Promotion of Two Montreal Employees: A consolidated marketing communication team at CASACOM

Marie-Josée Gagnon, Founding President, is  pleased to announce the promotion of two well-respected and valued employees, Claudia Bussière-Ladouceur to the position of Senior Consultant,  as well as Noémi Foucault to Consultant, both who will be working with the communication marketing team. Both of these resources had been coordinators at CASACOM.

Claudia Bussière-Ladouceur joined CASACOM two and a half years ago and rose through the ranks brilliantly. As an expert in media relations and influencer programs, Claudia is recognized for her exceptional dynamism and client service, as well as her creative and personalized approach. She has developed her skills and knowledge by working with brands such as, Lexus Canada, Etsy Canada, Urban Barn and Netatmo.

Noémi Foucault began working at CASACOM as an intern a year and a half ago. Her dedication to learning, outstanding commitment and keen problem solving skills, has helped her professional growth within the company. From research to media relations to event coordination and social media management, Noémi has already mastered several aspects of public relations.

“It is always with great joy when I see young professionals taking off within our firm. Claudia and Noémi represent what is best at CASACOM: sincere commitment, professionalism and a constant search for results for our clients,” says Marie-Josée Gagnon.

Prediction #4 – The practical predictive analysis

While we are barely recovering from analysis in real time, here comes artificial intelligence’s (AI) new capabilities to predict future behaviours. More accurate than the tools used for weather forecasting, algorithms can build predictive calendars and determine the best times of the year, week or day to send messages. Others can predict the influence that a personality will have on his/her followers, or evaluate the impact and duration of corporate news.

Imagine the possibilities not only in marketing communication but, in crisis management!

In 2018, we predict the emergence of predictive analysis tools and programs that will be upgraded and become much more accessible to companies and public relations firms.

At the same time, in 2018, we predict that the fine experience and judgment of communication consultants will remain necessary to properly assess in advance the impact of communication actions.

The Trump tornado: threats, opportunities, and imperatives

Just like our icy sidewalks, winter 2017 is shaping up to be a slippery one as the Trump team storms into office. We can look forward to grandstanding and post-truth politics at their most virulent, as emotions and personal opinions seem to gain the upper hand over objective facts.

What do we stand to lose under this new style of politics? To what extent will we be affected by the decisions of the new controversy-loving president? And what if Trump’s methods drive certain attention-hungry organizations and brands to take a page from his playbook in a misguided attempt to achieve their ends?

A strange model

We hope that leaders will be able to resist the temptation to imitate the new commander-in-chief. How can you build trust relationships when deliberate lies and reckless statements become the new norm? Leaders—be they heads of state or corporate CEOs—should choose their words carefully and follow through on what they say. One can’t lash out at perceived adversaries without expecting to be paid back in kind. Indeed, denying troublesome facts and dismissing reporters who ask inconvenient questions is the kind of behaviour that we’d be inclined to call—in the words of Mr. T himself—“Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!”

As we all now know, we can’t underestimate the influence of Trump and his acolytes. Their trashy brand of communications clearly has a lot of followers. The question remains: will it affect our profession? If so, who will stand up to companies that play the populist game? While we wait for an answer to this question, let’s reread our code of ethics.

The coming year will be a test for communications companies and their clients. We all must hold strong. Otherwise, as Meryl Streep said at last year’s Golden Globes, “We all lose.”

Removing the muzzle

Trump’s victory is the result of a large number of people feeling ignored by traditional politicians and the media. Who knows, maybe the Trump phenomenon will help purge us of political speak and political correctness!

As we all know, however, things are likely to remain a slippery slope for a while yet (winters are often long, as you know!). But maybe this instability can encourage us to be more careful and better informed, perhaps even more engaged and more involved in debates.

Let’s be optimistic for a moment. This is the opportunity for communications professionals to speak more openly, directly, and honestly—from the heart to the heart.

In 2017, it will be more important than ever to:

  • Speak the truth
  • Base your work on facts
  • Have or be a credible and understanding spokesperson
  • Really listen

In this pivotal year, vigilance and open-mindedness are the keys to success for communications professionals.

8 reasons to expand in Canada in 2016

Have you ever thought about including Canada in your business’ growth plan? CASACOM has welcomed several foreign brands in Canada over the last few years in both its Toronto and Montreal offices. All of those brands have benefited from an integrated PR program and have since seen their income grow. Beyond the lucrative currency exchange rates we are currently seeing, here are 8 reasons to expand in Canada in 2016.

1. Diversification

Diversification reflects the realities of changing consumer tastes and evolving business opportunity.By expanding into Canada, alternate sources of revenue open up for a business, making it more resilient to changes in the domestic market.

2. Financial stability

For the eighth consecutive year, the World Economic Forum has professed Canada’s banking system to be the soundest in the world. According to Forbes and Bloomberg, Canada is the best country in the G-20 to do business.

3. Financial growth and market access

From 2005 to 2014, Canada led G-7 countries in economic growth. It also provides a market worth a combined gross domestic product of $38 trillion, or nearly one-half of the world’s output of goods and services.

4. Efficiency

By expanding into the Canadian market, businesses have the chance to increase output with lower variable costs. This can benefit their profit margins, cut down production costs and make them more competitive in the domestic market.

5. Low business tax costs

Total business tax costs in Canada are by far the lowest in the G-7 and 46 percent lower than those in the United States.

6. Competitive edge

Expanding internationally is vital in order to remain competitive. Choosing Canada is a logical first step due to its geographical proximity. Canada also offers a competitive R&D environment, with the lowest business costs in the G-7 for R&D-intensive sectors, with a 15.8 percent cost advantage over the United States.

7. Educated workforce

Canada’s workforce is the most highly educated among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as half of the working-age population has a post-secondary education.

8. Great place to live and work

Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with a universal healthcare system, clean and beautiful landscape and outstanding universities. The OECD’s Better Life Index shows Canada as best in the G-7 in terms of overall living conditions and quality of life.

At CASACOM, we can help grow businesses in Canada. Contact us if you wish to discuss this further.


How to Communicate Efficiently in the Canadian Market

Brands interested in entering the Canadian marketplace face cultural differences that demand unique communications strategies in order to be effective. Our Worldcom PR Group Houston partner Ward sat down with CASACOM CEO Marie-Josée Gagnon to discuss what it takes to enter the Canadian marketplace and how B2C and B2B brands can cause the results they desire by following a pragmatic set of communications guidelines.

Q. Are there any business tips you have for B2B and B2C companies looking to enter the Canadian marketplace?

A. Over the years, at CASACOM, we’ve helped many foreign brands enter the Québec and Canadian markets. We’ve learned the best strategies to land smoothly. Here are a few of the best practices collected along the way:

1. Plan early and partner with a local firm. It’s important to find the right communications partner that will facilitate your entry, connect you with the right people and inform you about the challenges you may face.
2. Fully acknowledge the difference. Sincerely accept that there are differences and sincerely engage yourself in identifying them. Do not put your head in the sand thinking that they will go away, it will backfire for sure.
3. Understand the market. You need to understand the market you are entering; consumer trends, cost of living, culture, politics, etc. Conduct a comprehensive research and check your assumptions through surveys or focus groups.
4. Be represented locally. Having a local spokesperson representing your brand helps create a better relationship between you and the consumer. Consumers tend to follow people from where they live versus an “outsider.”

Q. There are two primary languages used in Canada: English and French. What do you recommend international clients do to jump the potential communications barrier? Do French language media speak English with PR people pitching them?

A. We always recommend that international clients seek people who speak French fluently or a local PR team in Quebec to help with any communication barrier issues. Most French language media do speak English and will respond to you in English, however many of them prefer to exchange information in French. It is easier for them to communicate and understand material better when it is written in their first language. From our experience, French media respond better to pitching that is in French over English.

However, we highly recommend to be compliant with Bill 101, Quebec’s French Language Law, and follow a few rules:
• Translate all documents used in common business applications into French.
• Provide French content to Quebeckers is about more than following the rules; it is a way of reaching out and engaging with a community.
• Consider the “cultural difference” when doing business in Québec. This allows companies to extend their reach by engaging customers in French on multiple platforms. For example, what about creating a French Facebook page or Twitter account? These extra details will not go unnoticed in Québec and are sure to help an organization establish a solid brand identity and build positive relationships.
• Work with in-market translators.

Q. What is the greatest difference in how the news media operates in Canada versus other regions in the world?

A. There are some key differences in how the news media operates in Canada versus other regions in the world. For example, major Canadian magazines devote more than 80 percent of content to Canadian-authored editorial and many Canadian journalists seek out local angles; 88 percent of readers feel it is necessary to have editorial content created specifically for Canadian readers.

Canadian media also want to be perceived and treated differently from other news media around the world. They desire Canadian content, statistics, facts and spokespersons and focus on localized news rather than general interest stories. They also expect materials to be delivered using Canadian Press style and in some cases, UK English (e.g. labour/labor) and prefer materials in well-adapted French and English.

Q. Give a few examples of good public relationsinitiatives conducted in Canada by American B2B and B2C companies.

A. Starbucks is doing a good PR job in Canada by keeping their digital marketing campaigns and/or promotions consistent, but still adding some Canadian flare. They make an effort to deliver genuine moments by connecting with Canadian customers whether it is in person or through social media.

Home Depot Canada has been involved in the community through The Home Depot Canada Foundation and creating campaigns, which supports initiatives that help put an end to youth homelessness in Canada. We were quite impressed with the way Michaels stores entered the Canadian and the Québec markets. Their open and humble attitude made a positive difference in how Canadian consumers responded to them. Finally, Etsy Canada also understood that to connect with a given population you have to build a program that talk to the people of that specific community or region; what they value, their cultures, trends, etc.

Q. How has digital technology or social media changed the way Canadian media gather and report the news?

A. Social media has definitely impacted the way Canadian media gathers and reports the news. A lot of information is constantly posted online and I’m sure a number of them do get some of their information from there. But I have seen more and more that the media tweet their facts or provide small tid bits in 140 characters to explain a breaking story or announcement. Everything has become shortened and it’s about who can get that news out there the fastest. Canadian media seek social media and video content to integrate with their editorial content as well.

Q. Mega-retailer Target recently pulled out of the Canadian marketplace due to a poorly executed growth strategy. In your opinion, do you think PR strategies were used effectively in the region to reach target audiences? Could they have done better to support the expansion?

A. Unfortunately, I don’t think the right business strategies were used when Target entered the Canadian market. For instance, they acquired too many stores in a short period of time.I think they could have done a better job understanding the market they were entering, inventory issues, pricing, as well as the needs of consumers. Although, Canada and the United States have similar views or ways of life, we are still separate countries that have different cultures, trends, currency, etc. and brands need to adapt.

Q. Anything else you would like our Ward to the Wise readers to know?

A. CASACOM loves to help foreign businesses entering Canada. With offices in Toronto and in Montreal, we bring a deep understanding of cultural differences resulting in unique and highly effective communications strategies. We would be thrilled to help any businesses to get a better understanding of the Canadian market. To do that, we offer a free Canada 101 webinar.

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