COM0014, Blog #7, The Digital Age of Storytelling

The field of Digital Communications provides us with endless possibilities of how and what to story tell. Since there really is no script either, it really is up to the individual doing the storytelling to construct their own unique positioning in the digital world. 

Time has shown us that storytelling has the power to capture and maintain the attention of an audience. And in today’s world of mass consumption, it is what makes consumers want to find out more about a brand – a good story. 

Good storytelling can catch people’s attention and help them learn more about a business, a brand, and their mission, vision, values, and products and offerings. Storytelling can create an emotional connection with an audience, can help them feel relatable, and naturally as a result will generate engagement and a sense of belonging.

In today’s world telling a story that will stand out amongst the thousands of other stories being shared on the internet needs to resonate with its viewer. Since audiences aren’t being forced to watch or read anything anymore, it means that to truly engage an audience a storyteller needs to be able to create something the demographic wants to see. Telling a story as a means of marketing is no longer a creative choice, it’s a necessity. The digital space abounds with content, so individuals don’t only need to focus on their own creating, but also the content created or shared by others. Content creation really is about curation and collaborative storytelling. 

Image via @Pinterest

Storytelling is community, it’s the telling of our existence here together on this planet and most would say that life is well lived is one that is shared with others. Sharing, engaging and growing done to each one’s own design and the expansive ability to share these ideas and ways of being, provides us all with a unique opportunity to share our own telling of the Volumes of our life. The art of storytelling is not gone, it’s just simply digital now.

COM0014 – Blog #6, I am Truth Beauty

Like it or not, we are judged by how we look, how we dress, and how we carry ourselves—and, if we’re lucky, how we do our jobs. Lucky for me, I believe my reputation precedes me; having been in the clean beauty industry for the last 11 years, my work began before the trend of examining our personal care ingredients did and so here I am, with a wealth of knowledge that I am happy to share with you. 

What resources do I have that will help my audience solve their problems, you may be asking?

What gives me the authority to position myself as an expert, you may be asking? Well, for context ‘goopy’ Gwyneth dropped a hint in 2008 that ‘crunchy living’ was cool and soon after she launched her clean beauty brand. I followed suit and opened my first bricks and mortar in 2010, making a home for the pioneering brands like RMS Beauty and Indie Lee; I even launched Millennial’s darling brand of the moment, Kosas into Canada and was an exclusive retailer for Sheena’s 8 lipsticks, long before she placed on any Sephora shelves.   

Photo via @Goop

My tenure has allowed me to understand formulas and to understand what goes into making a product. I understand ingredients and how they function and aid the beauty consumer in their long-term skincare goals. If the concern with ingredients is based on toxicity, that too I can cover. I have worked as an Ambassador for the David Suzuki Foundation, worked closely with industry pioneers while developing lines and provided feedback, and hosted PR events that showcased a panel of brand founders that discussed topics from sustainability and packaging to balancing trends with overconsumption. 

Bookmark the 10 Best Online Beauty Stores Now, Add to Cart Later

There are lots of beauty consumers that feel left out but rest assured, I can hear them on those matters too! Just last week I lunched with Kaia Naturals founder, Mary Fuller to discuss ‘white space’ (i.e. areas in the market in which there is NO product to meet a consumer’s need). When you come to Truth Beauty or send us a question, I want to find you the very product that meets your needs. 

Why? Because I really am not that much different from you. In 2010, I wanted to find ‘clean beauty’ products that were accessible but that felt and looked luxurious, and that of course, didn’t miss the mark on efficacy; I had a need I needed filled. It’s truly an honour to have my professional longevity and experience and to share it with beauty consumers. As I like to say, All that lasts is Truth and Beauty.

COM0014 – Post #5, Candidly Speaking…

After 11 years of being an entrepreneur, there is not way I can be separate from my brand – Jen Freitas, Founder

A fundamental thing that sets therapists apart from regular people, is their power of non-judgemental observation and so I will go with what my therapist says about me that makes me shine as an individual. ‘Ali’ will say that how I see fairness and integrity makes me a person of great character and empathy, a person that would be a good friend. 

Image via @NYTimes

And as Oprah has so wisely said “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” That sort of stead-fastness is exactly what you will find in me and is a value I instill into my company’s brand, The Truth Beauty Company.

Truth Beauty is built on trust with YOU. We trust you value how we curate and that we select products that would enhance your life. We trust you to share with us your desires and thoughts. Through this two-way street, we build on meeting each other’s expectations – that ‘feeling seen’ is a non-negotiable for my brand. 

What is just and fair extends beyond you and I and our community. Truth Beauty takes into account who can access our products and what do the products mean for the world as they near their end of life. Having strength to stand behind what is fair and just is a sign of integrity – and you can trust that the woman (me) who stands behind the brand – The Truth Beauty Company, has got your back.

COM0014, Blog #4, Ikea – the Swede that knows all spaces

The era of digital marketing began in the 1990’s but has only become more complex and far reaching than likely ever imagined. Keeping up with and embracing trends of digital marketing have become key parts of building and maintaining a brand. Gone are the days of over marketed logos and catchy tag-lines.

Today’s consumer is far more demanding and requires constant courting. 

Let’s look at a conglomerate like IKEA; its omnichannel strategy is an exemplary model of what makes a brand a household name – it meshes with your life, becomes part of it.

Image via Bored Panda

IKEA has always positioned itself to be an extension of modern living, after all it retails everything you could possibly need to run your life. Similarly, it has taken this approach to its social media marketing strategy. It’s ingenious. It is diverse enough to reach many ranges of customer demographics. Opting for an omnichannel strategy allows their reach to span all ages and unlimited demographics.

Its Youtube Channel contains many problem solving household hacks, simple decor refresher tips, how to incorporate exercise into living spaces and so on – all done in about 3 to 4 minute videos. Perfect for the busy-stay-at-home-parent. 

IKEA also excels in sharing content via its Instagram channel – again reaching many demographics. However, it seems to hone in on Gen-Xer’s and younger on that platform. The curated content fosters community by sharing ideas on family traditions(for example), with the Ikea touch, no less! It’s also interesting to note, they have accounts for regions, which is a fantastic tactic for building that relationship needed for customer retention and customer lifetime value. 

IKEA has gone a step further in its digital strategy by offering an app – a stylist and a store in one, that syncs to your devices. This tech savvy consumer is the new frontier and IKEA is at the front of the line.

Image via Pinterest

Overall, IKEA demonstrates a carefully executed strategy across all channels and customer touchpoints. Omnichannel technologies evolve day by day; keeping up to date with the latest technologies is essential. Brands can be rewarded with immediate results of brand loyalty, and brand loyalty is based on customer engagement – so minding that is essential.

How do you find yourself connecting to the brands you admire?

COM0014 – Blog # 3, The Science behind ‘Clean Beauty’ marketing.

Most women will say they have heard the term ‘clean beauty’ before, and certainly, the majority of us have seen Jennifer Anniston touting personal care products as ‘paraben-free’ in a commercial. And while there is no hard and fast definition of what ‘clean beauty’ is, most industry professionals would vouch for products that are made without ingredients shown or suspected to harm human health; ingredients that have been shown to be potentially harmful, and can include known carcinogens, irritants, and endocrine disruptors – parabens being one of those ingredients. 

Consumer awareness has catapulted this segment of the beauty business; the clean beauty market is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2024*, so if brands want to carve out their niche in the space, they must hone in on how to reach and engage with their perfect customer. What was once considered fringe, even ‘hippie’ is now mainstream and that translates to dollars, big time. But who is spending their money? And how? 

Here is where ‘science’ comes into play; data drives the industry’s marketing. Digital marketing teams, for example, will use the Facebook pixel, (a snippet of JavaScript code) that allows companies to track visitor activity on their websites. Similarly, all social media platforms and e-commerce sites will have data analytics, and understanding this data is key to strengthening brand success. 

It is widely accepted that the clean beauty consumer presents as: “mid-or-high-income, multicultural, urban, college-educated, and under 35”.** Those are the baseline demographics, but also understanding and being aware of the psychographics of the consumer is increasingly important. As more and more companies take on social enterprise models, consumers are now looking at that as an added criterion when supporting a brand. 

Photo via @Pinterest

These two areas of study come into play when choosing a strategy of engagement; does the market connect on Tik Tok? Or with informative newsletters? Further data segmentation would certainly provide more insight into how best to connect with consumers. It definitely takes brains to make it in the ‘clean beauty’ space; data driven marketing is a really exciting tool in the marketers kit.

Thoughts? Do you appreciate marketing that is tailored to your interests? Enough that you feel comfortable with companies peeking in on your behaviours? Share your thoughts!

*Larson, Kristin. June 30, 2021. Shopper Demand For Clean Beauty And Increased Transparency Continues: Forbes,

**July 29, 2021. The clean beauty trend is more than skin deep: nielseniq,

COM0014 – Blog #2, Stop, Look, Listen

Stop. Look. and Listen. Wise words to employ at the beginning of any endeavour; and effective communication is not excluded from this advice.

Communication is not about standing up on a soap box

Communication is not about standing up on a soap box and shouting a message to the minions below; effective communication relies on an understanding of one’s audience and a tailoring of the information shared so that it is received with interest, processed with a desire to learn, and finally an understanding of the shared subject matter. 

Think about it? When listening or reading, what encourages you to think? To engage? To question? To start up a related discussion elsewhere? Perhaps, subconsciously these are all questions we ask ourselves when sharing – be it information or our lives’ anecdotes. 

Image via Pinterest

Effective communication, in any form, is nuanced and layered with many intersecting factors. Before one even begins, having knowledge of the demographics, as well as psychographics of the intended audience is a one way to ensure that what is being conveyed will resonate. Of course, one must also think of style; and of how to share the information or story in such a way that the recipient will be captivated. 

One must also think of the purpose of communication; is it to inform, to express feelings, to imagine, to influence, or to meet social expectations? Dialogue can begin when one of these five areas is met and in that dialogue new ideas can be forged – or not. 

Communication is never about reaching one end goal; it is about the expression of one’s ideas and outcomes can be as varied as the subject matters.  Communication is also listening, processing, and learning – its essence is connection. To communicate effectively, know your audience, listen, offer value through insight; honestly, just take the time to Stop, Look, Listen. 

How do you view communication?

COM0014 – Blog #1, The Ultimate Sunday can be spent in Ontario’s Beaver Valley

La dolce vita can be found in the rolling hills and valleys of Ontario’s Grey Highlands. Tucked away at the top of a long drive, found off a dusty sideroad, you will discover the Roost Wine Company. My last ‘day trip’ was spent enjoying this unknown treasure and its indulgent offerings. 

Approaching the white-washed barn board building, one is greeted by well-manicured grounds and views of bountiful grapes that hang in the winery’s vineyards. It’s hard to imagine that this is Ontario’s Beaver Valley and not the rolling hills of Italy. 

My excursion was centered around sampling some of Roost’s wines. Shortly after we were seated, an exquisite charcuterie was placed in front of me and my guest. Note in the photo there are no cured meats; the establishment was happy to meet my vegetarian needs, and I will say, they surpassed my expectations. Delicious and heady Ontario’s Five Brother’s cheese, some sweet local gooseberries, complemented with some sweet pickled Peruvian peppers were just some of the tasty delights we were served. If you are someone who enjoys finer details, Roost will not disappoint. Even the plating was attentive to colour and texture composition.

Of course the wines! Let’s chat about those, after all that is what we were there to do. We started with a fresh and sparkling sipper, endearingly known as ‘A bunch o’ trouble’. The refreshing, yet not too dry sparkling rose was a perfect way to start our journey through getting to know eight wines. The refreshments became progressively darker as our glasses were refilled. The flavours bolder and the mouth feel richer; notes of summer berries, sharp pepper and enveloping vanilla were all accounted for. The afternoon tasting ended with a deep and delightful dessert wine, reminiscent of a Portuguese Port. For those that take interest in the winery’s farming practice, you should be happy to know that Roost focuses on cold-climate wine varieties that are sustainably farmed on the property.

A stroll through the leafy rows, perfectly catching that early eve golden hour light, we were truly transported. Crates stacked for the collection of some harvest, laid in the fields like a photographer’s perfect prop made our mini-vacation feel like a true escape. Day trips can be the perfect recharge for when a longer vacation just simply isn’t in the cards. Exploring your own backyard and stumbling upon a real treat only sweetens the experience.