Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago. I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.
A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.
Fuel for the day
I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!
“TELUS Garden is Canada’s most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,” Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO
Telus Innovation Centre
I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.
One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).
The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store!
They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!
I was really impressed to check out the mock apartment they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it.
Smartest kitchen I’ve witnessed.
Everything here is smart even the bed, pillows, lamps.
I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.
We just got a new Smart TV and I’m super stoked. Sean and I worked from home the day it arrived and we also ordered tacos which turned into a great game of tv or tacos?! It’s my first time having a *brand new* TV.
Our previous model was bought 2nd hand years ago, we’re retiring it to the cottage now. The Sony 4K Android Smart TV is so clear and it was really easy to set up. It comes with Google Play, Netflix, and internet connectivity making it easy to watch your fav shows, download movies, or watch videos on YouTube.
Over the last year, I’ve been making our home smarter with the addition of Hue Lights, a Dyson fan, Alexa, and now an Android Smart TV. As we start to make our home smarter, we’ve got so many entry points putting us at risk for privacy and hacks.
The solution is to make sure we can browse the internet and watch all our fav shows without having personal data compromised. ESET is a leader in security solutions for home computer & mobile. They’ve created the world’s first ever security solution for Android Smart TVs, using tech to guard against cybercriminals with their eyes on connected TVs.
I quite like their i-Robot style dude below.
Accept from the Home Menu
Good to go!
There’s a free version available for download as well as a paid version that gives you premium features for a year at $14.99. I went for Premium. If you have a Sony Android TV, the app is already downloaded you just have to pop into the HOME section from the remote and click Accept.
Android TVs are run on the Android OS used for phones and tablets meaning the software can extend to more of your devices. ESET can be used on up to 5 devices under one Google Account.
You wanna watch more Wild Wild Country tonight, honey?
There’s Anti-Virus and Anti-Phishing and the ability to set up regular scans anytime. It also keeps an eye on any browser you might be using on your tv. One thing that really peaked my interest was the ability to watch for spying using TV sensors like the microphone and camera. Audio spies really creep me out, we’ve all seen ads on Facebook after having a conversation about something.
In a time where we’re getting smarter with our gadgets, it’s time to get smarter with our home security.
This post is in partnership with ESET. Smart home security is important. Take the time to secure your networks and always use a smart password!
This summer I went to Vancouver to meet with the Canadian team of TelusAdvocates. I’ve shared my love for Telus over the years but this experience was truly amazing. They flew in content creators from across the country to visit their Vancouver office, tour Telus Garden, create, eat, explore, and build relationships.
I’ve worked with heaps of brands but I truly admire the influencer program Telus has built over the years. Ok yes, I am a little bias because I chatted with the team before they created the program and shared my likes, dislikes, and brand experiences. They have set the bar high for what it means to work with a telecom company or a big brand. The experience (as an influencer) is tailored to each person’s style of content and audience.
In this post, I’m sharing a few of my tips for creating a great influencer program with Telus as my example.
The thing about being an influencer is that you’re usually sharing your real life, so when you work with a brand, it means authentically integrating their content into your own experience.
You have to get to know each other in order to learn what works and create opportunities that mutually benefit the relationship.
It’s cool when you work well together and even cooler when it becomes a friendship. I’ve worked with Telus for about 8 years now and we’re colleagues but also friends. I can text with jokes, links, or that odd time on the weekend when I broke break my phone. (Sorry!)
Since we’ve built a good working relationship, we all reach out whenever something cool comes up like an event, giveaway, or content idea.
It really sucks when you’re scrolling Instagram and you see a sponsored post that seems kinda generic, but then you see another Influencer say almost the same thing, then another, and god forbid another. It doesn’t show personality, it’s not that creative, and it’s boring. Everyone is different and creates content (hopefully) in their own style.
Your influencer crew should be talking in their own voice and sharing photos that look like their real life, not just an #ad.
Telus is really cool about knowing what each of us likes and letting us create our own stories. At the start of the year, we have a 1-on-1 meeting where go through content ideas for the year. Each influencer picks out the events and ideas that speak to them, and we plan around that.
I am amazed that this doesn’t happen more. Brands have groups of influencers, sharing content around the same #hashtag, often in the same city, but they never hang out or have a chat. There are online platforms designed to help creators and businesses find each other like Socially Powerful, but I still feel more needs to be done. Bring your people together! It’s a great way to build relationships between client/influencer but also between the creators.
We like hanging out, taking photos together, meeting new people. It helps strengthen the team, give each other ideas, and the brand has an amazing opportunity to create original content.
If you have a great team of people you like working with who are sending out good vibes and great content, why not use that power for good? Telus gives $45M a year communities across Canada and half a billion since 2000. This year at TELUS Days of Giving events 35K employees will be involved in 2,000 events across Canada.
In Vancouver, the Telus Advocates (us) and a bunch of Telus employees joined forces to pack 200 bags with weekend snacks for Backpack Buddies. This charity was started by two women to help fill the weekend hunger gap for Vancouver kids in need. We went around the room in a circuit with people doing different jobs to hustle through packing. It was a lot of fun and it brought us together. Love to see more of this from other brands. See more at #GiveWhereWeLive.
We packed 200 bags for Backpack Buddies and Telus donated $10,000!
If you’re building an influencer team or already have relationships, remember they’re good at what they do because they have experience. They work with multiple brands, agencies, timelines. You don’t need to get super specific but asking questions is a great idea. What do they like about other programs? Do they have ideas on how to make things better, faster, smoother? How could we use technology to tell stories in a different way? Asking questions helps you learn and when you learn you have more ideas, and everything gets better.
Telus Vancouver dinner and the day I first wore my fav dress.
Bring Them In
I love learning about a program while it’s still in development and giving feedback or sharing a related experience. I usually have a different perspective and turn it on its head. Last year, Telus brought a few of us in to ask about a new program they’re thinking about and while we were in Vancouver we talked a lot about Telus programs and the future. It’s great to hear about what the company is doing, planning, how you can work together.
You know what all content creator influencer people have in common? They all like to make things, create things. A lot of them even like the camera. ? Make stuff with them!
Telus had each of into Telus Vancouver Studio (inside their building) to shoot some fun stuff on camera. They planned it out well, has scripts, full crew, and we each took turns for private studio time. It was fun and now they have a whole bunch of fresh-faced content.
Last year before Mother’s & Father’s Day Telus had a bunch of us come to the Toronto office and shoot us talking about gadgets & gift ideas. We also called our parents to ask about their favourite present we ever gave them. You will laugh at mine because I was born on Mother’s Day and like, what is a better gift than THAT!? ?
Learn & Grow
Through building relationships, coming together, and asking questions, you learn a lot about people, marketing, and what works best. Your program should be agile and change with the times, the content, technology, the people. New feature on IG or app to make something cool, try it. Find a great new creator, reach out to them. Someone not posting as much as they used to bc they just aren’t really into it, cool no problem, work with that or move on.
You need to be constantly innovating or you will be left behind. Innovate or die.
Finally, this goes without saying at this point, if you’re working on all this stuff with someone or a group of people, you should pay them for their time and expertise. It can be cash (cheques are good) or in-kind (must have great value) but please recognize the immensely unique perspective and value someone of this nature can bring to your program or organization.
Sidenote, Vancouver is really beautiful. Especially in the summer!
How to Build a Great Influencer Program
Give Where You Live
Bring Them In
Learn & Grow
I love working with Telus as you can tell from this post.
Check out some of my other stories over the years here. 💚
I look forward to Prime Day each summer! I bought my first Instant Pot on Prime Day years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since. If you’re an Aeroplan Member, you can earn you 5x the Aeroplan Miles on Prime Day this year. Think about that for a hot second, get amazing deals AND rack up those miles!
I’ve been earning Miles w/ Aeroplan as long as I can remember because mum was keen on getting any help we could in order to visit the fam back in New Zealand. I really love Amazon Deals and Amazon, in general, it’s such a great addition to life. An easy way to get just about anything sent to you in a day or two. If you don’t have a Prime Membership, sign up here. I love the future!
Amazon Prime + Aeroplan Details
WHAT IS AMAZON PRIME? The basic benefits of being a prime member are FREE 2-day shipping, access to Prime Video (Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle Transparent), access to Prime Music, AND special deals on Prime Day! There are over 100,000 deals across heaps of categories like electronics, fashion housewares, and more.
Using the search function on the page, find Amazon.ca
Enter your Aeroplan number and last name
Click on the ‘Shop Now’ button to be redirected to Amazon.ca.
GET ALL THE DEALS. Happy shopping!
The Aeroplan eStore promotion starts on Prime Day and lasts until July 18th.
Prime Day starts at 3pm ET on Monday, July 16
This week is an exciting one, today is Prime Day, tomorrow I’m back at Sassoon Toronto and will be announcing a REALLY GREAT makeover giveaway, then Wednesday I’m off to Portugal #withAeroplan for almost 2 weeks. What a time to be online!
This post is sponsored by Aeroplan as part of my ongoing partnership. Make sure you tune in next week because I'm off to PORTUGAL#withAeroplan!
Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend a dreamy weekend driving around in a 2017 Porsche Boxster GTS. This car is INCREDIBlE. I drove all over the place, taking friends to run errands, back and forth to get groceries, from Scarborough to the far West, and all over downtown. I’ve never owned a car and I’ve joked since I was a kid that my first car would be a Porsche, well, there’s still time!
Suits me, right?
Cool thing about this car is that the engine is right behind the 2 seats so there are two trunks, front and back. You can fit groceries and your weekend bag but only one friend at a time, it’s perfect. 😜I took Embot around for a drive listening to music and felt like the coolest step-mama ever.
It’s got amazing handling for city or highway. It is also VERY fast, not that I was speeding ever at all. The roof is fully automatic and pretty fast, you can put it down to take the top off while stopped at a traffic light. It’s pretty good on gas but you have to put premium, however nothing compares to the beautiful German engineering of a Porsche. My dad was v jealous!
Porsche is celebrating 70 Years, (HBD!), and tonight they’re hosting an event. I would love to work on this relationship so I can drive more and more cars for the media fleet, that way, when I buy my very own, I really know what I want! Ha! I’m serious. They gave a few media peeps the opportunity to drive cars. I booked this drop top baby a few months ago and waited patiently for the day I could pick it up.
Thank you Porsche Canada! ILYYYYYY!
As I sadly returned the Boxter, I saw this BRIGHT yellow Carrera and thought, that would look good on me! Maybe next time?!
Disclosure: Porsche Canada gave me the car to test drive for the weekend but I said that already!
A couple weeks ago I was invited to Telus Toronto to share some of my Pride memories. I’ve been going to the parade since I was a teenager. Dad took my sister for our first time when we were in high school. It’s been a place for positive self-expression, to celebrate, to join friends for their first Pride after coming out, or to remember friends who have past. Every year we get together to share love, joy, and friendship while dancing in the street together.
Thank you, Telus for having me in to share what PRIDE means to me. I am so proud and glad to work with a company that supports diversity, LGBTQ, and gives back in communities across the country. This weekend I’ll be walking in the parade with Telus. I love being there and feeling the happy energy flying all around.
Sending you sunshine and I hope to see some of you at PRIDE!
I love Twitter, I have since the day I joined over 10 years ago. It’s still my favourite social media platform, it’s the place news breaks and where you want to be when live events happen around the world. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve been able to share my voice, meet like-minded people, and build life-long relationships. I love sharing random thoughts, photos, links to things I read and write, and getting the latest news.
“When something happens in the world, it happens first on Twitter” @KayMadati, Head of Content at Twitter
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Upfronts” it comes from TV and has to do with advertising. The Twitter Fronts are a chance for agencies, brands, and advertisers to see what options are available for branded content and partnerships.
Upfronts: In the television industry, an upfront is a gathering at the start of important advertising sales periods, held by television network executives and attended by major advertisers and the media. [Wikipedia]
According to the source, Twitter users are engaged, affluent, and educated. They want to make sure brand partnerships have contextual relevance, they have to make sense, and be mutually beneficial relationships.
They’re bringing exclusive partnerships for live content straight to Twitter to leverage their storytelling capabilities. We’re talking Buzzfeed, BNN, Corus, sports, BetaKit for tech, and a new media centre for brands who want to create live content. They’ve got everything covered, #onedirtydish will feature your fav chefs,
This year, for the first time the MMVAs will be broadcast live on Twitter, the show AND the red carpet. This is huge! I was the social media manager for the show when I worked there back in 2010. It was a dream of mine to see the show live on Twitter, although video wasn’t introduced on the platform until 2015 and there definitely wasn’t a ‘live’ option.
BuzzFeed’s AM2DM is a weekday show at 10am with all the latest entertainment. Canada’s managing editor said they’re bringing ‘next level conversations’ and I am here for it.
Twitter is also working with brands to create bespoke content. They’re breaking down what relevance means and making sure content is reaching the right people. Check out Producer, Twitter advanced brand tool for live broadcasts.
I’m excited to see all this roll out. Gone are the days when we need cable TV, the future is INTERNET!
I was so looking forward to being in the city this weekend. We’ve been away for almost every weekend since March! I got a few things done around the house and took some good time to fully relax. It feels great! We all need days like this.
After watching The Wedding on Saturday at Windsor Arms, I came home, changed into sweatpants, sat on my bed, opened my computer, and set up my iPad. It was the perfect day to chill. Tbh, I love sitting at home, quietly, on the couch or in my bed.
I’ve got a great little setup using a small table I made last year. I originally found it on Etsy but was crazy expensive on Etsy so I made it myself! It’s great it for sitting or working in bed, and as a footrest at the desk. For my mouse, I use a book or a marble board I got at The Drake General Store.
The rest of the weekend I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Video (good show!) and caught up on the Y&R. Drove to the beach with Sean. Hung out with some friends in Trinity Bellwoods. Did some fireworks, played with sparklers. It was the perfect city weekend!
This week I’m in Vancouver with #TeamTelus. I can’t wait! We’ve got 2 days of activities with the Canada-wide Telus influencer gang. Most of us are staying at the beautiful Westin Bayshore, the view looks amazing.
My flight is super early so I arrive with plenty of time to explore before we all meet up for dinner. As usual, I’m leaving packing to the last minute!
Here’s to a great week.
☀️ Sending you sunshine! ☀️