Who knew HTML wasn’t scary?


One of my teachers told me about Udemy and decided to check it out for myself by taking an HTML course.  Every time I would look at a bunch of HTML code my initial reaction was run for your life! It always looked like a jumble of letters and symbols that was way too easy to mess up.   But after taking the online course HTML for Beginners provided by Stone River eLearning on Udemy I have a much better understanding of HTML. 

I really enjoyed the course I took, despite the fact that the professor pronounced the letter h ‘haitch’The course was designed so that I would follow along using Komodo, an HTML coder, and create my own HTML code rather than simply listening to someone talk (this method works much better for me, I have a tendency to zone out).  The professor walked us through using basic elements, line breaks, spacing, tables, and forms.  Our culminating task was to create a hotel booking form using text areas, radio buttons, checkboxes and more.  It may not be the prettiest form but I was proud of it none the less. 

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This course helped me both get a better understanding of HTML but it also helped me develop a positive relationship with HTML. I know that I am not even close to being an HTML expert but with a practice and the help of a cheat sheet Ill get there…eventually. 


3 pins for Pinterest!

pexels-photo-267367.jpegI love using Pinterest, it has become my new google for everything DIY, recipes, fashion, and home décor but I never quite understood how brands could use Pinterest to grow their following.  My and my marketing partner in crime, Mariana, decided to get to the bottom of it and figure out all there is to know about Pinterest for Businesses. 

Creating a Pinterest Business account is very easy, all you need is an email address. What is also great is let’s say you have been building your boards in your personal account that would be ideal for your brand, you can transfer all of those to a business account with the click of a button.

pexels-photo-134469.jpegPinterest is a very visual platform so it is important to invest lots of time (and some money) into creating great visuals that consumers are going to want to bookmark and return to again and again.  Keywords are crucial when creating content.  You need to make sure that all your content is being tagged properly so that users are able to find your page instead of a competitor’s.

Promoting your pins is another great way to reach your audience.  It is fairly inexpensive and it can have a wide reach.  The great thing about sponsored pins is that once a user pins that post to their page it becomes organic content. 

Pinterest also provides all of their business accounts a free analytics tool to help you improve your page.  They provide information on your Pinterest site, links from your website, as well as information about your current audience.  This information is great for developing a strategic marketing plan.  Did I mention this is all free?  

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Pinterest can be great for engaging your audience.  Follow your customers, reply to their comments and create open boards that your customers and help you build.  Whole Foods currently for 300,000+ followers on Pinterest and a huge reason behind that is their customer engagement.  They have recipe boards where they encourage others to share their recipes.  It helps create a sense of community.

All in all, Pinterest is a great social media tool that business can use to connect with their audience depending on your industry.  Any brand that is lifestyle or visual based (for example fashion, food, home décor, or DIY) should definitely be on Pinterest.

Check out this video we made to summarize Pinterest for Business!

Learning ain’t so bad.


I have recently discovered the world of online courses to help further my education.  Now don’t worry, I haven’t been living under a rock, I know that online courses exist I just never really enjoyed them before.  This semester one of our courses focuses on emerging trends in marketing communications.  It’s a unique course in that is it self-taught through the guidance of our instructor.  We were given a number of subjects and platforms to choose from but ultimately it was up to me to create my own course. 

At first, this sounded like my nightmare.  I already have a fairly busy schedule going to school, working full time, and volunteering so fitting in more learning around that seemed like it was going to be a struggle.  But in fact, I have been enjoying the process thus far.  

232620 We are also working with an online organization tool called Asana.  This tool will help my instructor follow my progress as well as help myself get organized.  This part of the course is probably my least favorite.  It is very different from the way I typically organize myself but we have to learn to adapt. 


I have selected 4 courses to complete, and I am looking forward to the HTML certification the most because I know the least about it. 

At school, the instructors are always telling us that we need to be constantly learning, especially in an ever-changing industry like advertising marketing, but I have to admit I am fairly bad at it.  I am hoping that this course will help remind myself that I love the industry that I am in, and learning outside the classroom isn’t as boring as it sounds. 


Entrepreneur, what does it mean?

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As my 30th birthday grows closer and with my graduation from SLC just around the corner I have been thinking a lot about the future and what I am going to be when I “grow-up”.   It feels as though there are so many things that I would like to accomplish in my lifespan and I have been really focusing on creating goals, both short-term, and long-term.  As I have been working more with the Claire Closet to promote female entrepreneurship I have been trying to decide if that is the right path for me and what it means to be an entrepreneur. 

I was listening to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts called StartUp and they were interviewing one of the co-founders of Dating Ring, a mobile dating app, and she said that she didn’t identify herself as an entrepreneur.  For her, she thought an entrepreneur was what people who didn’t have jobs called themselves on shows like The Bachelor.  Lisa Chow, the host of the podcast, stopped her and told her that she is an entrepreneur and she should be proud of that title. 

I found this interaction very interesting because it made me realize that being an entrepreneur means something different depending on who you are talking to.  For some people the idea of starting your own business is terrifying, for others it means hope.  So I want to put it out there to all of you:

 What does the word entrepreneur mean to you?


Brand Seduction is a seductive read


While browsing the business section at a local bookstore I came across a book title Brand Seduction written by Daryl Weber and found it to be quite an interesting read.  The book focuses on how neuroscience can help marketers build memorable brands and help market researchers understand why consumers make decisions.

Important takeaways:

  • A large portion of our purchase decisions are driven by our unconscious mind rather than our conscious mind. This means that we are not as in control of which brand we choose as we think we are.  For example, during a case study, a group of individuals were shown a series of photos of dogs.  They were then asked to name a brand of shoes and the majority of the participants said Puma because it is related to animals.
  • Emotions fuel humans, they get us to act on our feeling.  For example, anger gets us ready to fight, happiness is a reward, and sadness helps us to reevaluate a situation.  If a brand can trigger a human with emotion than they trigger an pexels-photo-724994.jpegaction.  
  • In order to seduce the consumer, you have to create a brand fantasy and one way of achieving this is by creating a persona for your brand. Weber gives an excellent example of a brand that has executed this from the moment they launched their brand: Warby Parker.
  • By using non-traditional market research techniques, such as facial coding, eye tracking, and biometrics, researchers can tap into those unconscious influences. Although they have their downside because they are expensive and take place in unnatural environments, they can give us a better understanding of the decision-making process.
  • When using traditional market research, such as case studies, it is important to look past what the participants are saying with their words and to analyze what they are saying with their tone, body language, and facial cues.

Overall, I enjoyed learning more about non-traditional market research techniques and how marketers can use science to their benefit.  This is a stream of marketing I hope to explore more.

If I knew then…

It’s back to school season and I am starting my second and last year at St Lawrence College in the Advertising Marketing Communications program.  As I walked through the halls on my first day back I could feel the nervousness in the air.  Starting at a new school is always nerve racking but it is also an amazing experience.  Here are a few tips and tricks on how to make it a successful school year:

  1. Stay organized and on top of deadlines – playing catch up is never a good idea
  2. Get to know your teachers – your teachers are there to help and are one of the best resources available to you
  3. Rubrics are your best friend – they are designed to show you how to create successful assignments and get a high grade
  4. Treat school like a job – show up every day, don’t wear pajamas to class, and try your hardest
  5. Have fun

You are paying a lot of money to be at school so you might as well get the most of it!

Even dogs have blogs these days

The phrase ‘blogging’ has a bad reputation these days.  It seems like everyone has a blog: your aunt, your overly intrusive neighbour, your best friends grandfather, and I swear, even dogs have blogs. It is this reputation that really put me off of blogging but luckily that has changed.


Society is currently in a state of oversharing: the Internet and social media are mostly to blame.  The need to share every little detail of your life with the world, when deep down, no one really cares, is somewhat irksome to me.  This is why I struggled with writing a blog because I didn’t want to fall into the pattern.  But I realized that if I wrote about stuff that was important or relevant I could stay away from the ‘cliche’. 

Blogging in its simplest form is just writing.  Yes, your writing is being published for the world to see which can be intimidating but with intimidation comes honesty.  I am a bit of a perfectionist so the idea of my work being judged makes me feel insecure.  However, I have surprised myself; I never thought I would like the challenge of knowing that anyone at any time could read my writing. 

I have found this experience kind of liberating.  When I pressed the ‘publish button for my first blog post, I felt a sense of exhilaration, and I liked it.  There is a mystery to it all. Has anyone read my work? Are they enjoying it? Are they hating it?

As of now, my blog posts have been inspired by school projects.  I am faced with the dilemma of what to write about now that I am left to my own devices.  I want to make sure that I continue to write with meaning and relevance. Any suggestions? 

How does one start starting a business?

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Having my own business is something that has always intrigued me; I like the idea of the challenge, the control, and the creativity.  Starting my own business also terrifies me mostly due to the possibility of being a failure.  I choose to study StartUp as my thought leader so I could get a first-hand look at what it takes to start a business. 

StartUp is a podcast that details all the ups and downs of starting a business.  The show was created by Alex Blumberg, a podcast producer, who is leaving the stability of a career with This American Life to start his own podcast empire, Gimlet Media.  The first season of the show follows Alex as he finds investors, business partners, office space, and employees.  What I find the most interesting about the show is that it also follows how starting a business impacts him, his wife, his home life, and his financial stability. 

The show is currently in its fourth season.  I am halfway through the second season, where Alex and his co-host Lisa Chow follow Dating Ring, a mobile dating app created by two young women.  So far I have learned the qualities and skills it takes for a someone to start a successful and that it is not easy.


You need to be dedicated.  Say goodbye to all your free time because you need to dive head first into your business.  All of your money, time, patience, and brain power will be used.  You need to be passionate.  If you do not believe in yourself then how are you to expect others to believe in you.  You need to be able to pitch your idea, your product, your service to investors and hope that they will give you their hard earned dollars. 

Communication is extremely important.  Starting a business with someone is very similar to getting married.  If you are not open and honest with each other than it will be very difficult to have a successful business and business relationship. 

If you have any interest in starting a business I highly recommend listening to StartUp.  It gives you a peek at the inside story you often never hear.  You can listen to start up through their website, Stitcher, SoundCloud, or the Apple Store.


Adventures in shopping

People spend their whole lives working towards retirement, but once they get there they do not know what to do with all that time which is exactly what is happening for the Senior Generation.   From a marketing perspective, I find this generation very interesting because they typically have nothing but time to fill and money to spend; this is an ideal combination for marketers.

 I spent a morning at Chapters browsing through books and household products when I saw an older gentleman standing around looking like he did not want to be shopping.  He caught my eye because I thought why on earth would this man be at Chapters and 10 in the morning on a Wednesday if he did not what to be there.  I found my answer when I heard a woman yell “Carl!” and my target acted quickly and followed her throughout the store.

As I followed Carl throughout the store, it became clear that he was there because his wife was looking for a particular book, that Chapters, unfortunately, did not carry.  I overheard his wife say to Carl, that she would check the library which I found interesting because a younger generation’s next step would be to go to Amazon or another online store.  As he stayed longer and longer in the store he became more interested in the books and products around him; he paid particular attention to biographical books and books on cooking healthy foods. 

As a marketing student, I found Carl’s adventure in Chapters so interesting that I decided to create a consumer profile for Carl, with a focus on decision making and buying behaviors.  Here is a psychographic, demographic and geographic analysis of Carl:

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Shopping for Carl is most definitely a job, not an adventure.  He is a cross between an apathetic consumer and an economic shopper.  Carl does not like to shop; he has worked hard for his money, and he feels as though spending on unnecessary items cannot be justified.  However, just like everybody else, Carl has needs when he does decide to shop he is always searching for the best value and wants to make sure he is spending his money wisely.  Carl evaluates all of his purchases based on his needs rather than his wants.  There is one exception and that is the hardware store.

In terms of product disposal, Carl would get rid of the product permanently.  He would most likely pass the item down to one of this children or grandchildren.  As a secondary option, Carl would donate the unwanted item. 

I purchased a magazine that Carl might purchase called Saveur.  I felt as though this magazine would catch his eye because right now Carl is quite bored and is looking for new activities while at the same time trying to be more conscious of the foods he eats. This issue of Saveur has a focus on grilling, which is considered ‘manly’ cooking according to Carl’s values.  This magazine would align with Carl’s ideal self because he is currently interested in trying new things, and this magazine aligns with whom he wants to become. Here are two ads that I found in the magazine:

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Overall I found Carl to be a very interesting subject.  The golden years of retirement are a struggle for many, and I hope that Carl is able to find peace because he deserves it after all his hard work. 

Ikea and the self-conscious banner ad

Once upon a time, in a world where humans and smart phones are one, there was a girl, let’s call her Ikea, who was searching far and wide across the digital universe trying to find that special someone. Can Ikea woo the guy of her dream? Will the self-conscious shy approach work?

Digital communications is the future of marketing, and one major reason behind this shift is our co-dependent relationship with our smart phone. In 2013, there was a study that found the average user checks his or her phone up to 150 times per day, and those numbers have certainly increased in the past four years. Marketers need to be able to reach consumers while they are on their phones and one method being used is banner ads.


Banner ads are everywhere but do they sell? In 2016, banner ads accounted for 47.9% of all digital advertising in the United States, but only 54% of those ads were never seen. In fact, banner ads cause the used a lot of frustrations and annoyance. This creates a problem; marketers need to reach consumers in a manner that leaves them with a positive impression. The Swedish agency Åkestam Holst and Ikea have come up with a rather ingenious solution to the banner ad dilemma.

Perceptive banners…what a brilliant idea. Rather than trying to sell products to the consumer or trick them into clicking on an ad Ikea has recognized the inconvenience. This type of ad will help consumers align themselves with a brand. In looking at Ikea’s mission statement it is obvious that they are a brand that is trying to make life easier for their customer, and now they have started to incorporate that idea into their ads.

Simple yet impactful, perceptive banners allowed Ikea to poke fun at themselves, banner ads, and the constant push of advertising while creating a brand that consumers will align themselves with. So in the end, Ikea and her humble approach was able to win over the guy of her dreams, and they lived happily ever after.