Nick Cowling
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For almost 20 years, Nick has been crafting public relations strategies for clients and advising senior executives on maximizing their communications to deliver direct business results.

As General Manager of Citizen Optimum, he’s responsible for providing vision and strategic oversight for a growing client portfolio, including a number of Fortune 500 companies, innovative start-ups and national non-profits.

Prior to Citizen Optimum, Nick managed public relations, internal communications, community affairs and the environment portfolio for The Home Depot Canada, where he developed a passion for corporate citizenship, environmental technologies and the power of volunteerism. Having been both the client and the counselor makes Nick's approach (and that of his firm) unique -- designed to make a client's life easier, while delivering results that matter. He has a wide range of industry and sector experience including sustainability, clean technology, financial services, energy, non-profit and retail.

Nick also created the Canadian Carpet Recovery Effort and is a former board member of the Design Exchange.

Visit Nick on LinkedIn and on Facebook.

Entries by Nick Cowling

The Myth About Online Shopping in Canada

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 12:43 PM

On September 19, tens of thousands of Canadians lined up outside Apple stores as the much-desired iPhone 6 was released to the public. Despite pre-orders being available, many Canadians would rather pick up their new device in-store, rather than buying online.

This is something we found to be true...

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LeBron Can Teach Business Execs a Thing or Two

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 4:17 PM

Turns out you can go home again.

When basketball superstar LeBron James packed his bags and left Cleveland for Miami in 2010, he did more than just burn bridges. Retreating armies have left less destruction in their wake.

His decision to switch teams certainly paid off as he led the...

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Give Your Customers Techno-Peace

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 4:49 PM

I'm one of the millions of North Americans that gets anxious when my smart phone's battery starts to run low. My heart stops when I misplace my phone and I'm not embarrassed to say that I have experienced the phantom vibration of the phone-addicted. I also love to have the...

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How Will the New Electronic Speaker's Corner Affect the Mayoral Election?

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 3:32 PM

Humans love telling the world what they think about anything and everything. Hey, it's why I write this blog.

This powerful need to be heard has been fuelling the explosive growth of social media platforms, communications tools that are rapidly and permanently changing the way we interact with each other.

...
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What Corporations Can Do For International Women's Day

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 4:18 PM

As the world continues to inch toward the goal of gender equality -- ensuring girls and women enjoy the same rights as men -- something is getting lost in the messaging.

We no longer have to defend the belief in gender equality, at least in what international development experts call...

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Putin's Olympics Might Flush Russia's Rep Down the Toilet

(8) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 11:26 AM

They may well be the flushes heard around the world.

The Sochi Olympics are still a couple of weeks away but we already have what could be the enduring symbol of Russia's squandered opportunity to gain international glory -- the now famous image of side-by-side toilets.

Forget the actual sports....

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Rob Ford Proves It's Not What You Do But How You Respond

(11) Comments | Posted November 14, 2013 | 3:46 PM

As a resident of the Greater Toronto Area I'm both dismayed and fascinated by the saga of Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford. As a communicator, I'm shaking my head and watching the train wreck unfold with a different lens.

While the hosts of late night television have a hay day,...

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What to Know Before Starting a Business in Canada

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 12:50 PM

There's been an onslaught of ink surrounding Verizon's potential entry to Canada and, more recently, the cellular giant's indifference. With this in mind, I'd like to share some communications principles I've used to help American companies come to the Great White North.

It's all about me
Canadians want...

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How PR Is Extending Its Reach

(2) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 3:12 PM

The most common mistake companies make when engaging public relations in the marketing mix is trying to use it as a blunt instrument to simply sell to an audience. The discipline's power is its ability to build lasting relationships, and that holds even truer every day. However, the lack of...

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Do You Suffer From Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder?

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 7:51 AM

In a time where anyone with a smartphone can become a news aggregator or citizen journalist, corporations appear to following suit, and are coming down with a serious lack of continuity in their communications. I'm not suggesting that companies are not developing and executing some well-integrated campaigns -- in fact,...

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Five Ways to Gain Client Trust

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2013 | 11:42 PM

Very early in my career, I learned a simple lesson: companies cannot chase or buy a good reputation. Twenty years later, this is even more true in our increasingly democratized communications landscape.

In my industry, public relations practitioners often seek impressions - another word for eyeballs and ears reading,...

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Why Your Company Needs to Be "Liked"

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 7:16 AM

Cast your mind back many years. Then imagine someone telling you that one day soon people would make major product and service decisions solely on the basis of opinions shared on the Internet by friends and strangers alike. For instance, imagine that person trying to explain Facebook and that in...

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Why Businesses Should Become More Vulnerable

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 10:10 AM

If you like TED talks as much as I do, then you've likely come across video of Brene Brown's talk on the power of vulnerability. Apart from being a very entertaining speech, Ms. Brown delivers a really important message. In a day when the world has demanded more transparency, more...

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How to Get the Most Bang for Your Marketing Buck

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2012 | 7:07 AM

All too often, marketers of all industries will look at one piece of measurement and decide whether a campaign was successful or not. If sales are up, the campaign worked; if sales didn't move, the campaign flopped.

It's true that an overall success or fail is easily determined by...

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Marketing To Mom: Not As Simple As You Think

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 12:34 PM

Companies discovered years ago that "mom" was the most influential consumer on the planet. She makes a strong majority of all household purchases from groceries, to clothing, to the family car, and also decides where to get services for the family, like banking, insurance and cable, phone and internet. She...

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How to Create Your Brand's Story

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 11:55 AM

I'll admit it -- I'm a news junkie. I follow all sorts of topics and am constantly watching for stories that stick out. But of all the stories that interest me, the ones I follow the closest are the stories that last. I watch especially closely when those stories are...

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PR is More Than "Nice To Have"

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2012 | 4:03 PM

Very often, businesses that serve other businesses put public relations on their "nice to have" list. Some believe that the payoff on PR is too long-term, it doesn't have an impact on sales or have a direct return on investment. However, I think the challenge for these types of businesses...

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How to Be Creative in Five Easy Steps

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 1:32 PM

I love it when clients ask us for a "creative idea." While it's not much to go on, somewhere between the lines it usually means they want something they haven't seen before. The underlying caveat is that the ideas must deliver. Nobody wants to pay for creativity without results.

...
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Can Canada Handle the Retail Boom?

(7) Comments | Posted March 23, 2012 | 5:01 PM

The world of retail is often dramatic and competitive, but more than ever before there is a perfect storm brewing in the Canadian marketplace. This country already has more retailers than it knows what to do with and the sector continues to broaden. The likely causes for this trend are...

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Tips on How to Get the Message Across

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 1:44 PM

Internal communications can be one of the most complex pieces of an organization and yet, it is one area that everybody thinks they understand -- simply because they are an employee.

No one would ever suggest that it's not important; however, the lack of understanding also causes some disparity...

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