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West Jet Chrismas Miracle | Amazing Viral Video Reinforces Branding

I love a good viral video. One that is entertaining and makes me laugh. One that will encourage me to share it with my friends via Facebook and Twitter so everyone else I know can have a good laugh. But every so often, I will come across a feel-good viral video.

Christmas is approaching, and one of my favourite things about Christmas is the good deeds people do. The other week I decided to buy a coffee for the person behind me. It was only $2, but I bet it made their day. I also heard on the radio I man paid the bill for 10 people’s groceries. And then you wait for a big company, like Canadian airline West Jet for example, to do something spectacular for their customer’s and show their competitors who’s boss. Hashtag Boss.

I personally don’t like flying. And my flights with West Jet have not been the best experiences…flight wise (their employees were great at comforting me during a severe panic attack). But I really love their branding and the West Jet representatives they have on site during your trip. They really do commit themselves to you. I get the sense they want to make you feel like family. And here is where my viral video comes into play.

To make sure their customer’s feel like family, they gave them a Christmas. Watch the video below:



A little bit of a tear jerker, isn’t it. It also makes me wish that I was on that flight because I really want an iPad. I respect West Jet for doing this. Let’s put the publicity stunt aside for a moment and really look at what they’re doing. Instilling a sense of belonging with their customers. Making them feel like they value them as customers. But they have also established one serious connection with their customers with emotional connection. BOOM. Triple threat.

They are reinforcing their branding as the airline that really cares about you. And I think this is just genius! If you go to their Twitter feed, it’s an emotional rampage of inspiring pay-it-forward Tweets and people discussing their tears of joy. Such a perfect video in so many ways. It has inspired others to do good, created an emotional connection, and reinforces their branding. This is going to be one that is hard to forget. High five West Jet marketing team. High five.

Social Media and Education | Using Twitter to Create a Community

Social media is used by individuals for many reasons.

To update people with useless information about the activities you engage in during the day. I.e. “Today I got gas at a good price.”

To communicate with one another.

To use it as a marketing tool.

And even to use it as a branding tool and spread word of mouth about your brand.

But I’m starting to see it being used within the education community – which is really great! I think this is especially important for universities. When I was attending University of Ottawa (I graduated in 2009) social media was relatively new. Facebook was available to me in my second year, and Twitter just after I graduated. So the school really didn’t have very much opportunity to stand their ground and create an online community for students. At least not officially. There was a really inappropriate Facebook page set up for University of Ottawa – but I won’t go there.

I would have loved for there to have been a Twitter account for University of Ottawa. To let me know about exam, class, or even school cancelations. Alerts for upcoming events, or school gatherings and promotions. Looking at the opportunity a school Twitter account has for students has opened my eyes to all the student-related gatherings I probably missed out on during my undergrad days.

When I do a search online for university Twitter accounts – it looks pretty good! A lot of schools are on-board with the concept of engaging in social media and using it as a way to create an online community for their school. Some of the accounts are really great – they have a nice background image that is consistent with the school’s branding, and they are engaging with students and promoting events.

For example: University of Ottawa is a bilingual school. The Twitter account delivers a healthy balance between French and English Tweets. They promote school-related activities and winnings, but also community-related news as well. I really like their strategy.(And I’m not just being biased – although I was being biased when I used them as an example)

University of Ottawa Twitter


I also took a look at Lakehead University’s Twitter account. I searched them because they are not a super popular university, so I figured their account would be less-maintained than some of the other more well-known school. Although the desktop version of their account was not well-attended to branding wise  – they were very engaged with students and even prospective students. I really liked what they were doing. The majority of their activity was based on engagement which is really great for creating a sense of belonging. (Perfect for trying to bring in prospective students!)


Lakehead University


We all know what Twitter can do for your brand. It helps to establish your business and give you an opportunity to reach out to people who can’t physical see you. It gives people another way to find you. But it’s also a really great tool to use to create a community and the feeling of belonging for the group you are targeting. I think this is so important for schools to take advantage of. Creating an online strategy for a community like a university, should be part of their branding and marketing initiatives. Especially if they want to attract more students.

A business can take away a lot from the strategy of a school Twitter account. Why? Because I find that when a business is on Twitter they are trying to sell rather than trying to engage and create a sense of belonging. I would love to see a business Twitter account work more towards engagement and creating a community rather than pushing sales and their product. I bet they would see a lot of positive results and feedback!

Rob Ford Takes Over Social Media

I don’t live IN Toronto…I live AROUND Toronto. A.KA. the GTA. But what’s more important is that when I travel to places outside of Canada and I meet someone new, they’re going to ask where I’m from. And I’m going to say Toronto. And they’re going to laugh and say….Rob Ford. The new ‘F’ word for Canadian’s. Ford is no longer associated with cars, it is now associated with the mayor that destroyed the reputation of Toronto and then spread like wild-fire across the country bruising the reputation of Canadians in every province.

Well, it’s not so bad. For the most part Canadian’s are laughing with them. While I ran on the treadmill at the gym, I would sit and watch the news and hear about the new shenanigans the mayor would get into to embarrass himself while I desperately tried to regain my balance on the moving floor beneath me so I wouldn’t embarrass myself – because I was laughing so hard.

I was sent a super-awesome video that Mashable posted that became this amazing viral marketing feast that had people talking. I loved it. The Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo ad is serious. I don’t know who Jean-Claude is. (Should I?) But now I know that he’s a bad-ass stunt man who got Volvo 34,060,322 (As of November 19th) hits on Youtube. That’s big! See video below:



Majestic, right? I thought so too. And then somebody went and stuck Rob Ford’s face on Jean-Claude’s which destroyed my ‘majestic’ feelings toward that bad-ass stunt… (See video below)



Well, social media. You have done it again. You provided the “Mayor” of Toronto with 140,000 hits shy of a million on YouTube. I’ve watched several gifs, Tweets, Facebook posts, and videos of Ford acting like a fool. To be fair, Canada never really gets coverage like this. We’re that boring country in the north who look like lumberjacks and live in ice houses – We skate to work, don’t have street lamps in our cities because we don’t have electricity, and we say “Eh!” all the time. Maybe only one word of that sentence is actually true, but Canada for the most part remains quiet on epic embarrassing political disasters.

The reason I decided to blog on this was because Jean-Claude felt like the last straw. Ford’s version ALSO ended up on Mashable  - the leading social media website. And that’s a pretty big deal. Ford has already gone viral on the news and late-night talk-shows, and I was starting to wonder when someone would come up with a really clever spoof that would go viral on social media.

How is social media going to affect the reputation of the mayor? At this point I don’t really think it will make that big of an impact…talk-shows got to him first. But it absolutely adds to it, and reaches an even larger audience (mostly people who don’t stay up past 11:00pm). Social media is what gets people talking because we get the opportunity to see the topic in a different way – usually in an incredibly hilarious way. Once something hits social media and others start talking about, you know it will be viral. All it takes it something clever and hilarious to get people talking. And if you put it on the right platform at just the right time you get the golden viral ticket!


I expect more to come in social media with Rob Ford. This is by far the best…but the best is yet to come.

Using Twitter as a Customer Service Tool | My personal experience with a big corporation

I went to Vegas in January, and I wasn’t there for sight-seeing. Being in the age demographic of a 20-something female, I’m obviously going to be taking a LOT of pictures. Naturally I brought my iPhone 4s with me and didn’t let it leave my hot-little hands. A data-plan was important to me while on my vacation because I wanted to be able to share my photos with my friends back in Canada via Instagram, and also be able to text my mom to let her know I was safe…and maybe my friends.

So, I purchased a roaming package from my provider; Bell, and a nice little data plan that would keep me on budget. However, within hours of being in the Sin City, I received a message from Bell saying I had used over 90% of my data. O-M-G. I still had 3 days to go! I called Bell made some amendments and all was well…until I got my $300 cell phone bill the next month. (Insert another O-M-G).

Before panicking and calling Bell to anticipate a 2-hour phone call funneling through various stages of automated voice messages and ‘Emily’ their virtual customer service rep, and ‘real’ customer service reps, I decided to put my digital nerdy-ness to test and complain about my phone bill on Twitter. I wanted to see if their customer service was on point in the digital realm, and how their system worked. I also hate dealing with corporations on the phone because to me, it’s the equivalent of snail mail.

Bell Mobility


Mentioning @Bell­_Mobility I basically stated that my phone bill sucked and so did my data plan. It didn’t take them long to respond. They followed me, sent me a direct message which included an email I could use to contact someone. A much less frustrating customer service funnel – I sent a quick email (several days later when I finally found the time) to explain my situation: I went to Vegas, asked for a data plan and roaming package. They only gave me a roaming package – I used up all my data in a few hours, and they changed it for me. However, they kept my international package going even after my vacation was over causing me to have a ridiculous phone bill AND my data package was never corrected while I was in Vegas. I received an almost immediate response – first that my bill would be corrected and I would receive a credit, but the rep also gave me other data options, but recommended I stick with what I have and try to use online services when I’m on WiFi (DUH!…my bad) I agreed – I usually don’t go over my data plan, so I would test the waters with my current plan for a while longer.

When I got my next phone bill – it was in the minus, hence, I didn’t have to pay anything at all.

I was really impressed with Bell’s communication via Twitter, and how they utilize social media as a customer service outlet. The only thing I wish I had of done, was rather than use Bell Mobility’s Twitter handle bar, use a hashtag instead to see if I got a response. I loved the communication I had from them and the friendliness and helpfulness of the rep was fantastic. I also appreciated that they used a name on their Tweet, this gave me the sense that an actual person was responding to me. They also conformed to my own language, wishing me a ‘killer weekend’. Thanks Bell! I will have a killer weekend!


Bell Customer Service


Corporations should take advantage of social media as a customer service tool. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to sit on a phone call funneling through the various stages of customer service – and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. If you monitor social media properly, you can find out a lot about your customers and cater to their needs, and also engage with them. With a big corporation like Bell, I honestly did not think I would get a response. I think many customers feel like a needle in a hay stack when trying to resolve problems.

The amount of users on Twitter is extensive, which means there is a lot of opportunity to connect with customers quickly, and give them a sense of belonging, and an important part of their business. The idea is to give your customers as many outlets as possible to engage with you. I really loved Bell’s social media strategy. Smaller businesses and companies can adapt a similar strategy, although they may not need someone to ‘man the outlet’s’ at all hours. But like Bell, track people who Tweet you, and develop a hashtag tracking strategy on platforms like Hootsuite to see who is talking about you so you can respond.

My initial Tweet was negative. As a brand – you don’t want people saying negative things about you, so you should have a strategy in place to be able to respond to negative Tweets quickly. I work in the industry, so I know enough to turn my response around  – plus I was happy with the outcome. I sent out a positive Tweet thanking Bell for their fabulous customer service – which is probably what they were aiming for.

Look at social media as a reputation management strategy – it’s a great way to keep a clean, and REAL image of your brand

Have you had any contact with big corporations such as Rogers? I would LOVE to hear about your experience with them

Social Media Strategy Challenge | Not-For-Profit Efforts

I’m going to get a little personal here.

Charity involvement has always been important to me. My mom has been a social activist for as long as I can remember, and that played a huge factor into how my brother and I were raised. We would travel to some really amazing countries…but rather than enjoy pristine beaches (once and a while we did) we would go on country-side train rides through Costa Rica to see children living in small tin houses, or banana plantations in Panama to see kids working on the farm. This was basically so we could learn to appreciate what we have.

My Trip to Costa Rica

(This was a little girl we saw on a train ride in Costa Rica)


It was effective.


As an adult, my involvement in charity has continued, and I feel so much more fulfilled and better as a person when I do something that can really benefit someone. Girls Inc. Durham Region is an organization that has been really important to me. I appreciate an organization that can influence young females to be independent, and confident in themselves in a way that will help them to grow up and appreciate who they are as a person and how they can make an impact on this world whether it be in their job, or social life independently.

I was approached by the president of the company I work for – Search Engine People, who noted that Girls Inc. needed help promoting a conference for successful females working in the tech industry. Well, this was right up my alley. I don’t have any experience creating social media strategies for not-for-profit organizations, but I love a digital challenge, and this was absolutely one that I am passionate about. I wanted to start a series of blog posts on my discoveries…hopefully not failures, and progress on my involvement with this and share them with you. I would appreciate any input, constructive criticism!


Girls Inc.

So let’s get started!


My Audit

Girls Inc. has a struggling website to be frank, zero Twitter presence; generally no social media efforts. But they do have a fantastic Facebook page. I used their Facebook page as a great starting point. They were sharing fantastic photos – ones that displayed their office culture, and ones that displayed what they stand for. There were lots of great posts that provided information on the organization including upcoming information sessions and so on.

Week One Goal:

My first goal was to build a strong presence on Twitter before worrying about promoting their conference. You can’t promote something to a weak crowd. I used their Facebook posts and photos on Twitter to start. I’ve been using their Twitter for about a week. I wanted to send out some Tweets to get some ‘meat’ on the profile. I followed a few ‘key’ people, as well as my own profile and some of my very supportive friends.

My goal next week is to start gaining more followers and also engage with them so that others start to see the Girls Inc. presence on Twitter. So far I think I have done a good job at making the account look authoritative to say the least.

I also started an Instagram account. This is more or less a test for me. I’ve been posting inspirational photos and attaching multiple hastags to them. Right now the following is weak. I expected this, but I’m hoping to see a gradual increase of followers at a slow pace once word gets out that Girls Inc. Durham Region has an Instagram account. The hashtags seem to generate a lot of ‘likes’ but I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘quality likes’. For the most part the likes are coming from people who are not from the area. My goal is to target a specific demographic, BUT I also believe the likes build authority. So we will see what happens with this over the next couple months.


not for profil social media strategy


Goals for Next Week:

I need to concentrate more of the idea of the demographic. Although key people should be present on social media and can be from other areas / age groups, I really need to engage with an audience from the Durham region to really make an impact. We are not targeting at a national level. The idea is to promote the Girls Inc. brand in this area.

Introduce Pinterest to the strategy

Engage with Twitter followers and gain more followers

Build a stronger presense on Instagram

Get someone to help me touch up their website



I hope you read my posts and help me with positive feedback along the way! This is really exciting volunteer work for me!!! And please, males and females…follow these accounts.


Thank you!!!

Permanent Branding, And I mean Permanent

I love tattoos. It’s difficult to pull them off however in a professional setting. Although I have several, I do my best to get them placed in areas where they can be easily covered. I have sentimental value for each of my tattoos, and I would never get one for the sake of getting one. An article on Mashable caught my attention which I found rather interesting. A man had ‘Netflix‘ actually tattooed on himself. I’m not entirely sure what his motive was, maybe he really loves Netflix. But what was even more interesting was Netflix’s reaction online.

@TheRealMyron received a free year of Netflix after Tweeting his new branded ink. Netflix saw his Tweet and sent a response. This happened all through social media. @TheRealMyron likely did not do this with the intention of getting a free year of Netflix, but he did want to be in a commercial according to his Tweet. This is pretty aggressive word of mouth in the making.


Netflix Tattoo


I’m wondering if this will start a trend. If I could get free Louboutain’s, let’s say 2 pairs a month for a year, I might consider a branded tattoo. Why not! The thing is, I wouldn’t do this for any brand. It would have to be one I felt a real connection with. And yes, I do feel a strong connection with a pair of twelve-hundred dollar shoes with a red sole.

If you really love a brand, what lengths would you take to get them to give you free services of some sort? But from the brand’s perspective this is really intense marketing. Not to mention it’s FREE marketing for them. They have a human billboard walking around with their branding permanently on their skin. That’s dedication. The connection I gather from this is a real passion for a brand that others will see, and may prompt other people to probe more into who the brand really is, and what would make this person make such a permanent mark on their body for this brand.


Netflix Tattoo


This isn’t the first time this ‘permanent branding‘ situation has occurred. Ever hear of Billy the Human Billboard?

What are your thoughts on brands offering incentives to people who get their brand name tattooed on themselves? Do you see it as effective advertising?

I think the only motive a brand would have is if the person receives a lot of publicity for their ink. The offer of a one-year subscription to Netflix is modest in part to the tattoo (which will be there forever) and the coverage Netflix will get from this stint. Billy actually gets paid to have his tattoo’s done. I like the idea of using social media to get the brand’s attention. @TheRealMyron was clever, because he got what he wanted (recognition from the brand), Netflix gets noticed for giving away a free subscription, AND people start talking about how crazy this situation is. I.e. people will be mentioning the name NETFLIX for about a week or so.

(all images sourced from Mashable.com)


So, what do you think about this?

Cheeky Marketing | Pushing The Limits for a Marketing Uproar

While catching up on some reading on Strategy Magazine’s website, an article about a new marketing campaign from Playtex really grabbed my attention. You see, I am a true believer that marketing campaigns that push the limits are the best way to get the attention of the consumer. It’s common sense. Playtex is doing just that. Well known for their feminine products they are now launching a new product – refreshing wipes for…well, after you ‘get it on’ to put it lightly.

Playtex Ad

The ads at glance look like something for a National Geographic ad. A photo of a beaver….for the girls, and a photo of a woodpecker…for the guys. Do you see where I’m getting at with this. It’s not until you read the ad copy that you see the clever play on sexual – or derogatory depending on how you look at it – slang Playtex has adapted to market their product.

The photo of the beaver reads the following: “a clean beaver always finds more wood”
The photo of the woodpecker: “a clean pecker always taps it,”

Hopeful that my mother or father are not reading this, I actually had a good chuckle at these ads. I think it’s exceptionally clever and really stabs at a good demographic. My mom probably wouldn’t find this funny, and my grandmother likely wouldn’t get it. But for the 25-40 year old range it’s pretty aggressive in a good way.

Playtex Ad

My take on this campaign is that if you want to sell a product that people are shy about, don’t be shy about the marketing. As a marketer, you are setting the tone and the standards for the product you are marketing. Are after-sex wipes a necessity? Maybe not, but if you can make people laugh about them, and get people to talk about them it will likely push your sales as more people start discussing the cheeky ads.

This campaign has already launched in print for the US, but when can you expect to see this in Canada? Strategy:

“Starting in March, the Canadian digital buy is running on sites through the Glam Media Network, as well as through Yahoo! Lifestyle. Restaurant and bar sampling will run in Toronto and Vancouver, says Samanta, targeting establishments that reach the desired 25 and older demographic.”

I’m excited to see this campaign live, and more excited to know what people’s reactions are. I’d like to see which websites will be hosting these ads, and I’m really curious to see it in restaurants as well.

How do you feel about it, do you think their PR reps are going to have to do some over-time for this?

The Evolution of the Hashtag: From Trending to Hashtag Fail

The hashtag started on Twitter, as a way to categorize trending topics. The idea was to use the hashtag in your 145 character micro-blog so that users could search for Tweets on the trending topic and you would come up in the results. It was a great idea, and it is very effective, especially for bloggers looking to find the popularity of a topic, and of course for marketers too.

The hashtag then evolved into other areas of social media like Instagram (where is it is also flourishing) and Pinterest. However, the hashtag is becoming misused more and more, and in all honesty – quite annoying.

Since this is my personal digital media blog, I’m going to give myself the opportunity to rant a little, from a digital media specialist’s point of view.

Let me give you all a valuable lesson on the use of the hashtag:

Here is an example of a proper use for a hashtag:

GM releases the new C7 Corvette (yay!). They want it to trend so they start (this is not a real example by the way – I’m just really obsessed with Corvette’s and I wanted to use it as an example) a hashtag #C7Corvette on Twitter to get people talking about it, and so people can find Tweets, photos etc. about the new C7. GOOD. That’s a proper use for a hashtag. (See the photo below for a proper use of a hashtag by Kate Spade NY. A great example of how brands can use hashtags on social media)

Proper use of Hashtags

Here are examples of pointless and annoying uses of a hashtags on Twitter or Instagram

You are stuck in traffic on the 401 (Canada), and you’re not moving. You’re really angry. So you take a picture of the terrible traffic, upload it to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and add a caption that reads: “Stuck in traffic, this really sucks #ihatetrafficwhycantweaddanotherlane

First of all – if I’m a follower, I’m for sure not going to take the time to break apart your hashtag and figure out what exactly it’s suppose to say. I’m also certainly not about to search for a hashtag that says that, and also why does that sentence need to be hashtagged??? Why can’t you just write it out as “I hate traffic, why can’t we add another lane?” Not only does it include proper grammar, but I also understand why you are so angry. You don’t need to hashtag the longest sentence in the world. It just doesn’t make sense.

Another horrible example is using hashtags on Facebook, in emails, and in text messages. They serve zero purpose in those platforms. I can’t search for #imhavingabadday in my email. I can’t search for it in my text messages OR Facebook. Facebook hasn’t even adapted hashtags; and I doubt they ever will, so you don’t need to use them. It’s a little bit embarrassing when you do, to put it frankly. It’s not even funny when you use hashtags in those forms. It’s ridiculous.

Here’s another amazing example of hashtag stupidity. I like to call this, hashtag stuffing (see what I did there SEO nerds…hahaha)

Hashtagging #every #single #word #in #your #sentence #is #the #weirdest #thing #I #have #ever #seen. How annoyed are you right now just from reading that? I’m annoyed just typing it out. I can’t imagine typing that out on my phone, but honestly – I’ve seen it many times before. How embarrassing! You just wasted 20 seconds of your life that you will never get back, just from hashtagging every word in your sentence.

Hashtag Fail

Let’s all do each other a favour and go back to using hashtags the way we are supposed to – using them for specific trending topics, or to get a good topic trending. On Instagram it’s a little different because you are searching for pictures. It is okay to hashtag things like #beach #vacation and #selfie because people are looking for pictures of those things. But in terms of hashtagging really long sentences, every word in a sentence or phrases like #imblinkinginthisphoto, it’s useless to yourself and everyone else who is using social media.

Happy hashtagging everyone!

SHAZAM! Bonnie Brooks Stepped it Up in Digital Marketing

If you’re Canadian, you’re familiar with Bonnie Brooks’ voice. You know those radio ads for The Bay. Yes, that is Bonnie. Bonnie is a woman I totally respect – I may find her radio ads annoying, but in retrospect, annoying gets attention.

When I got my iPhone I downloaded the app Shazam right away. I’m a music lover, and when I hear a catchy song on the radio, at the bar, while shopping, etc., I want to know what it is so I can download it. Shazam does that. You simply open the app, touch the button, and it can usually pick up what song is playing.

Bonnie utilized this app in an incredibly innovative way. Considering the brand is doing it’s best at targeting a younger (and well-off might I ad) audience, Shazam and The Bay partnered to create a really cool mobile-flyer + radio ad marketing strategy.

Shazam and The Bay


How Does it Work?

You hear Bonnie on the radio, she explains this really cool sale – for example the One Day Sale – and then tells you to Shazam the ad to see more details. It basically allows you to find a store near you, sign up for the newsletter, visit the website, etc. Very cool! You have to make sure you Shazam her ad before it ends though.


Why This Strategy is Good:

  • It’s new. I haven’t seen anything like this before. And it’s mobile. Mobile is taking over the world!!!
  • It also targets a younger audience – which is allowing The Bay to bring in a new generation of customers. In all seriousness, I paired The Bay with my mom or my grandma. Not that they don’t have cool style, but the association has sort of turned me away from the store (not including the association I have of being dragged there against my will as a child). But since The Room at The Bay has opened up, and they’ve brought in some really great designers, I actually shop there. Plus, my generation is serious about their Smart Phones, and like me, are attached to them – which means they have access to the app.
  • It’s moving away from paper flyers. I don’t even check flyers anymore. I’m on the go all the time, and I don’t have time to sit and review flyers – but somehow I manage to find the time to use my mobile, and I’m more likely to check an ad on an app than I am to check flyers at my home.

Why It’s Not Good

  • I hear Bonnie’s ads in the car…so If I’m going to Shazam it, it’s going to be in the car. Texting and driving is illegal, and Shazaming and driving probably is too…..so….Lets think about this for a moment: “27 year old female charged after Shazaming Bonnie Brooks Ad“. Mom and Dad would not be proud. Shazam when you’re not driving everyone – don’t test the ad when you are the car.
  • Not everyone has Shazam, so The Bay is only targeting a very specific audience.  But I think that’s still okay. It’s a fairly popular app, so it has the ability to reach a large audience.

I’m really excited about this strategy. I find it really innovative, and a ‘cool’ approach to marketing. Especially since people are talking about it. Leave it to Bonnie to get people talking. It really sets the bar high for other big-box brand stores. I’d like see what another company does to fire back – or if they even will.

Branding Your Search Results in 3 Steps!

Your brand is important. It’s what people recognize about you. It’s important that people see your brand when they search for you. We are generally aware of our branding presence online – social media-wise, on your website, etc. But have you considered your branded search results?


I listened to an information session from Jeff Quipp, the CEO of the company I work for, Search Engine People, and he brought up the idea of authoritative branded results. Items that can make the SERP for your brand more authoratative. And it’s true, and more optimized SERP for your brand looks really good.


First impressions are something you hear about a lot. When I was fresh out of university, I was a receptionist at a hair salon. The owners stressed that I was the first impression of the salon, and to make sure that I remember that. Think of your branded search results in the same sense. They are often the first impression of your brand. So they should make a good impression!


Take a look at the screenshot below (you will need to click on the image to view it more clearly, my apologies). This is the SERP for the keyword ‘Search Engine People‘. When I type in the brand of the company I work for, I see a really authoritative SERP. Search Engine People is obviously diligent about branding our results, because we have to practice what we preach. But here are the items you can establish yourself to boost your branded results:


1. Google Places

Having a Google+ local listing is imperative regardless of the branded results. Since I am focusing on branded results – I won’t go off topic. Google is now pairing your organic result with you map listing. This allows users to get an at-a-glance look at what you do, you contact info, photos, etc. This is not new.

Now, if you look to the right – you will see Google Places is shown in more detail, which looks great, and is much more user friendly. If the user wants to contact your business, they don’t actually have to click through to the listing – it will be visible on the right. (Note that mobile results will be different)

2. Virtual Tours

Virtual tours is a fantastic way to show off your facility. Especially if it’s as cool as the Search Engine People’s new office! Personally I find the tours boring – and I’m not really ushered to look through them. However, from the point of view in the SERP it looks great, and…it adds more authority. Having an upscale virtual tour of your office makes your brand look richer, and bigger. I think it’s a great addition. You will need to arrange the virtual tour with Google though.

3. Google+

Oh Google+…where to start. Google will do anything to get people to start using Google+. Dubbed as the new Facebook…which it’s not, Google+ has now urged brands to get a Google+ Local Business page, and have now added those to the branded results. There is also a prompt for you to add them to your circles if you are signed into your Google account and you have not already done so (I tested the results signed in, and then signed out) If you are not signed in, you will still see the Google Plus ‘ad’  and you can still click on it which will bring you to the Local+ page.

My suggestion is to get a Google+ Local Business page for your business asap so you can start building its authority as well.

Branded search engine results


Branding your search engine result is important for your brand. You are also giving users multiple ways to reach you, and follow you. I would suggest taking any advantage of ways to make your brand look more corporate, and professional. Especially in the search result page. People Google everything – and if the search results are the first thing that is going to represent your brand. So you should make sure your results are branded well.


I also took a screenshot of HupSpot’s results (while signed into my Google account) They have not fully optimized their results, which I was actually quite surprised about considering they are also an internet marketing company. However, you get an idea of what the results look like without the Google Places listing, and virtual tour.


If you look at their Google+ tab on the right, it displays their most recent updates – I think that’s pretty cool!

Branded results

What are your thoughts on the branded results? Do you think anything else should be added to the results in terms of branding – or have you seen something different in your results?

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