Brand x Audience: The evolving relationship between marketers and consumers

Brand x Audience: The evolving relationship between marketers and consumers

Footwear is so hot right now.

Look no further than some of the most recent drop marketing collaborations: 

McDonald’s Canada partnered with Crocs for a limited-edition line of shoes, socks, and “Jibbitz” charms inspired by retro McD’s mascots Grimace, Birdie, and the Hamburglar, according to a press release. “We love how passionate our guests are about their McDonald’s orders, and with this Crocs collaboration they can now boldly express themselves through their footwear,” said Alyssa Buetikofer, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. 

The McDonald’s x Crocs collab not only leverages shared brand love – it also supports Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC), so you can feel *extra* good about your McPurchase! The collection officially dropped November 14th.

Crocs not your thing? How about Nike’s sesame seed Montreal bagel-inspired dunks, the Nike Dunk Low PRM “Montreal Bagel,” released back in January. 

Or Burger King Brazil’s “Collab Born From Fire” with Fila, for a collection inspired by Burger King’s flamed grilled goodness. 

Do you know what else is so hot right now, though? Brand collaborations in general. Which is, of course, all part of a bigger picture trend that has to do with the changing relationship between brands and their consumers. 

According to Marketing Dive, collaborations like these demonstrate how brands “continue to look to fashion and culture as a way to connect with younger consumers who are ad-averse but not brand-averse.” 

Those bold italics in the quote are ours, because this is a really important distinction to make. People know they are being marketed to. They have for some time now. In fact, consumers currently have more power than ever; as a result, the evolving nature of the brand x audience relationship has necessitated that brands no longer talk at their consumers – but rather, engage in an ongoing dialogue. It’s a conversation, a feedback loop, where consumers help inform brand decisions, and vice versa, for a scenario where both parties win. 

With younger demographics specifically, digital natives who have become consumers themselves, it benefits both brand and audience – an audience wary of ads in the traditional sense, but who are increasingly brand loyal and fashion forward – to keep the communication lines open. 

And in case you’re wondering, yes. This goes beyond fashion finds.

Tim Horton’s, Canada’s biggest home-grown fast food chain, teamed up a few years back with Canada’s (arguably) biggest home-grown pop star, Justin Bieber, to create a limited-edition doughnut collection called Timbiebs Timbits. According to Tim Horton’s CEO José Cil, the Timbits x Bieber collab was “one of the more successful traffic-driving initiatives in recent memory and outperformed our internal expectations.” 

But wait, there’s more! And it gets even weirder. 

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum recently teamed up with Pokémon – yes, that Pokémon, we don’t know anyone else by that name – for a collection of post-impressionist paintings of the beloved Japanese “pocket monsters.”

The exhibit itself was popular enough, but, unsurprisingly, the online merch became the subject of a real life “gotta catch ‘em all,” attracting so much traffic that it took the Museum’s site down, and they had to reschedule the drop indefinitely. We’re legitimately curious if Vincent would have been cool with all this. 

Oh, and let’s not forget that time Star Wars teamed up with CoverGirl makeup for an exclusive collection where fans could choose between a dark side or light side colour palette. What a time to be alive!

This is just a small sampling of what happens when brand loyalty is leveraged. But it yields an important insight to consider before embarking on any marketing journey: Consumers do not want to be talked at. They want to have a conversation with you. They want to know that you know that they know what they want. (Read that again.)

And what they want, above all, is to be heard. To know that you “get them.” That’s what everyone wants ultimately, isn’t it? Effective marketing is an exercise in psychology as much as it is about creation and execution.  

But it’s also an exercise in being human. 

Building hype is only half the battle. Take the time to really know your audience, and listen to what they have to say. Collaborate with them. If you can do that effectively, trust us, you’ll know. 

We’re all just people, after all. 

Unless you’re a bot. But that’s a post for another time!


What Canadian Social Habits Mean for Marketers

What Canadian Social Habits Mean for Marketers

The Age of Information is a rapidly evolving one, shaped both by, and in response to, its users. As each social platform changes, so does its community and the conversations it hosts.

But what does this mean for marketers?

A recent study from Environics Research delved into the varying social habits of Canadians to glean some valuable insights for how to effectively connect with our audiences, on which platforms, and how to stay afloat in a constantly changing landscape.

We already know how differently each generation interacts with social media, each favouring one or several platforms over the others. It’s as though each were a physical gathering space, frequented by the dominant demographic who shapes it. The spaces, in turn, adapt to their people, and adopt their corresponding communication styles.

Understanding the symbiotic nature of this relationship is crucial in knowing how, and where, to connect with your audience.

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

Coined by American writer and technologist Marc Prensky, the term digital native refers to anyone born into the Age of Information – essentially in the 90s or later (Millennials on the younger end of the spectrum, and Gen Z). Digital natives have grown up under the influence of ubiquitous information and modern technologies, and therefore navigate the digital world in a much more natural way than a digital immigrant – essentially the Boomer generation, who grew up in a world dominated by print and television, before the advent of the internet.

Many of us fall somewhere in between (Gen X and “Elder Millennials”) – having come of age in a sort of hybrid world, born into an analogue existence, and adapting to quickly emerging digital technology as we go.  

All of this begins to make so much sense when we look at the actual social media habits of the varying generations.

Generational Social Habits

According to the research, 87% of Canadians are weekly users of social media. Environics Research also found that two-thirds of Canadians use the most popular platform, Facebook, at least weekly.

After Facebook, the next most often used platforms are YouTube and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, age and generational differences heavily influence who uses which platforms.

Among the youngest people surveyed, members of Gen Z are most likely to consume content on video-based platforms, TikTok and YouTube. So while Facebook is the most popular among other generations, it’s used significantly less among Gen Z.

Baby Boomers use Facebook far more than any other platform, and any other generation. This should also come as no surprise to anyone at all.

Why does any of this matter?

The connections you make with your customers make all the difference. As platforms make adjustments for their own business reasons, their user communities – and their behaviours – shift and evolve in kind. Content that might see results on one platform can ring hollow on another, as each has its own set of nuances and behaviours.

These factors make it all the more important for marketers to keep up. Raw data can only take you so far – it’s the human insights that will help take you beyond a surface-level transaction. Ultimately, as with interacting IRL, it’s the genuine connections we make that matter in the end.

Navigating a continuously changing landscape on each platform can be challenging, but it’s a challenge we welcome. At 10|20 Marketing, converting experiences into relationships is how we roll. Connect with us today and let’s chat.

Converting experiences into relationships.

Converting experiences into relationships.

So you’ve landed here because you’re looking for a definition of what 10-20 means. Simple. It’s CB (Citizen Band) radio lingo for “location.” Now that you have your answer, though, we hope you stick around. Because we’re actually a marketing agency, and you happen to have stumbled upon us just in time for our relaunch. 


We are 10|20 Marketing, and here’s our deal: Initially, we were primarily about location-based marketing (hence the 10-20). But over time, we’ve grown our offerings, breadth of expertise, and client base, with an evolved mission to ensure that each brand we work with is always positioned exactly where it needs to be: In the minds and hearts of all the right consumers.

Here’s a nice little itemized list of just a few of the things our team of marketing experts can do for you (in addition to, ahem, SEO services) –

Marketing strategy, paid advertising, lead conversion, social media, geofencing, infrastructure design, directory marketing, web design and development, graphics, and storytelling.

We then take all of this and weave it into an expertly crafted campaign that WORKS – because ultimately, at the heart of everything we do, is empathy. Everything feels authentic and true to who you are at your core, and your messaging resonates with all the right people.

Converting experiences into relationships is what we do best, and we’re driven by connection – both internally, and with our clients. We never want to lose sight of that human element.

So, who are we?

Mark Goren
President & Founder
Mark has 25+ years of experience in marketing, having started his career at agencies in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. 

Virginie Gill
Content & Creative Director
With 15 years of digital expertise in her toolbox, Virginie is your go–to person when it comes to social media and web strategy. 

Philippe Tremblay
Content & Creative Director
Philippe Tremblay is a digital marketing specialist with 15 years of media agency experience, spanning multiple facets of digital marketing.

Yves Sauriol
Senior Graphic & Motion Designer
Yves is a seasoned motion and graphics vet with a keen eye for digital aesthetics and visual storytelling.

Bev Spritzer
Senior Copywriter
Bev has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, with the past 13 spent in marketing and advertising.  

Our combined talents and backgrounds allow us to tackle all of your digital marketing needs with a level of passion and expertise that transcends location – allowing your target audience to find you, wherever you are. 

So. Where do you want your brand to be? Let’s build your digital journey together. Contact us today for a free consult – we can’t wait to meet you!