This project was selected as winner in EDAC's Marketing Canada Awards, (2) EDCO Marketing Awards and (2) Summit International Creative Awards.
The Town of Milton had already been in the midst of considerable population growth and economic activity when the need to better promote the unique aspects of the community became the focus of their Economic Development Office. There was a story to be told and it had to position the town as an obvious choice of companies looking for regional, provincial or national expansion of manufacturing and logistics facilities, as well as corporate offices. At the same time, there was a request from the Economic Development team to dovetail the initiative into a feel good public awareness campaign to enlighten residents about the activities and programs being undertaken to maintain the strength of the community well into the foreseeable future.
The messaging had to be clear, factual and simple. The strategy had to be broad and flexible enough to resonate with external and internal stakeholders. In addition to building awareness through various advertising channels, collateral pieces would be developed as marketing tools and used to support a strategic alliance program and as a statistical, financial and demographic investment profile.
While the new program would be developed with its own design footprint, the Economic Development Office had already established a basic brand identity in 'Milton This Way Up'. Upon review of past initiatives tied to 'Milton This Way Up', we found the brand equity served primarily to extend general information and as a point of contact with Economic Development staff. The use of the office's brand identity would be limited to a 'signature', rather than making 'Milton This Way Up' the core message behind the campaign itself.
In response to a tender tabled by the Town of Milton, BANG! creative submitted an extensive written proposal introducing the service, team members and professional expertise, along with a breakout of the process we would undertake and an overview of suggested deliverables. We were then short-listed to present our proposal in person to a review panel.
As the winning proponent, and armed with a better understanding of the scope of the challenge, we knew we could put aside a substantial block of time for research, development and exploration, which became our primary focus. As a group, we delved into every aspect of the competitive landscape; reviewing trends and demographics sourced through municipal, regional, provincial and national statistics, which were further substantiated through economic development white papers researched online and sourced through recognized universities and government agencies. This process allowed us to consider the challenge from different perspectives and refine options to arrive at the best solution. In short, this stage of the process allowed us to develop a much deeper understanding of our client's marketplace.
As we do for all of our clients, we continued to ask questions and listen intently, in the interest of honing our strategy. In this case, the sheer scale of the project dictated a much more in-depth application of our methodology. Our first task was to organize focus groups consisting of developers, site selection consultants, local business / financial leaders, municipal staff and executive members of Chamber of Commerce, through both an online survey and in-person sessions. This helped us capture a broader sense of the town's value proposition(s) and competitive advantage(s), along with varied views on where the growth of the community should be directed. The focus then shifted to an equally involved process of distilling and refining our market research.
As the program evolved through every stage of creative development and execution, a close working relationship between BANG! Creative Communications and the team from the Economic Development Office allowed us to continually discuss ideas amongst the group, while sharing insights and competitive analysis.
At the core of the concept was a simple positioning statement: Milton Delivers. The campaign would emphasize how the municipal office and its departments would work alongside external interests to provide incentives for businesses to develop in or relocate to Milton, and find solutions to make that decision much easier. Five central themes were added to the core message:
- Knowledge Lives Here - reflecting the strength of a highly educated demographic of young professionals.
- Milton Makes It Happen - reinforcing the efforts of municipal staff to provide direction and service.
- Central to Your Success - positioning Milton in the heart of North America's most active transportation corridor and central to major Canadian / US markets.
- The Art of Better Living - a nod to the initiatives undertaken by the Town of Milton to grow Milton's cultural, as well as multicultural community and amenities.
- Live. Learn. Work. Grow. - a testament to the quality of family, as well as professional life industrial / commercial real estate professionals and site selection consultants could expect (on behalf of their clients) in moving their business to Milton.
Campaign strategy and scheduling
Tagged as a three year program, year one was actually quite condensed, (mid-July to year end), focusing on research and the development of a marketing strategy which would guide the creative. Year two focused on communicating through key print components and trade publications, while year three addressed the development of a strategic (business) alliance and execution of new media elements including a micro-site and online video testimonials. Throughout the entire program new material and 'tools' were continually introduced, which were developed for specific use by the Economic Development team.
As a broad sweeping program, we knew there would be adequate funds and plenty of opportunity to develop the message through various communication channels, thus BANG! creative along with team members from the Economic Development Office conducted an immediate needs assessment, identifying tools for specific use. Beyond this, it became our role to develop vehicles which would extend the campaign's reach. The introduction of the micro-site and testimonial videos reinforced the core message by presenting case studies and endorsements from businesses who had already chosen to relocate to Milton. Print components continually positioned and reinforced the message while providing contact information and directives leading to the micro-site and online videos.
- a campaign / series of five ads
- freestanding banners used in community and economic development presentations
- transit advertising to increase public awareness
- Strategic Alliance Program, funded and supported through key business stakeholders and corporate leaders
- pocket folder with marketing collateral and leave-behinds
- 48-page Investment Profile (including local, provincial and national statistics and demographics)
- 12-page overview booklet, tying the brand messaging to infographics and lifestyle images
- one overview video telling the story of how Milton delivers on key economic strategies
- five videos, each dedicated to one of the key marketing messages
- seven Strategic Alliance videos showcasing testimonials of key stakeholder partners
- 'Milton Delivers' microsite integrating all aspects of the campaign online
- PowerPoint presentation in support of the Economic Development Office
Interestingly, the strength of the overall messaging permeated the community mindset and became a rallying cry for local politicians, town officials and community leaders. The campaign's reach has now extended into other municipal initiatives, including Milton's Education Village Innovation Centre (MEVic).
BANG! creative communications was commissioned to develop an identity program for MEVic. (The identity was successfully introduced as the cornerstone of MEVic's brand footprint and was awarded category winner in Designedge Canada's 2015 Redgee Awards.)
- Do your homework. Research is critical to finding the most appropriate solution. Do your best to unearth the smallest of details; often that is where answers reveal themselves.
- Keep the process open and truly collaborative between studio and client. Carefully weigh the diversity of opinions and perspectives while asserting the professional expertise and vision for which you have been hired.
- Focus on the clarity and simplicity of strategy, creative direction and execution. Never limit the breadth of the campaign, but ensure the brand footprint and messaging remain consistent.
- Successfully meeting objectives depends on communication. The best results are achieved when clients provide clear insight and are willing to collaborate in an open and supportive manner.
- Trust your design team. You know the subtleties of your marketplace and can provide informed direction, while the design team offers strategic and creative expertise to strengthen your brand / marketing communications.
- Limit involvement to key decision makers within your organization. If consensus is to be reached through a multi-tiered approval process, decisions must be timely to ensure the process doesn't falter. This way, the full potential of the program can be realized.
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