Event Recap: Secret to Creating Powerful Engagement Campaigns with City of Vancouver

Marnie recap

Marnie McGregor’s successful presentation kick-started the 2015/2016 CPRS season. Marnie is the Director of Intergovernmental Relations and Strategic Partnerships with the City of Vancouver and has nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors in Canada and the United States. Marnie shared insightful information about the campaign that received the 2015 National Awards of Excellence bronze award from CPRS for Canadian Marketing Communications Campaign of the Year.

The event which was very well attended with 64 registrants, was organized by CPRS director Joanne Probyn. It was held Tuesday, October 6th at Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver. The event’s success was achieved with the generous support of many volunteers including Samantha Dutton-Jones, Vanessa Mora, and Matthew McKinnon.

Marnie began her session with the question: “who here lives in the city of Vancouver?” Surprisingly, the majority did not live in Vancouver. People came from as far as Surrey, Pitt Meadows, and Squamish to gain Marnie’s valuable insights.

The city experienced its lowest voter turnout in history during their 2011 municipal elections, with only 31% of eligible voters casting ballots. Marnie and her team uncovered the issues that caused the low turnout and built a research-driven strategy.

They identified several target audiences, such as Vancouver’s youth and low-income families, and aimed to:

  1. Have a minimum of 40% voters.
  2. Provide voters with the information they needed to participate in the election.
  3. Maximize advertising dollars.
  4. Increase turn-out in lower vote response areas.
  5. Maximize use of city’s social media channels.

The city’s team, including Amanda McCuaig and Becky Potvin, created a strategy and implemented tactics that would help them reach their goal for the next municipal election while remaining non-partisan. The paid advertising budget was $50,000—relatively small compared to other large-scale campaigns.

Creativity was essential to the campaign and included a design phase where elements such as brand colours were carefully chosen and taglines were thoughtfully created. Fact sheets, voter information cards, and “I voted” stickers were developed. Convenience, efficiency and timeliness were woven into many aspects of the campaign including the launch of numerous “pop-up city halls” found across Vancouver and supported by a well-trained customer service team. In addition, a user-friendly, digital voting tool was developed.

Marnie enthusiastically shared that every aspect of the multi-channel campaign helped create the buzz needed to get more people engaged—noting the sticker was surprisingly effective. Voters photographed their “I voted” stickers and shared the images on social media. She stated that the “social media team hit it out of the park” and that the city received a colossal 30 media calls per day. The campaign gained over 815,000 impressions through earned media and paid advertising including radio and print.

The team strengths included innovation and a strong work ethic. Towards the end of the campaign, some team members worked until after midnight, hoping to achieve their goals of educating, informing, and motivating people to vote. The team’s efforts were fruitful; they exceeded their goals and achieved an impressive 43.4% voter turn-out!

Tips for implementing a successful campaign

  • Begin with research-driven plan.

  • Create multi-disciplinary team.

  • Develop a clear approval process.

  • Leverage social media.

  • Activate Google Analytics and SEO results.

Coming soon, join us for a fun–and free–networking event, Beers and Careers on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Get more information here.