Everyone at Strathcom is Out to Lunch – A Closer Look Into Strathcom Culture

Now I’ve set foot in a lot of lunchrooms over the course of my life. In fact, at school, the lunchroom was where I did some of my best work. Now, I’ve been in lunchrooms where the fluorescent lights were so bright they could blind a man. I’ve been in lunchrooms so clean that even mentioning the ten-second rule was akin to handing out fascist propaganda. Conversely, I’ve been in lunchrooms so dirty I’d rather sneak off and eat my lunch in the bathroom. But I’ve never been in a lunchroom quite like the one at Strathcom… 

Overly Social Workers

Let’s back up a moment, shall we? The energy at the Strathcom office is always, oh, lets say frenetic. The moment you walk in, voices boom and conversations crackle. I’ve barely had a chance to put a dent in my coffee (and become remotely close to a social human) before being dragged into a conversation about anything from political probes, hot-button issues, religion, or raisins. And that pace doesn’t really let up through the early portion of the morning once the coffee kicks in, or in the afternoon when everyone is riding the wave of an extreme sugar high thanks to the snack wall stocked with everything from granola bars to nostalgic favourites like Fruit By The Foot (sweet, sweet, diabetes-inducing memories). But if it were to reach a peak, as all things must, that peak would be lunch.

Strathcom Culture

Raisin’ The Roof

Imagine, for a moment, all that energy. Just a bunch of crazed molecules, bouncing around and colliding off of one another. That’s how conversation works in the Strathcom lunchroom. If you aren’t focused, and listening carefully, all you’ll hear is fractions; bits and pieces of rants and anecdotes. The lunchroom is where the staff go to escape their brightly lit screens and socialize — even with all those good-for-nothing millennials in the room, they tend to keep their phones holstered. Recipes are recounted, war stories are traded, roasts are microwaved, microwave dinners are roasted, and the literal stand-up comedians sit and workshop their new material on an unsuspecting audience.

And That Doesn’t Even Take Into Account the Foosball…

The team at Strathcom takes its Foosball seriously. I mean, not European, chain link-fence-separated, flare-throwing, fire-starting, riot-inciting serious, but pretty damn serious nonetheless. Ignoring all of the surgeon general’s warnings to not engage in strenuous activity within thirty minutes of eating, the first four to finish their food will hop up and get behind the sticks for the type of game that makes an Oilers vs. Flames grudge match look like your 90-year-old grandma playing Bridge with her oldest friends. Those eating the more portable of foods will stand at attention and provide moral support to the inevitable loser. Shots are fired, literally and figuratively, while friendships are put to an unflinching test.

If all of that sounds, uh, intense or overwhelming, it certainly can be. But that is the type of passion that the Strathcom lunchroom incites. Nay, that’s the type of passion that Strathcom incites. We all bring something different to the table, whether that be a passion for photography, or tacos. And we bring a lot of tacos.

So are you passionate about food? Are you passionate about Foosball? Are you passionate about working in a passionate environment? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then bring what you’re passionate about into your social environment or, better yet, bring yourself into ours; our wacky and wild office may just be the place you want to work — reach out to us to make that happen! Just make sure you’re prepared for the day, especially the lunch hour.

The Strathcom Push-Up Challenge: How to Build Trust & Muscle

Caffeine can do only so much to get the work day started. Here at Strathcom, we help each other by yelling at everyone in the office to meet us in the boardroom for our regular push-up challenge! At 9:30 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we put out the Lat-signal on our chatline for everyone to join us in burning some calories and grunting like apes before the heavy workload begins.

How it Started

While some of us are crazy enough to wake up early to go to the gym before work, or exercise during the lunch hour, most of us found it difficult to allocate time after the busy workday to commit to regular exercise. So one day, our web team started talking about getting more active throughout the year and our very own John Positos mentioned that he was already following a six-week program to up his push-up numbers by the end.

Within a few days, a couple of people started doing push-ups in one of the smaller offices. Next thing you know, the push-up challenge spread across various departments to the point where we have to move chairs out of the board room and even alternate doing push-ups on top of the table for extra space (sorry, Bill!). It’s one of our favorite things to do to get over the midday slump and motivate one another to finish what we started.

The Challenge

Our push-up challenge (courtesy of hundredpushups.com) consists of 5 sets with three different columns for people to choose from—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Everyone can pick which column they want and do the numbers they want. What’s important is just doing them. Some of us started by doing 15-20 push-ups a set, but now, at week 5, we’ve got each other competing in trying to reach 60 on the last set! We even challenge each other to do claps in-between or do them on our knuckles. Anything to make the push-up challenge more interesting!

Our Workout Playlist

We’ve even got our boardroom bumping with our own workout playlist! We’ll typically ease into the first, second, and third set with some old-school 2000s Hip-Hop and R&B. We bump TLC in the morning because we don’t wanna end up like Scrubs that can’t get no love from anyone. Then, we start picking things up with “Drop It Like It’s Hot” By Snoop Dogg and Pharrell—pretty self explanatory. But then the last few sets is where we go hard. That’s why it’s all Kendrick! You can check out some of the songs we normally play below to start getting pumped.

High Fives, or it Didn’t Happen!

By the end of the challenge, we’re far from sitting down and being humble because we’re proud as hell that we finished. A round of high fives for everyone, or it never happened! I’ve been working on a push-up challenge high five where we push each other and explode à la Dragon-Ball Z, but no dice because I ended up pulling one of my pecs in the process. Oh well.

If you’re looking for a great team-building and support exercise (pun 100% intended) for your workplace, we highly recommend doing the push-up challenge. We like to meet our goals here at Strathcom Media, so let us help you meet yours when you’ve got advertising targets to meet for 2018 and beyond!

Random Acts of Kindness

At Strathcom, we know the importance of giving back to our community. We know that there are things that we take for granted, and we know that sometimes it can be difficult to make the time and set aside the funds to give back. This is why Random Acts of Kindness was created. This year, every Strathcom Media employee was given $350 to give to the person or organization of their choice.

One group of people pooled their money together and assembled over 40 male and female care packages containing toiletries, food, hygienic products and warm clothing and donated them to YESS. Additional donations were sent to other organizations within the Edmonton community that support the homeless and families in need including: Kids Kottage, Boyle Street Community Services, and the Bissell Centre

care packages donated to YESS and other organizations that help the homeless in Edmontoncare packages donated to YESS and other organizations that help the homeless in Edmonton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others pooled their money for an organization called SMILE. This small group of volunteers sets up what they call a sidewalk party outside the Hope Mission for the homeless people waiting in line to get shelter and a bed for the night. They do this every Sunday night without fail, their ideals are simple: bridging the gap between those who have enough & those who don’t. A kind smile, eye contact are worth their weight in gold to people that feel forgotten. To get a hug from a child is a gift, for a child to learn kindness for strangers is an even bigger gift.

We were able to buy a pair of socks, gloves, tissues, Goldfish crackers, and a sweet snack for 150 people. We also had enough money left over to purchase 16 large pizzas and hand them out. The manager at Giant Tiger gave us 30% off our purchase as well as contributed a $25.00 gift card which allowed us to stretch the money even further. He also allowed us to share his contact info with the organizer of SMILE and said he would honor the 30% discount anytime they needed it.

The organization did a little write up on it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SmileEdmonton/permalink/631375877051080/?notif_t=group_post_mention&notif_id=1488177974504369

volunteering outside the Hope Missionvolunteering outside the Hope Mission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$350 was also used to purchase dog toys and treats for Dogs with Wings. This is an incredible organization that raises and trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities. And of course we had to stay and play while Reign tested out her new toy!

golden lab playing with a toy we donated to Dogs with Wings

We were very humbled by all of these organizations and we can’t wait to participate again next year!

Not Your Typical ‘Trust-Fall’ Kind of Company…

Some companies have corporate retreats where everyone falls into each other arms in order to build trust. At Strathcom, we believe there is no better way to strengthen trust within our team than to throw axes (at targets, of course!)

 

After work one day, we headed over to The Rec Room in Edmonton for axe throwing and dinner (a delicious gourmet poutine station) to get a little break from the daily grind and to do some team bonding.

gourmet poutine from the Rec Room in Edmonton

We definitely recommend giving axe throwing a try if you haven’t already, and know that if we can throw an axe and hit a target, we can definitely hit your advertising targets as well!

A Look Back at a Successful Year

2016 was a very successful year for Strathcom Media.

We strengthened partnerships, made new partnerships, and even developed and launched a brand new WordPress website platform.

New Website Platform

Last year we had a dream. A dream that resulted in us investing over a million dollars into developing a brand new website platform that was jam packed with new tools for dealers.

Less than a year later, we began moving our dealers onto our all new WordPress platform with technologies like Personalization, Geo-Fencing, Notepad, Silent Salesman and more. This new platform is faster, more secure, and more user friendly so dealers can spend less time making changes to their site and more time selling cars.

New Opportunities with Google

We spent a lot more time with Google in 2016, and even achieved Premier Google Partner status!

In addition to Google breakfasts and hangouts in Vancouver and Toronto, we also held our very first Google event in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta in June. We also held a contest in September to bring 6 lucky winners to Google’s newest & coolest office in Waterloo, Ontario!

New Partnerships

In 2016 we became a Provider for the Mercedes-Benz Canada Dealer Website Program, and a Preferred Website Vendor for the Kia Dealer Website Certification Program.

We also became a Facebook Marketing Partner and recently hosted our very first Facebook webinar for FCA dealers!

New Conferences

In addition to speaking at conferences like AR Canada and DSES, we also had the opportunity to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto. We also attended several events including Western Canadian Dealer Summit and ThinkAuto.

We were also included in AR Canada’s Power 200 List for 2016!

New Office

And finally, last month we packed up and moved just up the road into our new office. A new location means a new atmosphere, and a new atmosphere means fresh ideas for the new year.

Thank you to all of our customers for their support, and we look forward to what 2017 has to bring!

Play Games, Heal Kids: Strathcom Participates in Extra Life

Extra Life

On November 5th, we locked ourselves in the office to play video games non-stop for 25 hours (THANKS Daylight Savings).

Why?

To raise money for the Stollery of course!

This was our 5th year participating in Extra Life – an organization that consists of gamers doing what they do best to help sick and injured children at their chosen Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Players commit to play games for 24 hours, and they ask family and friends to support their efforts by donating or spreading the word!

So far, the Strathcom Team has raised $2,875 dollars (we are still tallying cash donations as well as funds raised from our bottle drive). If you would like to donate, you can follow the link below; any donation over $25 gets a tax receipt!

http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.teamParticipants&teamID=29617

What’s New in Waterloo? Google!

Google WaterlooWe were honored to be one of only 16 Google Partners invited to come and spend the day at Google’s latest and greatest office in Canada’s tech hub – Waterloo, Ontario.  This is one of the many perks that we get as a Premier Google Partner in Canada.  The day was packed with insightful speakers, great content, exclusive training, lots of food, and a tour.

If you were not aware, we are giving away 6 trips in September to this very same office where you will be treated to a similar experience – click here for details and to enter.  You will not be disappointed if you win!  

So what did we learn? A lot!  We are going to break this down into three additional posts.  One on Google’s brand new Expanded Text Ads, another on every business’s favorite source of frustration: Google My Business, and finally, one on What’s New with YouTube.  

A little about the newest Google office first.  It is in an incredible building that was built in 1918 and was actually a former rubber plant.  It houses approximately 500 Googlers with the capacity for about 500 more.  These engineers don’t work on Canadian specific projects either; they work on big ticket items like Gmail, Chrome and the Ads Infrastructure.  Like all Google offices that I have had the pleasure of visiting, it has wicked food at the main cafeteria, mini cafe’s on all floors, a cyborg moose (what’s more Canadian tech?) a gym with a climbing wall, nap pods and a whole lot more.

Google Waterloo - CafeteriaGoogle Waterloo - Cafeteria                    Google Waterloo - Cafeteria

What did we learn? For this post I am going to focus on two speakers, the individual posts will take care of the rest.  First up was Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas.  Ben spoke about how Google focuses on the ‘whole problem’ and works from that perspective.  If someone using Google can’t spell, it’s a Google problem.  If the internet is not fast enough, it’s Google’s problem.  This type of thinking has lead to great developments like Google Suggest (you know when Google suggests searches before you are done typing) and Google Chrome, a way faster and way better internet browser than what was available.  Further to looking at the whole problem, he spoke about 10X and moon shots – essentially the big, big wins that will transform your business, maybe even your industry.  Google considers these types or products over small iteration.  This is how we get self-driving cars, contact lenses to measure insulin levels for diabetics, and project Loon (balloon powered internet for the remote parts of the world).

Google WaterlooAfter Ben we heard from Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, or the big boss.  Sam provided us with an unbiased look at what Google is trying to accomplish in Canada – mainly diversify away from search advertising.  He spoke candidly about ad blocking and that one solution will be for Google and Premier Partners like us to build better ads.  One comment that he made was that in 10-15 years every business will be a software business.  He provided examples from big banks and agencies and how software is starting to be at the core of all we do.  Whether he is right or wrong, I am going to learn how to code.  The last concept he shared that really resonated with me was about Yahoo’s sale to Verizon for ~$4.8B.  Yahoo was valued at more than $100B at its peak in 2000.  What happened to the other $95B?  No one knows exactly, but it is this type of event that constantly reminds him (and perhaps it should all of us) that we need to be a little bit paranoid about the next start up.  It is this paranoia that needs to drive us to hit our 10X goals that Ben outlined, to stay in business and not lose 95% of our value.

Overall it was a great day and it is always an honor to be invited to such an exclusive event.  For more information on the day and all the training we received, check out our three other blogs on the event:   Expanded Text Ads, Google My Business, and  What’s New with YouTube.

Thanks,

Duncan Cochrane

Pokémon Go for Car Dealerships

Pokemon Pikachu Squirtle Strathcom
Gotta catch ’em all… will this bring you more leads?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Pokémon Go – the latest viral app. The idea is that users explore their surroundings to hunt and capture Pokémon. People chase the cartoon creatures at “pokéstops” and “gyms” plotted on a customized version of Google Maps, navigating to their real-world locations using their smartphones. As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users, (for comparison, at its peak Candy Crush reportedly had about 20 million daily active users). Nintendo’s new virtual reality smartphone game  has only been officially released in the United States, but Canadians are managing to play the new Pokémon game through a couple different workarounds.

It’s even one of the top searches according to Google:

2016-07-15 3-36-09 PM
Top Google predictive search results for “What is”

One thing to look at with the advent of any new technology or social platform, is what is the impact for advertisers? Pokémon Go is a free app, but users pay in data. The developer behind Pokémon Go is planning to allow retailers and other companies to sponsor places on its virtual map.

“There are several ways that we see the potential for significant monetisation of Pokémon Go by Nintendo, and one of them is certainly the potential for paid advertising or paid deals that encourage players to come to a particular building or store. It is a huge opportunity,” said Atul Goyal, analyst at Jefferies.

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic, which developed Pokémon Go, hinted that similar advertisements would soon be coming to Pokémon Go.

Alongside in-app payments, “there is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations”, Mr. Hanke said, where companies “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic”. Advertisers are charged on a “cost per visit” basis, similar to the “cost per click” used in Google’s search advertising, he said.

Pokemon Go has taken over
Pokemon Go has taken over

Some car dealerships & local businesses have already found that positioning a pokestop on their premises has driven a rush of traffic. According to the New York Post, one pizza restaurant in Queens saw business increase 75% after buying a $10 in-game power-up that lured Pokémon to its location.

Robert Drews of Mile High Motors implemented a program to reward players. He created a Facebook graphic to promote oil change discounts, with savings that correlate with your level on Pokemon Go (Level 5 = $5 off, Level 10=$10 off etc). Within the hour he had over 32 shares and 125 likes. Creative dealers could also open their service departments as hunting grounds, or see if their location is a “Pokestop” and use that to buy lures and entice customers to visit.

Pokemon Go could become a very powerful advertising tool in a short amount of time. Since this technology is so new, jury is out on the financial impact, but we cannot wait to see how progressive dealers use tools like this to bring in more business.

Win A Trip to Google’s Newest & Coolest HQ!

golden ticket google

We have all heard the rumors about the perks of working at Google. Thanks to movies like The Internship and shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, the curiosity surrounding the inner-workings of Google are reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. If you have always wanted to get a firsthand look at working for the Search Engine giant, great news: Strathcom Media has your Golden Ticket to Google!

We are giving away 6 all-expenses-paid trips to Toronto and Waterloo! Strathcom and Google will pay for everything, you’ll be our VIP.

  • golden ticket googleWe’ll fly you to Toronto for one of our Google Breakfasts at Google HQ
  • We’ll transport you to Waterloo for a tour of Google’s newest & coolest HQ
  • We’ll look after all of your accommodations & meals
  • We’ll also set you up with a swag bag packed full of all kinds of Google and Strathcom merchandise
  • You’ll also get One on One Time with a Google-Certified team member

 

Google’s Kitchener-Waterloo location opened in January of this year and – according to one of our Google reps – is the coolest location they have opened yet! The trip is September 21-23, and the contest is running until the end of August. Enter Now! And for access to more opportunities like this one, subscribe to our newsletter!

golden ticket google

No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!

 

Strathcom Does #YEGPride

It was a beautiful sunny weekend in Edmonton, the perfect setting for the 36th Annual Pride Parade. The parade took place down historic Whyte Avenue, kicking off the 10-day festival celebrating the diversity and unity of Edmonton`s LGBTQ community.

Strathcom had a couple of colorful volunteers who marched in the parade as part of the #HeroesforZero of HIV Edmonton. HIV Edmonton had a superhero theme, and featured a couple sweet Mazda MX-5 vehicles that were graciously on loan from local dealership, (and Strathcom client) Weber Mazda.

Carrie Oliva Trish Rowsell Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

From Left: Carrie Oliva, Trish Rowsell & Ayla Gagnon

Trish Rowsell Strathcom Media #HeroesforZero

Trish Rowsell getting geared up for the parade

Trish Rowsell Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

All smiles at Pride!

#heroesforzero

#HeroesforZero in action !

Laura Keegan HIVEdmonton Heroesforzero

Mazda MX-5 donated by Weber Mazda!

Carrie Oliva Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

Carrie Oliva & Ayla Gagnon from the Strathcom team in their colorful outfits

Trish Rowsell heroesforzero HIV Edmonton Strathcom Media

When your whip matches your cape…

Trish Rowsell heroesforzero HIV Edmonton Strathcom Media

 

We had a great time and are already planning outfits for next year! If you’re in the Edmonton area this coming September join Team Strathcom at the AIDS Walk & Superhero Run! (We’re all about any excuse to wear a cape!)

Strathcom Raises over $3,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital

From November 1st to 2nd, a tenacious team from Strathcom Media challenged their endurance and participated in the annual Extra Life video game marathon in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. With the support of Strathcom employees and friends, they surpassed their goal and raised $3,265! As soon as office hours ended, the team of intrepid players threw on their comfiest sweat pants, set up their gaming rigs, and hunkered down with a flat of energy drinks.d For over 24 hours they cruised the virtual streets of GTA San Andreas, battled epic dragons to save the people of Skyrim, raided dungeons in WoW’s Azeroth, built real-life slot car tracks in the office, and ran away in fear from the utterly terrifying Slender Man. We’re proud of our team and we’re excited to go even bigger next year! Check out the awesome time lapse of the marathon below: