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This is Marketing

Written by the Symplicity team

Maritime Resilience is a series of stories on how local organizations are adapting to COVID-19.

This is Marketing encourages connection to navigate uncertainty

This Is Marketing is a branding and marketing agency with a difference. Owner Neil Stephen established the company with a larger purpose – to build a more sustainable regional economy by helping Atlantic Canadian businesses succeed.

This is Marketing takes a personal approach to business. The team gets to know its clients really well to help them understand their voice and tell their unique story in a way that increases sales, improves profits.

“We work with small businesses that are changing the world in some way. Our goal is to connect with like-minded companies and leaders to distill the essence of their work and convey their story in a compelling way that helps them grow and improve.”

This is Marketing developed the brand for Peace by Chocolate, as well as for Oceanstone resort and Halifax restaurants Lot Six and Press Gang. The agency also counts Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and a church in Pictou County among its clients.

From the first days of the state of emergency, Stephen said the team looked for ways to give back. They’re still supporting community and clients today.

After being forced to cancel its 5th anniversary celebration in March, the team adapted quickly to rent and install 15 mobile signs overnight at stores around Halifax/Dartmouth to say ‘Thank You’ to frontline retail workers. The agency was one of the first to recognize frontline staff at stores in a meaningful way, setting the stage for people to show their appreciation in the subsequent weeks and months.

Stephen said the pandemic forced some clients to shut down while others were busier than ever, but every one of them needed to communicate and engage with their community in an authentic way.

“The first few days were very emotional. Our clients are a big part of our lives and when they hurt, we hurt too. At the beginning there was a lot of listening and helping our clients navigate how best to make decisions.”

This is Marketing launched a daily Zoom-based brand accountability bootcamp. The morning sessions focused on how to communicate and stay connected with customers, but most of all it gave clients the motivation they needed to get up and get going.

“We covered some of the key elements of marketing during a crisis and invited experts to share their perspectives. We’ve had business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and high-ranking political officials join us on the bootcamp to share their wisdom and insights.”

Stephen said the bootcamp fostered a community that wants to keep helping. As businesses moved beyond survival mode and started to navigate the next phase, the bootcamp sessions shifted to showcasing a business that needs help and inviting participants to offer advice, connections and ideas to help the business move forward.

This is Marketing has been helping clients find new ways to stay connected and reach the people who need them most during the crisis. The agency has helped a church in Pictou County transition to online services and has worked with MP Sean Fraser to produce tools to help Canadians better understand the various subsidy programs available from the federal government.

“We’ve learned how adaptable everyone can be when there is leadership. Much of what we’ve done has been to push our clients to make decisions and move – being less afraid of potential mistakes and more afraid of stagnation,” Stephen explained. “Our clients have grown quickly and achieved things you wouldn’t expect. Establishing online stores, developing new tools, pivoting to serve entirely new customers, it’s been impressive to see.”

According to Stephen, the pandemic has reinforced the importance of investing in the Atlantic Canadian economy by supporting locally owned businesses and finding ways to help business owners target other markets.

“There are so many talented people working to make this a reality. We need to support them and have their backs. We come to work each day trying to level the playing field for the businesses in our community going up against giant competitors.”

This is Marketing are helping clients reach their audiences through the crisis.

Visit their website or social media to see their work.

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