Enrol the C-Suite in Social Media

March 14th, 2017

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Isn’t life easier in a company when the senior leadership is supportive of the plan? My point here is that when you enrol the C-Suite in social media, the job of the communicator is almost free of hassles.  Once the c-suite sees the tremendous value and impact for their business, they will ensure that there are appropriate resources to deploy these strategic communication tools. Public Relations and social media together can have a tremendous impact on a brand or company profile. After all, they are in charge of the art of communication.

Shout to Seneca College Public Relations

I had the pleasure of speaking with the Seneca Media classes February 13th. They are graduate students in pursuit of a certificate in Public Relations and Social Media. These are the communicators of our future. I was stressing the importance of social media and public relations teams, within an organization, to ensure that the senior leadership embraces the power of their work.

The headlines of my presentation were intended to provide some coaching to these up and coming professionals. I suggested some ways of they might successfully enrol and engage senior leaders in their company, with social media and public relations. Social media and public relations should be regarded as valued practices and assets within the marketing mix.

CEO Support a Clincher

If you can become top of mind with the CEO or head of a business, your work will be that much easier. With a CEO supportive of social media and public relations in the mix, the rest of management and the organization will quickly align. CEO’s that value the impact of social media and public relations are no doubt witnessing strong consumer relations and enhanced brand loyalty. CEO’s that take an active role in social networks themselves will experience the power of these networks. We know from the latest Signal Communication Leadership CEO index that Canadian CEO’s are really just beginning to embrace the networks, let alone the value. The goods news is that the communications team can coach and counsel members of the leadership team to impactful social networking for the business.

A Senior Leader “sponsor”

A senior leader within the organization, leading the department that houses social media and PR, will also make a huge difference. A strong voice fighting for inclusion of social and PR, will help entrench the agenda within an organization. This will help raise profile and understanding throughout an organization. Social media and PR cannot be seen as add-ons. They cannot be there only in case of emergency. They must be seen and utilized as communication assets ongoing entrenched in the sales and marketing strategies.

Strategic Benefit Understood

Some might view social as tactical. I view it as strategically tactical. Social Media and Public Relations must be seen and understood as strategic, within the communications strategy of a brand and business.

Perhaps it is core to the brand’s voice in the market.

Perhaps it is critical in leading, protecting and reinforcing corporate reputation.

Perhaps it is a critical channel with which to support direct to consumer relations.

Or, all three of the areas of brand and business strength can be supported by a strategic plan in social media and public relations. The wonderful world of social media has so many analytics available now. There are rich and robust data and tracking platforms. This is not a subjective call.  Communicators; you can prove yourself with objective analytic proof. Go for it!

Social Role Defined and Supported

Social Media needs to have a clear role in the mix of marketing and sales. It can play a clear role, as the voice and face of a brand and business. Once that role is defined, the business must then invest in the assets; like they invest in other media assets. Social media voice is as important as an advertising buy. View it as “media”, just as you would view print, television, radio, outdoor and in the home. It is “media” – be sure that its role is defined and supported.

Part of the Marketing Mix

Social media deserves a box on the checklist, like all other aspects and elements of the marketing mix. Social media can play a critical and leading role in Product – Place – Price and Promotion. Don’t let social media become that eleventh-hour consideration. Don’t let social media only become important when that negative tweet is thrown your way and someone happens to stumble across it. Put effective monitoring and listening in place. Lead the conversation for the brand and business in social networks. That clearly puts social media and PR in play, as part of the marketing mix.

Keep it Top of Mind

PR folks need to practice what they preach. PR folks need to tell their story, show the results internally, build alliances, create stories of success and show the value that they bring to the brand and organization. The marketing folks will showcase their new ads. The sales folks will highlight sales. The supply chain team will show the new innovations. Step it up communicators! By showing your accomplishments you will be sure to have continued investment and belief in your efforts.

Wrap Up

If these variables are taken seriously, I truly believe that you will find those senior leaders in your organization and the C-Suite value social media. You will be demonstrating impact and value in the mix of the business.

Wishing communicators of the future much success. C-Suite executives…be proud and glad you have them.

Cheers !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

 

Kenora Thistle Stanley Cup Champions

Small Town Spirit

February 13th, 2017

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There is just quite something unique, authentic and empowering about small town spirit. The people of Kenora will reach new heights of spirit this week, as they host #Scotiabank #HockeyDay in Canada.

Centre of Canada

Growing up in Kenora Ontario was just an awesome experience. Having the Lake of the Woods lapping up along the shore of our town, being two hours from Winnipeg, six hours from Duluth, five hours from Thunder Bay, ninety minutes from Dryden, two and a half hours from Ignace, three hours to Sioux Lookout, three hours to Red Lake, an hour and a half to Ear Falls, thirty minutes to Sioux Narrows, sixty minutes to Vermillion Bay, thirty minutes to Minaki, forty-five minutes to Falcon Lake, two hours to Fort Frances and the International border crossing to the USA at International Falls, two hours to Rainy River and the international crossing at Beaudette Minnesota and everything in between and beyond; how could you beat being in the centre of Canada experiencing the four seasons this country provides?

Lake of the Woods

Kenora sits on the northernmost channel of beautiful Lake of the Woods, at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River.Lake of the Woods is over 70 miles (110 km) long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles (105,000 km) of shoreline. It would amount to the longest coastline of any Canadian lake, except that the lake is not entirely within Canada. Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located (at least partially) in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. Northwestern Ontario is located in the far reaches of the province of Ontario, a full two-day drive. Yes, a two-day drive – or 24 hours straight through; if you must. Whether you cross at Sarnia into Michigan State and start the US “south of Superior” route, or head north from Toronto along the top of Superior on Highway 17, or take the “truckers route” up along the longest street in the world (Yonge Street from Toronto to Rainy River,over 1,896 kilometres or 1,178 miles long); it is a great distance way from Ontario’s capital to the capital of lake life and the great outdoors – Kenora Ontario. Actually, the official slogan is “North America’s Premier Boating Destination”.Enough context, let’s get back to talking about small town spirit.

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada

February 18th, 2017 Scotiabank brings #HockeyDay in Canada to Kenora Ontario. As all of the Canadian NHL teams face off against each other, Kenora will be a buzzing with hockey related festivities along the shoreline of the northernmost channel of Lake of the Woods. Hockey Night in Canada personalities Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will be hosting their Coaches Corner from Kenora. SportsNet will be broadcasting all day long and into the evening starting at 12 noon ET (11 am Central Time in Kenora).

All eyes of our nation, hockey fans coast to coast to coast, will turn their eyes to capture wonderful grassroots stories about Kenora and its hockey heritage. Did you know that Kenora is the smallest town to have won the Stanely Cup? They will play a re-enactment game on the lake in front of the “Thistle Pavillion” Saturday morning. More recently the Stanley Cup returned to Kenora and was proudly hoisted high by local hockey hero Mike Richards, member of two LA King Stanley Cup Champion teams. And the Kenora Thistles’ name lives on with their current AAA Midget roster. They will play Saturday afternoon.

When it comes to small town spirit, there will be nothing to compare with February 18th as Kenora’s 15,000 population welcome the eyes and hearts of the nation, and visitors to their town. Be sure to take in the winter beauty of Kenora Ontario, in celebration of our national sport and Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada.

Tune in to SportsNet

Throughout the day, check it out on SportsNet . The small town spirit will shine through proudly. Happy #Scotiabank #HockeyDay Canada! We’ll be “posting” small town spirit from Kenora. @FergDevins

Consider Blogging

February 12th, 2017

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A @ChrisBrogan Nudge

In Chris Brogan’s weekly newsletter February 12th , I was reminded of the wonderful early days of exploring social media in 2007. It prompted me to suggest that you consider blogging. 2007 was a time when blogs were exploding. If you couldn’t get traditional media to tell your story; you could develop your own media and shout your story out as loud as you wanted. Well, that said; you could create and post it – the level of sound and noise was up to you. In fact you had to follow through with your integrated and well-defined communications plan.

You Are In Control

They were the best of times. Brands were “early adopting” and exploring social channels. Marketing practices and long-standing media planning was put to the challenge. A community was unfolding and growing as people sought out social networks as channels for communication.

Chris’ Sunday newsletter wasn’t so much about challenging readers to write blogs, but it was a nudge to embrace what we have in our command. I see his nudge as a challenge to stand in a place of action, rather than contemplation. How many times have you seen a post and let it pass? Have you ever read a blog and considered commenting, but didn’t? Now more than ever, it is time to engage.

Channels are Open – Start Communicating

We have more social networks and media channels at our fingertips today than ever before. Many traditional media outlets have opened up their journalists and reporters to comment and debate. Unfortunately, some members of the public have been hiding behind trollish profiles and crass comments, compromising this dialogue in some areas. Respect is key, in creating meaningful dialogue. Mutual respect and appreciating and valuing that there are differing opinions, is critical to meaningful engagement.

Tell Your Story

What opportunity are you missing by letting others tell stories about you, your brand, your cause, your business or your community? Why let someone else lead that conversation?  You can embrace the opportunity to jump into the dialogue and bring your voice to the discussion, or sit in the stands and watch the play go back and forth. There’s more fun in the heat of the action, isn’t there?

Choose a Channel

For me, I like to be in the conversation. You need not be a techno expert to get into social media and generate a conversation. There are so many platforms options to consider blogging. Platforms today are built for any and all levels of comfort with technology. Gosh, if you can type or use a key board – you can create media for yourself, your brand, your cause, your business or enterprise. If you’ve got a solid idea or concept then write, click, drag and drop – you’re ready to roll. Personally, I’m active across many different social channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Obviously, this “blog” is also part of my footprint. I use a few tools to keep it all singing together. These include but are not limited to EClincher, Promo Republic, Commun.it, Buffer and Co-Schedule. I utilize CisionPoint, for media outreach, and Constant Contact for CRM. Canva is wonderful for developing photo assets. Filmora is terrific for video editing and pulling together quick video clips. Lots of resources to discover once you start exploring.

Naturally, it is not just about posting the story and they will come. It will take some planning and targeting of an audience. These channels are also wide open and easy to access and use.

Happy to Assist

If I’ve sparked something here for you let’s chat further. If you’ve got a story but don’t know where to start, connect with me and I’d be glad to talk about your business or peronal brand or cause purpose and where you might begin.

Truly, the first step is really up to you. If you don’t consider blogging, at least consider what network might help you get in a conversation with your community.

Let’s get that story out there now. @FergDevins 

PS – If you’d like some terrific ongoing coaching from a couple of guys that “get it”, check out @ChrisBrogan and @RobHatch and all that they’ve got going on at Owner Media Group.

#BellLetsTalk

Supporting #BellLetsTalk Day

January 25th, 2017

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A shout out to Bell and their major commitment to make a difference in getting people to talk about mental health. Thank you for creating #BellLetsTalk.

January 25th

January 25th is a wonderful day to bring attention to mental health issues coast to coast to coast. Bringing situations to open conversation will start a journey of recovery and hope.

Take the Challenge

It is incumbent upon “us” to take the challenge, accept the nudge and truly undertake our own personal campaign to engage in removing the stigma attached to mental illness. By embracing the challenge, we can turn to helping those in need.

Listen

As much as there is a need to talk, there is a need to listen. Listen for those who may be dealing with a difficult situation in their lives. Listen for those who are struggling alone. Listen to those who many be signalling to you that they need help. Listen for opportunities to help a loved one. Listen for those who may be on the street, with hat in hand and in need of your support. With a small action, you might make a huge difference in their day.

All Year

Through the awareness that #BellLetsTalk brings to us all, we can embrace this day of January 25th. We can “click and drag” its impact to the other 364 days of the year. Mental health challenges are not a one day and done effort. It will take effort each day, each hour, each moment with our family and friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances or strangers in need –  to truly support each other on this journey.

From I to WE

I recall a message on a bulletin board at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. It suggested that we should all consider taking the “I” out of Mental Illness and replacing it with a “WE”. Transform the challenge from Mental Illness to a context of Mental Wellness.

By thinking of how we can work through the issue, the challenge, the strife, the moment, the depression or anxiety; we may be able to move from ill to well. I am not in any way mimimizing the huge challenge faced by those dealing with mental health issues, and their care givers. Each situation is individual. Each requires its own attention. Each will differ in plan for care and recovery. Each will require a plan from ill to well.

However, if we can all be a little more sensitive to the fact that mental health challenges surround us, we can listen, we can talk and we can move forward in this journey of getting better.

#BellLetsTalk

Thanks for engaging on this day of #BellLetsTalk. Wishing you wellness, today and all year long.

Swimability Ottawa a great cause

Support a Cause this New Year

January 2nd, 2017

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Day Two 2017 – Support a Cause

The dawn of a new year. We give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. There is a multitude of opportunity to support causes in our society. On this second day of the new year, we are stepping up to support a cause in our nation’s capital. There is no shortage of cause, charity or not for profit to choose from in Canada. In fact, there are over 170,000 charities and not for profit organizations in this country. This suggests that every Canadian could likely find “a cause” that aligns with their values or interests.

I have had the honour and pleasure of being engaged with many different causes over the years. In my role at Molson Coors, I had chaired the Molson Coors Donations Fund. I was exposed to tens of thousands of charities that had benefited from over two centuries of giving, led by the oldest brewer in the Americas.

My interests have taken me to involvement with Variety Village, Raising the Roof, several Food Banks, Queen’s University, Coney Island Music Festival, United Way, Bladder Cancer Canada and Swimability (formerly Making Waves). I have also had the honour and pleasure of serving on several not for profit boards. It is of great satisfaction for me to see the difference that we can make in our community. That difference comes from our decision to take action as individuals. We can truly make a difference, by choosing to support a cause.

This Year’s Cause

This year, the Devins Network will continue to call upon members of our greater community to get involved and support a cause. Through your actions, we can truly make a difference for those in need. Whether through financial support, or volunteerism, we can make a meaningful impact.

I am delighted to announce that the Devins Network is renewing our support of Swimability Ottawa . The team of student volunteers truly make a difference in the lives of ability challenged youth in Ottawa. My daughter Helena was personally involved as an instructor, while she was attending the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. Given that Helena is no longer a student, her duties as an active volunteer have come to an end. The Devins Network is proud to continue our association and support of Swimability Ottawa. We are proud of the difference that they make in the lives of youth and their families in Ottawa. Keep up the great work!

The Mission of Swimability is clear

SwimAbility Ottawa is a not-for-profit student initiative founded as a registered chapter of SwimAbility Canada in 2009. Our mission is to provide affordable and accessible one-on-one swimming instruction to children with disabilities. For more information about our parent organization, as well as about the history of the SwimAbility movement, please visit www.SwimAbility.org.

Wishing you well in 2017

We thank the many student volunteers that help to make Swimability a success in the Ottawa community. We are proud to support their efforts in 2017. We are hopeful that you will join us and support a cause this new year in your community.

Have a great 2017. Working together to support a cause, we can make it even better.

FERG DEVINS @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 23rd, 2016

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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

The country was a buzz from St. John’s to Grouse
The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there

Each province was covered with a blanket of snow
And ploughs ready with salt in their yards row on row
RIDE checks were in place for the high season drive

Telling folks to be safe being sure to arrive alive

When out on the lawns there arose such a clatter
The US election had caused quite a chatter
The New Year should bring more political debate
Hoping free trade continues, because it has been great

The moon on the crest of the new-fallen snow
Families gathering together by travelling to and fro
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, pulled by Canadian reindeer

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
The goodwill he could bring was like a magical trick
He was dressed all in red like the flag of our nation

His whistle stops lined up including Union Station

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
In the west, through Ontario, across Quebec and Atlantic

His journey would begin and it would be quite frantic

From the east coast to west and then through the north

A big country to cover as he went to set forth
Near rivers and lakes over tree tops and valleys
Close to ten million square miles, with no dilly dallies

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
He’d made it to our place so soon on this night
He slid down the chimney with ease not too tight

He was dressed all in fur, red and white to the top
Said the snow on the prairies should yield a good crop
He was a weary old traveler with joy from inside
Said the country was glowing on his celestial ride

His eyes how they twinkled, his cheeks full of frost
Across provinces and territories his path quite criss crossed
He spoke of goodwill and joy across our great land
Encouraging young and old to just lend a hand

He toasted our country with so many people
And our cultural mosaic including mosques and church steeples
He said we are peace keepers with intent that is great
Bringing the world closer together is really at stake

He smiled ear to ear for Canada’s 150
Citing many celebrations and no doubt they’ll be nifty
From Cities to Towns whether urban or rural
Canada’s birthday celebrations will be sure to unfurl

He googled his route and loaded up his apps
With his mobile device positioned solidly on his lap
He was ready to tweet from his red glow in the sky
Pleasing those on the ground with a twinkle their eye

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim, as he flew east to west

Merry Christmas to Canada you’re truly the best


Love My Blog

Tips for the New Blogger

December 18th, 2016

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A Blog ?

The Holidays offer a time to relax, consider new pursuits, adjust your plan for the new year or perhaps just try something you’ve never thought of attempting before. In that regard one might consider writing a blog.

Blog Support

Sarah Smith had reached out to me about this great article and infographic that she has produced for the “new blogger”. I thought that is was certainly a great infographic capturing terrific tips for the blogger just starting out in the wonderful world of the blogosphere. Thanks to Sarah. I hope that bloggers find it useful. Cheers to the season.

Do you want to become a blogger? You might think that blogging is easy, just like what other people may have told you.  You just have to go to the Internet the entire day and write about ideas that you have in your mind. Well, the truth is, starting a blog is not as simple as it seems.

When you start writing your first blog, you will certainly realize that it is harder than what you thought it would be. You will encounter different issues that you must learn to overcome. Even the ones who have been blogging for a long time also experience some challenges or difficulties along their way.

Do not feel bad if you make some mistakes. Mistakes will not end your world. It is fine as long as you take them as a chance to learn and step up. You can also learn from other bloggers’ mistakes in the past to avoid committing such similar mistakes.

Blogging is fun and convenient for some people, so we want to help you make it a bit easier to start with. We have prepared this amazing infographic that contains a list of generally known mistakes a beginner blogger usually makes.

See the image below and gain information from the list. You can also follow the team on Twitter at Start Blog.

 Be aware of these common mistakes in blogging so you can avoid them when you start to create your own blog. Our website http://www.startbloggingonline.com can provide you with more helpful and simple blogging tips that you can also share with your friends.

beginning blogger mistakes to avoid

 

CEO Social Networking

CEO Social Networking

November 21st, 2016

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Your CEO Social Networking. Do you cringe? Do you embrace the thought? Do you hope the CEO won’t read this headline? Or are you a CEO who is sitting there thinking “it is time and I need to get on with this”?

Do you cringe? Do you embrace the thought? Do you hope the CEO won’t read this headline? Or are you perhaps a CEO who is sitting there thinking “it is time and I need to get on with this”? All worthy provocations.

I just read a Marketing Magazine article posted by Cision the following:

“this year’s Signal Social CEO Index revealed that only 53 per cent of Canada’s top CEOs are on even one social media platform, and only 16 percent use two or more networks. With 78 percent of Canadian journalists using social media for work purposes, an executive’s absence spells missed opportunities for brands.”

Further information related to the Signal Leadership communications article can be seen in full here.

As a Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Molson Coors Canada, I had the early support of our CEO early in 2007; and the Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer. They gave me permission to explore and engage in social networking for the business. I was leading corporate communications and the concept of social networking was starting to explode. In fact, we created a blog with initial counsel from Dr. Mary Donohue, given that traditional media wasn’t necessarily carrying our message about all the good that was being done for multiple decades via the Molson Coors Donations Fund. I digress.

Two Factors for Success of C-Suite Social

For me, there are two critical factors at the C-Suite level when it comes to social media. First, the support by the C-Suite for the communications team to fully engage, explore and ignite social networking in a buisness. Second, for the CEO to actually take a role and play a part in that social networking activity. I think that the Signal PR report points out the gap that is most apparent in the second factor.

It is great to have C-suite support for your communications initiatives. It is even more powerful when that team of C-Suite executives actually take a role in the communications effort.

I would also want to dig deeper into the “53% of CEO’s engaged in social” to truly find out who is managing their content. I applaud the CEO who decides to step into social. It takes courage and it is not a natural role to assume. I celebrate the CEO who steps into the space with their voice, their thoughts, positions and their actual participation and engagement in the network.

A strong and successful social networking strategy will be set up for success when the CEO and communications team work together, rather than independently, on the CEO social strategy and action plan.

Managed by Communications Folks

Don’t worry communications teams, I am not suggesting that your CEO or C-Suite folks take on social networking in isolation from you and your team. In fact, the CEO should be as strategically relevant and “on message” as anyone else in the organization. Let’s face it, they set the tone from the top for all the other aspects of communication and business strategies. Why would we change that here?  Better yet, why would they think any differently?  This should be a collaborative strategic extension of marketing communications if the CEO is actually speaking out from their position in the business.

CEO’s directing their Communications

Building on working with the communications team, the CEO can powerfully add their voice and their humanness to the social networking for the business. Simply posting what marketing feeds them, or what PR approves is not truly authentic. A CEO that talks a bit about their education, interests, hobbies, family, weekend adventures, travel interests, passions for food, use of their business products; will help build engagement with the CEO social networking and a human side of the business that they are leading. The CEO as a champion and ambassador for their brand can be a valid, believable place on the team.

Respect for the Medium

A caution for all who consider taking a role in social networking for their business. From the CEO through to the delivery person, remember to have respect for the medium. Please understand that what you post is public. I liken social media to traditional media. How would you respond to a call from a reporter at the Globe and Mail? It is likely that the CEO would confer with their communications or PR counsel internally. If there is not internal support, it is likely that they would call their agency supporting them in PR and communications. Naturally, there would be an assessment of how that response to media and story told would show up in the press. Social media is no different. Social media is actually posting to a social media network. When it is posted and out there – it is in the world of media. Recall also that from the Signal PR report that 78 percent of journalists using social media for work purposes. You can follow relevant journalists and they can easily follow you. If they are interested in your business, they are likely already following or observing.

Plan the Journey

As with marketing, media relations, sales, business development, strategy, logistics – the social networking strategy takes planning. Let’s face it, your CEO social networking is a pretty sensitive concept – right ? Setting up the profile and entering the network takes minutes. Actually doing it strategically takes some planning. What to post? When to post? Why to post? Who to follow? How to respond? How to monitor? How quickly to respond? All of these are good questions. The answers are not necessarily standard. Much of it may depend on the personality of the CEO. Some of it may depend on the business and some of the regulatory peculiarities of that business. Best practices? It is up to you to create what is the best practice for your business and the personality of your CEO. An integration into the overall communications for the company will need to be reviewed. This is so that the CEO is not just some isolated, independent extension of all else going on with the business. There does need to be a plan.

CEO’s in social networking can be a powerful asset for the business. Your CEO social networking can truly position your business for leadership in your sector or category. Your CEO social networking can also be a disaster if there is not a well thought out plan in place. At the Devins Network, I’d be pleased to engage further with any CEO who might be interested, or with any communications team that might be entertaining the thought. I have passion and commitment for your success. Let’s start that conversation.

Thanks to Marketing Magazine, Cision and Signal PR for raising the matter. A gap worth closing in the corporate communications mix. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Obstacle Course Racing World Championships – Make A Wish Canada

September 5th, 2016

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The team at 365 Sports are continuing to build support for our community as they partner with Make A Wish Canada and the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in October. Hats off to everyone for helping to make a difference for the lives of youth in Canada. Well done!

365Sports and OCRWC Make a Wish

365 Sports, Inc. and Adventurey, LLC., organizers of the 2016 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC), the premier independent championships serving the burgeoning sport of Obstacle Course Racing, have announced a new partnership with Make-A-Wish® Canada in support of their efforts to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. “There is no better fit for our organisation than Make-A-Wish,” said OCRWC Founder & CEO Adrian Bijanada. “For me and many others on the OCRWC team, this partnership is a dream come true, both professionally and personally.” As part of the partnership, OCRWC organisers and partners 365 Sports, Inc. will introduce and Open Division on Sunday of World Championship weekend, for which Make-A-Wish® will serve as a beneficiary. Additionally, 365 Sports and OCRWC will also be working with Crowdrise to drive interest, awareness and fundraising efforts on behalf of the wish-granting organisation.

How it Will Happen

“During the open run day on Sunday, October 16, a portion of each registration will be donated directly to Make-A-Wish,” said Tony Smith CEO of 365 Sports Inc. “As participants take to the obstacle course, they will be proud to know that they are making a difference for countless youth who face their unique challenges. With our participants’ generous support, our goal is to raise $25,000.00.”

More about OCRWC

The Obstacle Course Race World Championships is a single event created to unify, promote and increase participation in the sport of OCR, while celebrating its amazing athletes and community. This year’s competition, held October 14-16, will draw more than 2,000 athletes from over 30 countries to Blue Mountain Resort located outside Collingwood, Ontario.

This is the first time that the world championships have been held in Canada. With the splendour of fall colours in the Blue Mountains, the team at 365Sports are certain to be pleasing the world as they compete at this event.

@365Sports @OCRChampionship  @ BlueMountainResort @MakeAWishCA @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Disclosure – 365Sports is a client of Devins Network Inc. I am proud of the work that they do in our greater community and their model for getting Canadians coast to coast to coast more active. FD

5K Foam Fest Moving Across Canada

July 11th, 2016

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Believe me – It is FUN !

Ok, I must admit, when I first got the call from Jesse Fulton at 365Sports “an enthusiast for adventure and action sports” asking me to chat with him about public relations and social media for their 5K Foam Fest; I was lacking a little on knowledge of this particular “race scene”. But…after spending some time with the team and taking in the event first hand at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, I am a believer. And my gosh, is it fun.

Yes, after a few months of working with the team at 365Sports, I have come to have a great deal of respect and admiration for what they are executing in 14 stops from the west coast to Atlantic this summer in Canada. People are hopping off their couches, leaving their “devices” at the “gear check” and experiencing one heck of a fun event.

The event is also partnered with Habitat for Humanity and all proceeds from the Gear Check go to the local chapeter of @Habitat

The 5K Foam Fest is a fun-filled day of “participation” that puts fun seekers of all ages in a challenge against 20+ obstacles, a lot of foam, and some personal challenges. It is not a competition. It is all about completing the course. And…complete it as you see fit. If you don’t like the obstacle, go around it ! The minimum age is 8 years old, and teams are made up of all ages, families, workers, colleagues, fitness enthusiasts and some who are just simply seeking to accomplish a personal challenge set out by the 5K Foam Fest course.

I had the pleasure of visiting the festival event at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia near Kamloops British Columbia. I also had the opportunity to walk the course and witness the fun and frolic of participants as they faced their obstacles, mud, foam, hurdles and water! Walk Ferg ? Well yes, I had work to do…smiles.

The obstacles are plentiful as you leave from the starting gate moving your way cautiously through the foam that surrounds you. Here is a quick photo collage of  “the course” during the Sun Peaks 5K Foam Fest in British Columbia in June 2016. I have also included a couple of shots from the Winnipeg event.

The Course

The starting gate is quite a remarkable experience to witness as participants queue up behind the foam ready to lunge forward into the engulfing light white foam that awaits them.

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A chamber of foam awaits participants after a quick run out of the starting gate.

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There are several obstacles set up to test the crawling ability of participants. Many choose to crawl under, but some choose to be more cautious and step over the awaiting web.

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Several water stations re-hydrate participants along the course.

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Many are in awe by the awaiting “mud” obstacles. The Mocha pit and Mud Crawl were two beauties !

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The tube crossing looks easy…but a mud bath can easily consume the fun seekers.

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Several “run and dives” welcome participants with a slope into foam and wetness.

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A log roll like foam filled obstacle is unnerving as folks try to slip and slide over the rounded logs covered in foam.

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Mud pits abound…this one was particularly interesting with snow piled on each side of the obstacle.

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The Lily Pads look so easy to cross but have been known to snag participants at the ankles dragging them into the water below.

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Monkey business seems pretty standard but can be quite the challenge at this stage of the #5KFoamFest experience.

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Foam brings smiles to faces along the way in at various obstacle stops.

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Up and over never seemed like so much fun.

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At the 3/4 mark, the body washer is a welcoming refresher for participants.

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A large version of a standard hurdle makes for a quick climb.

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The “Death Drop” has them screaming down the slide on this “world largest” inflatable slide.

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Naturally, there is still “more foam” as participants near the finish line.

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Much joy of accomplishment is seen on the faces of those completing the course and being awarded their towels and medals.

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Each course is fully equipped with showers to freshen up at the end of a wonderful #5KFoamFest experience.

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And…if you have not had enough of a thrill through the course, you can always experience “Sky Fall” on site !

All in all the #5KFoamFest produced by the team @365Sports is an experience worth taking in this summer. Be sure to check and see which stop you might experience as the team travels coast to coast this summer in Canada. Check it all out at www.5KFoamFest.ca

Be sure to tweet all about your experience @FoamFestCanada. We’ll be waiting to hear about your experience. Or join the over one hundred and fifty thousand fans now following the team on Facebook.

Have an awesome summer !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork