Case Study

Overview

Partner: Futurpreneur

Our Role: Brand campaign and experience

Futurpreneur approached us right after they had rebranded from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to their current name, Futurpreneur Canada. They were looking to launch a campaign to introduce their new brand and ultimately re-align and connect with their core audience—young Canadians.

Futurpreneur Canada is a national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.

The Problem

Futurpreneur wanted to address the need for more young entrepreneurs and their increasing importance in our economy. Their brand was the first step towards aligning with their audience and now, they were looking for a partner to help them connect with their audience and build their awareness with this group.

Analysis

We evaluated the national conversation around Canadian youth and entrepreneurship through analyzing data and speaking directly to young Canadians. From this research, we were able to better understand Futurpreneur’s target audience —aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39. Our research informed our insights which then became the foundation of our work.

Understanding the changing landscape

Insight #1: Technology is disrupting the workforce

Technological advancements are changing the labour force and disrupting the job market every day. Artificial intelligence and automation are displacing entry level jobs that historically formed the foundation for long-term careers.

The job landscape

Insight #2: There is nothing to replace the jobs we are losing

Growing technological trends amplify the challenges facing the Canadian job market. Major emerging economies are becoming more competitive in areas that the North American economy has traditionally dominated, such as the design and manufacture of semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and information technology services.

U.S. Productivity and Employment

us_productivity-employment_graph_desktop
us_productivity-employment_graph_mobile *MIT Sloan School of Management

The opportunity

Insight #3: Nobody is supporting the emerging workforce

Very few organizations explain to young people that they’re competing in a global marketplace. Until recently, entrepreneurship has been viewed as risky, unattainable and ultimately out of grasp for the average person.

Creating definition

Insight #4: Define entrepreneurship

Despite popular belief, entrepreneurship isn’t always about seeking rewards or chasing success. The young entrepreneurs we spoke with told us a different story. These young Canadians didn’t identify as typical ‘entrepreneurs’; instead they viewed themselves as small business owners, freelancers, or subcontractors. The driving factors for their career choices were based on economic necessity or a desire for a flexible work-life balance.

34-percent-circle
*Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce (Forbes, Entrepreneur)

Understanding the audience

Insight #5: The gig economy

With 34% of our workforce now made up of freelancers (projected to be 45% by 2020), the reality is what some are calling ‘the gig economy’— an economic environment characterized by freelance jobs, short-term contracts, no benefits, no long-term stability and not the traditional 9-5. By this definition, there are already a significant amount of young people already working as entrepreneurs, without realizing it.

The Audience

To ensure Futurpreneur’s new narrative connected with young aspiring business owners, we needed to understand the needs and underlying motivations of this audience.

Young people are entering an economy that has been unpredictable for their entire lives. Not only are young people experiencing a disproportionately high rate of unemployment, but studies show they are not learning the skills needed to enter the job market. This audience also didn’t identify as entrepreneurs even if they were working as freelancers.

To these young people, an “entrepreneur” is Richard Branson, not the hard-working subcontractor pursuing flexibility, independence or creative control, rather than financial gain.

Strategy

Our work needed to spark a fresh and inspiring conversation that was inclusive to all entrepreneurial motivations and the realities of our changing workforce.

After our research, we believed that it’s dangerous to keep talking about entrepreneurs like they’re unicorns. Entrepreneurs come in all different shapes and sizes and are not only about financial success or explosive growth.

Direction

A Narrative for Futurpreneur

We wanted to recontextualize entrepreneurship and position it as a rising pillar of employment. Our work needed to communicate that entrepreneurship is not catered to an ‘elite’ group of people, but instead a viable and accessible career alternative for young people. We wanted to educate young Canadians on changing job market trends and provide useful resources (like those Futurpreneur offers) to encourage young Canadians to enter into entrepreneurship and/or identify with it.

Shifting the Perspective

This presented an opportunity to redefine the Futurpreneur name —moving from ‘future entrepreneurs’ (unicorns) to ‘our future is entrepreneurs’ (everyone). This shift better aligned Futurpreneur with its core audience. It allowed us to speak directly to young people and invite conversations about how owning your own business can offset the uncertainty of a rapidly shifting economy and provide benefits a traditional job can’t.

Work is Changing.

“Work Is Changing” was our core message and the foundation of our campaign. Awareness is the result of building context, so we worked with Futurpreneur to research and develop five narrative themes.

  1. Employment and industry disruption
  2. Shifting economic trends to self employment
  3. National growth depends on new business
  4. Jobs are asking more and giving less
  5. Lack of viable job options

Execution

Campaign

This presented an opportunity to redefine the Futurpreneur name —moving from ‘future entrepreneurs’ (unicorns) to ‘our future is entrepreneurs’ (everyone). This shift better aligned Futurpreneur with its core audience. It allowed us to speak directly to young people and invite conversations about how owning your own business can offset the uncertainty of a rapidly shifting economy and provide benefits a traditional job can’t.

A Campaign Destination – workischanging.ca

Once our concept was developed into a multi-year campaign, we focused on creating long-term, high-value assets to be leveraged for audience education and wide-scale promotion. We designed and developed a comprehensive resource hub at workischanging.ca to house all content created around “Work is Changing” and its narrative themes.

Campaign Standards

Once campaign materials were finalized by Futurpreneur Canada, we formalized campaign standards for future implementation.

The Change – An Anchor Content Piece

Following a comprehensive content strategy, we created an anchor content piece on workischanging.ca called “The Change.” This piece outlined our core message “Work is Changing,” its purpose and its relevance to readers. This piece is relevant all year, highly shareable online and visually compelling. “The Change” was designed to be a core promotional asset for Futurpreneur across social channels and other paid initiatives.

TheChange

The content demonstrated how work has changed in the past, why the new economic shift is different and how the changes are affecting young Canadians.

Focusing on high-value content

A Journalistic Approach to Content

Early in our research, we found the people leading the conversation around work were journalists with institutions like Vice and the CBC. Our content strategy focused on providing a variety of insights and opinions on current events related to our campaign. Our strategy included high-quality journalistic content and we created a structure for how different kinds of content would live on workischanging.ca.

Long Form Content

These pieces are longer in length and explore our themes in depth. Their purpose is to educate visitors and introduce them to the specifics and nuances within each theme. These pieces were also designed for visibility.

Short Form Curated Content

These curated content pieces are focused on timely responses to trends in the media while still contributing to our narrative themes.

Conversion-Oriented Content

The objective of our conversion oriented content was to present entrepreneurship as a strong alternative to the trends explored within the “Work is Changing” platform. This content is designed to link directly to Futurpreneur’s calls-to-action, such as loan applications, business planning tools, Futurpreneur resources, etc.

ConversionOrientedContent

Our content strategy was designed to move visitors through the website, educate them on how work is changing and illustrate how entrepreneurship can be a viable answer to that change.

Each of our five narrative themes influenced how we categorized content. We created five categories:

  1. Employment and industry disruption
  2. Shifting economic trends to self employment
  3. National growth depends on new business
  4. Jobs are asking more and giving less
  5. Lack of viable job options

We sourced writers and curated over 15 content pieces in order to launch the hub with a full suite of content. These content pieces were developed looking at relevant search terms and trending social topics.

Awareness and Future Growth

At Brandish, whenever we develop a concept, we ensure that it serves a larger strategic purpose for our client. Workischanging.ca was created to educate audiences who needed an understanding of the greater economic context, while providing Futurpreneur with an asset that could evolve. With the larger objective of raising awareness for Futurpreneur Canada’s mandate across the country, Workischanging.ca and its accompanying content would form a foundation for future campaigning.

Outcome

Through this strategy, we positioned Futurpreneur as a problem solver and supporter for young Canadians facing a challenging job economy.

Definition

We defined the organization so it clearly communicated its value to their audience, future entrepreneurs. This definition positioned Futurpreneur as the leading organization in Canada to support young Canadians looking to pursue entrepreneurship.

Building context

Our work built context surrounding why entrepreneurship is a viable option for young Canadians. We were able to provide context by analyzing Canada’s changing workforce and demystifying what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. For this project, it was important to build context in order to build a meaningful connection with Futurpreneur’s desired audience.

Delivering valuable content

The content that supported our strategy was high-value and strategic. By building out categories for our content, we were able to deliver content that was not only engaging but presented valuable data that confirmed the nature of work is changing and therefore supported Futurpreneur’s messaging and brand platform. Our centrepiece content, the “Work is Changing” initiative aimed to increase interest in Futurpreneur’s services by drawing attention to the shifting patterns of current and future employment. This initiative also provides Futurpreneur with an invaluable platform to continue the conversation.

Futurpreneur gained perspective and context that they can now share with young Canadians looking towards entrepreneurship as a potential future.

Careers

info@brandishagency.com

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brandish 2021