Everyone has #UnexpectedExpenses - Financial Literacy Month

Everyone Has #UnexpectedExpenses

Few things are as stressful and as damaging as the cycle of debt. Nearly 60% of Albertans are within $200 of not being able to cover their expenses each month and a shocking number of people don't have rainy day savings funds. So what happens when your car breaks down or when you lose your job? What about if a pet gets sick, or a loved one needs your full-time care? Any of these unexpected expenses can come out of the blue and would leave many Albertans in debt.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Alberta. In November 2016, with the help and support of a group of concerned citizens and community groups, we launched the Unexpected Expenses campaign. The project received support from the Alberta Government, City of Calgary, City of Edmonton, ATB Financial, First Calgary Financial, Fiasco Gelato, United Way, Enough for All, Money Mentors, SAIT, Bow Valley College, and more.

One of the most amazing parts of the project is that is was generously funded by community members set on improving Albertan’s relationship with money and to help them prepare for future obstacles. In fact, most of the funds came from a sole philanthropist who had a strong passion to eliminate or reduce the usage of payday lending. The project wasn't affiliated or funded by any banks.

Our team engaged with Albertans for a month-long awareness campaign. We asked people to share their #unexpectedexpenses story on social media for a chance to win a daily prize of $500. These funds were added to a savings account in order to help individuals build their rainy day fund. That's 30 Albertan's with $500 in emergency savings in their bank, and thousands more that were reminded of all of the obstacles life can throw your way.

A panel comprised of several of our team members would discuss the submitted cases and select an individual to receive the $500 rainy day fund. This project was heart-wrenching. We received stories covering everything from health issues, car accidents, struggling single parents, spouses building massive secret debt, veterinarian bills, bankruptcy, natural disasters, funeral costs, unexpected travel, and people who had gotten themselves in trouble with payday lenders. It was no easy task to select one story every day, given the vast quantity and scope of the submissions, with an average of 25-50 unique stories daily.

Unexpected Expenses Campaign Goal

The primary goal of the project was to educate individuals of the importance of setting aside money for these rainy day funds, as well as to help get them started. Our focus was on helping educate Albertan's about all of the amazing financial resources and programs available across Alberta. We built a website that housed a list of many of these resources covering topics ranging from budgeting help, RESP childhood education planning, free financial coaching and workshops, government programs, student resources, rebuilding bad credit history, alternative loans, saving for emergencies, and credit counseling services.

Our team worked hard to build a community around the campaign on social media, through our website and blog stories, as well as through print and digital advertising. We also worked alongside public relations experts to increase news coverage, engage with local influences, and to host a press conference in Edmonton.

Impact Over 1 Month

* 30 Emergency funds were given away across Alberta ($500 each)

* 1,245,000 impressions, 1787 link clicks and 476 posts on social media

* 7100 website page views (educational content)

* 4117 engagements on social media (likes, reactions, comments, shares)

* 833 contest entries

* 7 News outlets covered stories

Campaign Resources & Credible Financial Literacy

- The website unexpectedexpenses.ca

- Social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

- Postcards and advertisements. (see below)

- News & Media (Global News, Calgary Herald, CBC Calgary, Calgary Chamber, Edmonton Journal, 660 News, Edmonton Sun, etc.)


Become a Public Speaking Ninja

Join Charisma Pro's Beta and Become a Public Speaking Ninja

Who said Calgary isn’t an innovative city? We’ve got 1000’s of startups, dozens of co-working spaces, investors, mentors and most importantly a thriving community of people rallying around innovation in Alberta.

One of these exciting innovations is a highly-unique public speaking mobile app called Charisma Pro. We are working with Avnish Mehta, CEO of Stand & Command and public speaking coach who’s mentored TED Talk presenters, he’s keen to help entrepreneurs and business professionals get a standing ovation.

Charisma Pro is a personal public speaking coach that trains you to be a more effective communicator by measuring the pitch, frequency, and power of your voice and comparing you to well-known speakers. Essentially, giving you a score of the charisma and engagement in your voice. The app is ideal for business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to hone in on their presenting, pitching, and sales skills.

Avnish’s co-founder Michael Brougham is a Vocal Acoustician (Sound Scientist) who’s built the app’s back-end algorithm to assure analysis accuracy. He’s been studying the vocal track and how voice pitch influences our impression of people for many years. His sound science training commenced under a master of the Bel Canto method of singing at the University of Alberta.


We Want to Hear What You Have to Say (Pun Intended)!

Interested in tinkering with new products and technology? We are currently looking for beta users to help guide user needs and market intelligence to build the best possible customer-centric experience for people like you. Your insight and behavior around public speaking are invaluable to our process, to assure we build  what people actually need. We are hoping you may want to join in on the beta fun at charismatrainer.com.

Early Adopter Beta Benefits:

You’ll start unleashing more of yourself and be able to speak more confidently in presentations, business meetings, networking events, interviews, and any other event where you need to make a lasting impression.

– Full Access to Charisma Pro’s Voice Coach App

– Train Yourself to Be a More Charismatic Speaker (Woo Your Audience)

– Better Understand the Science Behind Engaging People

– Be a Part of an Innovative Local Communications Initiative


Here’s what they can expect from our phased beta approach:

Phase 1: Public Speaking Discovery (6 min Survey)

Phase 2: Playing With the App (User Experience Feedback)

Phase 3: Help Guide New Features (Quick Polls)

*Plus thought leadership around how you can become a better public speaker.


Now is the time to make that business idea a reality. Many of the most successful companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, General Electric, FedEx, Disney, and IBM came from times of economic hardship (recessions, downturns, and financial crisis).  Let’s talk! Our team can help you from perfecting your idea, pitching materials, launching a company and the day-to-day digital marketing.

Tell us what you think below. Share your two cents and get involved.

TEDXYYC Giveaway

TEDxYYC Entrepreneur Giveaway

Win a ticket to TEDxYYC’s sold out event!

Are you an Albertan entrepreneur or wantrepreneur that’s dying to attend this mind-expanding event? We hear you, it’s a pretty dynamite lineup of speakers http://tedxyyc.ca/speakers/. You’ll hear from renowned speakers about sustainability and clean capitalism, medical technology innovation, gaming advocacy, the science of gravitational waves, getting in touch with natural leadership and more. We are innovation advocates to the core, we play with 3D printers, MUSE headsets, build apps, tinker with new technology and help business owners build their ideas from scratch. Hence why we are excited to share the love with this riveting event.

When: Friday, June 26th,  1:00 – 6:00pm

Where: Jack Singer concert Hall, Calgary, AB

Ticket: Valued at $92. The winner will pick up at Assembly Co-working space.

We look forward to seeing you at TEDxYYC! Hit us up on Twitter if you would like to meet-up.



  1. Uppercut’s TEDxYYC Entrepreneur Giveaway is open only to Alberta residents who are over the age of majority in their province of residence at the time of entry. Employees, representatives and agents of Uppercut, and its parent companies, affiliates, agencies, as well as the immediate family members (spouse, children, parents, and siblings) and those living in the same household of such employees, representatives and agents are not eligible to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

How to Enter

  1. Online: Visit us at www.madebyuppercut.com between June 22, 2016 to June 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm MT and enter the required information. To be eligible for the drawing in any particular Draw Period during the Giveaway Period, entrant must complete entry before 8:40 PM MT on the last day of the applicable Draw Period. Upon submission of your entry online, you will be automatically entered in theTEDxYYC Entrepreneur Giveaway for the Draw Period in which your entry is received, subject to the qualification in the preceding sentence.
  2. Limit one (1) entry per person, per Draw Period. All entries from individuals found to have entered more than once will be void.

Content Marketing Strategy

5 Audience Considerations for Crafting Your Content Marketing Strategy

Everyone’s talking about their content marketing strategy and why you need one in 2016 to be successful. Here are five steps to building a plan that will resonate with your target audience (the customers you want to attract), plus build SEO for your website. The Content Marketing Institute says,

“86% of B2C marketers use content marketing, and 55% of B2C marketers plan to increase content marketing spend in 2016.” 

1. How well do you actually know your customer?

Have you taken time out of your day to understand what makes your customers tick (interests), what keeps them up at night, what obstacles they have to overcome at work and what their day-to-day looks like? Conducting in-person interviews for deeper insight is key. However, you should also utilize marketing analytics to gain a broader view of your audience.

Use tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and additional marketing automation tools if you have them. Dissect your traffic to better understand who’s visiting your website – things like gender, age, location, interests, primary language and what devices they are using.

Build Your Personas (If you haven’t already)

This might seem obvious, but you must have buyer personas to help guide your entire marketing strategy, not just for your content marketing efforts. Your buyer personas will soon become a critical reference tool for every piece of content you build – each piece you develop should speak to their unique needs. Consider their vocabulary, content preferences, and all the data you found in your analytics platforms.

What do they need help with?

Think about the topics, business areas, consumer needs, interests they have. These equal the keywords you can reverse engineer into your content. But first, you need to conduct keyword research in a tool like Google Keyword Planner to better understand search volume, the likelihood of ranking high, and competition. Tools like BuzzSumo will also give you more insight into what’s topical, current, and shareable across the web.

2. Where does your audience hang out online?

What social media channels are locked to their front screen? Yes, the ones they check dozens of times a day. You need to be there as a brand, building community, contributing to worthwhile conversations, and sprinkling your content from time to time – it’s the Jab Jab Right Hook thing Gary Vaynerchuk taught us. But remember it’s not all about you, it never should be. Be thoughtful and provide value.

These will become the distribution channels for your content promotion plan, where you will deploy a paid and organic strategy to get the eyes and ears of your customers.

3. Have you aligned your content to the buyer journey?

Do you know what your buyer’s journey looks like? Typical stages include awareness, consideration and decision. Are we talking about a typical long sales cycle that we see in B2B, for making a larger purchase where people need to really weigh out their options and do extensive research online or are we talking about a more impulsive or more immediate B2C consumer purchase? What do your consumers care about: features, style, usability, service, efficiency, cost, etc.

Next, we must map content to the buyer journey (and what is common for your industry). Various content assets will be more relevant to buyers at different stages of the buyer cycle. Let’s take a look at what this might look like:

Awareness Stage:

  • Blogs and eBooks
  • Illustrations and Photos
  • News or Press Releases
  • Reports
  • White Papers
  • Infographics
  • Games

Consideration Stage:

  • Social
  • Video
  • Website Content
  • Microsites
  • Expert Guides
  • Vendor comparison
  • Trial or Freemium Account
  • Podcasts
  • Webcast or Webinar
  • Demos (online/in-person)

Decision Stage:

  • Presentations
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews and Forums
  • In-Person Meetings and Events

Advocacy Stage (customers):

  • Social
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Promotions

4. Is your content digestible?

Don’t be concerned about whether you are writing long-form or short form content, writing engaging high-quality copy is what matters most. The vocabulary you use should be relatively simple, people have limited attention spans, and often lower than expected comprehension. A recent Contently study found that on average best-selling authors wrote below a grade 9 level. Believe it or not, Ernest Hemingway wrote at a grade 4 level. So, if the language is too complex and feels like you need a dictionary to understand it, you’ll get a high bounce rate.

From a shareable perspective, three things are really at play: novelty, identity, and fluency. So if it’s written like an academic paper, good luck getting engagement and social proof (people spreading your stories).

5. What content performed well in the past?

Take time to review your analytics. What are your top performing stories? Why is that? Which can you replicate, recycle or pivot from? Which articles can be built out into a 3-8 part series?

Also don’t always play it safe, sometimes seemingly unrelated things make for the best stories, or not always leading with a positive tone. Remember you are writing for humans. Consider what catches your attention.

It’s Time to Document Your Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you have taken the time to discuss your content marketing strategy it’s time to package it up into a concise plan to assure everyone is marching to the same drum. Your marketing team needs to be familiar with organizational goals, the buyer journey, buyer personas, basic SEO goals, and the content marketing plan in order to reap the rewards of content.

Remember, the best forward-thinking companies that truly get the potential of content marketing have integrated their efforts across the business. It shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of a marketing member or team. Instead, it’s woven into various departments and job functions across the business. For example, you will want to tap into your subject matter experts (SME’s), customer service (to better understand customer pain points), sales (common client rejections, revenue targets, and areas of focus), leadership and ideally your CEO (the company’s vision, direction, insight). At the end of the day, a well-rounded content marketing strategy requires effort and attention from various levels of the business. Their knowledge is needed; whether it be for writing, quotes, interviews, topics, insight or trends.


Happy writing. Of course, if you need help evolving or crafting a content marketing strategy don’t be shy, shoot us a line. We can even help build content with your team or manage your end-to-end online marketing.