Hi, I’m Gavin and I was the Associate Marketing Intern at tbk Creative from September-December 2018. To give you a little bit of info about me, at the time of my internship at tbk Creative, I was a 3rd-year student at Western University studying media production and theory through the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Whenever possible, I head outdoors, travel as often as possible and enjoy skiing, hiking, mountain biking and photography. When I can, I’ll document my experiences in videos. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., I moved out to Ontario to experience Eastern Canada while fulfilling my studies. Please enjoy my internship journal of four months at tbk Creative below, and thanks for reading!
This was my experience at tbk Creative
My first day at tbk Creative was a wet, grey Monday morning, I woke up nice and early to get ready, and walked to the address my internship supervisor, Kylie McConnell, the director of accounts, had emailed me a few days earlier. I arrived way too early, so I grabbed some coffee at a nearby Starbucks, which I would soon find out was a common hangout spot for the team, and went for a stroll around Victoria Park to kill some time. It wasn’t all that long before it started to pour, and I had to rush inside. I walked in through the door and introduced myself to the first person I saw. Talk about going in with a splash!
George Ridout, a digital coordinator, was the first person I met at the company. He immediately offered a bright smile, welcoming me in, putting me at ease and offering a little tour of the office. Along this tour, I met pretty much everyone and remembered pretty much no one’s name. A few minutes later, I finally met Kylie. Kylie was incredibly sweet right off the bat and excited about a house she was buying (way to go Kylie!). She filled me in with everything I needed to know and set me up with my training for the day. It was a lot of reading, but interesting nonetheless. Whenever conversations went on in the developer area (or “Dev Pit” as we call it) I pulled out my earbuds and eavesdropped a bit. I can honestly say that simply listening to a few conversations that went on throughout the day taught me a lot, but the best part was listening in on the bizarre conversations in between work that went on in the Dev Pit. One conversation was centred around playfully arguing over what foods are inappropriate to eat using cutlery. By the end of my first day, I had even been invited to a social event at the end of the week with the team.
My second day began with photos and a pleasant conversation with Erin DeGroote, a front-end developer, about our common hobby of photography. A bit later, Emily Punnett, a digital specialist, taught me how to write a blog post. At lunch, I joined Josh, Erin, Emily and Scott to that Starbucks I mentioned earlier. After lunch, Josh Waller, an intermediate digital specialist, and I went through some WordPress content loading training. That training was incredibly informative and enjoyable. A couple pages of notes, and an out of breath Josh (from all my questions, haha) later, I was ready to take on some content loading projects!
That Friday, I joined the team at The Rec Room, an arcade and wet bar. The night consisted of meeting some of tbk Creative’s remote team members, getting beaten by Jeff Edwards, the development operations manager, in pretty much every arcade game, and then by Kylie in ping pong, learning of Josh’s incredible makeup work, playing some surreal virtual reality games, and most importantly, eating pizza. It was a ton of fun and allowed me to really get know some of my colleagues better. They even announced that this was the first event that spawned from a recently formed company social committee.
As the next week started, I felt as if I had been with tbk Creative a month already. On Monday, Mardel Davis, a client success manager, and I, took on a business development outreach task. Mardel had already gone through and found about 50 companies who had websites that we figured we could help improve. I was then tasked with going through and finding the address and a contact from each company. This was much more difficult than you’d think. Some of these companies seemed to be vacant from the Web except for a single, static page that was their current website.
After a few hours of research, we had all of the information we needed and wrote an individualised brief targeted to each company that explained how we would help their online presence. The end of this however, led me – and with the help of some colleagues – into an hour-long battle with the printer. The printer won. Instead, I turned to addressing the letters by hand. A bit later, Mardel, the saviour of the day, was able to win over the printer and printed out the letters, which we then mailed.
The following day, I came in to shadow Josh as he worked on some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work for London’s Dream Lottery. As we went through content loading for the site, Josh introduced me to Google My Business and Google Analytics. He showed me how they work within a site, and the vast amount of analytical information they can provide a business about viewer trends. It was incredibly informative, and Josh made it a very enjoyable experience.
The third week of September I worked on an internal task where I had to audit previous sales proposal data within the company to gain insights for the company’s business development strategy moving forward. It was great to learn more about the vast and diverse range of clients that tbk Creative services.
On Tuesday, Kylie introduced me to a task of editing and publishing content for a new website for GenCare Services Ltd. Following that, Emily trained me on managing responses to Google My Business reviews, following pre-established guidelines. The next while was spent responding to Google My Business reviews on behalf of Jiffy Lube® Ontario (59 stores).
In the afternoon, having had a good start to the day already, Cole Bonvarlez, a senior account manager, tasked me with content loading for the home health care company, ParaMed Inc.. It was my first opportunity to get familiar with some of the front-end development software tbk Creative uses. It was great to work with some of the more technical aspects of WordPress. During this project, I arranged headers and titles for the pages and used my design skills to layout each page precisely, yet uncluttered.
October began cold and rainy, but with a surprising announcement – George became engaged! He told the team of his idea of putting the ring inside a bag of Scrabble letters, and how his now fiancé and him nearly finished the game before she found it. I wish George and Sara all the best in their future together!
On Monday, it was back to work. I was tasked with continuing to assist with content loading on the French version of ParaMed’s website. I spent the day designing headers for the site, formatting and loading content, and assuring both the English and French site were identical versions of each other (except for the language, obviously).
The next day, started with Karah Blandford, an account manager, briefing me on another content loading task for a company called Lifebreath, who distribute air quality products throughout North America. This task was in French too! I had to go through their products and upload the French translation of each one, its description, and features.
The week following Thanksgiving was an exciting one. It began with Karah and I writing out new content for a tire switch campaign for Jiffy Lube® Ontario. This campaign was a coupon promotion for changing to winter tires. Karah showed me how to layout and implement a digital coupon on a webpage.
The weekly production meeting followed. During this meeting, account representatives and developers discuss together the projects in our queue. It’s an incredibly interesting discussion to sit in on. Through these meetings, I’ve been able to see how the company organizes itself and manages so many clients effectively. Following my daily routine of responding to Google My Business reviews on behalf of Jiffy Lube® Ontario, George and I took up the task of organizing food and drinks for a website launch celebrations for William Standen Co. and LMR Consulting Lottery Inc. (the management companies that runs the local Dream Lottery). We ended up ordering a variety of breakfast pastries from a local bakery called Black Walnut.
After lunch, I went through SEO training with Emily. She showed me how businesses build a strong online presence by using online directories and Google My Business. Not long after, I went over even more training with Karah. This time, I was being trained on how to set up event and coupon pages which the individual store managers could use to set up digital coupons on their store microsites. I finished the day by working on content loading for tbkGather™, a new state-of-the-art Intranet software that tbk Creative built. My job was to flush out the content on their trial account offering. For this task, I designed and added social pages and news from past events that tbk Creative has held.
The excitement continued on Wednesday. In the morning I worked on adding GMB descriptions and available services to Jiffy Lube® Ontario locations across the province. My work was delayed by an invitation from Alyssa Agnew, an account manager, to join the team in the boardroom. I walked in to find the launch celebration for William Standen Co. and LMR Lottery Consulting Inc. going on. And those pastries George had asked me to order the previous day, they were sitting waiting to be enjoyed on the table! The next half hour was spent enjoying snacks and mimosa’s as the team recognized Alyssa, Jeff, Trevor Mills, a senior backend developer, Michael Ramsey, the VP of digital, Andre Lefort, the VP of technology, and Emily’s hard work on the project. The project was Alyssa’s first website launch as an Account Manager and Melissa McInerney, the chief executive officer and creative director, praised Alyssa’s hard work she put in to see it succeed.
As the celebration came to an end, I completed GMB review work and grabbed some subs for lunch with a few of the developers. Afterwards, I got to put some of my training from the previous day to work. This time I was building online citations for ParaMed. By adding their office address information to local online directories, it can help increase their organic search rankings and traffic.
I spent Monday morning working on writing content for a new Jiffy Lube® Ontario store that was opening in Mississauga.
Each Jiffy Lube has its own local website under the jiffylubeontario.com domain and the homepage includes an area to highlight a bit of information about the store manager and their connection with their community and customers. Following this, the tbkGather™ trial account site we had been working on the previous week was under a tight deadline to complete. Amanda Tadgell, the director of digital operations, gave me a ring and asked for help with some last minute changes. I switched tasks and jumped into the project for her and everything was completed in time!
Later in the day, I went back to work creating citations for ParaMed. Following this, I helped Cole by continuing to work on the French version of ParaMed’s website. I helped to load more content, which included designing a banner for the homepage of the site and searching for any possible bugs on the website. Towards the end of the day, Mardel and I began another business development outreach program, this time targeting home building companies in southern Ontario.
Much of Tuesday was spent continuing work on the business development outreach campaign with Mardel. We researched and collected the addresses and contacts together, readied the envelops to be mailed out and set up accounts for each of the contacts. Towards the end of the day, Karah gave me a blog writing task for Eve and Co., a licensed medical marijuana company. I can honestly say I was not expecting to end my day researching the different types of cannabis. It was a very current topic with the retail sale and consumer use of marijuana set to be legalized the next day in Canada.
The next Monday was Andrew’s birthday, and Andre’s had been just the Saturday before that too! My morning was spent organizing an HR application process for the company. Kylie had hoped to start a candidate resume database for the accounts department, so I went ahead and started a folder for these resumes in Dropbox. Shortly after, George had me run over to Toboggan Brewing Co., and pick up some pizza for a Lunch and Learn event that afternoon. After this, I got started on setting up this very page filled with my experiences here at tbk Creative.
Just before lunch, Melissa rallied the whole team together and gave Andrew and Andre their present. It was this state-of-the-art espresso machine. The only problem was we were lacking coffee beans! I ran over to our favourite nearby Starbucks, purchased a bag of coffee beans and ran back, saving the day for some thirsty team members! After this, George and I started some handiwork. We had to put up a new whiteboard on the wall in the new “team room” we had just acquired on the main floor of the office building. The job was going perfectly, and we were making great time, until we realized that the board was missing four pilot holes needed to properly mount it. After recruiting a few other team members and still being unable to properly put up the board, we had to give in and let the board win. Following our failure, I went back to working on this journal for the remainder of the day (which was much more successful than our ordeal with that white board!).
The next day was a bit more of a normal working day. I began by loading news articles in both French and English to the ParaMed site I had been working on. Later on, Karah asked me if I could go through the tbk Gather™ site we had set up and look for any sensitive information that might be on the site. While searching for the data I came across one of the old Lunch and Learn presentations. Lunch and Learn’s were held about once a month and were opportunities for employees to learn new skills while enjoying a lunch from the company. The slideshow had caught my attention, so I spent a few moments reading into it. This one happened to be about advertising on social media platforms and was an unexpectedly pleasant learning opportunity.
On the 18th week of my internship, George had an interesting task for Erin and I. It was to perform research to find several companies across different industries to support a research project for tbk Creative’s sibling company AODA Online. This research spanned across private sector businesses (large and small), not-for-profits, and the public sector and was to meant to determine how many of these websites met AODA accessibility requirements.
On Tuesday, Kylie tasked me with another research project. This was a print and marketing campaign for one of tbk Creative’s clients (and my school), Western University (UWO). This particular project was for the Student Success Centre at Western University. It focused on an upcoming campaign to help match Liberal Arts students with the tech sector. While reading the brief, I realized that students in my faculty and I were likely the targets of this campaign. It was a neat opportunity to see the other side and do research for a campaign such as this. For the research, I put together a list of key local events and social groups that UWO could attend to promote the new internship program with potential employers.
The next week began as the last had ended, working on the print and marketing campaign for UWO. This time, I was working on finding contacts working within the tech industry in London. While doing this research, I came across some very interesting people and companies. For instance, one company, Digital Extremes, actually built a game I’ve had enjoyed very much, Warframe! It was neat to come across such a successful company that had provided me hours of entertainment and was located only a couple of minutes away from tbk Creative.
The following Monday was a busy day. It began with my weekly task of responding to Google My Business Reviews on behalf of Jiffy Lube® Ontario. Once complete, I moved on to fixing some errors in the internal data task I had worked on many weeks before. Just before lunch, I had more training with Emily! We were checking out Google AdWords again, this time focusing on best budget allocation practices, keyword planning, and how competitor bids could affect your own ranking on Google. These training sessions were some of the most enjoyable times I’ve had during my internship. I’ve learned a lot and have had the opportunity to observe the impacts digital advertising and SEO can make on a company. Following this, I was tasked with contacting the print production company for the Western University marketing campaign.
Tuesday began with the first snowfall of winter. This week I teamed up with Mardel to kick off another week of business development outreach using a process tbk Creative has. Aside from this work, I finished off the day loading content for this journal.
The snow followed into my next week of internship which happened to be a busy one. It began with me making some calls to one of our print production vendors Capital Colour. Soon after, Kylie asked me to help her out on a few projects. The first was updating the internship application subpage on the tbk Creative Careers section. By this point, I have gotten quite familiar with WordPress, so this task took mere minutes. The second job Kylie had given me was to help create a Marketing and Communications Plan for the hiring of an account coordinator at the company. Over the course of the week, I put together the plan. Initially, I had to perform research to discover professional contacts and programs of local post-secondary institutions. Following this, I set out to find various sites and networking groups we could potentially advertise the position to. Midway through this work, Emily asked me for some help with one of her tasks. She wanted me to help her with some 301 redirects for the new Consumer Choice Awards, another of tbk Creative’s clients (whom also, with gratitude had provided tbk Creative with some past awards too!). For this task, we had to take URLs from the old website for Consumer Choice Awards that weren’t going to be active on the new website and using a plug-in within WordPress to re-direct them to the new URL. This is important for user-experience and SEO reasons. This was a relatively simple task, but we had around 1200 links to go through before we finally finished!
Towards the end of the day on Tuesday, I got a message from Kylie asking if I could help her out on a little job for the City of London’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) website. By the end of the day, I had completed the work and sent some project related information on its way.
After going through my weekly tasks the next Monday, Emily briefed me on another project. I had to perform an audit on the Jiffy Lube® Ontario locations had accurate services listed across all their GMB pages. Following the audit, I went through identifying which services each location offered and documented them. This was done to allow easy navigation through all Jiffy Lube® Ontario locations and to provide unique and accurate information for each one.
On Tuesday, Mardel and I went through our weekly business development outreach tasks again. About halfway through the work, I discovered a way to import numerous contacts at once. I only wish I had figured this out earlier because it would have saved us about an hour each week we performed these tasks. I guess you learn some things as you go! And despite it being the last week for this weekly project for me, it did save us plenty of time today.
The next week was my last at tbk Creative, and it was an exciting one. The morning began with a website launch for Consumer Choice Awards, the company which Emily and I had worked on the redirects for a few weeks earlier, and the City of London’s BRT website which I got to play a part in. Both launches had been a huge success with each client expressing delight and gratitude regarding the results of the websites. After this, I worked on finding a few more contacts within London’s tech sector for the Western University marketing campaign, and I put the finishing touches on this very journal! It was a pleasing conclusion to complete all these projects as my time here at tbk Creative came to a close. Thank you again for reading and take care.
Here are some videos I’ve made of my experiences
I’d consider myself a bit of a photographer
If you need inspiring words – don’t do it
When I first considered applying for an internship, I had no idea what I would be getting myself into. I had been seeking an opportunity where I could challenge myself and learn about topics I knew little about in a pleasant work environment. tbk Creative was this and so much more. I did not expect it to become such a wonderful experience. I have learned so much and wish I could stay longer, but as the last minutes of my time here at tbk Creative tick away, I would first and foremost like to thank Kylie, Andrew and Melissa for the opportunity to take part in this incredible experience. It has truly made me reflect and consider the direction I would like my future to go in. A big thanks to Emily, Josh, Mardel, Mike, George and the rest of the team for all the guidance, knowledge and ridiculous conversations they have shared with me. I have truly appreciated every second of this experience and am so glad to have spent it with each of you. And yes, it is still kinda weird to eat a muffin with a fork.