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Dan Fricker

Dan Fricker

Social Media Lead (Shopify) & Instructor (U o T)

Dan Fricker is a Digital & Social Marketer, focused primarily on engaging online audiences, connecting people with content and brands.  Having just joined the Shopify team he is formerly of Digital Marketing at CBC.  He is also an instructor at U of T. Dan has a special interest in changes in digital media distribution and evolving business models.



Social Media Week

SMWi, an Independent Social Media Week, provides community organizers around the world with the opportunity to host an independently organized event during one of the four editions of the Social Media Week conference. SMWi Toronto (#SMWiTO) will take place in downtown Toronto the week of June 6, 2016, as Social Media Week takes place around the world in cities like Los Angeles, Mexico City and Bangalore.

It’s Social Media Week and it appears the who’s who of all things Media will all be in Toronto this week for SMWiTO.

Have you seen the advisory board for this one?  BuzzFeed, Twitter, Shopify, Google, Globe & Mail, and so much more!  I’m not saying I’m a conference junkie, but – Ok.  I’m a bit of a conference junkie.  I’ve been to many and organized more than a handful; I must say I’m quite impressed with this lineup, both of speakers and board members. 

Ever the one who wishes to discover all the stories, I spent some time on Friday chatting with Dan Fricker – formerly of CBC (digital media) now working for Shopify, arguably the coolest employer this side of The Great Wall that may or may not grace the Canadian border in the coming years.

wishing to discover all the stories, I convinced @Le_Frick to share his thoughts #SMWiTO Click To Tweet

The Interview

Angele (A):  News outlets are traditionally more neutral, reporting facts not emotions, where as Shopify comes accross as a more ‘human’ organization.  What are your challenges in switching from a more stoic voice?  Is it a seamless, more natural move for you or was it harder than expected to adapt to the new brand culture?

Dan Fricker (DF):  I’m not going to speak too much to my experience at Shopify as I’ve only been there a few weeks, but I can say that my time at CBC was less news-centric.  As the parent brand for CBC [@CBC on Twitter and Facebook] we represented the very best of what happening across all of CBC’s content pool which includes music, radio, sports, documentaries, television programming and more. [ A – Well, sports definitely has a way of bringing out emotions in people!].

The exciting opportunity for me was to really help bring the CBC brand to life online and give it that personality and human voice.  A big focus of our strategy was in fostering conversations with people.  That’s where I believe lies the real opportunity in social, regardless of the brand, industry, or vertical you fall under – talk to people, connect with them and have a dialogue, and really use social to be social.

(A) In your #6ix questions chat about social media in Toronto you mention Snapchat is challenging brands to rethink everything about social marketing.  I had always been under the impression Snapchat was for sexting and all things teens shouldn’t be doing online.  I’ve just recently discovered it is, in fact, much more diverse.  I see brands are jumping in, which is great.  

Regardless of the brand you are working with, how are you – from a brand perspective – using the platform?  Have you done anything different from your typical approach to social so far?

(DF)  I think Snapchat for brands is a bit of a question mark because it’s ephemeral.  A lot of people question why they would want to post and share content on this space if it’s going to expire.  Brands, even more so, are up against that roadblock.

For years [in marketing] we spent months, weeks, crafting the perfect image – the perfect copy – to put on billboards and ads; TV spots suffered edit after edit.  We’re an industry built around image and perceptionin a world like Snapchat it’s simplified the process almost to an extreme of the spectrum – it’s raw, unedited, and imperfect.

There’s an opportunity here, to show that true ‘authentic’ version of yourself as a person and a brand.

(A) With your experience working with brands, is there an experience [as a consumer] which stands out to you – negative or positive?

(DF) Nothing comes to mind right now.  I think any brand that can deliver stories that’s rooted in a core human emotion is able to offer up an enticing experience for their customers.

There’s an ad by Sick Kids hospital [from years ago] that was an incredibly touching and moving ad that spoke to their core brand identity, inherently rooted in a universal set of human emotions.  TNT also ran an ad ‘push for drama’ based in curiosity and suspense.  It’s a completely different set of emotions but it delivered the same sort of memorable impact.

(A) Speaking of emotions, I recently went to the movies and found myself crying over an ad for Interac.  I’ve typically loved the content they put out – and this one was great – but I wasn’t expecting to cry before the movie even started!


Editor & Chief Creator of Awesome

Experience Design | Writer | Public Speaker | Industry Analyst

My expertise is buyer psychology, my passion is speaking, and my magic is creating outstanding experiences.

I analyse industry trends and report them here for you to learn. I write a lot of other things too, but this blog is a curated list of my technology and marketing related articles.

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(A) Tell me more about your session this week at SMWiTO

(DF)  The session, Social Silos VS Decentralization, with Dhanukshi Jayawickreme of Scotiabank and myself as discuss the evolution of Social Media within large scale corporate organizations. From team structures and job titles, to evolving ad budgets and data, get insights how Social over the past decade has become increasingly more rooted in broader business strategies, moving from a once separate silo to an irrefutable resource across the company.

(A) Is there a keynote or session you’re particularly excited about? 

(DF)  I’m very excited to hear Marissa Nelson’s perspective on the future of Digital.  We used to work together at CBC and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with her and hearing her thoughts.

(A)  Quick personal question – Though you’ve been at Shopify just a few short weeks, what sits at the top of your career bucket list, and your personal bucket list? 

(DF)  My career bucket list?  I honestly don’t know.  One of the things that excites me about working in this field is it never stops changing.  This job I have today, that I had last year, and the year before – I never would have been able to predict.  I’ve evolved with the discipline as it continues to grow so I’d be lying to you if I said I knew exactly where I want to be in 3, 5, 10 years.  I’m enjoying the ride as I go, and I’m excited to be in an organization that embraces that change and thrives in it.

(A)  Now the real question is, are you allowed to bring your dog to work?

(DF)  I AM allowed to bring my dog to work!  [(A) You are?!? You have the best job ever!]  He’s a bit of a monster though so I’m not sure how he’ll fare here, but I’ll give him a shot sooner or later.

(A)  And for the personal bucket list, what would you do if you could do anything you wanted, and it was now or never?

(DF)  I really like to write, and I think if I were to step away from it all I would spend more time writing.  Right now though, I’m really enjoying my work.

SMWiTO – Will you be there?

That’s all folks!  Be sure to check out the chatter on Instagram & Twitter if you can’t make it, and if you’re there come say hi!  Can’t miss me, I have a purple stripe in my hair and bright red glasses 😉

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