Canada Learning Code Launch Event (Assignment #5 COM0015)

As a part of this course, we were encouraged to participate in a professional development event. This past Thursday, I was fortunate enough to attend an event hosted at Shopify to launch #CanadaLearningCode, a campaign that will seek to teach 10 million Canadians how to code over the next ten years.

Event Name: Canada Learning Code Launch Event (as this was an invitation only event without a link for tickets, I have opted to include links to both the newly launched Canada Learning Code website as well as a Globe and Mail article from Sean Silcoff which highlights support for the organization.

Why this event? Canada Learning Code is the next step for successful non-profit Ladies Learning Code, which I work with at Summa Strategies. Their co-founder, Melissa Sarriffodeen, encouraged us to participate in this event and bring fellow women who would be interested in the work of Ladies Learning Code, along with this new initiative for the rest of Canada. I attended the event with my colleague Lindsay who captured the photo below and posted to Twitter:


Here’s launching which will build the skills we need for the jobs of tomorrow

I was a little further back and was not able to take a photo, but did tweet in support of the event:

So happy for who launched today alongside and other innovative partners.

Who did you meet at the event? This event brought together young professionals and investors in Ottawa’s tech startup community. At this event I met the creators of Shopify, as well as other incubators and funders who are all interested in growing capacity for Ottawa’s information communications technology sectors. The event featured a panel with the founder of Shopify, Tobi Lutke, who discussed the current landscape for startups in Ottawa and what would be needed to grow skills into the future. The event also featured a panel of women who discussed their experiences in ICT (a largely male-dominated sector) as well as their experience with Ladies Learning Code and thoughts on Canada Learning Code.
What did you learn and what did you contribute to the interaction? One of the takeaways I had from this event was the importance of continuing to reach out to women and encourage them to pursue careers in ICT, developing, coding and other technology careers. The event was mainly men – I would say 90% of the roughly 150 guests were male – which spoke to the need to entice women to consider careers in technology. I also was not aware of how many startups were founded and growing in Ottawa, and how connected this community was with one another. It seemed like all participants were aware of one another’s technology and, despite being competitors, were willing to work together to improve the ICT landscape in the city.
What ideas did you walk away with?  I found it really interesting that the event was so squarely focused on the tech community with not a lot of representation from outside that space. I would like to see more outreach to other groups in Ottawa who are interested but not as intimately involved in ICT – including student groups, the Ottawa Young Professional Network, perhaps even cultural associations and definitely the political community. It would be great to do a series of “Ottawa’s Startups 101” events for these groups to discuss what the city is doing to encourage investment, and even offer coding workshops or other professional development events to encourage individuals to pursue careers or hobbies in these fields.
What is a quote from the event? One of the panelists said that Ottawa needs “less incubators” and more individuals who can teach skill. Funding for research is not the issue – it is having qualified and knowledgeable people at the ready to accept these jobs when they are created.
Will you attend a similar event in the future? Explain why. It was a step outside of my comfort zone to attend this event, where we knew very few people in attendance. I think that I would like to become more familiar with the language and fields in ICT before attending a future event – however, I am definitely going to be registering for a Canada Learning Code workshop in the very near future!

Don’t Box Me In: What’s New in Social Media Marketing


Social media is always evolving. It feels like there is a new network, connector, or application unveiled everyday with the purpose of connecting people to one another in some new and interesting way.

There are a number of tips that individuals and businesses can utilize to become social media masters. Frequency and tone of posts, regular communication, and finding your voice are some of the tips I have taken to heart throughout this course. Still, there are a few outcomes of social media that still surprise me, and I am curious to see how these trends develop and change over time:

(1) Social media as a societal equalizer. I imagine the creators of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Reddit designed their tools for people to communicate with their peers, or to receive information from businesses. I am not sure that they expected social media to be a tool to connect “regular” people to some of the world’s top CEOs, politicians, athletes, and celebrities and thought leaders in the way that it has.  A browse through some of Instagram’s most popular profiles will show a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and the famous – but is also used to humanize celebrities and cultivate their fan base. Ryan Reynolds‘ social media accounts are some of my favourites as they don’t have Kardashian-levels of curation and seem like a genuine reflection of who he may be as a person. Some of these people even engage with their followers on these channels – which would have been impossible without social media.

(2) Social media as an activism tool. While I am not sure if social media marketers anticipated the ubiquity of their products upon creation, I am reasonably confident that all wanted and expected to make money off of their tool. One tool that has been interesting to watch is the use of social media to raise funds for causes (GoFundMe and Kickstarter come to mind, which feature video shorts that are often posted on social media). You can have effective social media campaigns without a fundraising element as well; hashtags including #BlackLivesMatter have been revolutionary in generating awareness and motivating action online in ways that traditional campaigning cannot. Social media itself has also played a role in topical issues facing North Americans; most recently, Facebook Live was used to film an altercation between a black man and a police officer that resulted in the former’s death. This is one trend I am particularly interested in following moving forward as politicians and activists try to discover how to turn followers into voters and dollars for their cause.

(3) Social media accountability for corporations. The use of social media by businesses to sell their products is certainly not new, and is probably the primary reason for corporations to be on social media in the first place. What has been an interesting trend is the use of social media to give corporations personality, and offer a level of responsiveness for customers that would not otherwise be provided. In the last week alone, I have used social media to connect with technical support for MailChimp and Rogers services (Rogers has actually moved to answering customer inquiries on Facebook chat, which is brilliant). A bad hashtag which features your company can break a company, while a thoughtful profile with `responsive customer outreach can alter corporate reputation for the better.

Marketing You: Professional Networking Strategies

post-3-graphicPhoto Credit: Business Insider

It is sometimes terrifying to  hear that someone “knows” or “has heard of” you via a social media channel. Perhaps it is my political conditioning, but I almost always assume it is because I tweeted or posted something that the reader disagrees with. While I’ve never had this theory proven true, it is important to constantly keep in mind that, more often nowadays, you are what you tweet.

Developing a professional network with like-minded political followers is presumably easier in Ottawa than it is in other locations. Government is an economy here, and more individuals are tuned into politics than elsewhere in the country as it impacts their livelihood. However, it is easy to get consumed talking with political trolls rather than connecting with individuals who are equally interested in growing their professional networks.

I have given some thought to a few ways that young people who follow politics and are in government relations (myself included) can take advantage of the Ottawa bubble to grow their networks, online and offline:

  • Participate in Twitter Chats. StartUp Canada runs almost weekly #StartUpChats on Twitter over lunch which offer advice to local youth and entrepreneurs about a wide range of topics, including how to improve interactions with government. There are also conference specific #hashtags which trend  regularly on issues with political relevancy; #cdninnovation and the recent #YouthImpactSummit are some conversations young government relations and political professionals could participate in to develop thought-leadership. Contributing meaningfully to these dialogues can lead to connections wtih individuals that share your interests.
  • Join LinkedIn groups in your field and share original content with them. LinkedIn has become a good resource for professionals to connect with one another, but also to share work-related content with a professional audience. There’s a Government Relations Professionals networking group with 20,000 members who frequently share articles with one another, and there’s the ability to post or write articles for both your connections and the connections of others. You can also increase your presence on LinkedIn by creating a corporate page and posting regularly to those who follow your company. There is no doubt that individuals are looking to LinkedIn for this content; for example, even without any effort on our corporate page, Summa has nearly 400 followers.
  • Offer your 9-5 services outside of work hours through volunteerism. Networking in the same crowd of people who do the same things you is not always efficient in growing your network. Finding a cause you are passionate about and contributing to it professionally can help not only introduce you to new people, but provide a resource for you to share expertise with those who truly value it. Are you a communications professional by day? Consider helping a local charity with their event promotion for a holiday fundraiser. If you are gifted with developping skills, seek out non-profit organizations who have a website that could use a facelift. For government relations professionals, take advantage of organizations like the Canadian Advocacy Network, which connects non-profits and charities in need of government relations support with a team of GR professionals who can assist on a volunteer basis.

While the fall session is a busy one, it is also a good time to connect with those on and off the hill. I plan on taking advantage of conferences and events to connect with new individuals, and trying to be more regularly active on both Twitter and LinkedIn. I also am hoping to share more of my occasional commentary on social media channels over the course of the next 6-12 months. Particularly with the Conservative leadership race around the corner, there will be many opportunities to discuss the race and what it means for the party, particularly from the perspective of younger Party supporters.

Social Media Game Day Analysis: Who’s Strong? Who’s Weak?

Background Image: Huffington Post. Image created in Canva.

Sports is a serious business in our household, and many around North America. With 31 billion hours of sports consumed on cable television in 2015 – up 41% from ten years earlier – it is no surprise that many sports organizations are looking to expand their reach and provide more content to audiences via social media. It is with Football Sunday in mind that I was drawn to look at some sports organizations which are using social media well, and provide some constructive criticism to an organization (near and dear to many in Ottawa) which would benefit from a more comprehensive social media strategy.

Social Media Strategy Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs


I have yet to find someone who is as repulsed by the Maple Leafs franchinse than myself. How people can continue to cheer and pay exorbitant ticket prices for a team that knows nothing other than defeat and loss is dumbfounding. One of my High School teachers put it best, remarking that  all Leafs fans must be sadists given their love of pain.

But I’ll also be the first to admit that the team in arguably the world’s biggest hockey market is a winner when it comes to social media engagement. The Leafs have developed a fan community within existing social media platforms, embracing hashtags initially created by fans (#TMLTalk) on Twitter and frequently engaging with fans directly. There’s no questioning their reach, either: in 2014, the Leafs had 2.3 million mentions on Twitter. What comes to mind particularly is their engagement with fans and even other franchises during game time – sending memes and trading sassy (but professional) barbs with one another.

Mar 02, 2015 15:24

Source: The Chive

With such a large fan market, the Leafs have done well in engagement with “Leafs Nation” and providing then with social content they demand. They do have some room for improvement – their YouTube account subscriptions seem a little low considering their fan base – but overall, social media appears to be the only thing the Leafs are capable of #winning.

Social Media Strategy Winner: Florida Panthers 

The Florida Panthers‘ Twitter following may be about 1/7th of that of the Maple Leafs, but the Panthers have distibguished themselves as an admirable player on social media by embracing non-sports messaging and using less common platforms to communicate with their fans. The organization makes an effort to discuss topics beyond hockey, mentioning fans and celebrities and contributing to conversations outside of their standard domain (the photo of Poker Star Daniel Negreanu is an example ofthe Panthers backing on the social media prowess of others to get noticed).  The Panthers have taken their social media game to platforms like Reddit to develop their fan base, providing opportunities to ask players questions (referred to as “Ask Me Anything (AMA” session), even posting about jobs within the Panthers organization on Reddit. This has gotten notice from other sports fans and teams, which may set a trend for others to follow.

Social Media Strategy Loser: New York Mets


It was difficult to find a sports organization that was not at least active on major social media platforms. While the New York Mets are actually active online – and do well at featuring their fans like in the post below – their ill-fated “#IAmAMetsFan” campaign serves as a cautionary tale for organizations who are looking to rally fans around a hashtag.

mets-fanWhen you’re playing second fiddle to the New York Yankees, it is hard to maintain a loyal fan base. The Mets don’t have the greatest record, and trolls (plus frustrated fans) hijacked this would-be feel good hashtag to put fans and the team down.

Word to the wise for any organization adopting a hashtag campaign; be mindful of the wording you choose, and be sure that it won’t be taken over by more trolls than fans!

Which sports teams do you follow on social media? Who do you think deserves an MVP award for their online engagement game? Let me know in the comments below.

Tools and Sources for Government Relations Trend Monitoring (COM 0015)

COM 0015 Blog 1 Image

Photo Credit: Parliament Hill Image ( Image Creation: Canva

Monitoring trends online can be a little overwhelming. With so many tools to choose from and platforms available for monitoring, creating a dashboard and listening system that’s relevant for your organization is a time-consuming effort.

The silver lining for government relations professionals in Canada who want to monitor their industry online lies in how concentrated the information is on social media platforms. Unlike broad industries like technology or interest areas like sports or music, the audience of Canadians participating in political discussion – and more specifically, conversations on government relations – is relatively small.

It is important to clarify the difference between listening tools, and sources of information. Tools are the platforms and searches that you use to compile and process information about the conversations you want to know about. Sources, on the other hand, are where you’d go to find these conversations, be it social media platforms, blog sites, etc.

With this in mind, there are two listening tools, as well as two sources of information that are go to’s for GR professionals who want to learn more about who’s talking politics and lobbying in Canada:

  1. Google Alerts (delivered via RSS feed such as Lobbyists and lobbying activities in Ottawa tend to be mentioned in traditional media and news stories more often than blogs. While Google Alerts monitors both, having these set up for the individuals in your organization as well as for major public policy campaigns can identify what people are saying about a person or topic in both sources. Personally, I find having Google Alerts delivered via RSS feed a lot less daunting than email alerts each time an organization or topic is mentioned. RSS feed readers such as Feedly are good tools to group your Google Alerts and have them presented in one place.
  2.   Twitter Search: The Parliamentary Press Gallery and Ottawa bubble tends to form an echo-chamber on Twitter, which makes Twitter searches a key listening tool for GR professionals. What are the media minds and pundits talking about on the Hill? Are MPs and Senators discussing certain causes and topics more than others? Creating follower lists and searching under key hashtags (#cdnpoli) are important to know what’s topical on the Hill.

While the search function acts as a tool, Twitter itself is an important source of information for GR professionals. It provides a look at which advocacy groups are on the Hill, if any have corresponding tags for their lobby days, and if their causes are being heard by Parliamentarians. Additionally, I’d recommend two other sources of information to dedicate some time to:

  1. LinkedIn: Prior to this course, I did not consider the advantages of LinkedIn as a social media platform for B2B Communications. I’ve since discovered its power for both distributing industry-specific information and monitoring the activities of competitors and allies online. Rather than blasting content to the (relatively) non-specific audience posting on #cdnpoli, LinkedIn can provide more opportunities to connect with people who are more actively searching for this content, and operating in similar industries. Our shares and likes on LinkedIn posts tend to be much higher than Twitter as well.
  2. Political News Sites and Aggregators (iPolitics / National Newswatch): These are two of the best sources of political news for those in the Ottawa bubble. iPolitics has an expansive columnist list which provides interesting perspectives on issues of the day. National Newswatch is an aggregator which takes top trending stories from major news sources and pulls them into one place (it also has a very high readership on Parliament Hill itself). Specific to GR, I also like to keep tabs on Lobby Monitor, which is a publication associated with the Hill Times, that is focused specificially on lobbying-related news. It is subscription based, and it tends to really only be utilized by those in the industry (not necessarily those looking to buy GR services).

Of course there are many other sources of information (including Facebook and Google+) which may be helpful for getting a sense of what’s trending in political chatter. These are just a sampling of the tools I’ve found useful in compiling news and information on what’s happening in the industry over the last couple of months.

Are there any tools that you’re using to monitor industry-specific information? Any that you may suggest for those working in GR or politics? Please leave a note in the comment section – would love to hear what they are.






Tell me a Story, Sing me a SO-31 (COM0014 Blog Post #7)

Image: LinkedIn

Nothing puts people to sleep like discussing finance legislation, pre-budget submission process and parliamentary procedure.  Even though what happens on Parliament Hill can have an important impact on the day to day lives of Canadians, we aren’t anxious to talk about politics and the (often) boring processes that govern decision-making in our country.

Successful political communications involves building a story that is easily consumed by a wide audience, and clearly relays the direct impact of a policy, legislation, grant etc. to the audience in question. Billions of dollars spent on infrastructure is an abstract initiative to most, but quantifying this into X number of new recreation centres, naming certain highways that will benefit from funding etc. can bring a broad concept to a much more individual level. In many ways, it is taking a deep depth of focus and moving it into a shallow depth of focus.

What I have learned in my time in this course is the importance of telling a story with every article or post that is published, and not being afraid to show the personality behind our company. A huge part of our brand identity at Summa is our people – and we should be putting both them and their words on display (unedited) as much as possible. This will help relay our brand to a wider audience and showcase the talent of our team.

There are also ways to make dry government relations content a little more exciting for the reader. Not burying the lead, creating snappy lists, keeping the tone light etc. are some writing styles that I think we can use to create interesting content for the reader. I also learned the importance of sharability of our content online; a good graphic affiliated with a post, linking back to other content, and asking questions of our audience will help in bringing more viewers to our website.

One of the biggest things I have learned is the importance of regular, current content. Social media cannot be done from the side of a desk; it has to be a full effort, integrated in broader communications initiatives set out by the company. We’ve started taking steps to treat social media with the importance it deserves, and now, we can create content to help reinforce the importance of digital communications to establishing our brand and growing our audience.




Lobbying’s Optics Problem (COM 0014 Blog Post #6)

A member of Google takes images inside the House of Commons for Google Streetview. Image : Dave Chan. Image Source: Link.

Steak dinners. Golden handshakes. Winks and nods. Favours for friends. Selling access.

All of these terms, at some time or another, have been repeated back to me as associations with Canada’s government relations (i.e. lobbying) industry. When social reference points to the work of lobbyists include films like Thank You for Smoking (detailing the crisis of conscience experienced by an American tobacco lobbyist) or characters like Remy Danton in Netflix’s House of Cards, images of dark, smoky rooms and money in envelopes are easily envisioned.

The biggest part of a lobbyist’s day is telling a story about why decision-makers should care about their client or issue. Ironically, lobbyists have not been able to tell their own story about how their work is an important part of Canada’s democractic process.

This is the biggest challenge facing Canada’s lobbying industry today.

For those working in government relations (and particularly those working in GR under the age of 35), we know a very different world than the one described above. New rules and regulations brought in during the late 2000’s have changed Canada’s lobbying landscape,  many would argue for the better (myself included). For example, there are restrictions on who can lobby (you be a Member of Parliament or Chief of Staff one day, and a lobbyist the next), nor are there contingency fees for successful contracts – both of which are standard in government relations south of the border. If you are following the rules set out by the Government for lobbying in Canada, then your actions are very transparent.

Yet, the perception of decision-makers and lobbyists as being part of an elite circle of authority persists, negatively impacting the work of lobbyists day to day, but also the recruitment of bright young minds to government relations as a career choice. Media stories about lobbyists hosting fundraisers for politicians – and politicians turning to lobbyists and their clients for much-needed political donations – take away from the real story behind government relations in Canada today: that the industry is in full-swing change mode, and it will look completely different one decade from now.

The fact of that matter is that politics tends to be a young person’s sport. Working as a staff member to a politician at any level requires long hours, variety in responsibilities and comfort with a (potentially) short term career prospect, all of which appeal to younger people. As the staff on Parliament Hill and in provincial legislature gets younger, their expectations from stakeholders (including lobbyists) also changes, meaning that the style of communication and approach has also changed. Two hour boozy lunches discussing client issues are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Staff – and subsequently, their bosses – want to know the upshot of a policy, why it makes sense to support it, and why it will be good for their re-election (preferably in an easily-consumed one-page leave behind).

The change in audience means using different tools to communicate as well. Having a digital presence (through ads, tweets, Facebook posts) targetted to decision-makers is almost more important than an old-fashioned letter-writing campaign.

The changing face of lobbying in Canada is best told by it’s new school – i.e. young people that lobby under the new rules, and those who are on the receiving end of advocacy. While there are challenges preventing more young people from entering government relations, the expectation for more transparent and quick communication on public policy issues is not going away anytime soon.

Question: If you’re not familiar with government relations or lobbying, what are your thoughts on how it is viewed? Is it still a relevant industry in today’s democracy?



COM0014 – Blog Post #5: Me, Myself, and My Personal Brand

Photo Credit: Reddit

Having a solid personal brand is more than a feel-good exercise, but an important aspect of my career. Maintaining strong relationships with clients and with decision-makers, putting them at ease and emoting in a trustworthy and knowledgeable way is part of the relationship building required for successful government relations interactions.

For my relatively young age, I have worked in all levels of politics and am an experienced campaigner  – with more than just political experience. This sets me apart from other young GR professionals who have only ever worked in politics and have less of a background in business. I am an experienced politico – but perhaps more importantly, I am very knowledgeable when it comes to government relations, which is rare for many people under the age of 30.

I like to think I stand out from competitors by being relatively level-headed and balanced when it comes to partisan politics. Very often, it is easy for former political staffers-turned GR professionals to revert back to what they know; hyper-partisanship and talking points for your preferred political party. I have been public in both my criticism and compliments of the Conservative Party, remaining loyal while also being honest about decisions or positions I disagree with.

I have also made sure to write about what is important to me – improving the standing of conservative parties with younger Canadians. I like to think that this is also a part of my personal brand; a champion for youth engagement in the Conservative party and a reasonable progressive conservative who’s in touch with current political trends.

Last but not least, I like to give back where I can and help organizations I am inspired by. I am a community minded individual who will work to help others without necessarily being compensated to do so, which is not always the case in the line of work I am in. Often lobbyists can be written off as self-important and absorbed, so I hope that my efforts to volunteer for causes and give back help counter this impression.

Overall, if my brand were that of a skilled government relations professional who is an up-and-coming thought leader in Canadian conservative politics and always willing to help, I would be thrilled. I might even feel like the little pup in the picture above.

COM0014 – Blog Post #4: How Taco Bell is Owning Social Media (and my appetite).

Photo credit: Audiense

Likely to my detriment, I’ll never say no to nachos, tacos, or any other member of the guac / salsa / enchilada / food family. My poor husband-to-be knows my addiction to tortilla chips all too well, even as we are attempting to live by a household motto of “shedding for the wedding”.  It was with this love of Tex-Mex and this week’s blog assignment in mind that I thought of a perfect case study of a company getting B2C social media communications right: Taco Bell.

While I would not consider myself a “fan” or even occasional consumer of Taco Bell products, their social media campaigns have caught my eye. They’ve got a funny Twitter account, and an even more creative Snapchat profile with occasional custom filters and comedic short videos. Perhaps most notably was their recent Breakfast Defectors campaign, which resulted in huge traffic to their microsite and made some not so veiled shots at rival company McDonald’s at the same time.

Taco Bell’s ads stand out – as do their social media practices. Here’s some of what Taco Bell seems to be getting right:

  • Their communications are genuine. The company made an effort to try and communicate as a consumer – not always as a business. Obviously, the company will have to accept responsibility and authority if there are any issues with their product, but for most of their social communications, they project as a consumer would. For example – pictures of Taco Bell’s food is now shot from the consumer perspective, rather than staging like most competitor products.
  • They understand that social media communications is a direct relationship with consumers. As a chief marketer at Taco Bell confirms, the company no longer needs to invest in focus groups to know what 20 people think of their product, when 20 million or more are accessible online.
  • Taco Bell has invested in young employees who are digitally-savvy, and encouraged their creativity. The company has taken the approach of hiring those who are in the very market they want to attract, which results in better-informed decision-making when attracting that audience and in determining how to communicate with them.
  • The company is focusing on it’s fans and not necessarily influencers. While Taco Bell smartly has relationships with YouTube stars who support the brand to their followers, they are not latching onto big-name social media stars who can’t convey the spirit and idea behind their product. They even retweet fans with small followings, which keeps things genuine.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Taco Bell has found a way to mirror this personalized approach throughout its supply chain. For example, you can now make an order at Taco Bell through an app, not wait in line, and have your name called when your order is ready. This marrying of technology with traditional service delivery is another way Taco Bell is standing out from its competition.

By all measures discussed in the course content, it looks like Taco Bell is hitting all the right notes online. Now if only they can come up with a Crunchy Taco Supreme that is under 300 calories …


COM0014 – Blog #3: Know Your Audience



Photo Credit: Abacus Data


They’re more than just a buzzword used to describe 20-somethings who (their parents would say) have never had it easier; they’re Canada’s fastest-growing age demographic, and a must-know age group for marketers, employers, politicians and other influencers.

As a fellow millennial, I find the hypotheses and criticisms cast toward our generation too entertaining to be insulting. If I were to take issue with one comment on millennials, it is the treatment of the generation as one homogenous group. And while this is a simple way to demographically identify the millennial audience (born 1985 or later), a psychographic look at this age-cohort reveals that not all millennials are alike.

I am fortunate enough to be office mates with Dr. David Coletto, who is the CEO of Abacus Data, a polling and market research firm in Ottawa. David was the first market research professional to create archetypes for Canadian millennials which can help businesses, decision makers and social scientists group millennials by more than simply their age. They have invested time and research into determining the different “types” of millennials that exist, and how those looking to make an impact with millennials should approach each archetype.

It is important to acknowledge that more goes into a demographic makeup than age. For example, the millennial archetypes pictured above are generally Caucasian and (at least not outwardly projected) of a particular religious belief. If targeting, for example, Muslim Canadian millennials, you may want to use a different outreach strategy than for those born and raised in Perth, for example.  But even within the millennial archetypes above, there are more differences than similarities in terms of ambitions, goals, and outlooks.

The archetypes that Abacus Data has identified are: Achiever, Stampeder, Pacer, Simple Lifer, Firefly, and Spark. All of these different millennial types consume differently and place priority on certain items over others. For example, the Achiever is far more likely to make family their priority than the Firefly, who’s priority is their friends. The simple lifer places a larger priority on saving for a home than the pacer, who’s looking for the latest technology to buy. These buying habits and goal setting differences are big ones particularly for marketers, who are trying to narrow their offering as much as possible for different audiences. It is simply not enough to say “the iPhone will appeal to millennials” – it may for some, but not for all. And what apps are they using within it (the calendar function, Evernote, or Candy Crush)?

After creating the archetypes, the next step would be to find out where these audiences are … and in all cases for the archetypes above, being online matters. However, the platforms they use are different. For instance, the Pacer may be more likely to be on Reddit than the Stampeder, who may be more interested in YouTube channels with new workouts and fitness regimines. Similarly, the Acheiver may look to Twitter for news, where as the Spark could consult more progressive media sources like Upworthy.

There is no denying that millennials are making a big impact in Canada – be it through their voting trends or spending behaviours.   Those looking to make an impact on millennials would be wise to invest time into determining exactly which subset of the group they want to speak to (through monitoring and research), and pick up on the language, tone etc. that they use to converse with each other.