Every year I try to schedule a little extra time to coincide with my son’s vacation time during Christmas and I always tell my myself that I’m going to relax, read some books and just enjoy the time. The reality is though that even though I take the extra time off I never seem to do much relaxing.
There’s always the rushing around for Christmas with organizing dinners with family and last minute shopping and then we start all over preparing for New Year’s events. But I can always count on my December 31’st tradition where we bundle up for a day of tobogganing at Manning Park.
I look forward to this activity every year, one, because sometimes this is the only time that I get to play in the snow as the Fraser Valley in BC is not known for the amount of snow it receives, and two, because my extended family and friends all have a great time behaving like little kids.
I have to admit that winter is actually my favourite time of the year and snow is the reason. Then when you add on all the fun that sledding entails you have a recipe for fun times.
Another tradition that we have incorporated into our sledding is our need to make the longest train of sleds and try to make it down the hill in one piece. We have managed to accomplish this feat a few times but mostly we end up with a fraction of us breaking away from the train and tumbling over each other on our way down the hill. Add in the dogs that follow us nipping at our toques and it is a sight to behold.
So though I don’t always get to sit and read or relax, I do get to have some fun and spend lots of time with family and really isn’t that what is the most important things?
It all started over a beer on New year’s eve. My aunt told me about this race she had been running for the last two years. She said it was crazy enough that it would be “my kind of thing”: a trail race, in a cross country skiing club, with only 35 participants, and a poutine at the end. The trail is a 4.2km loop that you run/walk as many time as you possibly can, in 24hours. It’s called: “Le trail des géants », french for “The trail of the giants”. I was sold!
An ultramarathon, […], is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (Wikipedia)
I did not go crazy on the training but it quickly became obvious that I needed to add a few long distances training into my schedule if I wanted to survive this challenge. Away from my weekly runs, I decided to subscribe to the Ottawa Marathon (42.2km) on a 50 day’s notice. Later in July I walked a 56km training to test my legs and my kit. Many lessons learned during that day helped me on race day.
I was the first participant to show up at the Skinoramik cross country ski club on Saturday Aug 3rd. There were only a few clouds and the weather was really nice. I setup my tent, cooler and laid out my gear (Clothes, headlamp, blister kit, spare shoes etc.) in preparation for the hours ahead.
This was my home during the race
It was 12h11 when I started my GPS watch and began running in a trail I was going to get to know pretty well over the next day.
One of the easy stretch on the trail – Photo by Joannes Gouin
At supper time I had completed 9 laps and 38km before we sat together to eat an amazing pig roast. At midnight, most of us met to walk 1 lap together; my 15th lap. I went to bed around 2h30am after a couple of beers from my favourite brewery, Le Trefle noir. I slept for almost 3 hours before heading back on the trail, coffee in hand, for the last 5 laps I needed to reach my goal of 85km (2x marathon).
My aunt had managed to catch up with me to walk my last lap and since there was still time, I decided to join her for her last lap (She completed 12, reaching her goal of 50km). These last 2 laps, were definitely my favourite ones. My legs were hurting, my feet were ready to quit, but It felt good to have someone with me and share those special emotions together.
After a quick shower, they served us an AMAZING poutine with bacon and what was left of the pig roast. #fooddrunk.
My final marks were 91.6km for 21 laps. This is how, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I became a giant.
Me and my aunt, looking proud after 24h and a combined mileage of 141km
Here is a couple links that inspired me during the training leading to that race:
An explosion of fashion and a phenomenal number of social media, dazzling advertisements, movies, tips, trips, cultural promotion, and an array of entry points inclusive of customer service, store locations, and environmental responsibility. This fashion giant, H&M, seems to have the glimmering photographs, splendid navigation, and discounts where appropriate. Nonetheless, there is lacking when compared to some competitors and oddly it is right at the Business to Customer (B2C) level despite all the glory and fireworks when attending their website and social media. Customer engagement is imperative.
H&M do a phenomenal job at consumer engagement. At every turn on social media there is a cornucopia of delightful models, blouses, pants, shirts, shoes, men, women, children, exotic travel scenes and the like. They are colourful, fashionable, light, heavy, seasonable, and they know their accessories. However, they are not approachable due to some issues that become obvious and their respective use of social media is more for product promotion than customer engagement.
Social Media and H&M
H&M uses a bounty of social media. They employ YouTube
extremely well. It encourages viewership by the breadth of topics of
fashionable concern. Beauty, swimwear, makeup, designers, back to school
matters and travel. There is little interaction by consumers and each video
seems to be well scripted and uses models. Thus far, there is a perception that
no consumers are interviewed about the product at hand. Very professional, but
not customer interactive.
Facebook is well utilized for promotion, but any customer
complaint is dismissive and relegated in the language used. Instagram, though
colourful and robust, again, has no customer pictures, nor community. Their “Your
Stories” is a ruse by nature of every Instagram photo is a given reflection of a
fit model without blemish or overweight persons as reflected in the real world.
Twitter reflects the above. It is an ad nauseam of advertisements and a few seemingly directed comments by alleged consumers. On two social media sights, the Community pages read as “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now”. They also use a magazine format for a blog, but purely for advertising. Where is the communication?
There is little to no customer communicative interaction. There
seems to be no real back and forth as is indicative in B2C. It must affect
sales as “social Media is not a one-way street and it requires you to listen
and interact (Ryan, 2019).
Nordstrom is an excellent model to follow. Through all their social media there are appropriate and well worded responses to customers and effective email marketing that ensues. They deal with customers diplomatically, make appropriate referrals and point them to an array of clubs and discount points where needed. A good blog is in place to facilitate changes in customer and fashion activity (King, 2015).
Ryan, J., Digital Communication, Lesson 4: Choosing the Correct
Storytelling Tools for Your Audience, Lesson Content, Readings, Lesson Notes, B2B
vs B2C vs B2G, Algonquin College, 2019
Scollon, Ron, and Wong,
Suzanne, LANGUAGE IN SOCIETY 21, Intercultural Communication, A Discourse
Approach Second Edition, Chapters 2. Language and Social Networks (second
edition)Lesley Milroy, 17. The Language of the News Media, Allan Bell, 2001,
Second edition published Blackwell Publishers Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden,
Massachusetts 02148, USA
One day, after questioning the life cycle of our household waste, I came across the life-changing book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Bea’s ideas inspired me and my family to adopt the zero waste lifestyle. Her blog is a perfect example of a successful online campaign that has created a movement.
I have always been interested in preserving our planet, but living zero waste goes so much deeper. I have shifted my mindset and behaviour to focus more on the things that bring joy to life, and less on buying stuff.
“The simple concept of zero waste is to prevent rather than divert trash, but at its core it’s about valuing and taking responsibility for goods we bring into our lives — replacing a linear system whereby goods are designed for discard with a circular system whereby goods are built for longevity and recirculated for as long as possible.”– Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
I find many in-person opportunities to share what I have learned on my journey. In preparing to move conversations online, I have found there is a growing community embracing the lifestyle and supporting others to experience the benefits. Authors share their unique realities through telling stories and creating online support communities using a variety of tools.
Following a scan of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and personal blogs about waste-free living, I believe my audience would be predominantly female. I would estimate an age range between 25 and 45 years. Although there are a variety of family types engaging in the topic, I would target busy moms as I fit into this category and can relate to them. Although anyone can adopt the lifestyle, educated, professional and business women juggling career and family life stand out as engaged in the topic.
Common lifestyle preferences are evident. Interest in environmental issues and sustainability is common, as well as a yearning for simplicity in a busy world. “Zero-wasters” are future-thinking and welcome change for the greater good of their families and society. My target audience would value family, knowledge, practicality, sustainability, a healthy lifestyle and believe that an idea can change the world.
Google trends indicates people interested in the topic care about many aspects of reducing waste in their lives, but there many searches on disposable products and where to find sustainable alternatives. This is a common theme online and a great first step for those interested or new to the lifestyle.
Analyzing the online activity of a zero waste audience gave me powerful insight into who they are, what they care about and how best to reach them.
What one change could you make to reduce waste in your life? Check out the blog Trash is for Tossers for some great ideas.
Storytelling is a universal language. Humans use stories to connect, regardless of the medium. The “language” we use is critical to our understanding of the world around us. We all have the power to mold and shape our ideas to drive action and deepen understanding.
As I develop my own storytelling voice, the following five approaches from this week’s lesson resonated with me.
Define your purpose. Answer questions such as: Why am I telling this story?, Who am I writing for?, What response do I want? What action do I want them to take? Why should they care?, What value can I offer? or How can I inspire or motivate them to take action? Thoughtful answers to these questions can help you tap into your audience’s emotions and make is easier to write.
Use the appropriate structure. There’s a lot of competition online. You only have only a few short seconds to get your audience’s attention. Put your main ideas front and centre, followed by more details. Your audience will decide whether they want to engage deeper into your content.
Elicit action. Use active language to engage your audience. Sentences written in active voice are easier to understand, clearer and more concise.
Check your work. Have you ever been immersed in a good book or article then visually tripped over a misspelled word or grammatical error? Your experience can quickly become soured and colour the author in a bad light. Take the time to double check your work for spelling, punctuation, grammar and style errors to avoid damaging your credibility. This GrammarGirl podcast offers some great tips for proofreading.
Practice. Learn and grow from your writing experience. Review your work over time to see what’s working and what’s not. Ask more questions. Is your audience finding value in your content? How can you approach things differently? Keep creating content.
I am comforted by the learnings in this week’s lesson. In my experience working as a graphic designer, I tell stories on behalf of my clients. I use many of the approaches we’ve discussed, only using different elements.
Writing online is relatively new to me. I am a private person and need to learn the best way to share my stories with others. This is my challenge.
“You know you have a world of knowledge to pass on – but you have no idea how to wrap it into an exciting package your readers will love.” says Alex Limberg of SmartBlogger. His post also beautifully illustrates the power of storytelling.
Do you have any stories about your first experience publishing content online? I’d love to hear from you.
Let’s jump right into business. Targeting people to purchase a vehicle can be tough at times, but it’s successful when you pick and choose the right ones. I’m going to give you a brief inside scoop of how we target certain people for particular campaigns.
At my job where I work as a Marketing Coordinator for a car dealership, we outsource our ad creations and targeting to another company. At the end of each month, we receive a report on how well the ads did, who we targeted the ads to, and if any leads were created from those ads. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to make up an example of how we would target a Cadillac customer.
Here’s what Cadillacs used to look like… but this style is no more! (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)
Cadillac isn’t your Grandpa’s boat-sized sedan anymore. Cadillacs have now been rebranded, and are considered luxury vehicles where Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, sunroofs, and all-wheel drive, plus more, come in a lot of the base vehicles. When advertising to people, we use language that will turn heads and capture attention.
When looking for Cadillac customers that we want to steer into our dealership, we use our outsourced ad agency to target them through Facebook or Instagram. The demographics could be as follows: middle-aged men or women; unmarried people as some of the vehicles are coupes that would not comfortably accommodate a family of four or more; people with a post-secondary education.
In addition to income and age, we want to know what the customers are looking for. We usually target people based on what they have expressed an interest in, or if they have clicked one of our Cadillac ads before and possibly submitted a lead.
The psychographics we could look for are people in white collar jobs with a disposable income, and also people in middle to upper class as most new base Cadillac sedans or coupes start at the $50,000 range. We would also want to know what car they are currently driving as this can give us an indication of what they might be interested in. For instance, if they are driving a new Honda Civic but expressed an interest in Cadillac, then maybe a Cadillac ATS or CTS would suit their style. As a company, we might also present our lease offers to show that shopping for a luxury vehicle can also be an affordable and realistic purchase.
Cadillacs are now cool luxury vehicles with tech savvy equipment and stylish interiors and exteriors. Cadillac has retargeted their audience to suit their new brand. Here’s an interesting article on how Cadillac has now upped its game in the luxury vehicle world in comparison to recent years: https://bloom.bg/2xMHz95
It has been 13 years and I still haven’t received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I was disappointed for a while but I decided to take matters into my own hands by going on a trip to Universal Orlando to see it myself!
In May of 2017, I went to visit Universal Studios. I’m a child at heart. I’m in love with movie magic, and I have never been so immersed in magic before while at Universal Studios. The smell of butter beer and sweets wafted through the streets of Diagon Alley as I passed the Leaky Cauldron; kids ran out of Ollivander’s with wands in their hands and chased each other into the Owlery; but my favourite of all, the dragon at the top of Gringott’s Bank blew out warm flames every few minutes.
Ollivander’s Wand Shop at Diagon Alley
Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley
After riding the Escape From Gringotts ride and exploring all of the shops in Diagon Alley, I hopped on the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9¾ and took a trip to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.
Hogwarts Express Train (Fun fact: it’s actually a ride AND a mode of transportation that takes you from one park to the other)
First stop: Hogwarts. Walking through the castle made me realize how long this must have taken to build. The attention to detail was mesmerizing. The castle had holograms of the characters walking around while speaking to each other, and the pictures on the wall moved. After riding the Hogwarts attraction, I explored Hogsmeade. The whole place – Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Hogwarts – was identical to the Harry Potter films that I know and love. Every building, every window, every crack in the sidewalk was almost an exact replica. The rides were interactive and in 4D, aside from the insanely fun inverted roller coaster, The Dueling Dragons.
My favourite ride was Escape From Gringotts. The detail and the ride itself were incredible! While everyone waited in line, you got to walk through the bank where the Goblins actually moved as if they were just working at their everyday jobs! The ride was a roller coaster with a 4D twist and it was so fun! I unfortunately didn’t have my camera with me at the time to take photographs or videos, but here is a video from YouTube if you are curious: https://bit.ly/2N7roOb
If you love roller coasters, warm weather, and most importantly Harry Potter, then I highly recommend making the trip down to Universal, Orlando. I couldn’t even express in words at the time how amazing the experience was. They created an entire London street with a Knight Bus, a replica of King’s Cross Station, and a secret passageway that gets you into Diagon Alley, very similar to what is in the films.
The Knight Bus
Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida? What was your favourite experience there? If not, would you want to go? Leave a comment down below!
For anyone interested in travelling and for those that want to see more, here are some helpful links to get you started:
I work in the relocation business which means we can be responsible for industrial, retail business, municipal and provincial organizations along with the everyday person looking to move from one location to another. We are a trusted company that goes that extra mile to make our clients experience worry free. Meanwhile there are some moving companies out there that are looking for that quick dollar and they have no shame on how they acquire it!
One morning late last year I received a phone call at work from Wendy wanting to ask a few more questions about her move that she just booked with our company. I replied to her that this was the first time we had spoken. She asked if my name was Olivia? I replied saying no my name is Cheryl. She then asked for Olivia which I informed her there was no one by that name working here. She then told me that our affiliate company by the name of Red Maple Moving & Storage based out of Mississauga gave her a rate to move her this morning and took her credit card number for deposit. I immediately informed her we do not have any affiliates and to call her credit card company and hopefully any funds would still be in the pending stage.
As soon as I got off the phone with Wendy, I contacted the manager of our main website provider at Site Dudes and let her in on what has happened. Some how our main contact email was hacked though their site. We immediately changed our passwords and Site Dudes set up a sting hoping to catch the culprit. Red Maple Moving & Storage was contacted and asked for their address which was found to be a UPS store located in Mississauga.
I have a friend that is a manager at Toronto Crime Stoppers and I contacted her giving the information that was collected including Wendy’s contact info. She filed a report and found out that Toronto Police are currently investigating the company Red Maple Moving.
Below is a link to Red Maple Moving out of Mississauga, Ontario.
Fortunately Wendy did reach her credit card company in time to remove the pending charges to her credit card. We did book her move, she also came into the office to personally thank me for the quick thinking and action taken. Red Maple Movers are on the police radar and have been charged. My employer was very proud of me on how quickly a disaster was turned into a positive outcome.
With All Ways Moving & Delivery we target a wide variety of audiences, ranging from the first apartment to the downsizing / senior retirement living. We have found that in the past 2 years, seniors that are downsizing have prevailed as a majority of our relocation moves. With this in mind our company has expanded to be the only local “full service” moving company in this area. We make it so the clients can virtually walk out of their house with the clothes on their back. We pack their possessions, move or provide short or long-term storage along with unpacking and assembly of their furniture. Heck we can also arrange cleaning of their old or new home along with selling or disposal of their unwanted items.
With our business being located in Ontario next to Quebec which combined holds 50% of the 36,927,520 Canadian population according to Stats Canada. Also according to Stats Canada Seniors 65+ outnumber children under 14 years for the first time in history 5.9 million to 5.8 million. With these results it sure makes someone wonder where are we headed in the future?
Below is a blog link from Senior Living which really makes me think of the future population of Canada.
As for tools and strategies for targeting our audiences we use local sites such as Facebook and for a broader coverage CAN411, Google search along with our home sites which are all linked. We try to keep our sites stream lined and user-friendly for everyone.
I would like to start out by saying our yearly vacation is spent at our cottage. Also just about every 2nd weekend we head to the cottage usually between April and November.
For the last few years we have been upgrading the old A frame cottage into being more useful along with upgrading the plumbing, electrical, windows and overall appearance. With purchasing the cottage in 1997 money was tight with owning a house also not just financial but trying to balance time between both properties. We made our own blueprint design for the make-over, which was an adventure on its own!
Prior to construction 2012.
Build in 1975 the 2 x 4 inch construction walls needed to be stripped back to the bare walls in order to install new insulation and vapor barrier. The entire front of the cottage which was cedar was removed and replaced making it up to date with the building code, supports ( lintels ) for the new windows and doors were constructed and installed. Which we had professionally installed by a certified contractor from the area. We like to support local labour because they take into mind the local weather ie: extra snow load. Going above the Ontario Building Code, instead of using 2 inch x 10 inch for the main floor supports, we used 2 inch x 12 inch for the new addition which we hope will pay off in the future for re-sale value.
The start of the new framework.
With having 2 bedrooms on the upper floor we made the decision to make a main level 14 feet x 20 foot bedroom with a storage/utility room. That meant the fuse panel had to be moved to the new build. But it was great to finally have an area to store our tools which we did not have before. We also had an new dining area added to the front of the cottage, which have windows on all walls along with a patio door walk out to the front deck.
Our New Main Level Bedroom.
With having a new kitchen installed at our house in 2013 we had a complete set of kitchen cabinets for the cottage which saved us thousands of dollars.
Reusing some of our kitchen cabinets from our house.
We have friends come up for visits and we make it a work and fun time for all, after all that is what cottage life is all about! Our Bengal ( Figgie ) has been known to temporary fill in for that game of cards or give your boat the good old heave hoe to land.
We do have a few rules of the cottage for our guests. We ask that you hang your watch on a special hook with your car keys, go to bed and get up when you wish, eat meals without watching the clock which could mean pecan pie and a root beer float for breakfast!
Life at the cottage is what you make it! I love taking someone fishing and them getting that monster on the end of the line also experimental cooking is a must.
We plan on finishing our inside upgrading this summer. With plans to work on the exterior grounds to come to a close within the next 2/3 years just in time for retirement.
Above is how the front of the cottage looks today, a bit of a change for sure.
Below is a link for information on the local culture for Patterson Lake located just outside Watson’s Corners, Ontario.