Powered by Spafax

Sparksheet is an award-winning multiplatform magazine. We explore how brands are using different platforms to get relevant content to the right people wherever they may be more.



Follow Us

Sparksheet Monthly

Subscribe to Sparksheet and receive our free e-newsletter on or near the first Tuesday of every month.

Sparksheet Monthly

Subscribe to Sparksheet Monthly and receive our free e-newsletter on or near the first Tuesday of every month.

Reinventing You: Google+ Hangout with Dorie Clark


Image via Harvard Business Review's Facebook Page.

Image via Harvard Business Review’s Facebook Page.

Dorie Clark has literally written the book on personal brand reinvention, and she knows what she’s talking about. In a past life she was a presidential campaign spokeswoman. Before that she wrote for an independent newspaper in Austin. That was after she’d earned an MA in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

Now Clark puts her experience to use for brands like Google, The World Bank and Yale University as CEO of Clark Strategic Communications. Her book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, comes just as people and businesses are learning, sometimes the hard way, how disruptive the web can be.

In this Google+ Hangout we speak with Clark about what brand reinvention means for both people and companies.

Follow the Hangout live via the embed below, or check it out on our Google+ page or our YouTube channel. We’ll be live tweeting the Hangout, too, so make sure to send us questions or feedback from whichever channel you use.

Live Feed: International Startup Festival 2013

Sparksheet is proud to be the official content partner of this year’s International Startup Festival, which takes place in Montreal from July 10-13.

More than 50 speakers will be presenting on everything from marketing to funding to Big Data and we’ll be there to capture their Startup Stories. This is our notebook of inspiring and insightful tweets, Vines, Instagram photos and other #Startupfest buzz from around the social web.

Startupfest 2013

startupfest 2013, international startup festival, startupfest, #startupfest, @startupfest

View “Startupfest 2013″ on Spundge

Things Have Gotten Complicated

One of the first things (maybe THE first thing) I ever wrote for Sparksheet was a dissection of Robert Scoble’s Social Media Starfish, a diagram of the social media landscape in 2009:



Now, Brian Solis has come out with his fourth iteration of The Conversation Prism. Look how far we’ve come:



If nothing else, this shows that the digital content ecosystem has become a lot more complicated. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Everything Brands Need to Know About Google Glass

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass. Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass. Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Just over one year ago, the video “Google Glass: One Day” went viral, with more than 21 million viewers ogling the prospect of a new wearable computer.

Well, “one day” is quickly approaching and even though Google has yet to reveal the release date, the new gadget is getting a lot of attention.

The majority of people who have gotten their hands on Google Glass already – including a number of influencers, Google employees and the winners of the Twitter #ifIhadGlass contest – have liked it.

Google Glass is activated by voice and touch commands and the display appears in your field of vision just above your direct line of sight. Essentially it’s the next generation Smartphone, for your face.

With Google Glass you have access to maps, weather, texts through voice conversion, camera features with a tap or a wink, web searches through simple voice commands, translations that speak directly into your ear, facial recognition that can be linked to reminders, and of course video recording and video calling, which allow others to see life through your eyes.

Brands on Google Glass

With 10 percent of Americans already interested in buying a pair of the high-tech glasses, according to mobile application specialist BiTE interactive, Google Glass is poised to be yet another platform for brands to engage with users – and vice versa.

Google has said that it wants Google Glass to be free from clutter and intrusive advertising but playgroundlabs, a mobile software company, has created a video that shows how brands might be able to leverage the platform effectively.

Of course, brands will have to change the way they create and design content to fill Google Glass’s field of vision, just as they had to learn (and are still learning) how to craft Facebook status updates or mobile-friendly content.  Soon 140 character tweets will be reduced to headlines and photos since that’s all Glass wearers can see at first glance.

Elle, Evernote, CNN, Facebook, The New York Times, Tumblr and Twitter are among the first wave of third-party brands working with Google to create apps – known as Glasswear – for the device.

Google Glass on brands

Google Glass is also set to disrupt the way brands interact with customers face-to-face, particularly in the healthcare, retail and hospitality industries. Healthcare workers are excited about the possibility of Google Glass becoming a regular feature in hospitals and see the device’s potential to reduce medical errors.

Doctors can use Glass to access chart information, surgeons could live stream operations for students and residents and ambulance workers could use the device’s web browser as a diagnostic reference.

In the hospital and retail sectors, Google Glass would help brands monitor customer relationships through the eyes of their employees in the field. Facial recognition can be used to identify customers in order to access their history, preferences and offer promotions. Google Glass can also be used to quickly scan and take stock of inventory.

Overcoming the creepy factor

Of course, many of Google Glass’s functions make people uneasy.

Privacy concerns are at the root of many critics’ resistance toward the device, especially because it’s difficult to tell when the device is filming or taking a picture. Google Glass would undoubtedly be banned in movie theatres and performance venues. Even though Google Glass hasn’t hit the market yet, a bar in Seattle has already instituted a “No Google Glass” policy.

Others are concerned about the social implications of Google Glass. Putting aside the issue that the glasses make people look they’re on the set of some low-budget sci-fi movie, some fear that Google Glass will make people even more disconnected from their physical environment, despite Google senior developer Timothy Jordan’s assertion that “by bringing technology closer, we could get it further away.”

C2-MTL 2013 Live Feed

From May 21-23, Sparksheet will be reporting live from C2-MTL, an unconventional business conference in Montreal that’s all about the intersection of commerce and creativity.

With a speaker roster that includes Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Diane von Furstenberg, and an elite group of c-suite attendees (tickets cost upwards of $3,600), the event is sure to generate plenty of online buzz.

This is our notebook of interesting and inspiring blogs, tweets, Instagram photos and other C2-related content from around the web, powered by our friends at Spundge.


The Sparksheet team curates the most interesting and insightful content around C2-MTL 2013.

c2-mtl, #c2mtl, c2mtl, @sparksheet

View “C2-MTL” on Spundge

CTRL ALT Delete: Google+ Hangout with Mitch Joel

ctrl-alt-deleteIt gets harder every year to think of an industry that hasn’t been disrupted by the internet. Brands big and small are finding themselves sandwiched between a dead (or dying) business model and an uncertain future.

Blogger, podcaster and Twist Image president Mitch Joel calls this state “purgatory” and in his new book, CTRL ALT Delete, he argues that it’s time for businesses and individuals to “reboot.”

Mitch has been a friend of Sparksheet since the beginning and he joined us for a Google+ Hangout to talk about his thoughtful and thought-provoking book, which comes out on May 21.

Our conversation covers everything from screen shifting and mobile marketing, to how to have “safe sex with data” and why the world should be a little more “squiggly.”

What does that mean? Watch the Hangout below:

Want to Join the Sparksheet Team?

sparkbeat-logoIf you’re full of good ideas and passionate about content, media and marketing, then come join Sparksheet for the summer! We’re looking for a smart, web-savvy editorial intern to spend a few months with us in our Montreal office.

As Sparksheet’s editorial intern, you’ll work with our content and design teams to create and curate content across our award-winning platforms. You’ll also be involved in day-to-day editorial stuff like researching images, navigating our CMS, and coming up with story ideas.

Because we’re a small team, you’ll be encouraged to bring your own unique skills, talents and interests to the table. Journalism students, recent graduates, and anyone with relevant writing and editorial experience will be considered. Design skills and social media chops are always a plus.

Think you’re the right person for the job? Know someone who is?

Check out the details and apply now (Deadline: April 15).




Sparksheet at Dx3 Canada This Week


Update: Check out our photos from Dx3 2013. We turned people into content!

The Sparksheet team is in Toronto this week for Dx3, Canada’s first and only digital marketing, digital advertising and digital retailing trade show. We’re proud to be the event’s official content partner for the second year running. Here’s what we have in store:

  • I will be speaking along with Sparksheet’s Design Director, Charles Lim, about the “55 Things You Have to Know About Content Marketing.” Actually, we were asked to talk about five things, but we thought 55 would be a lot more fun!
  • Sparksheet has a booth on the trade show floor (#201) where we’ll be showing off our content creation chops through live visual storytelling. Let us turn you into content!
  • Over the past few months we’ve published a series of exclusive Q&As with digital thought leaders (Canadian and otherwise) on the Dx3 Digest. Stay tuned for our very candid interview with Kim Kelleher, former worldwide publisher at Time magazine and current President of Say Media (Dx3’s gold sponsor).

If you’re in the neighbourhood, come say hello. We’d love to meet you. If not, we’ll be doing lots of live-tweeting over the next two days, so stay tuned!


Crowdsourcing the Super Bowl (Or At Least The Ads)

Doritos' "Crash The Super Bowl" ad campaign. Image via Doritos' Facebook Page.

Doritos’ “Crash The Super Bowl” ad campaign. Image via Doritos’ Facebook Page.

More than a hundred million American sports fans will be glued to their TVs this Sunday for Super Bowl XLVII. The rest of the world will be paying attention to the ads. And for good reason: This year could turn out to be the high-water mark for crowdsourced commercials.

The trend of crowdsourcing, or bringing fans into the ad’s creative process, can be traced back to 2007, when Doritos debuted its massively popular “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. Brands haven’t stopped experimenting since.

Here is a taste of crowdsourcing strategies brands are deploying for Super Bowl 2013.

Crowdsource the script

Super Bowl ad rookie Lincoln (the car company, not the U.S. president or Oscar-nominated film) will be airing a commercial based on tweets from its #SteertheScript promotion. The car brand teamed up with comedian Jimmy Fallon, who chose his favourite tweets as inspiration for the ad. The brand has been dropping occasional teasers for months now, building anticipation for the main event.

Crowdsource the ad

While Doritos is the only brand to put the entire creative process in the hands of its contestants, other brands are starting to head in that direction. Coca-Cola and Audi are each running separate ‘choose your own adventure’ style campaigns, where fans get to vote online for which ending will appear on TV.

Be explosive

Sometimes it’s not the crowd that decides the fate of an ad, but the network. That’s what happened to Sodastream, a home carbonation product.

The Israel-based brand had intended to break into the American market with a Super Bowl ad mocking Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but CBS (the network airing the game) disapproved of the spot.

Turns out people love controversy. The original commercial went viral on YouTube before being replaced by a toned down version, which is scheduled to run on Sunday.

Even if this social media tie-in was accidental, Sodastream has made a far bigger splash because of it.

Hashtag it

It’s almost certain that every ad will be accompanied by a hashtag. The only question is how integrated into the campaign that hashtag will be. Toyota encouraged people to upload images of themselves on Instagram and Twitter with the #wishgranted hashtag for a chance to appear in the ad.

In the same vein, users who upload selfies with the #PepsiHalftime might appear on screen during the Pepsi-sponsored Beyonce halftime show.

Send your fans to space

Hashtags and user-generated content are likely to make an impact, but they won’t necessarily send a brand into orbit.

That’s why Axe is using their first-ever Super Bowl spot to promote the Axe Apollo Space Academy contest, in which participants compete for a chance to get flown into space. The sheer boldness of the contest has been enough to generate lots of buzz.

Gaming the crowds

It’s easy to see why brands are so committed to crowdsourcing and social media tie-ins. As Jason Therrien, President of social media marketing agency Thunder Tech explains, “If you have an emotional attachment to a commercial, you’re more likely to sit through it.”

And if brands can nurture that attachment by crafting a contest around the ad, or build anticipation through sharable teasers, then all the better.

Super Bowl ads are expensive. This year brands paid an average of $3.7 million for the privilege. For perspective, the cost of a 30-second spot a decade ago was $1.9 million.

So it’s no wonder that ad agencies and brands are pulling out all the stops to earn as many impressions as possible. Bringing campaigns online is a surefire way to do that. As Mashable reports, those ads shown before the game get 600 percent more YouTube views.

Brands love to rise above the noise, but sometimes it’s better to stick to the crowd.

Help Us Make Sparksheet Better

It’s a brand new year and we’re gearing up for some big changes around these parts.

Over the past three and a half years you’ve seen Sparksheet evolve from an upstart agency blog to an award-winning multiplatform magazine. We’ve taken on more and more topics, industries and platforms, tweaking our site’s design along the way.

We don’t want to fix anything that’s not broken and we’re not about to change things up just because we can, or because we think we’re supposed to.

But we do want to keep evolving and, most importantly, we want to make sure that Sparksheet continues to serve you, our loyal readers, with relevant content in 2013 and beyond.

So before we do anything crazy we’re asking you to fill out a short reader survey. We know that no one likes surveys, but this one is pretty painless, we promise.

Basically, we’d like to know a little bit more about who you are and why you come to Sparksheet. We want to know what sort of content you’re into, what we’re not covering that you think we should be, and what you’re sick of hearing us go on about. We’d also love to know how you use the “good ideas” you find on Sparksheet – who you share it with, why and how.

It will only take a few minutes of your time. And we’d really appreciate it.

The 2013 Sparksheet Reader Survey

« Older Entries Newer Entries »

Spark Quotes

I think we can learn a lot from other countries. Our tendency in the U.S. is to try to figure out everything on our own, as if this is all in the future.

What is Sparksheet?

What is Sparksheet?

We’re an award-winning multiplatform magazine. We explore how brands are using different platforms to get relevant content to the right people wherever they may be.

About Sparksheet →

Sparksheet Events

Sparksheet Events

We turn events into content. From speaker interviews and think pieces, to live-tweeting and post-event roundups, we’ve got conferences covered before, during, and after the event.

Sparksheet Events →

Sparksheet TV

Sparksheet TV

We have our own YouTube channel. Check out our candid backstage video interviews with some of the world’s most influential marketers, journalists, authors and CEOs.

SparksheetTV →

Original Sparksheet content is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Please include a link to the original article. © 2014 Spafax, a tenthavenue company

Back to the top ↑