nine outfit changes and send them over whatsapp to my sister in Toronto and good friend in England.  This highly choreographed process backfired when no one responded.

Frustrated, illuminated and alone, I decided to buy a few items that, thankfully, Zara allows full refund on if they don’t meet my standards.

And, despite some vigorous healthy habits and gym visits over the past 3 weeks, I still feel like no progress has been made on the ‘132-only’ front.  So, tonight, I will go home to my delightful apartment and avoid snacking on useless and temporarily pleasing items and opt instead for a Zara-change-room-friendly dinner.  But I won’t forgo the wine.  It’s a post-Zara-change-room thing.

Image 1 courtesy of fanpop. Image 2 courtesy of Style and then some.

This Confidence Boost Helped My Personal Style

photo 1

I recently attended a Mad Women of Toronto event (hosted by the ICA and Microsoft Canada) and one of the primary topics was how women dress. A panel of women, which included one of the authors of the new bestseller Women In Clothes, Sheila Heti, engaged our group of 75 young professional women on the topic of dressing for success.

I don’t consider myself to be without style but, personally, I feel I could do better. A snag in my tights, an undone manicure, I felt I was always short of the finish line in terms of looking ‘my best’. When Q&A time began, I raised my hand and asked my question to this panel of women whose collective experience with style would no doubt shed light on this.

“Is it normal to always feel like I’m only 85% there with my style?” I asked. I went on to explain how a touch of Shellac remained on my nails and how my Canadian winter boots didn’t necessarily match my outfit, with my white sock visible around my ankle. The question seemed to raise a stir with the panel and the audience.

“Is it normal to always feel like I’m only 85% there with my style?”

“I don’t think you should ever be 100% there. That last 15% is subjective. Who’s to say you aren’t already reaching your full style potential?” Answered Heather Mallick, Toronto Star Columnist and one of the day’s panelists.

photo 2It struck a chord. So many dialogues and commentaries nowadays talk about dressing for success and for the job you want, not the job you have. The requirement to dress well is more prominent than ever. Is that why I felt inadequate? My Chelsea boots from The Gap were this season’s, I wore a dress I ADORE and which has been in my collection for years, and my hair and makeup were tasteful. Why did I only feel like I was meeting the standard and not exceeding it? The learning was clear: maybe I just had to rethink the standard.

The requirement to dress well is more prominent than ever. Is that why I felt inadequate?

Sheila Heti further answe red my question with a personal story. Isabella Rossellini, daughter of Ingrid Bergman and overall fashionista/stunner, was once at a meeting with Heti’s friend. Her friend recalled the flawless Rossellini to be all but perfect, save for the fact she was wearing thick gym socks with a fancy outfit – the kind of socks that pulled up past her ankles. But no one even blinked. Rossellini pulled off the look with the utmost confidence.

And confidence is what it’s all about. That is the secret to the last 15%. The learning was clear: maybe I just had to rethink the standard. And it has stuck. Own whatever style you are wearing with confidence and others will feel like you are at your 100%, even if you have doubts.

You can read Melanie’s blog at http://www.ademoiselle.com or follow her on Twitter. Add your comments below – how does confidence affect your personal style?

Children’s Motrin among brands helping moms help each other

New research from Rutgers University says that a woman’s happiness is more important than her husband’s when it comes to keeping a marriage afloat. Meanwhile, more branded support systems have started to appear. Marketers are trying to help women help each other, specifically moms.

Walmart Canada has long been studying the role of Mom and how to talk to her, fully versed in the realities she faces every day. Every year, Walmart asks other moms (and the general public) to vote and recognize one mom as “Mom of the Year.” The program gives an outlet for Canadians to say thank you to moms in their lives, awarding one but appreciating all. It came to fruition after JWT learned that Mom doesn’t always feel appreciated for all she does.

Now, a campaign for Children’s Motrin in the U.S. is encouraging moms to reach out to each other and ask for help and tips to make them unstoppable. Kelly Ripa is the spokeswoman for the “Unstoppable Moms” campaign, and she’s featured in a series of videos that aim to help Mom out in her daily life. This ensures the brand’s relevance is credible and not jarring. Brands are enabling the conversation and helping to make life a little easier and happier for Mom.

My post originally appeared on JWT’s Anxiety Index.

How To Fix Common Social Media Blunders

classic blunders princess bride monetary musings

Having worked on the front lines of social media for a considerable amount of time, I see people who are, day in and day out, afraid they are making irreversible mistakes on social. But instead of living in fear, seemingly big booboos can be easily remedied with swift action.

An error in a YouTube video

YouTube does not allow you to change a video once uploaded. But there are ways to fix problems without removing your video and annihilating your view count. Does the problem occur at the beginning or end of your video (like a slate or an incorrect super in the end)? YouTube allows for front and back trimming so you can cut out those problems. Annotations also allow you to control where click thrus occur, so you can lead your audience to new content when you choose. You can also update the thumbnail on the video if it’s not to your liking. Meta problems can be remedied by fixing title, description copy and tags.

Allowing/Disallowing YouTube comments

This one can be tricky. If your comments are turned on and unwanted trolls are creeping your comment section, you can turn off comments and remove any that already exist. This also deletes anything that was replied to. But the move is permanent and comments will not come back if you opt to turn them on again.

A Facebook post gone wrong

Facebook is a handy social tool for blunders. Like Google+, or even a standard blog post, it allows you to edit copy that has been posted by clicking the downwards arrow at the top right of every post. It is best to do this immediately after the error was noticed – proofread posts before and right after they are posted to ensure this is solved in a timely manner. If a post was overlooked, community managers can back date a post to make it appear on a different date.

Death by Tweet

There is no way to edit a tweet once it’s been sent out to the twitterverse. Your best option is to delete it immediately and repost the correct one without any errors to links or without typos. Odds are no one will have seen or noticed the error but, if your following is rather large, you can avoid embarrassment by owning up to it. Say “We were all thumbs in that last tweet”, delete the error, then your next tweet should be the correct one.

A WordPress AutoTweet

Blogs often allow you to automatically generate a tweet from a new post you’ve created as soon as you hit publish. But what if that tweet is too title-focused and not social enough? Within your post, you can select the settings of the tweet and update the content before you hit publish. This ensures that the correct hashtags and language is used for your post before you publish. If you keep forgetting this step, disable this feature so you can be more in control.

Like everything, your comfort level will grow once you become more familiar with the social media platform you’re working on. Dive in and get messy!

For more social media tips follow Melanie on Twitter @MelanieReiff.

Photo: monetarymusings.com

The One Thing You Should Never Procrastinate On

YouTubeIndy1

When I think of procrastination I picture Indiana Jones sliding under the trap door and reaching back to grab his signature hat seconds before he could lose his hand.  Somehow, he always makes the decision to run for the exit at the last second, despite some opportunistically slow-moving trap doors.

However, there is one thing you should never procrastinate on: helping others. 

When someone asks for your help, either at work or in your network, it is in both of your best interests that you provide whatever advice you can to them sooner rather than later.  Why? Help is something people have difficulty asking for.  In fact, according to an October 2009 Harvard Business Review article, people may be afraid to look dumb when they reach out for help.  Stalling on your answer will only decrease their confidence.

Help is a two-way street

When you offer your assistance to someone in need, be it career advice, a chance to connect two people from distant networks, or even providing day-to-day assistance at work, you build trust.  You build yours and their confidence.  It will also never be forgotten.  Helping people is a two-way street; you do something for someone, they will repay you down the road.

Assess the level of help you can give

Obviously we cannot say yes to everyone.  Help doesn’t have to mean saying ‘yes’, it can mean saying no, but providing a better option.  If you can’t donate $100 to your best friend’s daughter’s third grade school supply rally, suggest other ways or things that could help.

Get scrappy

You know the solution.  A person reaches out because they don’t just need a straight answer, they need guidance.  If your friend is looking for a place to stay in Australia and knew you stayed there with someone you know, the answer might not be to send them to your contact, who they don’t know, it might be to point them to that great hostel you also stayed in.  Carefully consider their question and determine how you can provide help.  You are a wealth of knowledge.

Melanie is a specialist in Communications and Marketing, with her own personal site on advertising and lifestyle, Ademoiselle.com.  Leave a comment or like this post! Or make a new Twitter friend @MelanieReiff.

Photo: Free WHD