Caterina Ventrella

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

#Futurecamp Finale

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

What can we take from our social media class into the world of corporate communications?

This was the final question me and some fellow Humber PR peers were forced to ask ourselves now that social media class is done. There was no shortage of responses and this didn’t come as a surprise. We’ve been having these conversations as we’ve been learning along the way, with guidance from social media and public relations gurus such as: Bob Pickard, SMOjoe, Mitch JoelErin Bonokoski Joseph Thornley.

So I decided to read in between the lines. After all of the classroom twitpics, hash tags, wordles, blogs,  profiles, tweets, Skype tutorials, slideshares and DIGGS  I came to the conclusion that the answer is confidence.

We ended our  future camp discussion with the conclusion that we can enter the world of corporate communications  with the confidence in knowing how to manage a company’s online presence in a way that will bring value to their brand.

In other words, mission accomplished Michael Cayley.  Humber’s first social media class was a success!

Take a look at what my peers had to say:

Andrew Bartucci Caitlin McNamee-Lamb Kara Merpaw Sayurie Naidoo


Bloggers Backstage

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 at 3:13 am

Being a backstage media volunteer for FDCC LG Fashion Week was tres cool for two reasons:

1 – backstage look at the magic and art that is fashion.

2 – the media-related tidbits I learned

….however my pretty PR eyes notice something interesting – bloggers backstage. Right beside the names of SunTv and Inside Fashion  on my holy grail of backstage access, were bloggers. And were not talking no Perez Hilton. No, not even names that big….check back in soon to see who I’m talking about.

Guest Blog: Tiger’s back – and so are his PR people!

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 at 2:56 am

There’s too much talk about Tiger …again, and the conversation is just too juicy to not join in. I’ve invited guest blogger Sayurie Naidoo to share her thoughts on the PR side of things.


What would be the best way to return to the public eye after a moment of shame and embarrassment – than to exploit your late father.

I know, I know. Everyone is jumping on the “Let’s hate on Tiger” bandwagon. And I’ll admit, it’s easy to jump on. The guy made a mockery of his family, his marriage and his public image.

Tiger’s return to the Master’s kicked off with a new TV ad from his loyal sponsor, Nike. The 30 second commercial features a pain-ridden Tiger, staring straight on at the camera while his late father’s voice echoes in the background. After the initial eeriness of this scene leaves you, it just seems like a desperate attempt for forgiveness. And maybe for a little sympathy, too.

But is this really such a bad thing? Tiger Woods is a full-blown celebrity. There is nothing typical about his life, nor has there ever been. Tiger Woods is also a brand. He is one of the world’s most powerful brands, owned by the PGA and Nike, two equally powerful corporations.

This brand can resist any storm. Because people truly like him. And they want him to succeed. They want to remember the good times, seeing the video of Tiger as a toddler. That Tiger can do no wrong.

For this reason, Tiger Woods, the brand, will do whatever it takes to be a success. Is this exploitation of his late father? No. It would be for the average person.

 But Tiger Woods is anything but average.

Bold Move: Pepsi switches from Super Bowl to social media

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 1:16 am

Marketers have good reason to claim the Pepsi Refresh Project as “innovative” and “impactful”.  Pepsi’s decision to replace its 23-year old ad spot from Super Bowl XLIV with a  $20 million social media campaign has the industry watching and waiting to see how it all ends. Pepsi’s unique campaign strategies and objectives  make it a first-of-its-kind. Experts fear a 30-second television spot would have yielded a greater ROI than a year-long campaign.

 At first, few corporations were brave enough to launch a social media campaign. But it’s come to light that social media is not a fad.  It’s imperative for organizations to go online and connect with their audiences. Corporations need to do less talking and more listening as consumers take hold of the conversation that’s taking place online. It has to do with a little something called PR 2.0. For these reasons, I think the Pepsi Refresh Project will be a success:

Market penetration and reach
The heart of the campaign takes place on the project’s website People have the opportunity to select the social media tools they`re most familiar with to pitch their idea. Supplementary pages exist on the different social media applications like their  Twitter page , YouTube channel and Facebook page. While some social media campaigns operate directly out of one specific application, Pepsi uses these as extensions of the main website. This gives both Pepsi and the public more creative control. Also, people who do not have profiles on these social media applications can still participate through the project website. For a better look at the tech factors, click here.

Clever take on CSR and creating conversations
The campaign positions Pepsi as socially responsible. It communicates the brand`s commitment to sustainability and community building.  Companies typically research which CSR initiatives connect with the hearts of their consumers. Here, consumers tell Pepsi what’s important to them. This removes the risk of supporting initiatives that don’t resonate with its audience.

Conceives active followers who willingly become brand evangelists
People vigorously promote their idea to gain votes by directing traffic to the Refresh website. Promoting the Pepsi brand in addition. Celebrities such as Demi Moore have  submitted project ideas in need of funding. To read more about the people involved, click here.

Innovative qualities and increased coverage
Marketers don’t know whether to praise or pass judgement on Pepsi’s decision to walk away from one of advertising’s top ten commandments – to have a million dollar spot in the Super Bowl. The decision alone attracted loads of media coverage before the project was even launched.

Evaluation and measurement
Super Bowl ads only provide a specific amount of media impressions. The digital ads generate concrete ways of evaluating audience size, such as the number of voters, website hits and ideas submitted.

Customer interaction and commitment
A Super Bowl commercial captures an audience for about 30-seconds. And if controversial enough, could make it to the water cooler and morning show banter the next day.  The Refresh Project exposes its audience to the brand for a greater length of time. People will revisit the site over and over again to pitch ideas, vote for projects and check out who won each month.

Unleashing a social media campaign in the digital community is not always a recipe for success. Like any marketing campaign, the Refresh Project has its very own weaknesses and threats. Your bound to come across another online campaign within your first 5 clicks away from this blog. Conduct as quick social media S.W.O.T analysis to see how other online corporate campaigns measure up.

Personal Brand: I am my personal brand & I want to be known for me.

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 7:12 am

Welcome to the launch of my personal brand.

Thanks to Michael Cayley I’ve spent the last two months treading the deep sea of social media applications. (Or was it more like drowning?) I began blogging, tweeting and uploading on WordPress, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, SlideShare and DIGG. Before it all began, I thought I had a grasp on the key properties of social media. But the past couple of months have completely unleashed the  immense connectivity and people to people information sharing possibilities of social media applications.

I realized, the question isn’t where I fit  in amongst all of these applications, but instead, where all of these sites fit in with my brand plan? How will social media help me write my story? I wiped my blog blank so that I can begin creating my new online platform because it all begins here. You’ll notice that my brand surrounds the notion of creating valuable content, generating valuable conversations, and leveraging ideas and issues off professionals and future industry leaders – my amazing peers. My essential qualities will shine through along the way. In other words,  I am my personal brand and I want to be known for me.

Constructive feedback on my current plan is appreciated.  Join me on my journey as I launch my career into PR 2.0.


Back to the Basics: Five Steps to Street Safety

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

The recent chain of pedestrian fatalities has shaken up Toronto. Each incident tells an unfortunate story that hit too close to home.

The 14 fatalities are mapped out as follows:


No need to connect the dots. The graph won’t reveal a sequential pattern. The situation is troubling, but panic is not necessary. City officials responded on impulse by proposing new policies. But as I suspected, Toronto Traffic Services revealed no groundbreaking explanation. There is no common cause in any of the fatalities. The incidents are a random clutter of occurrences.

This means no finger-pointing. The situation forces both drivers and pedestrians to take a hard look at their habits. I’ve put pedestrians on my radar the past few weeks, and my very independent, very informal study revealed – we all just got a little careless. We forgot the basics.

To help us survive the streets once again, I went back to the basics to compile a list of five steps to street safety: 

        1. Look both ways

 This tops the list because it’s the most important, yet most lacking. I noticed many people fail to lift their head before crossing, let alone scan both directions. Pedestrians, make sure there are no oncoming cars before crossing. Pause for a quick moment to judge the speed of oncoming cars. Drivers, scan the sidewalks and crossways carefully before turning.

2. Don’t impair peripheral vision

Hoods, hats, and sunglasses block peripheral vision. Keeping warm is key, but consider pulling down your hood to get a good view when crossing. The same applies to drivers who like to stay extra toasty in the car.

3. Avoid distractions from handheld devices

Smart phones, iPods, and cell phones require much attention. Be cautious when talking and walking. Texting and tweeting is a no-no. Driver’s, the grace period is over , no more handheld devices while driving.









4. Tone down the tunes

Headphones and the radio should not block out sounds that can signal warning, like a honking horn, or the squeaky sounds of oncoming street cars.

5. Don’t jaywalk

Pedestrians, it’s illegal and it increases the chances of getting hurt. Avoid the lazy route, and use the nearest crossway. Drivers, always be alert for careless crossers.

SocialApp Review: Wonderful World of WordPress… From one beginner to another.

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Yes, I’ll admit, I sort of judged a book blog by its cover template .As a beginner to the wonderful world of blogging, my first instinct was to select a blog domain based on aesthetics, simple start- up, and “How-to” resources.

And We’re In
Singing up was a synch. Some sites ask for your life story before granting access. But with WordPress that was not the case. The requirement does not go beyond the very basics: name, email, and password. As soon as I signed in, I was prompted to write my first blog within seconds! I was greeted by a short and sweet message that  invited me to start writing . Again, as a beginner blogger, it was nice to  see that little bit of encouragement to get started.

Looking Good
The site presents a clean and  sophisticated typeface  throughout the site. Along with a great use of  white space. For these two reasons I found the website  aesthetically pleasing.  

“How To” Help
Anxious to get started, I wanted to ensure the site offered substantial  “How to” resources .  The “How to” page is very user friendly. It was reassuring to see that even as I navigated away from the main page to search for some start up tips , the clean crisp design theme  was  maintained in each new window. The use of white space , large clear text, noticeable tags and basic jargon made  navigating the  help page a synch.

Integration and Publicity
Thanks to various promotion applications on WordPress I can focus on blogging rather than promoting.  Applications are available to integrate my work with other social media sites. Through an application called Ping – o – Matic, my blog can be automatically sent to my Twitter account. And Publicize automatically loads my blog  onto search engines and global tag pages.

Most interesting feature so far…
Dashboard. This is the term Word Press coined for the first page you see after logging  in.  Presented on that page is a snapshot on the level of activity that for all aspects of the blog.

Getting to know my neighbours
Proud to say that my new blogger domain is also home to the famous television personality, Giada De Laurentiis, from the Food Network, and whose shows I personally enjoy. Also, the man  known and hated for his celebrity gossip blog, Perez Hilton.

Once again, as a first time blogger, a look into the technical applications are not something I am ready to consider. My apologies to my partner Anna  for selecting a blog application to review that did not work well for her. If you’re  curious to see why she wasn’t feeling WordPress , see Anna Cerzerniawski’s Blog.  Me on the other hand, I liked what I saw, and I’m a sucker for love at first sight.

Here’s a video review if you need further convincing.