According to a study by the Conference Board of Canada, consumers are starting to demand more local choices on their plates. Maybe that’s part of the reason chef Randy Jones’ Mile One Eating House, in Pemberton BC, has taken off. From local grass-fed beef burgers to Pemberton potato fries on the side, the Mile One recipe for success starts right in their own back yard.
So when Mile One expanded their operation to provide an open kitchen local market area, they wanted a way to celebrate the local bounty and show their customers just how much the Pemberton Valley has to offer.
Click for a closer look!
They commissioned a piece of in-store art showing as many of the valley’s features (and quirks) as possible in a huge illustrated Lorne Craig cartooned poster.
As a recreational property owner in the area for almost 20 years, I was able to bring some of my own local knowledge to the table, and work with the Mile One team to identify key farming and food production areas up and down the valley. Randy also had no problem having some fun with local identity, which makes the piece a little more edgy and entertaining.
Not only does the illustration work as a holistic local valley zeitgeist, it is also high-resolution enough that the Mile One marketing team can use its myriad characters for any number of branding and marketing projects.
Consumers indicate that some of their motivation for purchasing local food is to support their local economy and farmers. Many also believe that local produce is fresher than alternatives.
All good reasons to check out the Mile One Eating House, and have a look at what local character can really bring to the table.
The real thing, with a compostable to-go container!
It’s hard to believe, but there may actually be a more wasteful process for improving Metro Vancouver’s transit system than the one proposed by the Mayor’s Council. And if the NO vote carries the day, we’re all going to get to see it first hand. And pay for it.
How can that possibly be?
Let’s begin by understanding that saying ‘NO’ is not a plan. In fact, it’s not even really a YES / NO situation. A more accurate wording choice would be, CONTINUE / RESTART.
Ah, but what about the no-tax-better-plan website? Certainly THAT offers a plan? Well, if you really read it, not so much. It’s more like 90% tax protest and 10% vague concept put forth by a group of ‘everyday people who live across our great region’. A fine example of grassroots democracy, to be sure. But it’s FAR from the debated and agreed-upon priority list pushed through the painful filters of political reality by the region’s Mayors.
Therefore, a NO vote really means ‘Back to the Drawing Board’. And we all know how that plays out. Committees, studies, delays and infighting. Kaching, Kaching, Kaching. All while we watch construction, land and opportunity costs rise, and congestion get worse.
So if you really want to change Translink, improve the plan and make things better, vote YES. Then get on a committee. Go to public meetings. Write letters. Hold our leaders responsible.
But PLEASE don’t vote NO and waste even more of our money on a restart none of us can afford.
Leave it to a Canadian entrepreneur to solve a problem that has plagued hockey for as long as the game has been played. ‘Bio-Jock’, a new line of single use, compostable hockey pads, is being developed by Vancouver businessman Ian Schraeker with the assistance of the UBC Sports Medicine Clinic and Solid Waste Services of Metro Vancouver.
“The stinky hockey bag is an unfortunate icon of our culture,” Schraeker says, “We are going to change all that. We now have the technology to make hockey protective gear as biodegradable as paper towels.”
Initial prototypes use waste material from sugar cane production called ‘bagasse’. It’s moisture-wicking, renewable, and has a shock-absorption rating to match that of closed-cell urethane foam. Schraeker says testing in simulated game collision modelling should be completed at UBC this month. Composting tests are also underway with the ‘used’ equipment at Metro Vancouver’s compost test facility.
So when will these pads be ready to cut the locker room funk at a local arena near you?
“We’re starting with the smallest, but most critical piece of gear,” Schraeker says, “The jock contributes more molecular stank per gram than any other piece of hockey equipment. So we plan to be into complete manufacturing of those by April 1st 2016. But until testing is complete, we don’t recommend anyone try composting these at home. You wouldn’t want to grow carrots from that dirt.”
How many times has this happened to you: – you arrive at the grocery store and realize that you have left your growing stack of reusable bags at home AGAIN, and short leaving a trail of loose carrots and dented tomato sauce cans leading to your door, you are forced to capitulate to the shame of plastic bags.
It’s not your fault. It’s all about triggers. This is just one of the theories in the bestselling book Contagious, Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger. The author contends that the strongest mental triggers reminding you to take your bags don’t occur until you get to the store – and by then it’s too late. If you want to remind people to bring bags, this activity should be related to (and triggered by) something at the beginning of the shopping experience. (Like making the list, for instance)
Unicycle Creative designed a large, robust recycling bag, featuring animated characters that represent a wide variety of take-backs. There’s also a cheat-sheet on one side panel, and links to the London Drugs info site greendeal.ca on the other.
The idea is that consumers will be reminded to take their recycling in to London Drugs, just as they prep for their shopping trip.
The bags (which contain recycled content and themselves are recyclable) have been rolled out over the course of the first quarter at London Drugs events and special occasions. So far, anecdotally, they have had a great visual impact.
So next time you have a reminder for people, consider the power of triggers, and focus on keeping them relevant and immediate to the heart of your audience and their stages of participation.
Oh, and if you want any illustrated triggers as well, let me know.
Marc Stoiber is a force of nature. I almost said freak of nature, but I didn’t. Not sure why, because he’s that, too.
Not only did he build a dazzling career, drinking with the world’s creative elite and working on brands that would make Don Draper salivate, he threw it all away in a mid-life bid to create the ultimate green agency (sound familiar?) sold it to focus on a career fostering innovation, then threw all THAT away to go surfing in Bali for a year and write a book.
But try as I might, I can’t do anything but admire Marc, and heartily recommend his new book ‘Didn’t See it Coming’ for anyone interested in the creative mind, our messed up planet and the Venn diagram intersection of those two irregular shapes.
In a tight 144 pages, Stoiber takes us through an honest look at the changing advertising business, a glimpse of future-proofing and a side-track of Zen and the art of brand self examination before opening the door to a world where failure is beautiful, secrecy is a myth and REAL design matters.
A few quotes:
“In high school, the career counselor asked me what I imagined myself doing for a living. I said I didn’t know, but I saw myself getting off an airplane in a good suit.”
“While big brand executives tinker, garage entrepreneurs invent bullets that will take those brands out of commission.”
“The Stupid Curve… we’ve been flooded with amazing devices, toys and tools…and you’ve been sentenced to life as a newbie, feeling perennially stupid and incompetent.”
Tasty and even relatively easy to digest.
If you’re at all curious about what’s coming up on the horizon, read ‘Didn’t See It Coming’. You won’t look back.
While compiling the most recent Unicycle Creative Demo Reel, I found myself observing the stylistic threads running through this rube Goldberg-like compendium of collected works. Is this a good thing? Should a branding firm cultivate a ‘style’?
If a client looking for a brand is like a family shopping for a sofa, it stands to reason that they should search within a range of companies that match their personal preferences, based on their history, values and personality.
If however, a brand is more like someone looking to have their car repaired or updated, they might seek out a reputable mechanic, and rely on them to make the right recommendations for that particular model and its needs.
In ‘Dimensions of Brand Personality’, Stanford School of Business Marketing Professor Jennifer L. Aaker breaks down basic personality traits into the ‘Big Five’: Sincerity, excitement, sophistication, competence and ruggedness. How would these facets of brand personality apply to a branding firm?
Sincerity is key, as trust is paramount when offering up your corporate underbelly for delicate brand surgery.
Excitement is a definite requirement, both for getting buy-in internally and for keeping energy levels up throughout what can be a long-term process.
Sophistication may or may not be required in the final product, though a refined process will certainly help.
Competence is probably desirable trait number one, as throwing money at an incompetent branding process is generally a recipe for a pink slip.
As for Ruggedness, the tenacity to push through the difficult stages of brand discovery and stand up to the constant corrosion of mediocrity and the temptation to take the ‘easy way out’ certainly requires a log-cabin-building type of fortitude.
I welcome any and all thoughts (from all personality types) on the elements of branding style – and obviously, any character traits observed in our own Unicycle Creative offering.
Well it has been a pretty well-assembled year here at Green Briefs and Unicycle Creative. To celebrate, I made this fun little card with my family, showing how all the pieces of 2014 clicked together (more or less) to create a pretty awesome set. Many best wishes and gratitude to all my readers, clients and friends who make being in this crazy business such fun. See you in the bigger, better 2015 set!
If you want a closer look, click on the image to download a PDF.
*’If I was King I’d Make the World Out of LEGO’ is actually the title of a blog I wrote for Sustainable Minds a few years back, imagining a completely standardized and upgradable world. Ahead of its time, perhaps… Read the original here.
We all get a warm fuzzy feeling when we think of the old corner store of our childhood. The friendly grocer, pacing the well-wooden floor, doling out neighbourly wisdom and penny candy… unfortunately, for many people, that’s still the impression they get when they think ‘Buy Local’. But LOCO BC is out to evolve that, with a new campaign developed in partnership with Fluid Creative and yours truly at Unicycle Creative.
At it’s core is the message that buying local has actual tangible economic benefits, as more money circulates in the economy and businesses support one another to build stronger communities. Check out the motion graphic #BCbuylocal video, produced by Unicycle (Lorne Craig) with graphics by Backyard Creative‘s Lisa Hemmingway. The numbers are real* and the impact is genuine.
The #BCbuylocal website features a plethora of pink dots that let shoppers know WHERE to shop local, and helps them understand what that even means. LOCAL OWNED, LOCAL MADE and LOCAL GROWN are the designations, and shoppers and merchants alike become LOCAL CHAMPIONS for joining the cause. The program also features stickers, signage and posters that local businesses can download and use to help spread the word. Funding support from local financial industry champion Vancity helps make it all possible.
So by all means, stop by and talk to your local merchant and feel the love. But also know that if you are marketing a local business, there may be a bigger economic story to tell as well.
*Video Data Sources: “The Power of Purchasing” (LOCO, Columbia Institute, Sauder School of Business), May 2013; ‘Independent BC: Small Business and the British Columbia Economy” (Civic Economics), February 2013
If you didn’t know we had a 25-year regional plan, don’t feel bad. Most people’s brains rust over when faced with terms like ‘Regional Context’ and ‘Transportation Demand Strategies’. But ‘Metro Vancouver 2040 – Shaping Our Future‘ is a plan so thorough, it was adopted unanimously in 2011 by 21 municipalities, a treaty First Nation, Translink and adjacent regional districts. So if you live here, your council approved it. One would be be hard pressed to get that herd of cats to agree on the colour of the sky.
So why isn’t this miraculous self-help book for our area’s growth and development being taught in schools, lauded in coffee shops and dissected on radio phone in shows? We’ll get to that. But first, let’s look at a few highlights that I discovered by getting up early for one of Metro Vancouver’s Sustainability Breakfast events.
With a million people saving up to move here by 2040, we need to align regional vision and local plans. We need to decide where to put our new friends, where they will work and how they will get around. It’s obvious that we can’t just build a taller downtown and spread single family sprawl miles into the suburbs. (Ask Calgary how that’s working out for them) Besides the fact that we have a mountain range, a border and the Pacific Ocean hemming us in, the simple math on transit shows that sending full trains and buses one way into town just so they can ride back to the burbs 90% empty to pick up more commuters just doesn’t make sense. That’s why density is being deliberately created in a series of urban centers and transit hubs that feed each other. Much to the apparent surprise of every neighbourhood that gets a residential tower approved.
Metro 2040 protects certain kinds of land uses. Industrial lands are becoming more scarce, under pressure from residential development profiteers. But we need those spaces for industries to employ people and provide local products and services. Likewise with our agricultural lands, which, although only comprising 1.5% of BC’s farmland, provide some 27% of the province’s farm receipts. So don’t expect it to get any easier to get approval to plow under a blueberry field or industrial park for your next townhome project.
We all know Vancouverites try to work as little as possible anyway. So 47% of the region’s land base is designated for conservation and recreation. And you can bet a majority of people want that protection to continue. Metro 2040 identifies sensitive ecosystems, wildlife corridors and areas for humans to get their nature fix. So again, we are looking at more people in about the same space. Trying to get around.
Which brings us to cars. Or rather, not. The auto; a fun idea for the 20th century, when we didn’t really know any better. Car use in our region is actually flat and/or declining. Even now, 27% of trips in Metro Vancouver are made by walking, cycling or transit. The target for 2040 is to almost double that total to 50%. Which brings us to the Mayor’s Council and the upcoming referendum on Transit. You’ve probably heard of THAT by now, as it means we are being asked to once again dig into what’s left of our take home pay with a half-percent added on to the PST in Metro Vancouver. With this sacrifice, we are supposed to also get a bunch more money from Victoria and Ottawa to build a Broadway subway, light rail through Surrey and a bunch of other stuff the really smart transportation people say we need.
But of course, so few people have been paying attention so far, that the whole Metro 2040 house of cards is in danger of being scuttled by a bunch of folks whose annual salaries average what the President of Translink spends on lunches in a year. They are understandably pissed about that inequity, and like anybody coming to a meeting late, think they must be able to offer a better idea than the one the overpaid desk jockeys have been working on for years.
So what’s a citizen to do? And how can Metro Vancouver tell their sustainability story better to help?
Well, if you have read this far (thanks – both of you) then why not continue by reading some of the Metro 2040 website. There’s a dry video that takes you through the overview, some cool maps and a baseline annual report on how we are doing so far.
But overall, you’ll probably find the experience daunting. It’s a lot of text, a staggering amount of data, and you have to really dig to find any cool bits. Which is too bad, because there is a lot of great thinking here, and it’s information that is unquestionably relevant to the million and a half people who live here.
So in the spirit of encouragement, here are a few thoughts:
How about introducing the whole 2040 site with a fast-paced, captivating info graphic animation? Show the challenges, the contexts and the solutions proposed. Heck, SELL the idea a bit more.This is a GOOD plan made by SMART people. And it’s already been approved by almost everybody. Include a cute dog.
Demonstrate what happens to regions that grow WITHOUT a plan like this... deserted downtowns, clogged freeways… this could be us if we don’t, say, approve the Transit referendum.
Show what the plan means to individuals. In the marketing business we call this creating a profile. Describe how a student will get around in 2040. Where a senior will travel to connect with her friends. How a farm worker will live and work here.
I am sure the hard working folks at Metro Vancouver have quite a lot on their plate, but I hope they can bring more of the Metro 2040 plan to the public with the impact it deserves.
Because it doesn’t matter how GOOD your plan is if no one knows it’s there.