I'm an experienced marketing strategy professional using my passion and skills to build healthy and strong communities. The cornerstone of strong communities is a strong story. People connect with stories. I work with brands, businesses, and non-profits telling their story in a strategic way that reaches their business objectives and builds community.
I'm the co-founder and business development/digital and social media strategist with Unite. I've been fortunate to have worked with brands and organizations such as local businesses, co-operatives, social enterprises and enterprising non-profits, and help them with strategic storytelling and marketing. I'm grateful to be grounded in this experience and happy to bring you this precious experience.
I've been a guest speaker on strategy and community building at several national, regional, and local gatherings.
Below are some examples of my recent work.
I had known chef Paul Natrall from his cousin Pete Natrall of the Squamish Nation (North Vancouver). Pete told me that Paul is planning to launch a food truck and might need some help. I met Paul and together we set out objectives and define what success would look like. From there we identified what elements needed to be developed to meet our objectives - brand strategy, brand identity, storytelling platform, design, website, social media calendar, and PR strategy. Many thanks to our community partner Vancity Credit Union for believing in Paul and supporting this Indigenous led initiative.
The main task was coming up with a unique and memorable story. We brainstormed and come up with the storytelling platform "Mr. Bannock - Vancouver's first Indigenous food truck."
This was supported by text below that deepens the story.
What makes “Mr. Bannock” Paul Natrall’s food unique and appealing is his ability to merge traditional cooking methods with the latest food trends. We take pride and joy in sharing fusion Indigenous cuisine, using traditional ingredients from Squamish Nation such as juniper berries, smoked wild salmon and meats, and traditional methods such as clay baking and stone baking.
Introducing many Vancouverites to fusion Indigenous street food we served award winning Indian taco, bannock calzone, waffle bannock, and plant-based bowl, in addition to great coffee from our friends & fellow Squamish Nation members Spirit Bear Coffee Company.
KC's art furthers our storytelling (see above). The art represents the traditional foods (berries, three sisters - squash, corn and beans), ingredients for fusion Indigenous street food served in contemporary big city Vancouver. This story of merging traditional foods and cooking methods with the latest food trends is reinforced through art, design, photos and videos.
Next up was a cover page website that is a hub for launch. The video that tells Mr. Bannock's story was embedded in the website.
The power of social media was harnessed in getting people excited and a preview of what to expect (video). One of the tactics for successful physical launch is pitching to the traditional media. The media needs an appealing story that we provided through our press releases calendar. Aligning social media with traditional media or integrated marketing strategy is hugely responsible for spreading the message far and wide in a consistent way, and ultimately having a sold out launch event!
Menus were designed to reflect the visual identity and give people an idea of the food expected.
Food photography was employed following brand standards that asthetically pleasing in addition to giving people an idea of the food offered.
Mr. Bannock participated in Hoobiyee, the Nisga’a New Year on Feb 2-3 and sold out by 5pm on both days, saw about $6,000 in sales and over 800 people.
I've an immense sense of gratitude having the opportunity to work on this great project. Bringing it all together the strategy and following the action plan helped reach the business objectives. Well understanding of target audience is key in addition to articulating the elements of a successful storytelling - unique, simple, memorable, and believable.
When the co-owners of the former Cafe Noir Vivek, Roshni and Ashish approached us for help with marketing they had owned the cafe for a few months. Even though they were located in downtown Saskatoon business was slow to be sustainable. They offered tea, coffee and other beverages in addition to vegan and vegetarian food. Fred and I took on this as our next project.
First step was understanding their objectives and what success looked like. Next step was going to the bottom of their business and understand values they care for and live everyday. We understood "charity" was big in their life that is connected to the understanding of karma or skillful action. From there we went ahead with the strategy to reach the objectives. The tasks that followed were new brand identity, brand strategy, new website, and story telling and community building though social media and email.
The Karma brand elements (above)
The Karma responsive website desktop and mobile design versions (above).
Telling this story consistently across different platforms was the next task.
In addition to supporting the Karma's first charity (Saskatoon Food Bank) through purchases (3% of the earnings) and direct donations we helped raise money for the charity by organizing khichdi fundraiser. The fundraiser is a deeper integration of Karma's living the values.
Telling the story through e-mail marketing is part of the strategy (screenshot below). See email archive here.
The integrated marketing strategy included writing press releases and co-ordinating that with the social calendar for maximum reach (see screenshots below).
The results of our work have been very gratifying and realistic - the increase of foot traffic resulted in Karma more than doubling their revenue since we implemented the strategy, and their revenue and community is growing (both in terms of number and deeper engagement) since April 2016.
The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) were celebrating 25 years at their annual conference and AGM in Vancouver, November 3-5, 2016. This deserved a grand celebration in addition to their objective of registering about 50-60 people for the AGM and conference.
First step was forming a subcommittee that worked collaboratively and democratically towards the above goals. For an event of this importance I stressed the importance of a identity in addition to strategy and its implementation.
CWCF was interested in highlighting the importance of solidarity to build the worker co-op movement (and associated business model) in Canada. This translates to solidarity between different worker co-ops across the country, credit unions, co-operative insurance and mutuals, CWCF and its equivalent in Québec - Le Réseau de la coopération du travail du Québec (RÉSEAU). To make long lasting change the solidarity extends beyond the co-operative circle to include aligned organizations and people working towards environmental and social solutions. The strategy was telling this story of learning/sharing tools and networking being offered at the conference towards building the worker co-op movement. This story was told consistently through our digital platforms and traditional media.
Jordan Miller worked collaboratively with the subcommittee and designed the identity for the 25 years of CWCF. The identity was based on CWCF's original brand identity.
The website landing page was optimized to reflect the visual identity, messaging, and easy conversion with a Register Now Button.
The messaging (above) and associated call to action "Register Now" was shared through social media and email platforms based on a content calendar that drove people to the registration website.
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union, a 100% member owned cooperative is one of the largest credit unions in Canada with $4.7 billion in managed assets and offers a significant branch network in Saskatchewan. The Affinity Business-for-Good Social Venture Challenge is a crowdfunding competition between social enterprises addressing social and environmental issues in Saskatoon & area. I worked with Unite team and Affinity’s community development and marketing team (web, social, traditional) in articulating key objectives (e.g. defining success, key metrics), target audience analysis, and a strategy to get there. Our teams worked collaboratively in developing key messaging, and defining timelines.
Read more on Unite blog.
Saskatoon CarShare Co-op
Saskatoon CarShare Co-op
I helped Saskatoon CarShare Co-op strategically tell their story. You can view the story here.
Saskatoon CarShare Co-op (SCC) was about to launch their crowdfunding campaign, and I was approached to help. At that time SCC had not nailed their story, and had no strategy for the campaign. I worked with a few board members in framing a story, a content schedule, PR strategy, and a strategy to engage existing and potential members, and local businesses. This resulted in raising $7,235 from 95 unique individuals and businesses.
The biggest breakthrough came with a matching funding announcement from Sun Country Highway for Canada's first solar powered carshare.
Coverage from traditional media (see gallery below) was great as well because this helped us reach certain population demographic without paid media.
Escape Sports/Drift Sidewalk Cafe
Escape Sports/Drift Sidewalk Cafe
Escape Sports is a fantastic local company. They specialize in getting folks outdoors and active. I worked with Unite team in understanding the needs of Escape, their objectives for online presence, and shareable media as a means to engage their community. Read more here.
Drift Sidewalk Cafe
Drift Sidewalk Cafe is a newly opened rustic, west coast style surf cafe, providing the experience of bliss though all senses in Saskatoon. I worked with Unite team in understanding the needs of Drift management, and carefully work on design of a brand and digital strategy, and execution in the form of their website and social engagement.