The Exchange District BIZ is one of 16 business improvement zones in Winnipeg. It encompasses East and West of Main Street from Waterfront Drive to Adelaide Street and North and South from Galt Avenue to the iconic intersection of Portage and Main.
Its role as a non-profit organization is to bring local businesses together to promote the area, to improve the District’s physical appearance, to support events that attract people in the community and to play an advocacy role for local businesses on issues of common concern.
The BIZ has lively retail shops and restaurants, making it a hip place to be.
Understanding the challenge
Unlike many of our clients, the BIZ didn’t approach us for branding work. Instead, it was for outsourced marketing assistance. The BIZ wanted to create its first co-operative advertising project — a full-page advertorial in the Winnipeg Free Press. Shop the Exchange would be a collaboration between Exchange District retail businesses, offering tips, hints, best-sellers and recommendations for everyone. It was to be shared amongst 7 of the businesses in the neighbourhood and the BIZ needed an agency with the expertise and agility to seamlessly and cohesively pull its vision together.
Finding the concept
In this particular case, it wasn’t so much about finding a concept as it was working within the BIZ’s existing vision and scope to accomplish a goal. We became the BIZ’s project managers to ensure that all of the moving pieces came together when they needed to. Photographers were booked, appropriate businesses were briefed, content was written and social media posts were created and published all on time and on budget.
The Shop the Exchange project showcased our ability to augment the concepts initiated by others by adding the manpower that they did not have readily available. It’s about supplementing the team you have and improving the marketing output – not duplicating your efforts, or doubling down on capabilities you already have on-hand. The BIZ already had a photographer and videographer on retainer, so we plugged in to that team to fulfill the project’s needs. We handled the social media posts until they hired a marketing coordinator back on to handle these daily tasks. We also helped the BIZ think outside the box by bringing our own creative twist to the assignment, adding thoughtful product recommendations to the ad rather than unspecific shop features, writing headline snippets for them to put in the BIZ window displays, and photographing shoppers “in the wild” to introduce the Shop the Exchange project and market it without leaning on one shop at a time specifically.
What happened next?
Since the Shop the Exchange piece was published, the BIZ has diligently repurposed and reused the materials created as website blog posts, shop window displays and social media updates. These unique pieces showcased the best of the Exchange District. However, the biggest takeaway is that a single newspaper ad never needs to be a one-and-done project — too much work goes into making it a success to not repurpose the content.
Need to bring in outside expertise to augment internal abilities on a single project?
1) Choose an agency that shows agility. Bringing in outside expertise means finding a firm that is agile enough to turn your vision and concept into reality while at the same time bringing their own creative expertise to it.
2) Repurpose and reuse. A single major marketing effort is rarely a one-and-done project. Repurpose and reuse the marketing materials created in different capacities and formats in order to get the most use of the extra effort (and expertise) you put in.
3) Beef up your shooting schedules. When a business – especially a non-profit organization – is spending the money on making original videos and photography, beef up the schedule to shoot for as many purposes as possible. In this case, most footage was captured before Christmas and a special holiday feature. We used the video interviews to inform the blogs as well as to highlight products to feature in each month’s publication. The result not only helped inform every aspect of the campaign’s deliverables in one shoot – but it helped add flavour to the video with the tactile way the owners were engaging with their products.