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Call waiting.

Busy signals.

Collect calls.

Try explaining any of those to a teenager. (I did. It was equal parts depressing and entertaining.)

If you know what any (or all) of those are, then you’re old enough to have lived through the evolution of phones and the associated etiquette.

Back in the day, we used to wait by the phone for important calls. My brothers wouldn’t dare pick up the phone while I was waiting for a potential call from my high school crush for fear of getting their eyes scratched out. And when said crush called (hopefully!), …


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The old adage is that you should never ask a woman her age, so I will just tell you! As of today, I am 49 years and 315 days young. Which, for you non-math types, means that in 50 days, I will turn 50.

Needless to say, it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And since I like to think about thinking about things, right now I’m thinking about why we think so much about age. (That’s a lot of thinking!)

I remember as a teenager setting a completely ambiguous and irrelevant target to be married with two kids by 30. So you can imagine my angst during my 29th year when there were no marriage prospects in sight. I was spending time with partners with whom I could barely commit to watching a full TV season, never mind wanting as a baby daddy. …


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Last week, I was feeling all high and mighty about how great it is to hear opposing views in order to understand alternative perspectives. And now it’s as if the universe is truly putting all of us to the test.

For those who were hoping (or praying, if you’re into that) to see a Democratic landslide in the U.S. election, it definitely rained on our parade. And for those who see the world (or America) through a red lens, they are likely just as miffed that their almighty ruler did not get a clean sweep.

I’ve opined before about how I feel about Donald Trump. He’s a bully and a liar and generally detestable in my mind. But that’s in my mind. There are a whole lot of people (70 million give or take) who voted for him. And I know many Republicans will say that they don’t agree with how he carries himself, but they support his politics so they put aside the rest. And I’m having so much trouble wrapping my head around it. …


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We can all count on our friends to give it to us straight when we need it, right? Or can we? Or more importantly, should we?

Of course, when we’re feeling down (which can be at any moment these days), it’s our nearest and dearest who know just what to say to get us back up again. (Like, “That COVID weight gives you such great curves.” Insert eye roll here.)

While affirmations are important for our self-esteem and mental health (there’s only so much self-love we can give ourselves), there’s also a lot to be said about being able to hear hard truths and opposing views and take it in stride. …


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Between a global pandemic, climate change, economic instability and the self-destruction of our southern neighbours, there are plenty of valid reasons to be losing sleep these days. Then layer on top of those, the good old-fashioned everyday things that set each of us into a state of high anxiety.

For me, I’m not a fan of confined spaces, raccoons (don’t get me started) or heights, to name a few. This summer, I had to face my fear of heights head-on and let’s just say the fear won. I was enjoying my summer sojourn with my son Teddy up north where there’s a calm, beautiful lake. On the said lake, there’s a swim area that offers three exceedingly challenging towers to jump from. Following my 11-year-old’s descent from the top tower (I’m estimating it’s about 12 feet high), he asked me to do it. After lots of hemming and hawing, I ascended the ladder to the middle jumping point. My knees were knocking, my heart was racing, and my palms were sweating. After numerous countdowns from three, I did descend — back down the ladder (otherwise known as the walk of shame). Was I embarrassed? You bet your ass I was. …


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Are you the type of person who would rather be lost for hours than ask someone (especially your significant other) for directions? Or you spend hours trying to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture in order to avoid the embarrassment of asking someone (in my case, my 11-year-old son) for help?

Kudos to you if you said no to either of those. But many of us shy away from raising our hand and admitting to needing a hand.

For the most part I’m proud of my ability to ask others to weigh in, or step up, or step in when I don’t have the particular skills or answers that I need. I’ve even put my tail between my legs and now happily relegate all my home’s technical problems and fix-it needs to Teddy (the said 11-year-old). …


Confession: I’m a hypocrite. I’ve spent the better part of my career preaching the power of content, building brands that tell stories and supporting businesses in their communication endeavours, but when it comes to sharing my own ideas I’ve come up blank. (Like, literally. I’ve been staring at this Word doc for about two weeks and…nada.)So here I am. Consider this my pledge to you, but more importantly to me (and my team) to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) once a week to share my musings and insights on entrepreneurship, media, female empowerment and life in general.For …


Start serving your audience, not selling to them (now more than ever).

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Even at the best of times, consumers have limited patience for sales pitches. The best brands in the world build emotional connections first, resulting in greater profitability in the long run. (There’s no instant gratification in the world of branding, my friends.)

Now in the days of COVID-19, it’s safe to say we all have a low tolerance for companies that want to take advantage of our vulnerabilities or who are insensitive to our realities. (Sorry, Jimmy Choos are not top of mind right now.)

So how does a brand navigate this uncharted territory? It’s about meeting customers where they are. Serving their needs. Addressing their concerns. Making their lives just a little bit easier. By doing so, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining a long-term relationship that will be more fruitful for both of you. …


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Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

Sure, he wasn’t very gender-inclusive, but the point is well made. Slashing your marketing budget may seem like a good short-term decision during a crisis, but it’s not necessarily a smart play for the long term.

There’s an old saying, “ When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.

There’s a lot of obvious negatives to a recession. Consumers both have less real (and perceived) spending power. They also have a different set of priorities — there’s a shift in their attention real estate. …


Using digital content for promotion alone is a short-sighted mistake brands are still making in 2020.

A young woman looking at a phone in her hands.
A young woman looking at a phone in her hands.

Let’s rewind the clock back to a time before digital content ruled our worlds. Think about how easy it was to get in front of an audience and get their attention. Billboard ads. Magazine spreads. Commercials.

They all had a few things in common. They interrupted or distracted an audience. They didn’t need to have an audience’s permission to communicate. They focused almost entirely on a product or brand. They were generally about immediate sales results, versus long-term, meaningful relationships.

Marketers have been preaching, selling, and indeed, focusing on the strength of digital content and its unique ability to reach audiences for more than a decade now. So why do we still see so many brands creating content that struggles to break through and gain traction online, burning through their marketing budgets for minimal ROI? …

About

Joanna Track

Math major turned author of Your Average Jo; Co-founder of Newsworthy Co and The Bullet. Subscribe for daily dose of news at https://www.thebullet.ca/medium

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