Aug. 13, 2019 – A Montreal Canadiens fan from Labrador has seen images of his front lawn go viral after mowing a 30-by-50-foot logo of his favourite team into it. His workmanship has appeared on the National Hockey League's official website and in Montreal newspapers.
Aug. 13, 2019 – A landscaping company in Orangeville, Ont. is doing its part to help pollinators by using only native plants, claiming development as an industry is pushing pollinators away.
I recently developed a toothache – my first in about 25 years – and that meant booking a visit with my dentist. I’m not a particularly dentist-friendly guy and rank dental appointments only slightly higher on my list of fun medical procedures than digital prostate exams.
Many company owners go about their business without thinking much about brand. They either ignore it altogether, hand it off to marketing (or maybe a talented graphic designer), or make strategic decisions based on an incomplete understanding of what brand really means. If one of these describes you, Lindsay Pedersen says you could be making a big financial faux pas: A strong brand can be a huge moneymaker.“Your company’s brand may not be a dedicated line item on your P&L, but your profit will absolutely increase based on the strength of your brand,” says Pedersen, author of Forging an Ironclad Brand: A Leader’s Guide (Lioncrest Publishing, April 2019, ISBN: 978-1-544-51386-7). “It’s too bad so many leaders think brand is ‘squishy’ or insubstantial, because it serves a very pragmatic economic purpose.”In fact, she points out, a recent study found that 87 per cent of business value among the S&P 500 is intangible value, including brand equity. Another study valued S&P 500 companies’ intangible assets at 74 per cent, with brand comprising 20 per cent of that.So, what exactly is brand? While Pedersen admits the concept can be tough to pin down, she defines it as “the interconnected web of what our business means and how we deliver that meaning, all made possible by our special position in our customer’s universe.” Pedersen says brand should be a company’s North Star. Every decision you make should be filtered through it. Forging what she calls an ironclad brand lets you occupy the single best position in the hearts and minds of your customers. When you pinpoint this optimal position, you’ll be able to create value, maximize scale, and lead with purpose.That said, here are six ways a strong brand creates immediate value:It creates a high “willingness-to-pay” factor, which translates directly to better margins. In a recent study, strong brands on average commanded a 13 per cent price premium over weak brands. Look to your own purchasing behavior. When you love a brand, aren’t you willing to pay more for it than for an alternative brand? Renowned brands like Apple, Mercedes-Benz, and Williams-Sonoma – or niche brands like Lululemon, Campagnolo, and Vitamix – are examples.It commands attention and makes it easy for customers to choose you.Consider the infinite stimuli competing for your customers’ attention. To break through and secure a place in their minds – and their wallets – you need to make it easy for them to notice you. The solution is not to shout the most loudly – most lack the marketing budget to shout loudly enough. The solution instead is bracing clarity. Be crystal clear about what your business is and why that matters to customers. This way the customer’s mind has to do less work to grasp your offering.It enables you to hit that sweet spot between old and new that persuades people to buy. Wharton School marketing professor Jonah Berger writes in his book Invisible Influence that people like a blend of similarity and difference. When it’s the right blend, he refers to it as “optimally distinct.” For a brand position to be compelling to customers, it should be similar enough to something a customer already knows so that the person will feel its “warm glow of familiarity,” as Berger has called it – yet it should be different enough that it stirs the customer’s curiosity and desire to be different themselves.“When selling something new, it helps to piggyback it on top of something else the customer already understands,” notes Pedersen. “This is why automobiles were positioned as ‘horseless carriages.’ It’s also why Airbnb referenced the familiar B&B idea, with its associations of belonging and safety and psychological comfort, when trying to persuade people to embrace the dramatically new idea of sleeping in non-hotel beds they find on the Internet.”It sets the groundwork for customer loyalty. Your brand strategy enables you to focus on what matters to the target customer – on that which produces customer desire for your business. Once customers have found it easy to see you and buy you, and those customers value your big benefit, they will love your business. In this way, great brands deepen and lengthen your customer relationships, increasing customer lifetime value. Brands set the conditions for loyal customers who come back again and again because you singularly bring significant value.“Starbucks brings a big benefit – good coffee, uplifting third-place space, human connection, consistency across locations,” notes Pedersen. “This fills a deep need and delivers meaningful value, which spurs loyalty. It makes somebody a customer not just once, but countless times.”It “digs a moat” around your business. A great brand is good defence. It protects what you have, helping you to survive and defend, as well as thrive and grow. If you have built a powerful brand, your competitors cannot credibly copy it, and this un-copy-ability protects your business’s long-term value. Pretty much everything else can be copied, given enough time. Patents expire; features obsolesce. But it is hard to copy an emotional territory that your brand occupies in the mind of your customer.“A strong brand is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage,” notes Pedersen. “Consider that Brooks Brothers has been around since 1818, DuPont since 1802, and Jim Beam since 1795 – and our country (U.S.A.) goes back to only 1776!”Finally, it guides strategic decision-making. When your brand is well defined, you can look to it to filter where and how you can innovate, or what categories you can expand into, with confidence in your ability to grow. In this way, it prevents you from making costly mistakes.“If I am the CEO of Brooks Running and I’m considering areas for innovation, I look to my brand, represented by the tagline of ‘Run Happy,’” says Pedersen. “My brand is about the joy of running – not the joy of skateboarding, not the joy of sports in general, not even about running for the sake of things other than joy. This lens puts into sharp relief where I can or cannot grow, making my decisions easier and more accurate.”Keep in mind that all of these money-making benefits hold true only if your brand is strong.“A weak, anemic brand simply doesn’t command the same value,” says Pedersen. “Make sure yours is customer motivating, distinctive and ownable, simple and singular, and that it leverages your unique competencies. The strength of your brand is just too important to leave to chance.”Seven layers of brand and how they fuel businessWe all use the word “brand” as though everyone else’s understanding of it were the same as ours. Yet chances are it’s not, says Lindsay Pedersen, author of Forging an Ironclad Brand.“Logo is part of brand,” she says. “TV and social media are parts of brand. Naming is part of brand. So are your product, your customer experience, and your SEO tactics. So are your font, your tagline, your business’s personality, and the colour of your employee uniforms. But none of those are, by themselves, brand.”To make smart decisions around shaping and communicating your brand strategy, it’s important to understand all the aspects. In her book, Pedersen identifies seven layers of brand:Brand Is what you stand for. It’s what you mean to your customer. It’s the place you occupy in his or her mind. Everything your business does either reinforces your meaning, solidifying and growing its place in the customer’s mind – or it weakens that meaning, blurring its place in the customer’s mind. If you sell shoes that enable customers to run fast, everything you do reinforces or blurs your meaning of fast shoes.Brand Is a relationship between your business and your customer. These relationships have existed for millennia. The pre-Industrial Age, small-town butcher made a promise and faithfully fulfilled it time and time again, making his relationship with his customer ever more meaningful for both. Today, with the web and social media and the countless ways customers can communicate with a business, it’s even more important to deliver value.There was a time when the business with the most spending power had the loudest megaphone and, therefore, the most powerful brand. Now, the customer has a megaphone, too, and once again carries clout in the relationship. Brand is your promise and your fulfillment of that promise. When a brand has integrity, its promise is true. The business makes a promise – to deliver a scrumptious-tasting dinner, or eliminate a software system’s downtime, or make a home-buying experience more enjoyable – and delivers on that promise. It is not merely what you say you do – it is what you actually do, how you do it, and why.As Don Knauss, previously CEO of Clorox and head of North American operations for Coke, puts it: “A brand is a promise of performance. Any transaction between two parties requires a promise of performance.”Brand is a filter. A brand captures and guides attention. It serves as a filter for customers as they perceive your business, shaping how they see you and believe you. We humans need these filters. When faced with too much information, we use cognitive shortcuts as filters to tame sensory overload. Brand ties your business to something already in your customer’s head, making it easier for the person to engage with your business. Brand strategy is the deliberate articulation of your business’ meaning. While brand is the meaning you stand for inside your customer’s mind, your brand strategy is the deliberate articulation of that meaning. Brand strategy distills your promise so you can make choices across your business to carry out that promise. It answers the questions: What kind of business are we, and what kind of business do we want to be? What do we want to mean to customers?Brand strategy is about getting to self-knowledge. It’s about defining your business as its best possible self, so that it can become its most purposeful self.Brand fuels differentiation. Consumer packaged goods leaders, like those at Clorox, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and Nestlé, have been using the power of brand for decades because they have to. Consumer packaged goods companies are bastions of excellent brand building, because the largely undifferentiated products force brand excellence. When your products are pretty much the same as those of your competitors, you better have an outstanding brand.A bottle of Clorox bleach contains essentially the same bleach as store-brand bleach – six per cent sodium hypochlorite, 94 per cent water. But the consumer price of Clorox bleach is often double that of store-brand bleach, and Clorox bleach still wins 65 per cent market share of the bleach category. That’s because the Clorox brand stands for something different from the others.Brand is your north star. When every element of your business is aligned around a single brand strategy, you leverage human nature to work for you, and all parts of your business work in concert. It lights your way to creating purpose, value, and scale.
In September 2017, a construction worker at a housing development in Alberta was killed by crush injuries while operating a skid-steer machine. Skid-steer loaders are small, compact machines with a heavy bucket design that are easy to maneuver and are particularly useful in construction and agriculture.
Turf & Rec’s second annual Top 10 Under 40 promotion was another success. The program recognizes some of the most talented young individuals across Canada who have contributed to their respective sectors of the industry through leadership, innovation, community involvement and other qualities that set them apart from others who have yet to reach their 40th birthdays.
Aug. 9, 2019 – A controversial miniature golf course installed in the historic Rochester Cathedral in England has proven to be a hit, bumping up the number of visitors by 80 per cent from the same time last year.
Aug. 7, 2019 – Soaring temperatures in British Columbia this summer have prompted WorkSafeBC to remind outdoor workers of the dangers of developing heat stress.
Aug. 2, 2019 – The international artificial turf market is growing, including an increase in residential customers, but how environmentally-friendly is it? The Guardian in the U.K. explores the pros and cons of artificial turf as the product becomes cheaper and more realistic looking.
July 8, 2019 – British Columbia's largest landscaping business is turning 40 years old. Para Space of Burnaby began in 1979 as a one-man operation and has since grown to more than 165 employees.
June 18, 2019 – A big part of yesteryear at Toronto's Rogers Centre has made its way to Sudbury, Ont. to serve as the city's showcase baseball field at the Terry Fox Sports Complex. The complex has laid down the former artificial turf playing surface that Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar once roamed.
July 24, 2019 – The class of 2019 of Canada’s Top 10 Under 40 has been helping to shape the future of the Canadian turf and grounds maintenance industry since entering the profession, and these young individuals are poised to ensure that the qualities of leadership, innovation and teamwork are in strong supply for years to come.
July 11, 2019 – With upwards of 80 millimetres of rain falling over much of Alberta in June, mushrooms are popping up in large quantities on lawns throughout the province. But a fungal expert is warning people not to eat them.
June 13, 2019 – Medicine Hat is dealing with an extraordinary increase in the number of dandelions growing in city green spaces this summer. The increase is being attributed to the hot, dry conditions the city has experienced the past couple of years.
June 5, 2019 – It's a banner year in Edmonton for dandelions. The city's snowy winter insulated the weeds from the cold, and now they are blooming in droves. The city is stepping up its battle against dandelions with increased mowing on municipal green spaces and treatment with iron chelate herbicide.
As director of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and a professor with the University of Guelph’s department of plant agriculture, Dr. Eric Lyons says his goal is to move the turf industry towards sustainability.
May 31, 2019 – Residents in the British Columbia region of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody are being urged to take immediate action to prevent and control chafer beetle grubs on their lawns. With a ban on cosmetic pesticides in place in those municipalities, natural lawn care techniques are being prescribed.
May 8, 2019 – While spring signifies endless opportunity for many, in the landscape business, many don’t know how to get up to full speed. Many turf managers and lawn care operators wait all winter for the spring green-up, but when it’s “game time,” what’s the best way to get out of the gate strong?
May 17, 2019 – Managing thatch on golf courses is a practice superintendents have engaged in for years and one they must continue to perform if they are to deliver faster, firmer surfaces for their clientele. What has changed over the years is the means by which thatch and organic matter in bentgrass/poa annua systems is managed and controlled.
May 13, 2019 – Not all lawn care businesses march to the beat of the same drummer. Many – probably most – offer their customers programs that include a specific number of annual fertilizer and pesticide product applications. The latter, usually herbicide applications, can vary from region to region, depending on the product’s legality.
Municipal sports turf managers who know how their playing fields are categorized have a better chance to manage them more efficiently based on agronomics. By paying close attention to the root zone, sports turf can be better managed than by simply basing maintenance practices on usage time.
Research at the University of Guelph into the potential of biosolids as a sustainable alternative to conventional fertilizer products has produced data that could be perceived as encouraging.
Managing putting greens can be compared to running in a marathon. Golf superintendents must do as much as possible during the spring to “train” for the marathon that is typically “run” in July and August, and sometimes into September.
Keeping up with worn goalmouth areas is typically the biggest challenge faced by sports turf managers on soccer fields. It’s the area of the playing surface that sees the greatest amount of wear, and keeping up with that section of the field is often a never-ending task.
Aug. 22, 2019 – Montreal's planned Great West Park, slated to be Canada's largest urban park and greater in size than New York City's Central Park, is getting a helping hand from the federal government to the tune of $50 million.
Aug. 22, 2019 – The City of Brampton, Ont. recently cut down a number of mature maple trees as the first step toward widening a busy road, but the action and the purported lack of notice is not sitting well with adjacent residents.
Aug. 21, 2019 – Waterdown District High School's new $2.1-million artificial turf field and track is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for use once school starts in September. The Hamilton-area school will now have a longer season for its sports teams.
Aug. 9, 2019 – The City of Calgary's decision to cut back up on its mowing of some city parks and green spaces is not because of a lack of care, but a move toward naturalization or habitat restoration.
Aug. 9, 2019 – As the City of Fredericton prepares for the arrival of the emerald ash borer, municipal staff are deciding which ash trees are worth saving and which ones should be left to die.
July 31, 2019 – The City of Toronto is hoping to save 8,500 of its catalogued 13,000 ash trees by injecting them with an insect growth inhibitor aimed at stunting the growth of the destructive emerald ash borer and rendering them less lethal.
July 30, 2019 – Now that the emerald ash borer has made its way to Oromocto, N.B., the nearby City of Fredericton is already taking pre-emptive measures to retain as many of its ash trees as possible. Twenty-one trees have already been inoculated with a pesticide to buy time for further planning.
July 30, 2019 – The hill at Kitchener's McLennan Park is receiving less maintenance this summer as efforts to maintain the park's green space has intensified.
July 30, 2019 – The shrub and grass-covered boulevard at Vernon, B.C.'s Turtle Mountain will remain intact for now after residents packing town council's chambers objected to a proposed conversion to landscaping rock. The cost associated with the current landscaping is estimated at $150,000 a year, but the figure was received with skepticism.
July 23, 2019 – A joint program between the City of Ottawa and the local conservation authority devised to curb the spread of the emerald ash borer is working, and the city will help pay for the removal and replacement of ash trees on residential properties.
July 3, 2019 – The City of Port Moody, B.C. has purchased a parcel of land to expand Rocky Point Park – a project that will include the construction of a FIFA-regulation artificial soccer field, two softball diamonds, a new fieldhouse and parking for 88 vehicles.
June 25, 2019 – Regina's decommissioned Regent Park par three golf course will be converted into a recreational park that will include dog parks, a toboggan hill, disc golf and seasonal washrooms.
Aug. 6, 2019 – SnowEx has introduced its Power Pusher TE snow pushers for skid steers, wheel loaders, backhoes and tractors. Available in eight and 10-foot-wide models with large carrying capacities, the new snow pushers feature steel trip edges to deliver cleaner scrapes and help operators get down to the pavement.
July 2, 2019 – Those working outdoors during the growing season are prone to developing dry, flaky skin or worse – cuts, nicks, abrasions and bug bites. Natural products are available to help that are free of toxins, artificial fragrances, colourants and synthetic chemicals.
June 11, 2019 – Husqvarna, a division of the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products and lawn care equipment and a world leader in robotic mowing, has announced its Smartest Summer Job campaign. To showcase how easy it is to get a perfectly mowed lawn with Husqvarna’s Automower® robotic lawn mower, Husqvarna will select two summer students to serve as "Managers of Chilling," a role in which they sit in a Muskoka chair at Trillium Park at Ontario Place in Toronto and watch the robotic mower do all the work.
June 11, 2019 – StrackaLine, one of golf’s leading technology companies, has scanned Edmonton Country Club and will provide Alberta’s oldest private course with its best-in-the-game Greens Guides and Hole Location (HoLo) software.
May 8, 2019 – Titan International and Kubota Tractor Corporation/Kubota Canada Limited have entered into an exclusivity agreement for select Kubota compact tractor models to be equipped with Goodyear R14 crossover tires.
May 7, 2019 – Weego, innovators of portable jump starters, has launched the Crankenstein® Jump Starting 12V/24V Power Pack - a powerful, new, combination 12- and 24-volt portable jump starting solution, designed for light and heavy-duty equipment in landscaping. Crankenstein revolutionizes jump starting with industry-first features built into a compact power pack that is just nine pounds – 80 per cent lighter than comparable lead-acid jump starters.
April 30, 2019 – KIOTI Tractor, a division of Daedong-USA, Inc., began shipping its inaugural Zero Turn Radius (ZTR) mower line to dealerships across North America this week.
April 29, 2019 – The Cat® 299D2 XHP Land Management Compact Track Loader is a superior, purpose-built machine solution for customers involved in demanding vegetation-management applications, ranging from mulching, brush-cutting, vegetation control, and mowing. This segment-focused machine delivers the advantages of efficiency and economy in specific applications, including site preparation, utility right-of-way clearing, vegetation management for fire prevention, railroad maintenance-of-way, agriculture, and forestry.
April 17, 2019 – Buyers Products, a leading manufacturer of work truck equipment, has introduced a new municipal flex plow. Operators can “flex” the upper moldboard of the SnowDogg® SuperFlex™ into various positions. This makes it ideal for urban and expressway use.
April 11, 2019 – Target Specialty Products, a leading value-added service provider of turf and ornamental solutions in the United States and Canada, has launched Turf Fuel G™ 24-0-11 Mini. The Turf Fuel G™ 24-0-11 Mini is exclusively co-branded with Scotts® PRO and is part of a broader line of fertilizers that leverage Scotts® PRO technologies.
April 10, 2019 – Winter Equipment, a leading name in the municipal snow and ice management industry, offers its universal spinner that provides superior spreading of snow and ice treatments.
April 5, 2019 – Husqvarna, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power products and lawn care equipment, has introduced several new products to the market to make lawn and garden work more productive and intuitive.

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