How Brainstorming Improves Creative Problem Solving

By | Learning, Marketing, Strategy | No Comments

Brainstorming sessions are frequent happenings at marketing and advertising agencies. Poor brainstorming can lead to weak ideas and wasted time. Practicing proper brainstorming techniques is crucial for marketing agencies to produce top-of-the-line content and ideas for clients, and that is exactly what we do at Brand & Mortar.

In general, brainstorming is a creative problem-solving technique that requires the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the participating group. There are three key factors that help the brainstorming session head in the right direction, which include:

  • A clearly defined question
  • The right resource group
  • Divergent and convergent thinking

Read More

Optimizing Tweets for Impressions & Engagement

By | Blogging, SEO, Social Media, Strategy | No Comments

In my opinion, Twitter is still one of the best platforms marketers can utilize for the purposes of building brand awareness. With smart content choices, clever and concise copy, and visually appealing images or videos, earning organic impressions and engagement while growing your follower base is entirely possible without the need for substantial investment in paid ad campaigns.

There are several tricks and tools one can take advantage of in order to optimize their Twitter content for maximum reach potential. These tools come in handy when developing a content strategy for Twitter, helping you decide what and when to post. And for the social media marketers out there reading this, these online tools also prove useful when trying to justify or defend certain content choices to your client, particularly with regards to (#)hashtag usage, post timing, and (@)Mention choices. Read More

Snapchat Lenses: An Advertising Goldmine

By | Blogging, Marketing, News, Strategy

Snapchat is becoming extremely popular among celebrities, tech-savvy moms, and teens who need another social media account to keep them occupied. But, Snapchat has been on another level lately, as they are sending their app to an alternate dimension in the world of marketing.

Recently Snapchat lenses have exploded, and face swaps and rainbow tongues are becoming viral content across other social platforms. Snapchat lenses are really revamping the boring selfie we’re all sick of. Yes—we get it, you’re a good looking model on Instagram…*sigh*.  But, Snapchat lenses turn your selfies into face-altered characters, creatures, and comedic videos. Boring model meets creepy Easter Bunny—I like it.

How do these lenses work?

Snapchat lenses are animations that overlay your selfies to create fun, creepy, or wacky effects. If you’ve always wanted to know what you’d look like as E.T., the alien Snapchat lens will fulfill your freakish fantasy.

To use the lenses, you have to:

  • Open up the Snapchat app;
  • Touch the screen, holding your finger on your face;
  • Swipe to select different lenses; and
  • Take a picture or record a video with the lens of your choice.

Now these are the steps to use the free lenses, but you can also purchase different lenses if you’re looking to change your selfies up even more! Lenses cost $0.99, but there are free ones added daily—so be sure to check the app regularly for new lens options.

Face Swap

Face swap is a relatively new feature on Snapchat that allows you to swap faces with your best friend, your lover, your family member, or even that painting at the museum. Face swap videos have been going viral lately, so get on board and see what funny swaps you can come up with!

Marketing Potential

Millions of people are already using these Snapchat lenses, and the big brands are noticing. In the media, Snapchat set-up a Super Bowl sponsored lens for the big event this year. The results are in, and the lens received over 100 million views! But, apparently, these lenses are pricy. Sponsored holiday lenses are said to be $750, 000, which is an expensive advertisement. But, the possibilities for brands are limitless. Big brands can create their own custom lens, which will be used to augment their customer’s selfies around the globe.

So have fun with Snapchat lenses today, and take advantage of the lenses that are available now, because they’ll disappear in no time. Snapchat is truly changing the face of marketing and advertising.


Why Are Snapchat Geofilters so Addictive?

By | Blogging, Learning, Life, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Chances are if you’ve been on Snapchat in the past year, that you might have noticed the opportunity to scroll (left or right) on your ‘snap’ and add filters — images which lay atop of the image you’ve just taken, often designating where you are, events in your area, or general advertisements.

What are geofilters?

Snapchat geofilters were originally released in July 2014, and since then they have gained a significant amount of popularity. Snapchat actually crowdsources the submissions for prospective geofilters, allowing users the opportunity to ‘rep’ their neck of the woods. This approach emphasizes the ability to design, contribute, and witness your work in action (should it receive approval). 

Why use geofilters?

First and foremost, geofilters are a great marketing strategy for companies. Millennials are flocking to

photo cred:

photo cred:

Snapchat in droves, and they represent an attractive demographic for marketers and companies alike. Simply put, it pays to be where the young people are most active. In addition to this, there are multiple locations which provide geofilters — with more being added every day. Miami, Oakville, and even Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood have their own unique geofilters. Geofilters are popular because they are unique to specific locations, that they are “exclusive” to certain areas makes them attractive to users. 

Why are geofilters so popular?


From a big-picture perspective, geofilters allows users to identify with their current location. Users have the opportunity to share with their family and friends where they are, what they are doing, and what is going on in the world. Consider it one large social experiment in the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), where people share what they are doing so that everyone they know can acknowledge it and share back what they are doing. Companies are even able to create time-sensitive geofilters to market events, holidays, or social events. 

The next time you’re on Snapchat, no matter where you are in the world, swipe right or left to find out if your location has a geofilter. Soon enough you might be embarking on your own personal scavenger hunt to discover as many unique filters as possible. Happy hunting! 

How to Market Your Brand on Instagram

By | Social Media, Strategy

Most brands make the mistake of adding too many pictures focusing on their products or business, instead of concentrating on the lifestyle of the brand. Instagram is meant to draw consumers in with luxurious photos and a, mostly, unattainable, but drool-worthy life.

These are a few tips on how to promote your business on Instagram—without driving your followers away by indulging in self-promotion.


Like Photos

Look for Instagram “famous” people who fit your brand. Now like their content! Yes—it’s that easy. By liking photos that speak to your brand, you are more likely to get a like back on one of your own photos. Likes also lead to more followers, and followers really legitimize a business on Twitter.


Focus on the Lifestyle of Your Brand

As mentioned, Instagram is not about posting pictures of products or office outings. It’s about giving people a lifestyle that they want. Think bigger.


Add Video Content

Instagram is not solely based around images anymore! Video content is becoming more and more popular on Instagram, with those few seconds of attention-grabbing content. Vine-like videos do well on Instagram, with humour being a common thread in videos that are attaining an innumerable amount of likes. By uploading a few videos, you diversify your content and attract more viewers and followers.


Host Contests

By hosting contests on Instagram you are engaging with your followers in a unique way. Your followers will be more likely to check-up on your brand more often to see what other great giveaways you’re offering. Make sure that the prizes you are giving away are relevant to your brand and encourage the winners to post a picture with their prizes.

The Cure to Writer’s Block

By | Blogging, Strategy

You’re feeling inspired, you’re ready to sit down and write that best seller, that blog post, or even just that email to tell your boss you didn’t finish that report that was due yesterday. You sit down with your cup of coffee, smooth jazz playing in the background and you’re ready to go when it hits you, that dreadful writer’s block. We all know that wall that gets in the way of you writing the best thing you’ve ever written in your life.

So, here are some tips to defeat that writer’s block so you can go on and write that best seller or even just that text to your friend you got into a fight with over that stupid thing.


Don’t start with a blank page. Staring at that white page on Microsoft Word is almost as bad as staring at screen snow. Write a few notes, some quick ideas, the first thing that comes into your head, write anything on there, it’ll make you feel better about what you’re writing so you don’t press backspace after each sentence you write.

Use a different writing tool. If you always start typing your ideas directly on your computer, why not try somewhere else? Write something the old school way, pick up a pencil and paper, and get to writing. You’ll be surprised at how it changes the way your brain thinks. If that isn’t your thing, open the ‘Notes’ app on your phone and start writing on there, you’ll feel like it’s a text message and maybe you’ll get something going that way.

Change locations. Change up your scenery, if you’re locked up in your basement apartment where the lighting sucks and the only thing you have to sit on is your lumpy bed then take a walk to your local Starbucks or some other hipster coffee shop and set up shop there. A change of space will definitely get you motivated to get back to writing. Also, the worry that people are watching what you’re doing will make you want to write something just to get those cool points in.Back to full colour with a bang today. The sky was looking particularly pretty this evening so we drove out to a field which I spotted whilst driving the other day to do a quick shoot. Strobist: YN460II on full power into shoot-through umbrella, camera left. My Site | Twitter

Write at a different time. If you’re always used to writing in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning – change it up. Do the opposite of what you normally do. Instead of writing first thing in the morning, sleep in a bit and write in the afternoon, or stay up late and write the best thing you’ve ever written in the wee hours of the morning.

Clean something. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home and you’re adamant about writing first thing in the morning, clean up your house. Wash those dishes that have been sitting in your sink all weekend. Doing something that your subconscious is bugging you to do will allow your mind to focus on writing, rather than jumping from the chore you’ve been meaning to do, to the errand writer been meaning to run since last week.


Kick-Starting Your Following on Instagram

By | Social Media, Strategy

Organic growth is great. It can take time but if feels good. You can see easily how your hard work is translating into results, even if it is just a new follower or two a day. The likes pile up, and each feels like an accomplishment. Wow! People really like my photo, but your voice only reaches so many people. But how would you kick start things? On Instagram, the importance of influencers can’t be undersold. You may have 1000 followers, but there are people out there who may have 14,000 or anywhere above or below. The point is you can expand your reach by utilizing these influencers.

Photo cred:

First, find somebody in your industry who you think exemplifies your brand, has a following you would like to target, or simply has a voice people listen to. Take a look at their engagement rate, how many likes is each photo getting–do they have an active comment section? Next you will want to send them a message, be polite, express your interest in their account, and maybe even compliment them. You’re trying to convince them to share your content, or potentially shout-out to your account. You’re creating a partnership so you may need to offer them something in return. For example, maybe you are selling t-shirts. You recently started a clothing line and you would like to get the word out. There are a number of prominent fashion bloggers on Instagram that you know would be perfect for your brand, if they were to be seen wearing your clothing. Send one of these people a message; offer to send them a shirt if they will post it to their account, something along these lines. Remember, your followers already like your brand, you want to convince new followers that they should, utilizing influencers is the perfect way to do this.

Author: Connor Titmarsh

Should Your Boss Be on Twitter?

By | Organization, Social Media, Strategy

There is no doubting it that the most influential and effective leaders throughout history have been great communicators. Often the way they speak with humbling yet powerful tones is what captivates the people they lead and inspires us to build for a better tomorrow.

Communicating on Twitter

In the digital world however, the traditional rules of communication don’t necessarily apply. Great leaders are forced to condense their thoughts into 140 characters or less and the luxury of Teleprompters and hours of practice are absent.

The question that social media marketing departments often have to answer is “Will having our boss on Twitter add value to the brand or will one comment cause us to crash and burn”. Twitter as we know is a great tool to add a face or humanize a brand and allow brand advocates to feel personally connected to the decision makers. On the other hand if your boss is not well trained on proper social etiquette, a PR disaster may be on the horizon.

According to a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick, only 10% of the chief executives running the world’s 50 largest companies regularly tweet. This may also have to do with the fact that the majority of today’s business leaders are aged 50-60 and are perhaps too old to understand social media fully.

Twitter for the Leaders of Tomorrow

Personally I believe that depending on your company and organizational goals, having a strong Twitter presence isn’t necessary. But, it will however become essential for the future business leaders of tomorrow to maintain a well-kept social media presence. It will almost be expected of them having grown up in the digital age.

A strong Twitter presence for leaders can definitely enhance their brand even when they aren’t talking about things related to the business. People are interested in who the leaders of their favourite brands are and their values and opinions. Users on social media expect full transparency from companies and look to social media to gain insights. It is important for brands to open up a two-way dialogue with their customers and fans and provide them with benefits and incentives to remain loyal.

Although there have been many train wrecks on Twitter from some of business’s top leaders, when trained and executed properly your bosses words of wisdom could translate into valuable earned media your the brand.

How to Optimize Micro-Moments

By | Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Experiencing a Micro-Moment

Google recently broadcasted a live stream via YouTube on a digital trend they are calling “Micro-Moments”. As mobile becomes even more of an indispensable part of our everyday lives, Google is noticing a way in which people are using search to making purchasing decisions, especially on their smartphones.

There are thousands of moments in a day that typically start the minute you wake up and check your phone, that is when your micro-moment journey begins. Whether it’s checking the time, the weather, sending a text, scrolling through Instagram or quickly looking something up online each of these interactions with our phone are mini-moments where we are choosing to turn to our devices and act on something.

Capturing Micro-Moments

These moments have the potential to become “game changers” for marketers, but they have to be quick. Research suggests that consumers in their moments are more loyal to their own needs than to a specific brand. That being said it is even more crucial for brands to be following SEO best practices on their websites and taking Google AdAwords seriously. Consumers are making decisions faster than ever and are finding information to their needs in even shorter spurts. Long gone are the days when a consumer would wait to get home to research a specific topic, they are living in the moment so to speak and turning to their smartphones for results. Will your brand be among the top search results when a potential customer is having a moment? This is now something you should be thinking about and planning for in your marketing strategy.

The purchase journey of customers has become fragmented into micro-moments. People’s expectations are higher than ever and expect immediate results on the things they want right away.  Recent research shows that “Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.” (via Think With Google)

Optimizing Micro-Moments

So how can marketers stay ahead of their consumers and capture their attention during these micro-moments? Follow these suggestions:

  1. Identify the micro-moments that matter the most to your business. Whether that be to attract consumers into your store or to purchase your product online, what are the micro-moments you need to win over?
  2. Deliver on Needs in the Moment-optimize your content to fit these moments. Ensure that information is bite-sized, easy to consume and visually stimulating.
  3. Measure Results- the key to any marketing initiative is to measure the results and determine if the outcome was worth the time and money.

A great quote that seems perfectly fitting for this new model of marketing is “living in the moment could be the meaning of life”, or in this case the meaning of hearts, minds, and dollars won.