Strategic Communications and Leadership
British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association
As the Director of Communications for the British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association (BCDHA) I am responsible for every aspect of marketing and communications for this NPO that was formed in 1964.
The role did not exist in any meaningful way before I arrived in 2022 and so my job was to establish a strategy using existing materials including logo, website, social channels, partnerships, etc…
There are more than 5000 members of the BCDHA across the province and deep relationships with other professional organizations and individuals across Canada.
I needed to consider these things when plotting the strategy. I was conscious that too much change, too soon, would likely confuse our audience, and set us back.
We also had no historical data sets to rely on in order to inform our decisions and help plot our course.
The first step in the strategy was to establish a reliable dataset that supported the brand and guided members and colleagues to the places that we wanted them to go.
The simple strategy of driving traffic back to the BCDHA website where we could measure the journeys and behaviours of our vistors. This required retrofitting the backend of the website to house things like forms that were previously outsourced to third party SAAS platforms like sureymonkey.
We suddenly had interesting reports to provide to our team including the Board of Directors. This allowed us to make compelling cases for new strategies and increases in our communications budget.
As a leader I coached existing staff to understand and contribute to the changes that we were making. I listened to their concerns and valued their professional opinions and adjusted the strategy based on what they had to say.
The leadership extended outside the organization and across the entire profession as our colleagues from across the country took notice.
We partnered with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors to create a resource for dental hygiene practitioners in BC and the general public (middle right).
This included the Dental Hygienists Association of Alberta who came to us for help with marketing, promotion, and communications. We signed a ‘fee for service’ agreement with them in fall 2022 that was just renewed bottom right).
Branding, Strategy, and Leadership
Real Vancouver: Rebrand
In 2010 I founded a registered arts and culture non-profit organization called Real Vancouver Writers’ Series Society.
For more than ten years myself and a group of volunteer Board members and friends produced, marketed, and promoted a literary reading series featuring emerging and established writers from Vancouver and across Canada.
I was responsible for marketing and design during that time. I built the website, designed the social media campaigns, and created the posters for all of our events.
In 2022 I reached out to a local design team to help us with a rebranding that included a new logo, type design, website design, and an integrated strategy for locating content within the website so that it was easily accessible to vistors, fans, donors, and funders.
I guided the designers though the process and communicated changes to the Board of Directors to ensure that they were on the same page as the project progressed.
I managed feedback and allowed the design team the freedom to do their work while steering them toward something that would synthesize nicely with our existing identity.
The strategy was to arrive in the early months of 2022 with a new identity and more functional website that would drive interest in our work, appeal to donors and funding agencies, make it easier for them to see our work and understand our context, and provide a greater ease of communicating with us.
The leadership in this project is reflected in recognizing the need for a new look and change, selling the concept to the Board of Directors, and engaging the right design team for the job.
Leadership extends further, too. Beyond leading within the organization. This type of redesign within the context of our professional arts community is a form of leadership that extends nationally.
The quality of the rebrand and the thoughtfulness of the design reset the bar for communications within the literary scene and we are proud of the feedback that we have received regarding how much further we pushed the concept for what’s possible among our peers.
Storm Crow Tavern
Getting the word out about a unique restaurant concept in a very crowded marketplace was a challenge.
Our overall strategy was to drive customer interest in our nerd-bar cenept using local artists, high concept writing, and social media to set us apart.
My leadership was to drive awareness by capturing customer imagination by positioning the restaurant as a fictional ‘tavern’ where they could play the role of some of their favourite characters from books, movie, and video games while eating, drinking, and playing board games.
We did this by providing an immersive restaurant environment that featured a menu designed by a local artist (below right) and an online presence that engaged customers in a friendly and humourous way.
Our reputation grew to the point where the Storm Crow’s reputation was international and inspired Reddit threads and fan videos (middle right).
One example of how we supported this strategy by developing a campaign that promoted us directly to our core audience using video, partnerships, and a coordinated social media campaign to promote a special menu item and our location more generally.
The success of this campaign was demonstrated increased social media engagement and sharing, increased food sales, and restaurant covers during the campaign.
My leadership was demonstrated in turning over the writing and creation of the video to members of my staff who were empowered to make decisions that aligned with our branding and identity.
The staff responded with a fun, creative, and effective video that aired at Rio Theatre for two months during the summer of 2014.
By hiring, training, and supporting my management team to direct workflow for this video marketing project and trusting the team to deliver exceptional work we created an environment where team members felt valued, included, supported, and proud of their work.
That translated into excellent workplace behaviours. Customers noticed and were very loyal and supportive as a result.
Our reputation grew because we cared about each other and cared about our work.