What is Branding?

What is Branding?

Branding is a buzzword that is used a lot in the Marketing industry. So, if I asked you, what is Branding? You’ll probably tell me it’s a logo.

These are not a brand. These are logos.


The term logo is an abbreviation of Logotype, which is Marketing jargon for a trademark made from a custom lettered word.

“Logos” is Greek for Word.

Graphic Designers use the word Logo in place of the word trademark. Which is a custom lettered word.


A trademark can be a Logo, Emblem, Monogram, Symbol, or any other Graphic. A trademark is not the Brand itself. It is just a symbol for it.

If you think of what you do, it’s your trade, it’s what you do, and the mark is the symbol that represents it.


A Brand is an impression about a product, service, or company that an individual has.

You cannot control what people think, but you can influence it.

Now forgive me as I subject some of the WEtech staff to illustrate my point. (Pun intended.)


This is Marketing.


If someone else says it for you, this is Public Relations.


If you keep saying the message repeatedly, that’s Advertising.


If you say it with a symbol instead of words, that’s a Graphic. A visual manifestation of the words.


When someone else tells you, that’s Branding!


It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.

Now that you understand Branding, you now know that looking at a logo it’s not the brand.

There are a lot of components that define the Brand:

  • Graphics
  • Customer Service
  • Staff
  • Product
  • Logo
  • Messaging
  • Packaging
  • Signage
  • Website
  • Décor
  • And more…

Branding is the secret sauce that makes your business memorable.

  • Dove, improves your self esteem
  • Apple, is the best at innovation
  • Amazon, is the easiest way to buy anything

Are these statements correct? Might be, might not be.

Most people believe them to be true because a company will invest money to make you believe it. That’s Branding.

So, let’s talk about your own Branding.

Try this:

Write down 2-4 positive adjectives that:

  1. You think describe your Brand
  2. What your customers or clients use to describe you

Then ask your most trusted friends that will be honest with you to review it. If they don’t agree, then you need to have a meeting and brainstorm until you portray your Brand right.

These few adjectives will become the building blocks of your Branding.

You need to remember that the person the Brand is truly for is the customer.

David Duke is an instructor at St. Clair College’s Graphic Design program, and creative director for his own business; David Jacob Duke [Creative Design Studio]. He has 17 years’ experience as a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, and Illustrator. www.davidjacobduke.com

Attracting People to Windsor Starts with Swagger, Vision and Teamwork.


By Justine Janssen

Six months ago, my husband and I made the decision to move our family and careers to Windsor after a decade of living in cities like New York, Dallas and Toronto. As relatively new Windsorites, we often get asked what the community needs to do to get others to think Windsor.

To me, it comes down to these three things:

1. We Need Swagger

This is an incredible community and I don’t think that many people in Windsor-Essex realize how good we have it. The combination of affordability, proximity to the US and the Great Lakes, phenomenal community organizations, fantastic restaurants, and a warm and supportive community feel makes this an incredible place to live – and if you don’t believe that, I actually encourage you to move away for a period of time. Go learn and grow somewhere else, then come back and appreciate this incredible community and share with it what you’ve learned from being away. We will all be richer for it. It took us moving away for my husband and I to realize what a treasure South Western Ontario really is.

2. We Need Vision

It was sad to see Windsor excluded from the Innovation Corridor this month, but we need to take responsibility for developing a coordinated, bold vision for this region to give both private and public sector investors something to invest IN. I have been blown away by how much talent and passion there is in this region – that is not the issue. We need to declare what we want to be when we grow up and allow that vision to guide our priorities and investments as a region.

3. We Need to Work Together

We can declare a bold vision, but we all need to move in the same direction to achieve it. We have a massive opportunity to tear down silos and barriers between organizations to transform Windsor-Essex with a unified vision that respects our roots and enables the innovations we need to move forward. Whether you are in the public or private sector, we ALL have a role to play in celebrating Windsor’s strengths and supporting the entrepreneurs who create value in our community.


Justine Janssen is a technology executive and strategist. She is passionate about community stewardship, entrepreneurship, and women in tech. You can reach her by email HERE.

“Attracting People to Windsor Starts with Swagger, Vision & Teamwork” originally appeared as the Generation YKNOT feature in the April 2016 issue of Biz X Magazine. Subscribe HERE to get your free digital copy of Biz X Magazine delivered right to your email inbox!

Finding Diamonds in the Mistakes

I really believe that, to create true business or life success, you need to be brave enough to fail. While I know this likely contradicts everything you believe or think you know, I have arrived at this conclusion through both my own entrepreneurial experiences and those that I have observed alongside my clients. By blindly striving for what you perceive to be “success” rather than acknowledging your missteps and taking the opportunity to learn from them, you will ultimately impede your ability to achieve the greatest business victories.

It is as Bill Gates once stated: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Truth be told, we remember our challenges much more clearly then we remember the paths we took to reach success. Successful people, upon recognizing a mistake, stop and identify the need, opportunity, or pivot necessary to correct that mistake. They own it.

Frankly, I think that we as Canadians – even moreso than others – are philosophically afraid of any kind of perceived “failure.” Perhaps we need to adopt more of our southern neighbours’ business gusto. To do so, you just need to look at our nest Canadian success stories and see where the leaders involved lagged, pivoted, and owned their market category.

The fact is, if we never make missteps, we are succeeding only modestly. Look: if you want to get better, you must push yourself. You must be intuitive enough to recognize that if you are never failing, you’re simply not pushing hard enough. Missteps, failings, or whichever other terms you nd more palatable are part of getting better. A good leader understands this and encourages his or her team to creatively accelerate its successes by achieving what I call “open-minded failures.”

This is how we learn.

Correcting and capitalizing on a big missed opportunity leads to true success. By worshiping conceptual success, we create a culture that celebrates the status quo. To truly succeed in building strong individuals, companies, communities, and regions, we must not fear failure. The trick lies in not making the same mistake(s) twice.

Just listen to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Basically, any mistake that you think you can make,” he says, “I’ve probably made or will make in the next few years.”

In the business world, several core principles stay the same, but many speci c strategies change signi cantly over time. While I understand that success has many de nitions, for most businesses it still entails providing value, creating strong customer engagement, and generating a positive bottom line. What has and will continue to change, though, is the speed with which the world is churning. The strategies of past successes simply will not continue to chart the best course for the future. And the only way you, as the leader of your team, can set positive new courses and implement successful new strategies is to expand your collective ability to push the envelope.

Experiment. Learn. Fail. Create. Succeed.

Napoleon Hill, author of the instructional book Think and Grow Rich, echoes these sentiments: “Your shortest route to success is failure,” he writes. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater bene t.”

As for me, I continue to learn.

7431803Karen Behune Plunkett is Principal at PinPoint Strategic Direction, an advisory and strategic consulting firm, encouraging entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations to effectively identify goals and priorities. www.pinpointsd.com

4 Steps to SEO Success

When I first started working in digital marketing and web design back in 2008, things were a lot different. Drake was still a former basketball star on Degrassi, people were still wondering what the movie Cloverfield was all about and the Detroit Lions went 0-16! When it came to SEO back then, all you really had to do was add a few keywords to your “title” and “META keywords” tags and incorporate those words into the content of your website and BAM – SEO success!

Fast forward to 2017 and things have changed quite a bit. Not only is Drake an international hip-hop superstar, but nowadays it take a lot more research, evaluation and patience to achieve SEO success.

The first step in attaining that success is keyword research. Finding those perfect 5-10 terms and phrases that will help your website appear higher in the search engine rankings on popular search sites like Google and Bing.

That’s where we’re going to start today. Here is my 4 step process to finding the perfect keywords for your website.

1)  Make a list of the keywords your target audience would type-in when searching for your products and/or services.

This step may be one of the easiest steps and yet it’s the one that’s so often missed. Sitting down and making a list of all the keywords you think your target audience would type-in is a great way to make a blanket list of ALL the potential keywords you may end up using.

The key here is to not get trapped in listing what YOU would type-in but what your target audience would type-in. If you’re having trouble making this list, be sure to ask friends, family, co-workers and anyone who will listen what they would type-in so you can grow your list.

When finished, your list should have between 50-150 keywords and key phrases.

2) Research competitors

Do a quick search of your direct and in-direct competitors to determine which SEO keywords they’re using to attract clients and customers to their website. The best way to do this is to type-in your competitors name in Google or Bing and see what they’re using in their “title” and “META description” tags.

Some of the keywords used in the image below include: Calgary SEO, Lead Generation, Digital Marketing, SEO Experts, Digital Marketing Agency, Advertising Campaigns, Search Engine Optimization and Creative Agency.

Take the keywords that you didn’t have in your list from Step 1 and add them accordingly.

3) Keyword search volume research

Perfect! Now you have your list of 50-150 keywords but there’s just one problem. You can’t optimize your site for all 50-150 keywords because that’s just way to many. The next step is to plug those keywords into a keyword research tool and get an approximate number of how many searches those keywords get each day.

My favourite tool to use is SEO Book’s Keyword Tool. It’s free to use once you’ve signed up for a free SEO book membership and is incredibly easy to use. Simply plug your keyword into the search bar and hit “Submit”. The tool will then provide you with a full list of keywords associated with what you typed in along with their estimated monthly and daily searches.

Plug each of your keywords into the tool and take note of their estimate monthly and daily searches. This will help you determine your refined list of keywords in the final step.  Please note, there are other keyword research tools such as: WordStream and Google AdWords Keyword Planner available if you don’t like SEO Book.

4) Refine original list and implement

Now comes the difficult and most important part – picking the 5-10 keywords you’re going to implement on the website. The way I typically do this is to take stock of all the information I gathered in steps 1-3 and use my SEO experience to pick the 5-10 I think I can attain based on a several factors. These factors typically include: age of domain, number of pages on website, competition (how much competition are there for those keywords) etc.

If you’re not too sure how to determine the factors above – that’s ok! Choose the 5-10 keywords you think fit best for your business based on the research you just conducted and implement them in your website. The great thing about SEO is that it’s never set in stone. Try different keywords every few months to see what works best and what doesn’t.

Lastly, keep in mind that things change. Even if something works for the first 3-6 months, it may not work the 3-6 months after that. Always keep an eye on your website traffic and determine how you can improve on past performance.

Good luck!

Sebastian Agosta is the Owner of SebastianAgosta.com – a digital marketing company.  He has 10 years experience as a digital marketer, web designer and WordPress developer in Windsor, Ontario. He partners with small to medium sized businesses to grow their online presence through unique and inventive digital marketing strategies. For more information, please get in touch.

Our Auto Show Experience

Jan 8-12, 2017 was the inaugural launch of autoMOBILI-D at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With a focus on autonomous driving, connected vehicles and mobility, autoMOBILI-D will likely grow in its position within this industry and culture.

The CORAcsi display at the inaugural autoMOBILI-D event held January 8-12, 2017.

CORA Cyber Security (CORAcsi) was one of 5 Canadian companies to participate within the Ontario-Canada pavilion at this inaugural event. We were proud to accept this invitation as a Windsor based startup; our two border cities have been intimately involved in the auto show for decades.

CORAcsi is committed to ‘unbreakable security’ for all things global, including autonomous, connected vehicles. Our mandate is to secure the Global Community. How interesting that CORA, a step beyond encryption that is unbreakable, was brought to this ‘international auto show” by means of a joint endeavor with the Ontario and Federal government. Our borders continue to shrink as a global community emerges, one that needs “unbreakable” amidst such a flurry of hacks, breaches and cybercrime.

Gerry Simpson, VP of business development, is an incredible networking machine. As an experienced business person, he contained his excitement at being invited to this event more readily than myself. As Saturday, Jan 7th arrived, Gerry and I arrived at the COBO Centre and met Anne Cascadden from the Consulate General’s office in Detroit. We promptly setup our exhibit and obtained the necessary credentials and passes. Having a corner display location was an added bonus – thank you Anne!

The inaugural autoMOBILI-D event held in advance of the 2017 North American International Auto Show

Sunday, Jan 8th arrived. Our display, thumb drives and brochures where setup as we entered day 1 of autoMOBILI-D. This first day was filled with networking amongst the participants and hosts.

This journey towards such an exciting moment began with Ross McKenzie, the Managing Director of WatCAR at the University of Waterloo. Ross forwarded our name to Ray Tanguay, who then initiated the invitation to the Canada-Ontario pavilion through Dacian Petrescu from the Ontario Investment Office with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth. Anne Cascadden and Genevieve Dionne with the Canadian Consulate General in Detroit orchestrated this pavilion at autoMOBILI-D.

I had the honour to meet and speak with the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Growth and Development. The story of “unbreakable data security” strikes most people with a sense of curiosity about such a bold claim, and yet, it doesn’t take long for ‘the math’ to lend its support.

Joe Latouf (r) of CORAcsi meets with Brad Duguid (l), Ontario Minister of Economic Growth and Development and Navdeep Bains (c), Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

I have always had a love of learning and creating – which is the driving force behind CORA. That said, I tend toward functionality over appearance. The size and opulence of this event was unmistakable, and yet, I am happy to say that it was as valuable in functionality as it was in grandeur.

Gerry was generous with his time, opening our exhibit each day, and often staying past his shift to help me with the second shift. We forged many connections and Gerry is following up with numerous leads, including 3 contacts with the US army, Tesla Motors, the Jeep Hackers, and numerous tier one suppliers and consultants. Bottom line – in a connect world, with connected vehicles, who doesn’t need “unbreakable”?

Acceleration is part of my background in Physics. CORAcsi has benefited from many individuals and groups who have accelerated us towards our goal of providing “unbreakable data security” to the global community. These include WEtech, WECAN, SAE, the Consul General’s office in Detroit, Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation, and both the Federal and Provincial governments. Happily, each new page in CORA’s book of cyber security is more exciting than the previous.

Joseph Latouf is the President & Solutions Architect of CORAcsi, a cyber security company specializing in “unbreakable” data security.

Wearables 2.0

In January 1946, infamous cartoon detective Dick Tracy unveiled to the world the future of wearable technology when he used his 2-way wrist TV/phone to get himself out of a tight jam and the world would never be the same. If Star Trek inspired a generation of engineers and scientists by showing them how technology could be used if you let your imagination run wild, then the Dick Tracy watch paved the way. Apple’s Tim Cook was quoted as saying at the launch of the Apple Watch “I have been wanting to do this since I was 5 years old.” Harking back to 1965, the Dick Tracy watch was still the coolest gadget around (to be copied by Hollywood imitators soon after). Today’s smartwatch has essentially been in development since the 80’s when Seiko launched the first programmable calculator watch. Adding true computing power changed everything in 2010 when Samsung introduced the Gear Smartwatch. The Apple Watch would be launched 5 years later to mixed reviews and slower than expected sales.

These slow sales are not just with Apple however. The whole smartwatch industry is in a tailspin with pioneer Pebble selling off its assets to Fitbit and having all its future products cancelled. Even Fitbit, the darling of the health tracker wearable, is having trouble expanding its line of niche trackers into a larger audience. How many of us have a Fitbit or Jawbone sitting in a drawer, battery dead, now that the novelty has worn off? There are staggering statistics that nearly 2 out of every 3 fitness trackers are abandoned within the first 4 months after purchase.

Todays smartwatches are rapidly displacing dedicated fitness trackers as they provide a multitude of functions, but I have to admit, after owning an Apple Watch for a few months now, I find its usefulness is limited. Apple Pay is cool and works well, but friends always think I am in a hurry when I am reading notifications on my watch.

In 2013, Google developed Google Glass, allowing a user to consume information from their connected android device through a type of heads up display now readily known as augmented reality. Google discontinued its Glass program in 2015 but remains committed to the technology. A number of other companies today are developing next-generation glasses that promise to pick up where Glass left off.

As a true early adopter of technology, I have owned or tried all of the above (except for Dick Tracey’s watch) and have found pros and cons for each. I continue to believe in the future of wearables (i.e. they are not dead) however they need to be less conspicuous and truly enrich our daily lives.

Rob Whent is an Industrial Technology Advisor with the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, helping accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises by providing them with a comprehensive suite of innovation services and support. He can be reached by emailing him at rob.whent@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Any views or opinions expressed are that of the author and do not represent those of NRC.

Check out Rob “Gadget Guy” Whent’s other guest blog posts: My Internet of Things & Anyone Hungry for a Raspberry Pi?

Reflections & Predictions: A Look Back on 2016 & Ahead to 2017

It’s been an incredible year at WEtech Alliance! We asked the team to share their favorite 2016 moments as well as what they’re looking forward to in 2017. Here’s what they had to say.


Yvonne Pilon – President and CEO 


How quickly the year goes by! The past year has been yet another transformative year for WEtech Alliance. New team members (welcome Cathy Mombourquette), new leadership (welcome Chair Adam Davis), new board members (welcome Brent McPhail, Saverio Rinaldi, Aaron Marcotte, Larry Koscielski, and Nicole Sleiman), and new clients and members. We’ve had clients travel to Silicon Valley, achieve their first sale, secure angel investment, establish their new lab space, and even quit their FT job to pursue their venture. These milestones are what drives our team and makes our jobs so rewarding.

The past year also included building on existing partnerships including that with the Chatham-Kent Economic Development Corporation. A special shout out to Geoff Wright for your ongoing support and your fantastic tour guide skills. Our tour of Chatham-Kent will be among one of our favourite memories of 2016.

Another special memory is the inaugural Nerd Olympics. Never have I been so proud of YQG’s tech community. This event not only brought together local Nerds but formed partnership with over a dozen local businesses. The laughs, smiles, and even some tears, are memories that I will cherish from 2016. I can’t wait to see who will bring home the Nerd Cup in 2017. Will Next Dimension continue their reign?

Our team would be remiss if we did not thank our past Chair, Frank Abbruzzese, for his leadership as well as commitment to WEtech Alliance since opening its doors in 2010. Frank, you are a true pillar in this community and we are grateful for your leadership and commitment to promoting technology and innovation in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

Last but definitely not least, 2016 would not have been as impactful without the efforts and dedication of the WEtech team. This team knows no limits and any leader knows that your business is only as good as the talent that makes it. A special congratulations to Marco Fiori, Business Advisor, who not only helped our clients reach their 2016 entrepreneurial dreams but his own as well with the opening of Windsor’s only Rock Gym, Windsor Rock Gym. Congrats!


Partnerships, partnerships, and more partnerships! With 7 years under our belt, WEtech has grown its brand and footprint in our community. We’ve made great partnerships to date including but not limited to that with The Windsor Star (Tech In The City), CTV Windsor (Monthly Innovation Segment), Biz X Magazine (Generation YKNOT Monthly Column), Motor City Community Credit Union (Titan Sponsor), WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (Regional Alliance and IofT Event), EPICentre and Genesis Centre, City of Windsor (Snapd Windsor Monthly Insert), FIRST Robotics Canada (Windsor-Essex Great Lakes FRC Regional), as well as Hacking Health Foundation and TechTown Detroit (Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit). 2017 will continue along the same path with new partnerships being built locally, nationally, and internationally to assist our Clients and Members in achieving success and job creation. Last but not least, our team is thrilled to introduce our new Partnership Package this year as well as our WINnovation Map 2.0. Bring on 2017!

Deborah Livneh – Entrepreneur-in-Residence


I am so excited to see how several of our Clients have accelerated their businesses and products to market.  Until recently, they were just startup entrepreneurs with an idea. Now, I am so proud to watch them acquire paying customers, hire their first employee, get awarded government funding, secure investment, and expand their reach internationally. As their business advisor and mentor, it is most gratifying to see them become successful!  Their success is our success and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of their journey.

Another fond recollection of 2016 is the increased focus on the life science sector. WEtech in collaboration with community partners, university, college and hospitals promoted our region as a gateway to the USA and an attractive place to develop and adopt medical innovations.  We had explored the Health Innovation as Economic Driver Forum with MaRS Innovation.  We envision these collaborative initiatives will advance clinical research, grow innovative health technologies, attract high value investments, and create attractive high paying careers in our region.


I’m looking forward to 2017, as it is shaping up to be another great year to engage in many new and exciting projects and technologies. It is so great to be a part of the dynamic and enthusiastic WEtech team, dreaming up new ideas, fun activities, and exciting events.  We will support our entrepreneurs in accelerating their businesses and help them making real headway into the market place in the coming year!

Happy 2017 to all!

Marco Fiori – Business Advisor


It was amazing to see such a full year of very active involvement in the city through many events and related opportunities. The portfolio has now reached a significant number with measurable impact and some interesting technologies created right here. Local success stories are being shared with everyone and the support has been incredible.


Making even more impact on the local start up scene. Continue to leverage all resources and find more investor ready companies.

Irek Kusmierczyk – Director of Partnerships


I love how the community of companies in the tech and innovation sectors came together in a big way through Nerd Olympics, shining a light on both the amazing tech talent we have in our region and the amazing quality of life we enjoy.


I am excited about the partnership with Libro Credit Union that will support startup entrepreneurs of all ages in the City and County.  Embedding our entrepreneurs into Libro’s thick network of community and business leaders will be invaluable to the growth of these startups and hence the growth of prosperity in our region.

John-Marc Vachon – Director of Programs & Marketing


The term “time flies when you’re having fun” immediately comes to mind when I think of 2016. It feels like just yesterday that I was preparing this same feature for 2015/2016! There have been a lot of memorable moments in 2016. From celebrating Social Media Day with our Social Media Superheroes, to the launch of our #YQG ❤ collaboration with RARE Apparel to the numerous events we had the opportunity to partner with some amazing organizations on such as Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit, WEGLR, the Windsor Essex Tech Show, Emerging Technology in Automation and Robotic Surgery Day.

But for me, the one event that stands out the most was our inaugural Nerd Olympics event that brought together 16 tech company teams in the ultimate 3 month long battle of brains & brawn. I was blown away by the passion and dedication shown by our teams, partners and sponsors and had a fantastic time interacting with them over the course of the games.


I’m excited about our partnership with Libro Credit Union on the Libro StartUP program launching in February. This program has the potential to make a huge impact on the 5 companies selected. I’m also looking forward to planning our 2nd annual Nerd Olympics event with the goal of making it even bigger and better than the first! Lastly, I look forward to continuing to grow our amazing partnerships in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Michigan and beyond.

Michelle Teno-Wachter – Administration and Member Services


Our CEO always encourages Team building exercises; so we introduced an event to strengthen WEtech’s connection within our local Technology sector. The Nerd Olympics brought challenges and team building skills that strengthened networking relations – or maybe not 😉 – in our Tech Region.  There’s always challenges, but working as a Team we overcome together. That’s why WEtech’s Team gets stronger and better every year… it’s a challenge we love that gets us where we need to be.


As people return back to Windsor, you’ll see more youth involvement changing the face of Windsor. As well, with technology proving to be one of the most powerful tools of social change, WEtech is positioned to assist in the challenges in driving; educating and developing the local Tech sector. I enjoy working with a Team who gets excited at the prospect of challenges and  partnerships in changing the image of Windsor.

Cathy Mombourquette – Director of Social Innovation


Coming in new to the WEtech team mid-year, it has been a whirlwind six months learning about Social Innovation, and sharing with our community. From workshops to toolkits, I’m honored to help this amazing breed of entrepreneurs who are passionate about developing solutions to social problems.


It’s an exciting time. Our provincial government has recognized the important role social enterprises play in reducing poverty, protecting the environment, building stronger communities and creating jobs with their social enterprise strategy.  We recognize it too. Interest is growing across our region – more are hoping to expand their social ventures, with others wanting to start new ones. I can’t wait to be a part of it!


What were your favourite moments of 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2017? Tweet us @WEtechAlliance!