Personal Branding comes to Infographics: Introducing @Piktochart

So, it was time to update the CV and I passed on my mundane 8-page resume to a recruiter. It read like a book, and anyone even wanting to know about me would not even get passed the first page. The recruiter was blunt and told me I was in dire need of a major clean-up on my resume. I would have to hire a professional resume builder or somehow figure out how to maximize my profile–on my own.

Then I ran into a friend, @carmineporco who directed me to a site called Piktochart. So, I thought especially for those archaic recruiters who don’t go to LinkedIn, and still need to see the standard CV, this is a great way to spice up your profile: your CV in pictures.

Piktochart is a really simple interface: It’s all drag and drop. You can upload images, choose from many different templates that include cool charts and graphics. It’s perfect for people, like me, who have no real design experience. Edit and save your work online and download it as a .PNG file. Try it out for free.  You get 5 different templates to choose from and are only limited to 5 image uploads. Plus, you’re mandated to include the Pictochart watermark. But for $29 per month, you get 80+ themes, unlimited image uploads, better customization and the option to exclude the watermark.

Take a look at my CV below. This one took me about 8 hours – only because I was picky about the colours and how I wanted to present the information. Try it out! It’s awesome!

I’m just getting started….

The last 4 months have been a whirlwind and I’ve come to reflect on where I’ve been and where I am today.

I have been tapping into social media since my Yahoo! days and I’ve come to really love the medium. It goes against the grain of me as a traditional marketer, whose thinking has really been about creating excitement for products that people may not really care about initially, enticing a not-yet-established motivation to want the thing I was selling and provoke action.

I worked in credit card marketing for 6 years (sigh!) not fully believing that people really wanted credit cards, let alone debt. But as a marketer, I sold the notion of  access to ‘dreams’ if people had the vehicle necessary to get that access. As an advertising executive, I created amazing campaigns for products and services pushing messaging to audiences, at times, who clearly weren’t interested. The ones who were, were not deemed ‘ideal’ so I backed off from these seemingly low hanging fruits.

As I look back at these events, I realized the huge thing that was lacking: consumer validation… not sales, not response rates. In banking, a 2% response rate on a $4MM campaign was considered successful. That’s because that 2% audience could be upsold, cross-sold, and generate enough revenue over their lifetime to justify the initial acquisition cost.  But were the customers ever satisfied? Were they ever really happy? I never really knew because my access to the customer was nonexistent. I usually received a report from operations telling me how many people signed up for a credit card. Yay! But really?

As social media started emerging as a strong vehicle about 5 years ago, I paid close attention to its lure. Here, these networks existed without the interruption of annoying advertising. Ironic, cause I was typically the source of that annoying advertising. Slowly but surely, I also was lured to a space where people could speak as people, uninterrupted. I spoke to esteemed bloggers and social media strategists like Alejandro Reyes and Joselin Mane, who taught me the importance of active listening, transforming the marketing mindset, and leveraging relationships with the customer to truly succeed.  Even in MySpace days I talked with people who were just struggling to succeed. I knew a few band members who would develop new tracks every week so they could showcase it to their networks! And they received accolades and validation–albeit from a tiny universe who admired and appreciated their efforts.

That’s when I become a purist–not overnight but soon after. I became the anti-marketer, espousing authenticity, transparency, relationship-building.  I would talk to anyone who would listen, as if it was an epiphany moment! And it was! When I started blogging 4 years ago it was merely an outlet for me to verbalize where this all would lead: social, emerging technology and why it would change the way companies operate. Along the way, it also provided others, who stumbled upon my posts, an opportunity to learn. That was pretty cool… and that’s what kept me going.

I worked at start-ups, which help me delve deeper into social and the more I learned the more I became enamoured with the business possibilities for social.  I then moved to agency and ironically it was more difficult to sell the notion of social media (despite its increasing pervasiveness) to businesses beyond Facebook and Twitter. Businesses still wanted to control the message and chose to ignore the less-than-palatable public opinion. Embracing social means being able to take the good with the bad and it’s gonna take time before this happens especially in Canada.

So today I am at an amazing company that is in sync with where this world is going… where I believe it can leverage the social web’s strength. is doing some amazing things. I’m happy to be part of it. I’m working with some really amazing people. It’s a stacked team headed by a real visionary.

Stay tuned……we are just getting started!

HeroBox: Toronto-based Start-up helps turn Web Visitors into Customers

I was recently introduced to an interesting start-up company, HeroBox, a fledgling no more than 5 days old. What makes them special? Its participants were introduced at Startup Weekend Toronto, and won the most competitive start-up competition in North America.

The Premise of Startup Weekend Toronto: “All Talk, No Action. Launch a Start-up in 54 Hours”. How does it work? People submit ideas, which are voted upon. Top ideas will bring together participants: in marketing and developer community to collaborate, build the product and launch the start-up. Participants need to do this in 54 hours.

What’s more exciting? HeroBox. managed to raise of 25,000 in commitments following the event. Among its clients: AppSumo, PostageApp, EventMobi, DentistFind and Garrison Bespoke plus agencies like Playground, Bizmedia, and TeamBuy eager to use with their clients. Even an endorsement came from Chief Sumo himself, Noah Kagan from AppSumo to further validate demand for his idea. David Tran is the genius behind HeroBox, and he and his team mates, Chris Nguyenis and Timothy Leung along with 12 other rock stars, walked away with $60,000 in prizes to launch the company.

What was the winning idea? HeroBox is an online marketing tool that takes analytics to drive conversion based on consumer behaviour. David explained, HeroBox replicates the online sales rep. Utilizing Google Analytics, the technology helps identify specific user behaviour on a website to determine drop-off, but most importantly, the moment of motivation. Ultimately, this will help businesses (small and large) implement strategies to drive visits into conversions. This goes beyond home page chat and utilizes data intelligence and learning to optimize campaign results.

As David states, “Our company is in its early stages. We are pursuing patents on our product and a team of 15 enthusiastic developers, designers and marketers are working around the clock to further our business.”

Herobox wants to draw international attention to the start-up/entrepreneurial scene in Toronto. This video will be disseminated internationally to venture capitalists. As a result of it’s Startup Weekend Toronto win, HeroBox is now entered in the Global Start-up Battle Competition, and collecting votes based on its 90-second pitch video in the second phase of the contest, which ends Nov. 28. Judges will then size up the entries and announce an overall winner Nov. 29.

I encourage you to go to Global Start-up Battle Competition and view the their video and vote. If you’re a small business, perhaps this is a solution for you. It definitely is challenging the landscape of ideas-turned-to-product. And best of all….. it’s right in our back yard!

Updated:  Interview From Karim Kanji from XconnectTV

My first article on Huffington Post: Cyberbullying Hits Home

Lately, the news about how social media is creating a haven for cruelty especially among kids prompted me to write a post. I was fortunate enough to get a writing gig on Huffington Post! Thanks Rashida! So I decided that my first article would be about Cyberbullying Hits Home.

This is a personal story and one that had (thankfully) a positive ending. There was no emotional turmoil and the bullying ended as quickly as it began. But other kids have not been so lucky. As a mother, I would hope that I could always protect my children from anything or anyone that would dare to harm them. These days, their own home cannot shield the hurtful words, picture or videos that penetrate our walls via this world wide web. As much as good has come out of social networking, an equal and more harmful poison has threatened  the emotional livelihoods of our own children. The net allows bullies to hide behind its veil of anonymity and torture others without consequence.  They now come in droves, not in groups.

I digress…. Please read this article if you are a parent.

Next week November 14-18 is Anti-Bullying Awareness Week.  I’ll be posting another article on What’s Your Tech.  Please look out for it! cheers!

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