GNWT Department of Industry Tourism & Investment:
Come Make Your Mark
The Northwest Territories’ population declined in 2009 while the rest of Canada’s population grew. Industry, Tourism and Investment set out to launch an NWT awareness campaign that would dispel myths about the NWT, highlight the opportunities and show the rest of Canada what it is like to live and work in the NWT. Our challenge was to bring this vision to life with a marketing campaign and set the NWT apart from other parts of Canada. While other jurisdictions devote millions of dollars to similar efforts, the northern campaign needed to be highly effective, but low cost.
Tait worked to address those perceptions that keep people from looking north as a place to live, work and invest: perceptions that the North is isolated, cold, dark, distant, expensive and without opportunities. A major hurdle was that the NWT is not the only jurisdiction looking to attract new residents. Campaigns from other jurisdictions have spent millions on research alone, and even more on execution. Our budget, as a fraction of that, required a strategic, innovative approach, relying heavily on a virtual platform — web and social media.
The “Come Make Your Mark” campaign includes a mix of media and activities designed to reach the target audience and engage decision makers within the family unit. This required a blend of traditional and non-traditional marketing methods as well as sufficient frequency to generate attention, interest and action. In all media, messaging focused on telling the NWT story — the ability to make a real difference in your own life and the lives of others — through the experiences of people who have already chosen the North as home.
Our challenge began with branding the NWT as a destination in Canada where skilled workers could begin, advance and succeed in a career in all phases of their working life. The positioning statement and brand visuals were developed through research, and tested in focus groups with audiences in southern Canada, and with new Northerners.
In all media, messaging focussed on telling the NWT story — the ability to make a real difference in your own life and the lives of others — through the experience of people who have already chosen the North as home.
Along with a strong on-line presence with a highly interactive website, Facebook and Twitter, we attended events and produced newspaper, radio, billboard and bus board ads — all highlighting the benefits of living and working in the NWT.
Web and Social Media Solution
The “Come Make Your Mark” brand required a strategic, innovative approach, relying heavily on a virtual platform — web and social media. Creating a one-stop website designed to appeal and inform while being visually rich and interesting, the website uses storytelling in the form of profiles and videos.
When the campaign targeted university and other post-secondary students, web and social media became increasingly important. A blog was created with the real-life travels of a new northerner, who was called “Mark” to tie-in with the brand. As “Mark” travelled to 10 NWT communities he blogged and tweeted about the people he met, the jobs that were available, and the experiences he had. As his blog developed a following with university students, Mark also attended several job fairs, which were promoted through contests offering prizes for participation. NWT student ambassadors attending universities across Canada were also enlisted to help spread the word about the NWT.
Tangible and Measured Results
The results so far have exceeded expectation. Awareness campaigns are hard to measure, but with feedback from serious enquiries, event surveys, web hits, business feedback and more, the NWT has a resounding presence in Northern Ontario – the first geographic segment targeted. Not only that, the campaign went a step further. It prompted the relocation of people from Ontario to the NWT. NWT businesses have partnered with the campaign and offered relocation discounts. Close to 100 Welcome NWT Kits were sent out to potential NWT residents in phase I.
Phase II, which began in spring 2010 and targeted Canadian universities, proved just as successful. We advertised on 50 campuses and attended 10 career fairs with our business partners who were looking to hire people right out of university. Our business partners also helped promote the campaign, provided incentives for the welcome kit and some funding.
The Quebec campaign saw the launch of the French website. French speaking Northerners attended six job fairs, made posts on Facebook, tweeted, wrote blogs and conducted media interviews.
Social media (Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Google ad words and the “Mark My Words” blog) drove readers and viewers to the website. Throughout this campaign web stats have been very impressive, with the average visitor staying on the site between 4.5 and 6 minutes. In addition, the “Come Make Your Mark” website recently won a Merit Award of Excellence from the Advertising and Design Club of Canada for Interactive Design in the Education and Information category.
Enquiry levels (for calls, emails, contest entries and welcome kit requests) have met or exceeded targets. Business partner sites also saw increased traffic during this campaign.