Case Studies / Non-Profit and Government

Brand Identity Development: How Curve Helps Non-Profit and Government Organizations

Non-profits and governments share one common marketing goal: their efforts must drive people to take action. Campaigns aren’t about boosting sales – they’re about brand identity development to generate awareness for services and initiatives while engaging the public.

More than 170,000 non-profit and charitable organizations operate in Canada. Competition is fierce. Even though these groups don’t always sell products or services, they still need to market themselves in order to stand a chance. Governments and their agencies also need marketing strategies to boost programs and service engagement.

Non-profits have an added challenge because they often have small budgets to support their messages to potential volunteers and donors. They need strong awareness-building strategies if they want to compete for attention and fundraising dollars.

At Curve Communications, an outbound and inbound marketing agency, we have a whole division dedicated to meeting the marketing needs of non-profits and governments – we know they face unique challenges.

“People often think of marketing as a sales-boosting tool, but more than anything it’s about getting an organization’s message to the right target audience,” said George Affleck, Curve’s president and CEO. “Non-profits and governments are still, at their core, businesses. They just sell values, services, and programs instead of products.”

Public Relations: Building a Strong Talent Brand

The success of many non-profits, especially membership-based organizations, comes down to establishing a strong brand identity. Members need to believe in the organization they belong to in order to effectively promote it. Non-profits that don’t have strong talent brands might experience declines in membership, which threatens their overall survival.

The British Columbia and Yukon Community Newsmedia Association (BCYCNA) understands the need for maintaining a strong talent brand. It’s a non-profit membership organization that represents more than 100 community newspapers in British Columbia and the Yukon with a combined readership of around 2.5 million.

Every year, the BCYCNA hosts the Ma Murray Awards to recognize the hard work of its member papers. However, when the organization first approached Curve in 2000, the awards were experiencing a steady decrease in attendance and sponsorship revenue.

“The Ma Murrays are an important way of recognizing and celebrating the critically important work of community newspapers and their staff in British Columbia and the Yukon,” said Peter Kvarnstrom, past president of BCYCNA, now president of Community Media at Glacier Media Group. “They are also an important part of newspaper history in the region — one that we don’t want to lose.”

The BCYCNA’s membership base is spread out over a large geographical area. The papers are run by different publishers and report on very different communities. Because of this, the BCYCNA was struggling to create a solid talent brand that appealed to all the members.

The annual gala was the main event that brought everyone together for a common cause. Without it, the BCYCNA talent brand was in trouble.

When the BCYCNA first approached Curve, the Ma Murrays were not in line with what the organization’s members wanted,” said Kerry Slater, Curve’s manager of creative products. “To solidify the non-profit’s talent brand and keep members happy, the event needed a total overhaul.”

Our event management team at Curve has now planned the gala for almost two decades. We do everything – our public relations agency secures title sponsors and enough sponsorship dollars so the gala can be a fun and engaging event for members – who don’t have to pay.

In fact, the event now turns a profit. We book the venue, manage award submissions, secure judges, arrange entertainment, and plan an after-party. Our digital marketing agency even helps write speeches, design award booklets, and manage the event day-of.

Our event management services have led to enormous growth in all areas, including increased award submissions, attendance, and sponsorships year after year. When we took over the Ma Murray Awards, 80 people — including 10 percent of award finalists — attended the dinner. Now, more than 300 people and 90 percent of finalists come to the event.

“Curve Communications has been instrumental in the BCYCNA, to keep this significant event relevant and growing in importance,” Kvarnstrom said. “Member newspapers truly benefit from the Ma Murrays, which bring journalists, editors, publishers, ad designers, and sales teams together to recognize the critical work we all do in ensuring the strength of our publications and the health of our communities.”

The newspaper industry around the world is in a constant state of flux as digital platforms arise and advertising changes. Still, small community newspapers play an important role in the rural communities of British Columbia and the Yukon. The changes to newspaper reporting have caused some turbulence, but the BCYCNA and the annual gala provide stability.

Small Business Marketing: Maximizing Each Dollar

Maximizing small marketing budgets is possible, but sometimes non-profits need to secure additional funding to back their projects.

Newspapertraining.ca approached Curve because they needed to build a new training website for community newspaper employees across Canada. The organization had an existing site, but it was rarely updated. Editorial, sales, design, and management staff members at Canada’s community papers did not visit the site or view it as a helpful resource.

“We wanted to create a hub of useful content and training modules where community newspaper staff could go to keep up with major changes in our industry,” said Tim Shoults, operations manager at Aberdeen Publishing.

To accomplish this goal, Newspapertraining.ca needed some additional funding. Curve applied for grants from the Government of Canada on behalf of the organization. Eventually, we secured $100,000 to fund the project.

The organization wanted a creative brand design for their new online training hub. They wanted a resource created “by” community newspapers “for” community newspapers. They also wanted the site to function as a forum where reporters, editors, sales teams, and publishers could come together to share ideas.

The web specialists at Curve built the website — which included a public side and a members-only side. The public side functions as a sales tool for individuals and newspapers interested in becoming members. The member section hosts articles, tips, videos, webinars, Q&As, expert interviews, and training modules.

In addition to building the site, our digital marketing services team produced the training content. Since most of our team members are former journalists, we were uniquely positioned for content creation. That is, we not only designed and built the training website, but we also supplied it with high-quality content.

The new Newspapertraining.ca has been extremely successful, gaining more than 260 users and at least five new users every week.

Custom Web Design: Building a Go-To Resource

Organizations that run government-funded projects sometimes need help making those projects come to fruition – and marketing them so the public is aware they exist. After all, provincial and federal governments fund many projects, but those projects are only effective if people know what they do.

NewtoBC understands this challenge. The organization partners with libraries and immigrant service providers to help newcomers settle in the province of British Columbia. They take pride in using innovative approaches and technology to deliver services.

When NewtoBC first approached Curve, they wanted to create a massive database – funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – that connected libraries to each other and to newcomers as they settle and integrate into BC communities.

Before the database was built, immigrants had to visit each library website or physically go into a branch to access materials and learn more about services. NewtoBC was concerned people weren’t taking advantage of all the resources available to them because they didn’t know about them or didn’t feel comfortable physically going into a library.

“NewtoBC was trying to solve a big problem with a comprehensive website when it approached Curve for help,” said Gina Robinson, Curve’s director of client services. “They needed to create and market a database that newcomers would find useful.”

The database needed to be user-friendly for people who don’t necessarily speak English as a first language. It also needed to be welcoming and organized in a way that users could easily find the information they needed.

With our web design services, they launched a new site, which includes library catalogues in different languages, programs, news, branch information, immigrant settlement resources, details about the Library Champions Program, and event calendars. The website is content-rich and requires regular updates.

After the site launched, Curve marketed it both internally and externally. We used traditional and digital media buys to generate awareness about newtobc.ca. Several years after launch, the website continues to expand.

“The NewtoBC website has become a well-known resource for newcomers in the province of British Columbia,” said Trevor Van Eerden, a principal with Peers Employment and Education Resources, the consulting company behind NewtoBC. “The database has exceeded our vision for creating a tool to help immigrants settle in their new communities.”

Web specialists at Curve now manage updates and ensure the database runs smoothly. New libraries are regularly added to the site, and it has become the go-to resource for newcomers to British Columbia and Canada.

Non-Traditional Advertising Campaigns: Marketing Challenges in Remote Areas

Some government and industry-funded events take place in remote areas of Canada. These events are meant to engage the public in small communities, but due to location, organizers often face challenges in generating awareness and encouraging public participation.

Small communities have fewer media outlets and smaller populations, making it challenging to reach target audiences,” said George Affleck, Curve’s founder and CEO.

In August 2017, Curve Communications began working with Futurpreneur Canada to help promote two annual events: the ThriveNorth Mentor Masterclass and the Entrepreneur Marketplace.

Futurpreneur Canada approached our digital advertising agency because they needed help raising awareness for the events, which are joint initiatives between Futurpreneur Canada, the Province of British Columbia, FEC, LNG Canada, and TransCanada.

Curve developed an advertising and media relations strategy to generate awareness about the events. We also encouraged small businesses and entrepreneurs in Terrace, Prince Rupert, and the surrounding communities to participate.

Curve’s digital ads alone reached close to 54,000 people. That’s a substantial number given the combined population of Terrace and Prince Rupert is around 24,000. The Mentor Masterclass reached its goal of 25 attendees and Curve secured media hits with Bell Media and the Terrace Standard.

Because of the success of the event, Futurpreneur has expanded to other areas, including Fort St. John and Prince George.

Finding Success on a Budget

No matter the size of the budget, both non-profits and government projects face challenges in achieving their end goals: engaging the public.

Governments and non-profits know what it’s like to create services and programs, only to struggle in getting people to participate or engage with them. We’ve worked with both types of organizations for years, helping them build successful campaigns on any budget.

Need help bringing your non-profit or government agency to the next level?

Public Relations: Building a Strong Talent Brand

The success of many non-profits, especially membership-based organizations, comes down to establishing a strong brand identity. Members need to believe in the organization they belong to in order to effectively promote it. Non-profits that don’t have strong talent brands might experience declines in membership, which threatens their overall survival.

The British Columbia and Yukon Community Newsmedia Association (BCYCNA) understands the need for maintaining a strong talent brand. It’s a non-profit membership organization that represents more than 100 community newspapers in British Columbia and the Yukon with a combined readership of around 2.5 million.

Every year, the BCYCNA hosts the Ma Murray Awards to recognize the hard work of its member papers. However, when the organization first approached Curve in 2000, the awards were experiencing a steady decrease in attendance and sponsorship revenue.

“The Ma Murrays are an important way of recognizing and celebrating the critically important work of community newspapers and their staff in British Columbia and the Yukon,” said Peter Kvarnstrom, past president of BCYCNA, now president of Community Media at Glacier Media Group. “They are also an important part of newspaper history in the region — one that we don’t want to lose.”

The BCYCNA’s membership base is spread out over a large geographical area. The papers are run by different publishers and report on very different communities. Because of this, the BCYCNA was struggling to create a solid talent brand that appealed to all the members.

The annual gala was the main event that brought everyone together for a common cause. Without it, the BCYCNA talent brand was in trouble.

When the BCYCNA first approached Curve, the Ma Murrays were not in line with what the organization’s members wanted,” said Kerry Slater, Curve’s manager of creative products. “To solidify the non-profit’s talent brand and keep members happy, the event needed a total overhaul.”

Our event management team at Curve has now planned the gala for almost two decades. We do everything – our public relations agency secures title sponsors and enough sponsorship dollars so the gala can be a fun and engaging event for members – who don’t have to pay.

In fact, the event now turns a profit. We book the venue, manage award submissions, secure judges, arrange entertainment, and plan an after-party. Our digital marketing agency even helps write speeches, design award booklets, and manage the event day-of.

Our event management services have led to enormous growth in all areas, including increased award submissions, attendance, and sponsorships year after year. When we took over the Ma Murray Awards, 80 people — including 10 percent of award finalists — attended the dinner. Now, more than 300 people and 90 percent of finalists come to the event.

“Curve Communications has been instrumental in the BCYCNA, to keep this significant event relevant and growing in importance,” Kvarnstrom said. “Member newspapers truly benefit from the Ma Murrays, which bring journalists, editors, publishers, ad designers, and sales teams together to recognize the critical work we all do in ensuring the strength of our publications and the health of our communities.”

The newspaper industry around the world is in a constant state of flux as digital platforms arise and advertising changes. Still, small community newspapers play an important role in the rural communities of British Columbia and the Yukon. The changes to newspaper reporting have caused some turbulence, but the BCYCNA and the annual gala provide stability.

Small Business Marketing: Maximizing Each Dollar

Maximizing small marketing budgets is possible, but sometimes non-profits need to secure additional funding to back their projects.

Newspapertraining.ca approached Curve because they needed to build a new training website for community newspaper employees across Canada. The organization had an existing site, but it was rarely updated. Editorial, sales, design, and management staff members at Canada’s community papers did not visit the site or view it as a helpful resource.

“We wanted to create a hub of useful content and training modules where community newspaper staff could go to keep up with major changes in our industry,” said Tim Shoults, operations manager at Aberdeen Publishing.

To accomplish this goal, Newspapertraining.ca needed some additional funding. Curve applied for grants from the Government of Canada on behalf of the organization. Eventually, we secured $100,000 to fund the project.

The organization wanted a creative brand design for their new online training hub. They wanted a resource created “by” community newspapers “for” community newspapers. They also wanted the site to function as a forum where reporters, editors, sales teams, and publishers could come together to share ideas.

The web specialists at Curve built the website — which included a public side and a members-only side. The public side functions as a sales tool for individuals and newspapers interested in becoming members. The member section hosts articles, tips, videos, webinars, Q&As, expert interviews, and training modules.

In addition to building the site, our digital marketing services team produced the training content. Since most of our team members are former journalists, we were uniquely positioned for content creation. That is, we not only designed and built the training website, but we also supplied it with high-quality content.

The new Newspapertraining.ca has been extremely successful, gaining more than 260 users and at least five new users every week.

Custom Web Design: Building a Go-To Resource

Organizations that run government-funded projects sometimes need help making those projects come to fruition – and marketing them so the public is aware they exist. After all, provincial and federal governments fund many projects, but those projects are only effective if people know what they do.

NewtoBC understands this challenge. The organization partners with libraries and immigrant service providers to help newcomers settle in the province of British Columbia. They take pride in using innovative approaches and technology to deliver services.

When NewtoBC first approached Curve, they wanted to create a massive database – funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – that connected libraries to each other and to newcomers as they settle and integrate into BC communities.

Before the database was built, immigrants had to visit each library website or physically go into a branch to access materials and learn more about services. NewtoBC was concerned people weren’t taking advantage of all the resources available to them because they didn’t know about them or didn’t feel comfortable physically going into a library.

“NewtoBC was trying to solve a big problem with a comprehensive website when it approached Curve for help,” said Gina Robinson, Curve’s director of client services. “They needed to create and market a database that newcomers would find useful.”

The database needed to be user-friendly for people who don’t necessarily speak English as a first language. It also needed to be welcoming and organized in a way that users could easily find the information they needed.

With our web design services, they launched a new site, which includes library catalogues in different languages, programs, news, branch information, immigrant settlement resources, details about the Library Champions Program, and event calendars. The website is content-rich and requires regular updates.

After the site launched, Curve marketed it both internally and externally. We used traditional and digital media buys to generate awareness about newtobc.ca. Several years after launch, the website continues to expand.

“The NewtoBC website has become a well-known resource for newcomers in the province of British Columbia,” said Trevor Van Eerden, a principal with Peers Employment and Education Resources, the consulting company behind NewtoBC. “The database has exceeded our vision for creating a tool to help immigrants settle in their new communities.”

Web specialists at Curve now manage updates and ensure the database runs smoothly. New libraries are regularly added to the site, and it has become the go-to resource for newcomers to British Columbia and Canada.

Non-Traditional Advertising Campaigns: Marketing Challenges in Remote Areas

Some government and industry-funded events take place in remote areas of Canada. These events are meant to engage the public in small communities, but due to location, organizers often face challenges in generating awareness and encouraging public participation.

Small communities have fewer media outlets and smaller populations, making it challenging to reach target audiences,” said George Affleck, Curve’s founder and CEO.

In August 2017, Curve Communications began working with Futurpreneur Canada to help promote two annual events: the ThriveNorth Mentor Masterclass and the Entrepreneur Marketplace.

Futurpreneur Canada approached our digital advertising agency because they needed help raising awareness for the events, which are joint initiatives between Futurpreneur Canada, the Province of British Columbia, FEC, LNG Canada, and TransCanada.

Curve developed an advertising and media relations strategy to generate awareness about the events. We also encouraged small businesses and entrepreneurs in Terrace, Prince Rupert, and the surrounding communities to participate.

Curve’s digital ads alone reached close to 54,000 people. That’s a substantial number given the combined population of Terrace and Prince Rupert is around 24,000. The Mentor Masterclass reached its goal of 25 attendees and Curve secured media hits with Bell Media and the Terrace Standard.

Because of the success of the event, Futurpreneur has expanded to other areas, including Fort St. John and Prince George.

Finding Success on a Budget

No matter the size of the budget, both non-profits and government projects face challenges in achieving their end goals: engaging the public.

Governments and non-profits know what it’s like to create services and programs, only to struggle in getting people to participate or engage with them. We’ve worked with both types of organizations for years, helping them build successful campaigns on any budget.

Need help bringing your non-profit or government agency to the next level?