The Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) are no strangers ‘round our agency. We’ve been the marketing masterminds for 4 years behind their successful perception shifting campaign ‘Made in Strathcona.’ Since, we’ve seen the conversations around Strathcona begin to change in a positive way, it was time for the next step. This year, we needed to focus on bringing the public into the neighbourhood and spread greater awareness of this colourful community. We needed to find a creative means to encourage the public to come to Strathcona and discover all the amazing businesses and people that make the neighborhood such a point of pride in the city.
What better way to draw attention to their new campaign, than to make a statement so strong, and so bold, the greater Vancouver community was sure to pay attention. It started with East Hastings, the main traffic throughway cutting through Strathcona. With new developments on the rise, including the public library, the SBIA wanted to lay some focus on this particular street to highlight it as a walkable, and shoppable area. Most people wouldn’t associate East Hastings street as the city’s most walkable – not by a long shot – and thus began “East Hastings: Most Walkable Street 2021.”
We started by conducting in-depth market research, with feedback from over 1000 people across the Lower Mainland in order to better suss out how the greater community’s familiarity with Strathcona really stacked up. This allowed us to develop a strategy backed by data and insight from the public. With this powerful knowledge now in our back pocket, we knew we needed to tailor our strategy to a specific target who would be enticed to visit Strathcona. This target loved to discover new things, whether buzzworthy restaurants, pop-up shops, or other unique businesses – all things found in Strathcona. This crafted Strathcona’s revitalized value proposition “Fun to discover new things.”
In partnership with Vancouver Mural Festival, we launched the campaign with the Walk Strathcona Street Party. With hundreds of people flocking to the area, this offered a great opportunity for the local businesses to get in front of the public and boast their wares. With “walkability” a major theme of the campaign, the SBIA hosted guiding walking tours to educate the public about the neighborhood’s rich history and stellar offerings. Each walking tour ended at the WALK Pop-Up Shop, a weekly series where budding businesses could showcase their products and services, also helping to illustrate potential businesses who could arrive in Strathcona.
The WALK Pop-Up Shop was accompanied by a large installation surveying the attendees on how they defined walkability. This allowed the SBIA some great input from their targets on what changes they would like to see on the East Hastings corridor to make it a more friendly pedestrian destination. Every weekend, more comments arrived in and the public feedback would play a key role in shaping the SBIA’s plan for the future of East Hastings.
Over the course of the campaign, we received 38 media hits thanks to the powerful key message of “Most Walkable Street by 2021”. The campaign was published in event listings 10 times, resulting in some impressive reach. We were able to achieve over 16,271,379 public impressions through the duration of the walkable street campaign. Our WALK Pop-Up Shop hosted 5 potential businesses who participated, which helped in creating over 75,000 social media engagements. The success of the campaign was further pushed to greatness through a boost in social media posting and management, media buy, public relations, and stunning new branding and print materials for the public to enjoy.