Case Studies

Capturing the Voices and Experiences of People Living in Poverty

Challenge: With the indicators of poverty at an all time high, our client needed accurate  data on the experiences of those living in Poverty, but also a need to hear their voices and stories to bring that data to life in a real way for stakeholders, and to spark solutions within the community.

Methodology: This multi-phase project included a project kick-off for all community partners, a quantitative survey, a series of focus groups, and peer-to-peer interviews with those with a lived experience of poverty, and ended with a gallery style community engagement event where community partners and our participants experienced the data and voices though live viewing and recordings.


  • Broadening our definition of poverty and expanding views of available capital will allow for more appropriate, people friendly solutions and strategies. Those living in poverty balance limited financial capital by leaning on other more plentiful capitals to move closer to goals, social and human capital which can offer support. But accessing the essential elements of life without financial capital is much more complicated and time consuming. While, relying on networks can be both uplifting, and a source of stress. Family and friends may provide comfort, but may also keep people stuck in old patterns, or colliding with old arguments and issues.
  • For some respondents with ongoing connections to service providers, those relationships are treated like friendships. There is a lot of trust especially within small organizations that meet regularly. These services give people living in poverty a place to belong and feel safe, which is often missing in their lives. But service provider schedules, eligibility rules, and limited access can be stressful, and not aligned with the complexity of respondents’ lives.
  • In lives with deep complexity, progressing towards even a simple goal can seem overwhelming and/or impossible. In the complex and fluxing experience of poverty, every decision has to be perfect because the stakes are so high and the margin for error is so small. We need to work upstream to help with decision-making and skill development prior to a need for urgent support and services. Identification of hopes and dreams can help to empower a person to develop and move forward towards their goals


  • The results were showcased a gallery style event with community partners and stakeholders from across the County of Simcoe to engage and spark discussions with service providers and
  • All the data and information was used to build an evidence-based strategy and plan for poverty reduction in Simcoe County.

Creating Content and Social Media Experiences that Spark Action and Donations

Challenge: Our client wanted to understand the social media dynamic people had with the organization, garner insight on the potential role of various social media channels in their ability to build meaningful relationships with their fan base, and how social media channels impact donation and fundraising behaviour.

Methodology: A two-tiered qualitative and quantitative research program was designed.

  1. To begin, 50 Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 50 years from their Facebook page were screened based on region, life stage and current engagement with the organization. This micro community completed 4 online, often multiple media assignments on the following topics – Social Media Behaviour, Donation and Fundraising Attitudes, Motivators and Barriers, User-Generated Content, and Fundraising Execution.
  2. To further develop the insights gathered in the first phase, a quantitative survey was fielded. This phase examined the differences and similarities across those currently on their social channels and those that have donated in the past – producing a social media user profile and a donor profile. The survey captured how fans and donors first entered into a relationship with our client and how social media has influenced their engagement and most importantly fostered the relationship through these channels.


  • Foster knowledge of the organization: Give people the information they need to talk about and act upon the mission set out by the organization. This not only empowers the individual but also binds the entire community in collective action. Turning passion into advocacy.
  • Social Media is a tool to foster commitment: Community is essential to increasing a connection to the cause, and sparks small acts of individual actions, initiatives to stimulate awareness and increases monetary donations, all of which results in a powerful collective movement.
  • Give people a platform to use their voice: What is a community if they do not have the opportunity to participate in the dialogue? Yes, social media allows people to like, share and comment, but content creation demonstrates the organization’s commitment and courage to fully include the people in the social movement.

Outcome and Results:

  • So far the results have developed their content strategy, channel marketing initiatives, and marketing materials for their 2014/2015 goals.
  • Based on the learning, our client has begun to focus on more local community events in their core urban markets, with a particular emphasis in their largest and most active market, the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Lastly, the results from Facebook Analytics revealed that by applying our learning – content strategy, tone of voice and initiating Fan involvement – they have grown their Comments, Shares, Likes and Clicks their posts.

Youth Innovation Community

Challenge: Our client had identified a low engagement level with youth globally, both internally and externally. This was a concern internally for HR succession issues, and externally from a marketing and communications standpoint. As a company focussed on innovation and new products, there was no reason they shouldn’t be able to appeal to the youth demographic, who value technology and innovation. We were challenged to understand how young people view and understand innovation and organizations to create a strategy to engage youth at all levels.

Methodology: We developed an online innovation community followed by a half-day in person Innovation Session with our youth community, corporate executives and advertising team. Broadly, we were seeking to develop, a customized strategic understanding of young Canadian’s media habits, proclivities and key trends as it related to their work lives, and their perspectives on corporations, business and careers. Through a series of assignments, and the in-person session we explored more specifically:

  • How young people view their future careers and work life
  • Understand what innovation means to young people, and how it affects both their personal lives and work lives
  • Explore how they interact with organizations, large and small, and their expectations from those interactions
  • How they understand our client and their products and services, and the resonance of the client products in their lives.


  • Canada is full of location costs for young people: Canada’s geographic and diverse populations create many challenges and costs for young people. They may want one thing, but reaching it isn’t always straightforward for them. Working for a large organization often means personal sacrifices to where and how they live.
  • Innovation is a noun and a verb: They see innovation everywhere, from the smallest change in a product, to a way of thinking. The speed of change that exists is natural to them, and stagnation or doing things simply because “we’ve always done them this way” are seen as unacceptable for young people, and they will become quickly frustrating.
  • Control, Flexibility, Technology and Collaboration: Organizations that show them that they value the same things they do, will be able to attract young people. This means in some cases significant culture shifts, and openness to change.

Outcome and Results:

  • The overall strategy drilled down to a video series and micro-site as an online portal for young people to learn more about the client in a youth relevant way, focussed on the points that are most important to their lives and lifestyle.
  • A significant repositioning was recommended around how they communicate HR and Work life, and their recruitment strategy.