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One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
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Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.

B2B Content Marketing

June 2013 -- With content marketing on the rise, the CMO Council conducted a study of B2B content seekers’ information gathering attitudes, such as what they are seeking from B2B content and the characteristics most valued.

The study found B2B buyers are “turned off by self-serving, irrelevant, over-hyped and overly technical content. They’re migrating to peer-based communities and new sources of trusted, relevant and credible content and conversation.”

Findings:

Characteristics Most Valued in B2B Content:

  • Breadth and depth of information (47%)
  • Ease of access, understanding, and readability (44%)
  • Originality of thinking and ideas (39%)

Characteristics most disliked in B2B content:

  • Too many requirements for download (50%)
  • Blatantly promotional and self-serving (43%)
  • Non-substantive and uninformed (34%)

B2B content most valued and trusted:

  • Professional association research reports/whitepapers (67%)
  • Industry group research reports/whitepapers (50%)
  • Customer case studies (48%)
  • Analyst reports and whitepapers (44%)
  • Independent product reviews (40%)
  • Only 9% said they trust vendor content

B2B content sources that are most valuable in shaping purchase decisions:

  • Professional associations and online communities (47%)
  • Industry organizations and groups (46%)
  • Online trade publications (41%)
  • Seminars and workshops (41%)
  • Trade shows (35%)

Additional findings:

  • The majority of B2B content consumers say that online content has a major (27%) or moderate (60%) impact on their vendor selection.
  • Email is the most common method used for sharing online content.
  • Although PCs are the most popular devices used for accessing content (68%), a significant of respondents use smartphones (41%) and tablets (30%) to access content.

About: The data is based on a recent survey of more than 400 B2B content seekers around the world, conducted by the CMO Council’s Content ROI Center and distributed by NetLine Corporation’s global content syndication network. Some 41 percent of respondents came from companies with more than $100 million in revenues, and half held titles of director and above. Two-thirds said they had influence on key purchasing decisions or final purchase-making authority.

Source:  CMO Council, Print in the Mix

Psychology for Marketers - 9 Revealing Principals

One key part of being a great inbound marketer is understanding how -- and why -- other people think and act the way they do. Think about it for a second. How can you create compelling content if you don’t know why it would be compelling to your audience in the first place? How can you personalize content to reach the right people if you don’t know what type of content they would like, and why they would like it?

Before you start jumping into all the tactical nitty gritty of marketing, it’s really helpful to understand how people operate … which is essentially what the entire field of psychology attempts to explain. Understanding some key principles in psychology can take your content from good to amazing, all because the right audience is reading and identifying with it. Bonus: if you understand these principles and weave them into your marketing, you’ll also convert more visitors into leads, and leads into customers.

Many of these psychological concepts can be used across many aspects of your marketing, but we’re just going to give one example for each. They also aren’t universal; we all know people who are outliers, do we not? With that in mind, let’s get started!

9 Important Psychology Concepts You Can Use in Your Marketing

1) Reciprocity

Introduced in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the concept of “reciprocity” is simple -- if someone does something for you, you naturally will want to do something for them. No, this isn’t bribing. If you can act in a sincere and giving way, the other person will naturally want to help you.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Give away something -- for free -- to help build community or customer loyalty. You don’t have be rolling in dough to give something away; it can be anything from a branded sweatshirt, to an exclusive ebook, to a free desktop background, to your expertise on a difficult subject matter. Even something as simple as a hand-written note can go a long way in establishing reciprocity. By delighting your audience with these small gifts, you’ll be one step closer to establishing a true, solid relationship with your visitors, leads, and customers.

2) Commitments

Another principle developed by Cialdini, “commitments” is another way of saying that people don’t like breaking their promises. If someone commits to something -- whether it is meeting for lunch or signing up for your product, they feel like they’ve made an obligation to you. Once they make that commitment, people will be much less likely to bail.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

This is a great way to fight customer churn. Though you should never stop trying to delight your customers (per principle #1), it’s important to keep in mind that the longer the commitment they make to you, the harder it could be for them to churn. Think about your pricing structure. Can you lower prices but have new customers sign up for 12 months instead of one? Then, once you’ve gotten your customers’ commitment, fuel it by offering great products and customer service -- and maybe even customer-specific content.

3) Authority

Most people naturally obey authority figures, according to another principle in Cialdini’s book. When we view someone as having authority, we’ll be much more likely to trust his or her opinions and suggestions, simply because we believe the person is credible.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Amp up your authority in your content by prominently featuring authors’ information alongside their blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, or videos. This way, your audience can see just how smart and amazing your inbound marketers are, which can be a step in the right direction if you’re trying to establish thought leadership as a brand.

4) Social Proof

We’ve talked about social proof a few times on the blog already, but basically, it boils down to a situation in which you adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people you like or trust. In other words, it’s the “me too” effect. Think of this like an awkward middle school dance -- few people want to be the first one on the dance floor, but once a few people are there, everyone else wants to join in. (Keep in mind, this desire to conform doesn’t go away when you get older and less bashful about your dance moves.)

When You Could Use This in Marketing

One easy way to make the most of social proof is on your blog -- if you're not already, use social sharing and follow buttons that display the number of followers your accounts have or the number of shares a piece of content has. If those numbers are front and center and you already have a few people sharing your post, people who stumble on your post later will be much more likely to share.

5) Liking

Another psychological theory by Cialdini, “liking” means that if you feel positively toward another person or company, you’ll be much more likely to interact with them or buy from them. It may not matter how smart the other person is or how profitable the company is -- if you think they’re cool, you’ll want to be seen with them more often.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Liking is crucial to developing your company’s brand. Keep in mind that being “likeable” doesn’t have to mean being “nice.” Your brand could be raunchy and kind of offensive … but if your audience likes it, you can still take advantage of “liking.” You just want people to feel positively affiliated with your brand. So however you make that happen, it's worth a try.

6) Scarcity

Ever gone to buy airline tickets and seen a tagline that says “only 3 seats left at this price!” Yup, that’s scarcity (again, another Cialdini concept). This psychology principle goes back to the simple formula of supply and demand: the more rare the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it is. Note: If you want to properly use this principle, you need to be careful how you word it. If you approach the scarcity concept as if there used to be a ton of a product or service, but due to popular demand there’s a few left, people will be very receptive. On the other hand, if you approach it from the angle that there are only a few products total, so get it now, the principle won’t be as effective. Check out this post from Nir and Far for a deeper explanation on why that distinction is important.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

This could be a great tactic to use when planning events. If you’re looking to increase ticket sales, it might be worth sending a personalized email to people who haven’t registered yet to remind them that there are only X number of tickets left since so many people have registered.

7) Recency Illusion

Ever heard about a product and then start seeing it everywhere you look? While that may be part of some clever ad retargeting online, it most likely is because of the “recency illusion.” It starts happening after you encounter something for the first time, and then you start noticing it everywhere you look.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

This is important to keep in mind when you’re designing marketing campaigns -- you should be aiming to develop robust, integrated campaigns, not just a one-and-done piece of content. By not pigeon-holing your inbound marketing to one type of content on one platform, you not only expose your content to new audiences, but more importantly, keep reinforcing your message with people who have encountered previous marketing pieces.

8) Verbatim Effect

According to this psychological concept, people are more likely to remember a fuzzy, general idea of your content -- not the longer, more detailed piece you originally created. For example, people will most likely remember that your presentation was generally about blogging for business -- not necessarily the details about writing and editing blog content.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

In our world today, people are headline-hungry. Given the “verbatim effect,” you should try to pack as much relevant and descriptive information into your headline as you can. Besides the fact that your headline will be fighting for attention all on its own on social media (as opposed to being accompanied by the full article text), your headline is only a few words that sum up your entire post. So use it wisely -- it may be all that your readers remember. If you need some help writing compelling headline copy, check out this post on our blog.

9) Clustering

People have a limited amount of space in their short-term memory. In fact, most people can only remember seven pieces of information (plus or minus two pieces in any given situation) at a time. To cope, most people tend to cluster similar pieces of information together. For example, if you had a whole grocery list of random items, most people would tend to mentally group items into certain categories (dairy, grain, meat, etc.) to be able to better remember what exactly was on the list.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Do the legwork for your audience: group similar topics in your writing together -- either under numbered bullet points or with different header sizes. Besides being much easier to scan, your writing will be much easier to remember and recall down the road -- especially if you’re creating long lists of content.

Source: Hubspot.com

Vancouver On Track for Greenist City

Vancouver City Council received an update today on the Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP), and heard that the City has achieved a four per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2007, while Vancouver’s economy and population both grew significantly.

“The 2013 update on the Greenest City Action Plan shows we’re making good progress, but there is much more to do,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The costly impacts of climate change require us to continue working hard and strengthening our partnerships with other levels of government, business and labour communities, and our neighbourhoods and residents.

“Cities around the world are grappling with the effects of climate change, and in Vancouver we’re proving that you can have a strong, healthy economy while reducing carbon pollution. The climate crisis is a daunting global challenge and Vancouver’s leadership shows other cities what can be achieved, so it’s crucial that we keep raising the bar.”

The 2013 GCAP report to Council included an update on the 10 goals outlined in the plan, which collectively strengthen Vancouver’s natural environment, create new economic opportunities, and further establish Vancouver’s reputation as a city that balances economic growth with environmental leadership.

The accomplishments outlined in the report include:

  • Reduction of total solid waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 11 per cent since 2008
  • Ten per cent growth in green transportation mode share by walk, bike and transit since 2007 from 40 to 44 per cent of all trips
  • Overall water consumption reduced by 16 per cent from 2006 levels
  • Planted 12,513 new trees in 2012

In addition to these accomplishments, Council heard about the significant work ahead that is necessary to achieve the ambitious targets in the Greenest City Action Plan. From local food production and security to green transportation, access to nature and a lighter footprint, the 10 GCAP goals call for local and international leadership. They set out a clear path towards a bright green future for our community and our planet.

To learn more about the plan and read the 2013 GCAP Implementation Update, or to see an interactive map of green projects in Vancouver, please visit Vancouver.ca/greenestcity »

Source: Vanvantage.com

Municipal Sustainability Planning

Golder Associates Ltd. and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities' (UNSM's) Municipal Sustainability Office are launching a new guidebook - From Great Ideas to Great Communities - to help municipalities implement their Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs).

This guide will help municipalities to translate their long-term goals and ideas into meaningful action on the ground.

The guide demonstrates how municipalities can build a culture of sustainability and integrate sustainability goals and principles into their daily operations and decision-making. Designed to be practical and easy to use, it includes a seven-part framework for action, step-by-step guidance, and priority strategies and actions for moving forward with the implementation process.

"We want each and every one of our municipalities to be successful in reaching their sustainability goals, and we anticipate that this guide will serve as a roadmap to help them along the journey," declared Councillor Frank Fawson, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and Chair of UNSM's Sustainable Practices Committee.

The guide was prepared by Chris Lindberg and his team at Golder Associates Ltd. with support from The Natural Step Canada. It draws on examples and resources from various municipalities in Nova Scotia and across Canada that have had success with implementing their ICSPs.

"Nova Scotia has demonstrated real leadership in working with its municipalities on sustainability planning," says Senior Sustainability Specialist at Golder Associates and lead-author Chris Lindberg.

"We're very excited to launch this guide and help accelerate the implementation process. While the guide focuses on Nova Scotia, the framework, process and practices are relevant for municipalities all across Canada. We're looking forward to working with municipalities to make sustainability happen in their communities."

The guide and a wide variety of supporting resources are also available for download here »

Source: Globe-Net

Writing a Mission Statement

Mission statements. They sound inherently business babbly, don't they? But even if you think they're a little ... silly ... they're really important guideposts for making decisions, staying inspired, and setting a bigger picture that gives your day-to-day work purpose.

Problem is, because the idea of a mission statement is so vague and broad, a lot of companies have trouble nailing one down. I did some research on companies with excellent mission statements, and pulled out the characteristics they all have in common. This post will show you how to write a great mission statement, told through the lens of some of the best ones out there.

Common Mistakes People Make When Writing Mission Statements

1) It's too long. (This will, ironically, be the longest section of the post.)

In one of my first "real world" jobs, my boss -- the CEO -- asked me to write a mission statement for the company. I knew they were supposed to be pretty short, so I wrote a couple paragraphs.

Wrong. Thank you for playing, Take this toaster as a lovely parting gift.

Just kidding, he didn't fire me, but we were both equally as clueless about how to write a great mission statement. The first thing to know is that they should be really short -- as in, like, a sentence. Maybe two. Check out Southwest Airlines' mission statement, for example:

"The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit."

To give you an idea, I probably would have written that something like:

"Southwest Airlines' mission is all about customer service. Not just any kind of customer service -- but high-quality customer service -- whether at ticketing, on the plane, in the terminal, even on our website. This should come through in a few places. First, warmth. Warmth means ... "

And on, and on, and on ... and on ...

Make it short and sweet. If you can't say it in a sentence or two, you haven't really nailed the mission statement.

2) You're thinking too small.

Think beyond the tactical. Your mission isn't to create widgets. That's what you do -- but it's not why you do it. Take a cue from Microsoft, for example. Its most recent mission statement is:

"To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential."

I consider this a huge improvement from its previous mission statement:

"A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software."

Why is it better? The old one wasn't bad, but the new one addresses something bigger than just selling a product. The new mission statement tells you who they want to reach -- people and businesses -- and what they want to help them do through Microsoft's products. It gives Microsoft a reason to exist as a business, beyond just making money.

3) It's not specific.

There's a tendency to work in generalizations when writing a mission statement, because you're trying to encompass ... well, a mission. And missions are big. (Remember, we just talked about not thinking too small.) But if you get too specific, you'll back yourself into a corner.

This isn't the right mindset. You can't be everything to everyone -- otherwise, what's your differentiator? What are you adding to the universe?

Zappos does a great job of communicating a larger mission, without compromising specificity. Their mission statement reads:

"To provide the best customer service possible."

They're not trying to loop in price, quality, changing the world, having the best corporate culture ... they want to provide the best customer service possible. That might include all of the aforementioned when it comes down to tactics, but it doesn't need to be in the mission statement. This is the perfect balance between thinking big, but still being specific.

4) The language is full of jargon.

This is where the business babble starts to creep in. (And often, the business babble creeps in because you're not being specific enough.) We all know what business babble is, so let's just look at a jargon-free mission statement to set the precedent for what we should all be striving for. Google's is an excellent example:

"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

They could have said that like this:

"Google's mission is to utilize the digital information inputs of various sources and outlets and dispense it in a structure optimized for user-understanding."

But they didn't. Because that's ridiculous. (And it's pretty much the opposite of making information "accessible and useful.")

5) It's not something people want to "get behind."

Your mission should resonate with people, particularly you and your employees. It should address a real problem -- or something people care about, at least. Think about why you wanted to get into your business in the first place ... you were probably inspired by something, right? Whatever motivated you then (unless it was for the money, in which case ignore this advice) might be what you want to tap into when crafting your mission statement.

Inspiring mission statements aren't just for nonprofit organizations, either. I happen to think Google's mission statement is one of the most inspiring I've ever heard. Or take a look at Coca-Cola -- how can a beverage company have an inspiring mission statement? Its mission statement is:

"To refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference."

That last part is a little vague and verging on business babble (what does "create value" really mean?), but I love that middle part. Your mission statement should be a bit lofty. That's okay. Aspiration is good -- it inspires people to be creative and work hard.

Questions to Ask That'll Help You Write Your Mission Statement

If you're totally stuck on your mission statement, ask yourself the following questions to get the flow of ideas going. Think of it like getting past writer's block ... but, you know, for a mission statement.

1) What do we do?

2) Why did I go into business in the first place?

Or, if you're not a founder of the business ...

3) Why did I want to work at this company/in this industry?

4) What do I want this company's legacy to be?

5) What doesn't matter to this company's legacy?

6) How do I want to help people?

7) What value does our company bring that's unique from other companies?

Remember, your mission statement isn't set in stone. It's actually wise to revisit your mission statement once in a while to see if it still aligns with your company's goals. Some companies, for instance, choose to write mission statements that help them solve a short-term problem their company is facing -- these can be updated later to reflect a larger mission once your short-term issues are addressed.

However you approach your mission statement, just check back every couple years to see if it still aligns with the space you play in, and the world you live in. If your company is around for a long time, it will inevitably change -- your mission statement might have to change along with it.

FWIW, HubSpot's mission statement reads: Our mission is to make the world inbound. We want to transform how organizations do marketing.

And at Dominion Blue our mission statement reads: We will give our customers help in achieving their needs in ways that exceed their expectations. Within the company, we will give each other help in achieving customers’ needs in ways that exceed everybody’s expectations.

What's your company's mission statement?

Source: HubSpot

Why Social Media

As a savvy inbound marketer, you already know that social media is a must-have in your marketing strategy. You’ve spent time looking at what channels work best for your company, creating the best content you can for those outlets, and aligning the social media goals to the business' bottom line. You live and breathe social media every day on the job.

But that's not true for everyone else in your organization. Not everyone is sold on the importance of social media -- never mind manage their own presence. What about that VP down the hall with tons of killer industry knowledge or that executive you know who spends hours talking to customers? These executives may not be active in social media just yet, but they should be.

This is where you come in. If you think there are executives in your company who could add credibility to what you’re already doing, it’s time to get them on board.

Why Should Your C-Suite Be in Social Media?

Often, executives may feel like there's not much for them to do in social media. They hired a social media manager to watch over the company's presence, so why would they need to be in social media as well? Though some executives at your company may have already made up their minds about their social media participation (or lack thereof), it's incredibly important to have them in social media.

Having a presence in social media gives executives the opportunity to stay relevant with industry trends, engage with your prospects and customers, and show that they stand by and believe in your brand. By not listening and participating in social media, executives are missing out on numerous opportunities to improve your business. And ultimately, growing your business is every executive's objective.

How to Get Your Executive Team in Social Media

Getting executives in social media isn't as simple as signing up for a Twitter handle and asking them to tweet. Instead, you've got to be strategic if you want to get on board. By following these five steps, you can develop a socially savvy executive team.

1) Pick the right executives for the job.

Not every executive is ready to dive headfirst into social media -- and that's okay. Instead of proclaiming that all executives must start tweeting immediately, start off with a select few that you know would be successful in social media if you were to show them the ropes. Think about who would be a good advocate for your brand and have the potential to be a thought leader. Also, see how active they are in social media already. You may want to check out LinkedIn first to see who’s active already, since executives prefer LinkedIn to any other social site. This will give you a good indication of who to approach about helping build your brand in social media.

After you understand who’s been up to what, it’s time to think about your approach. Asking an executive who isn’t that familiar with Twitter or Facebook to jump right in isn’t going to work. First, they need to get an understanding of what's happening on social media for your brand.

2) Show them why they should care.

While 90% of business executives say that social media tools are important for brand awareness and company reputation, that doesn’t mean they're personally doing anything about it. This might be because they think they don’t have anything to add, they don’t know what to say, or they aren’t really in the loop with the happenings in social media at your company.

Here's your golden opportunity to show off what your company is doing and form a plan for what the executives could be doing, too. Invite the executives you identified in step one to a meeting to give them an overview of how your company uses social media and how it’s affecting the rest of the business.

When you meet, bring numbers that those in the room care about. If your goal is to get a seasoned VP of Sales involved in social media, you’ll probably want to show them how many leads social media generates for your company a month. For a VP of Sales, leads = perked ears. Figure out what gets each executive excited about being in social media, and be sure to highlight it for them.

3) Let the benefits get personal.

This is probably where to expect some pushback. I can hear it now: “But why do I have to be involved? Didn't we hire a social media manager to handle this?"

You want these questions. You’re ready for these questions. Now that you’ve shown the executives what the company is doing, you can show them how their social presence fits into the overall social media team effort.

You can prepare for these questions by giving them concrete reasons for participation: Based on a recent social media survey by BRANDfog, executive social media engagement creates brand transparency (score!). It makes a brand seem more honest and trustworthy (win!). And, it makes executives better communicators overall (bonus!). Make sure they understand exactly what they will get out of this new experience -- you'll be much more likely to get them on board.

4) Set them up for success.

So they're up for the challenge -- now it’s time for them to get down to business. If they’re hesitant to jump in headfirst, offer to get them all set up and give them a demo of what to do. At this point, you’ll know how much handholding is necessary for each executive -- use your judgment. There’s a balance between relying solely on executives' intuition and independence and losing them in the noisy crowd.

If they need help getting started, give them a couple of ideas of what to do. Maybe you come to the table with some sample content they could share or people to follow. Suggest some goals for them to aim for each week (X tweets, X Facebook posts, etc.). If you're a HubSpot customer, maybe set up a dedicated email alert in your Social Inbox. However you decide to start, make sure the task is fairly easy. The beginning is always the hardest and you don't want your executive team to be discouraged right off the bat.

5) Maintain momentum by checking in periodically.

At this stage, you’ve done some serious work getting your executives up and running. You’ve explained your company’s social strategy, the benefits of executive involvement, and the steps to get involved on those channels. You’ve given them all the tools they need to become socially savvy.

To keep up momentum, schedule regular check-ups with the executives. Show them some results from their social media efforts and identify what’s working and what’s not. Real-life examples and metrics are a must here, especially when you have data available to track conversions of current leads and customers through social media.

It may be a slow start, but every step is a step forward. Make future plans to keep the conversation going. One possible idea is to schedule a monthly get-together to talk about social media news and how they could integrate that into what they’re doing. Managing a social media presence isn't a one-and-done effort -- it needs constant evaluation and planning to maintain and grow.

Eventually, you’ll find the rhythm that works best for your company. Creating a socially savvy executive team doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right approach, you may start to change the way your executive team thinks about social media. And who knows -- maybe one day, your CEO will want to take over Twitter for the day.

Source: HubSpot

R-2000 Net-Zero Energy Pilot

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is undertaking an R-2000 Net Zero Energy pilot (the Pilot) to recognize builders and homes reaching net zero energy performance in Canada, and to pilot the next generation of NRCan's 2014 R-2000 Standard and EnerGuide Rating System in net zero energy applications.

Drawing on NRCan's systems and infrastructure - including its certified energy advisors certification process and quality assurance protocols - will provide recognized metrics, objectivity, standardization and credibility to this emerging space.

In addition to doing a field trial of the next generation standards, NRCan will use the pilot to examine the best means for seamlessly incorporating net zero energy offerings into its suite of standards on a permanent basis.

NRCan will also use this opportunity to explore possibilities surrounding net zero energy ready homes.    

Design Seminars and Request for Proposals

The Pilot will be implemented in several phases over the next two years.  

The next step in the Pilot process is a design seminar on May 15, 2013that will present NRCan research that demonstrates that an R-2000 home can achieve net zero energy home performance using commodity technologies and methods, as well as provide a cost ball-park, guidelines and starting point for those interested. The design seminar will take place via webinar.

A request for proposals (RFP) for participation in the Pilot will be issued following the design seminar in May. It will be open to any builders from across Canada that are interested in piloting the standard to build and certify their houses to this ultimate level of energy performance.

The RFP is designed to evaluate the merit of the applications. It is expected that a maximum of 10 applicants will move through the RFP stage. These applicants will then need to provide detailed house designs and modelling results to complete the design stage.

Where necessary, NRCan will work with participants to develop modelling workarounds should the HOT2000 simulation software not contain a model for proposed products or equipment.

The RFP will close on mid-late June, followed by an RFP evaluation. The Design stage will last from early August to the end of October. Finally, construction and labeling will take place from November 2013 to November 2014.

An ERS "Efficient Living Assessment" will be completed on each house to obtain as-operated energy performance after occupants have moved in. Lastly, post-program analysis will be undertaken to allow NRCan to formalize within its suite of standards "R-2000 Net Zero Energy" recognition, and potentially "R-2000 Net Zero Energy Ready". It will also provide valuable lessons-learned to interested builders for the future.

Background information about the Pilot

NRCan has committed to using a Standards Council of Canada based process to develop the next generation standards for R-2000, ENERGY STAR for New Homes and the EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) to ensure open and transparent processes and input from stakeholders.

Over 500 stakeholders have participated in these processes over the past three years. NRCan is now looking to test those standards with respect to net zero energy homes.

The R-2000 Standard will form the basis for the pilot. Houses labelled under the Pilot must meet the requirement of the draft2014 R-2000 Standardand obtain a rating of zero gigajoules using the new ERS scale.

The Pilot will also focus on off-the-shelf technology (i.e. engineered pre-packaged systems rated to an internationally-recognized performance standard) in order to advance the commoditization of net zero energy homes in Canada.   

Why use R-2000 and ERS as the basis?

R-2000 is an established national standard with the training, certification, house-testing, inspections and overall quality assurance that are an essential part to ensuring the integrity of net zero energy housing/

The minimum envelope requirements of the draft2014 R-2000Standardwill be applied in order to ensure the building envelope and other long-term elements are well-addressed before renewable energy technologies are used to offset conventional energy use.

The R-2000 builder community has long been the group of experts advancing energy innovation in home building, and this Pilot, along with the next generation standards, will help to reinvigorate and bring together again this community of leaders, coalescing the R-2000 and Net Zero communities.

Using the next generation ERS rating scale offers an ideal opportunity for participants to use and feed into the next generation ERS process to ensure it addresses any outstanding issues that relate to net zero energy homes.

Benefits of participating

Builders will have a first to market claim on this new Government of Canada certified level of recognition from NRCan. They will also play a key role in setting the requirements for labelling Net Zero Energy homes in Canada. NRCan will offer technical support and promotion as an in-kind contribution to each participant.

Pilot participants will also benefit from collaborating with leading experts to gain insight into design of homes using available, high performance building envelope products, technologies, and techniques that can be used to achieve net zero energy performance.

Participants who are successful through the request for proposals process will also have access to modeling support from NRCan simulation experts for technologies that cannot be modelled using HOT2000.

This pilot will give participants an opportunity to demonstrate industry leadership with first-to-market, NRCan-recognized net zero energy homes built and certified under the quality assurance of R-2000. NRCan will also work with the pilot proponents to raise awareness about the pilot and its participants.

Source: Globe-Net

Manage Your Social Media

Guy Kawasaki is a special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. HubSpot invited Guy to reveal the secrets behind his incredibly active and popular social media profiles that enable him to reach millions each day.

Many people ask me how I manage my social media accounts (and others make stuff up rather than figure out what I do). Here are the gory, inside-story details of what I do. Perhaps you may find some of my methods useful to help you get the most out of social media, too.


Twitter

On Twitter, I'm @GuyKawasaki. My Twitter practices defy the recommendations of social media "schmexperts" (schmuck + experts) to manually post a limited number of tweets and not use automation, repetition, contributors, and ghostwriters.

I have never been on the Twitter Suggested User List, and I have more than 1.2 million followers. I attribute this success to providing a lot of interesting links that people retweet. These retweets expose me to many people who then follow me. There are five (yes, five -- count 'em) sources that feed my Twitter account:

1) HolyKaw

I co-founded a website called Alltop. Half of it is an aggregation of 30,000 RSS feeds organized into 1,500 topics ranging from adoption to zoology. The other half is a website called HolyKaw.

HolyKaw provides a continuous flow of interesting and diverse stories that should elicit the response, “Holy cow!” (Holycow.com was taken but since my name is pronounced “Cow-asaki,” I figured that HolyKaw would work.)

The posts on HolyKaw are short summations of stories, a picture or video to illustrate the story, and a link to the source. Approximately twenty people/organizations have contributor-level access to HolyKaw.

We pay several as editors -- they are not “interns” in the sense of unpaid students. Organizations such as Futurity and National Geographic also have contributor-level access because they consistently post great stories.

The headline of a HolyKaw post -- for example, “Compilation of stories about introverts, outsiders, and loners” -- automatically generates tweets that go out through a custom app called GRATE, for “Guy’s Repeating Automated Tweet Engine." These slightly modified tweets appear four times, eight hours apart.

The reason for repeated tweets is to maximize traffic and therefore advertising sales. I’ve found that each tweet gets approximately the same amount of clickthroughs. Why get 600 page views when you can get 2,400? Like CNN, ESPN, and NPR, we provide content repeatedly because people live in different time zones and have different social media habits.

2) Repurposed Google+ Posts

Three other people also post to HolyKaw via Google+: Peg Fitzpatrick, Trey Ratcliff, and me. (I explain this in the Google+ section below.)

3) Repurposed Facebook.com Posts

Peg Fitzpatrick manages the Facebook.com/guysco brand page. When she posts stories there, they automatically appear as tweets.

4) My Comments and Responses

I use Tweetdeck to respond to @-mentions of @Guykawasaki, as well as to direct messages. If you see a response tweet, it is always me -- never anyone else.

5) Promotional Tweets

Finally, if you see a tweet that is promoting my books, appearances, or investments, it’s almost always one that I posted with Tweetdeck or that Peg Fitzpatrick has scheduled using HootSuite.

Google+

On Google+, I'm GuyKawasaki, and Google+ is the core of my social media existence. It is the Macintosh of social media: better, used by fewer people, and often condemned by the experts. Unlike other social media profiles I own, no one else ever posts, responds, or comments on Google+ as me.

My orientation toward Google+ (and social media in general) is what I call the NPR Model. My role is to curate good stories that entertain, enlighten, and inspire people 365 days a year. My goal is to earn the right to promote my books, companies, or causes to them just as NPR earns the right to run fundraising telethons from time to time.

My posts range from first-person accounts of being a black tourist in China, what happened to Allen Iverson after his NBA career, and gifts from Air New Zealand. I use five primary resources to find stories to post:

1) My Alltop Account

This is a custom compilation of the RSS feeds of websites such as In Focus, The Big Picture, YouTube, and NPR that are mother lodes of great content. This is my one-stop shopping cart for content.

2) HolyKaw

Yes, I post what my contributors post as me (i.e. under my name) because the HolyKaw contributors are often better at being me than me. Wrap your mind around that.

3) What’s Hot Feed of Google+

Think of this as crowdsourced story leads. The beauty of this feed is that you know that people have already judged the stories as good, though it tends to be heavy on Android news and inspirational quotations.

4) Most Popular Stories

When I’m checking out stories from the first two sources, I look at the “Most Emailed” and “Most Popular” listings on the right side of most websites. These often yield great material. I’ve also compiled a collection of most emailed and most popular feeds at Most-Popular.alltop to make this even easier for you.

5) Pointers From Various Friends and Family

Many people know that I’m on the hunt for good content, so they send me leads. These are almost always good enough to post.

Some of my Google+ posts pass the “holy cow!” test, and there is a plug-in to publish Google+ posts to a WordPress blog. This means I can cherry pick my Google+ posts for HolyKaw. (Look for the hashtag “HolyKaw” to see which will appear in HolyKaw and later Twitter.)

Peg Fitzpatrick, Trey Ratcliff, and I use this method to select some of their Google+ posts for inclusion in HolyKaw. They do this to gain additional exposure since these posts are tweeted to my 1.2 million Twitter followers four times eight hours apart through the HolyKaw GRATE machine.

Three Google+ Power Tips

I adore Google+, so let me provide these power tips for using the service:

1) Find anytime, but post when you’re cogent.

I often get up in the middle of the night and check Alltop and the Google+ What’s Hot feed on my Nexus 7. When I find something good, I share it to a Google+ private community with only one member: me. When I wake up in the morning, I go to this community to see what stories I found in a less cogent condition and write up a post.

2) Schedule Google+ posts.

There are multiple ways to schedule Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest posts using various tools. However, Google+ makes it harder than those services. There are two ways to do this, however. First, there’s Do Share, a Chrome extension. Second, if you have a HootSuite enterprise account, you can schedule to a Google+ Business Page (as opposed to a personal profile). Since my Google+ focus is on my personal profile, I don't use the HootSuite method.

3) Get rid of trolls.

Be a hard-ass: Get rid of people who irritate you. Think of your Google+ posts as your swimming pool. If people pee in it, throw them out. There are some people you need to get out of your social media life. A Chrome extension called Nuke Comments is a lovely solution because it enables you to delete a comment, block the person, and report him/her with one click.

Facebook

I have two personas on Facebook: Facebook.com/guy and Facebook.com/guysco. The first is a personal profile, and the second is a brand page. I operate them differently.

First, a virtual assistant monitors my Google+ account and manually adds most of my Google+ posts to Facebook.com/guy using Buffer. (Disclosure: I advise Buffer.)

There are plugins that can automatically publish Google+ posts to Facebook. However, every Google+ post is not appropriate for Facebook, and there’s no way for me to tag the ones that are appropriate. Thus, a human has to make the decision, download the photo or YouTube embed link, make minor edits such as removing the “+” in Google+ +mentions, and post to Facebook.

I monitor comments at Facebook.com/guy and respond to them as much as time permits. My virtual assistant never acts as me, so either I answer or there is no response at all.

Second, for Facebook.com/guysco, Peg Fitzpatrick, whom I mentioned earlier, makes all the posts to this page, and these stories automatically become tweets. This Facebook Page is a branding effort for “Guy’s companies,” which are primarily my books.

LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, I am Guy Kawasaki. The virtual assistant who takes my Google+ posts and publishes them to Facebook uses the same process for LinkedIn using Buffer. One of the cool things about Buffer is that you can post to Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time, so this is easy.

There are seldom comments on my LinkedIn posts, so I seldom visit my posts to respond -- of course, this may be a self-fulfilling process. But I have to draw the line somewhere, or I’ll never play hockey during the day, which is a key component of my happiness.

Pinterest

On Pinterest, I'm Guykawasaki, but Peg Fitzpatrick manages my Pinterest presence. There are two reasons: First, I don’t have enough time to do a good job with more than three services (my priority, in order, is Google+, then Twitter, then Facebook).

Second, I don’t have Peg’s magic sauce to manage Pinterest as well as the Pinterest community deserves. Part of doing social media well is knowing what you don’t know and what you can’t do well, and then finding someone who does.

Conclusion

Don’t get the impression that there is a huge team of people doing what I described above. The total of all resources, excluding my own activities, is approximately one full-time equivalent. In addition, I spend three to four hours per day creating my own posts and commenting and responding.

To summarize, here’s quick wrap-up to review my social media methods:

Twitter: Mostly generated from the headlines of HolyKaw stories, four times, eight hours apart; contributions via Google+ and Facebook; and manual promotional tweets.

Google+: Me only. Think of me as the Mike Rowe of Google+ -- I'm willing to do the "dirty jobs."

Pinterest: Peg Fitzpatrick acting as me.

Facebook and LinkedIn: Virtual assistant reposting some of my Google+ posts.

Again, no one responds as me (for better or worse, as I've sometimes learned) on social media, though many different people may be behind a post.

This is how I manage my social media presence as of May 2013. I hope there are techniques here that you can use. Stay tuned, because my procedures are ever-changing.

Source: HubSpot

New Energy Star Homes

The first home in Canada qualified under the new ENERGY STAR® for New Homes (ESNH) Standard was unveiled last week in Guelph Ontario.  

The custom home, built by Sloot Construction Ltd., is located in Phase II of the Hale's Manor community in Guelph.

Attendees at the unveiling were provided with a pictorial overview of the energy-efficient features of the home and an airtightness test demonstration, one of the stringent criteria for qualification under the ESNH Standard that also requires the inclusion of energy-saving features such as:

  • Efficient heating and cooling systems;
  • More insulation in walls and ceilings;
  • High-performance ENERGY STAR® windows, patio doors, and skylights;
  • A heat recovery ventilation for fresher air; and
  • Electrical savings of a minimum of 400 kilowatt-hours through inclusion of ENERGY STAR® lighting, appliances and/or air conditioners.

The ENERGY STAR® for New Homes initiative was developed by Natural Resources Canada to help the public easily identify homes that are approximately 20 per cent more energy efficient than those built to minimum building codes.

To receive the ENERGY STAR® qualified label, homes are inspected to ensure they meet the technical requirements for energy efficiency developed by the Government of Canada. Each ENERGY STAR® qualified home is third-party verified by Certified Energy Evaluators, and labelled by EnerQuality, a licensed Service Organization.

The ENERGY STAR® name and symbol are registered trademarks of the United States  Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada.

"The home building industry, led by innovators like Sloot Construction, continues to demonstrate its capacity to aim higher and do better," said EnerQuality's Corey McBurney. "The new national standard raises the bar for better-built homes, and sets a benchmark that is readily achievable by both custom and production residential builders."

"In five years, this Standard will be the 'new normal', as it will inform the Ontario Building Code minimum requirements," McBurney continued.

Building codes around the world are moving quickly toward low-carbon and carbon neutral performance standards. The National Energy Code for Buildings in Canada recently published the first generation of outcome-based codes for Canada, which is in the process of being adopted by several provinces nationwide.

Retrofitting existing homes and buildings for energy efficiency is a largely latent market which has been highlighted by many policy makers as a primary means by which to create jobs while reducing community energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

GLOBE Advisors is currently working on a project in British Columbia on behalf of utilities and the provincial government to develop a strategy for further developing the home energy performance industry in that province - a strategy that will focus largely on increasing consumer demand for retrofit activities and catalyzing industry support for related activities and services.

Municipal building codes (where relevant) are also raising the bar for energy performance of the building stock.

In Vancouver for example, the Greenest City Action Plan has established a 2020 goal for all new buildings to be carbon neutral and the existing building stock as a whole is to be 20 per cent more energy efficient.  Achieving this goal requires a shift to performance-based codes and to a building design approach which focuses on a building's envelope first.

Source: Globe-Net

QR Codes Are Dead

I was an early proponent of QR Codes, but now I have to admit that they are history. Invisible ink and augmented-reality apps are replacing the clunky codes. The new technology is superior in that you don't have to take a picture of the code, which then records your contact information and sends you to a website, video or document, or sends you a text message giving a web address. With the new apps, you just run your smartphone over the content and get the enhanced features immediately.

Here's a sampling of the new technologies that will surely supplant QR Codes, permanently.

As Springwise reports, the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbu has launched the AR News app, which enables kids to scan specially marked articles with smartphones to reveal more kid-friendly versions of the stories.

The app was developed by Dentsu, which was challenged to make newspapers appealing to younger readers. Articles suitable for children are printed with blue borders. Using AR News app, readers who place tablets or smartphones over those articles will see a simplified Japanese alphabet for those still learning to read, along with animated characters and graphics, pop-up headlines and explanations that make the topics easier for kids to understand.

Blippar is a mobile app that lets users pull information, entertainment, offers and augmented-reality 3D experiences from markers placed on newspapers, magazines, products and posters. No clicks, no delays, no codes, says Crunchbase: just instant gratification.

Another new technology, Touchcode, is an invisible electronic code printed on paper, cardboard, film or labels. When you touch your smartphone or tablet to it, tickets sing, toys come to life, or you can confirm the authenticity of a brand, just to give a few examples. Items imprinted with Touchcode's invisible ink look no different from standard print products, until you touch them with your smartphone.

The QR codes did have some brilliant and successful applications, like the mobile-code campaign for an independent music store in Hong Kong that sold music by allowing users to listen to and buy the tunes of 14 bands, half of which sold out their inventory. But more often, the codes were deployed poorly in spots where they couldn't be scanned, like billboards, or -- perhaps lamest ever -- on license plates. Some QR Codes require a proprietary scanner good only for that code, which few people are likely to want to download. And, while many people still have no idea what a QR Code is or how to use one, instructions rarely have been included.

What are the lessons of QR for brands using the new technologies?

  • Make it easy for consumers to use.
  • Explain how it works, in clear, concise language.
  • Employ it only when it can add something unique to the user experience.
  • Make sure content or ads that contain it won't be put in places where cellphone service is unavailable.
  • Make the apps available only for situations when using them makes sense.

It will be fascinating to see whether these new technologies are used both creatively and effectively. The potential is vast. Hopefully agencies won't blow it this time around.

Author & Source: B.L. Ochman / AdAge digital