Category Archives: Marketing Communications

A case study in motion: I’m running for Kitchener City Council

city hall 016

Postscript Oct. 28: Although I could point to many successes in my election campaign, I came in second.

I’m running for City Council for Ward 10 in Kitchener, Ontario.

My candidacy is a result of years of working to make Kitchener the best place it can be. I started my first blog 4 1/2 years ago which focused on making the world a better place starting with a better Kitchener. That was an extension of the conversations and information sharing I’d started on Twitter a year older.

I’m proud that I’ve been able to make a difference in my community through my company. The awareness campaigns that I’ve done for Women’s Crisis Services in particular have helped to improve life for some people. While my PR work for the Waterloo Region Early Learning Coalition helped many families.

My professional life is what inspired me to start the nonprofit community organization Social Media Breakfast: Waterloo Region. Over three years, more than 900 people attended 24 low cost events ($10) featuring a mix of social media stars and local speakers and panels.

But this post is not intended as an opportunity to trumpet my own horn.

A case study in progress

I’ve been following my own advice and have approached my campaign as an integrated marketing campaign. I’m not prepared to talk strategy before the election on Monday. But I’d like to share some of what I’ve been doing as examples of elements of an integrated marketing campaign.

Some of these elements are:Food truck event for James Howe

  • A campaign launch event with food trucks to demonstrate how I’ve made a difference
  • A sign that features one of my key messages: James knows HOWE to make a difference (see above)
  • A biography flyer that featured another key message: James HOWE knows Ward 10
  • A campaign brochure that shared examples of how I make a difference and my ideas for moving Kitchener forward
  • Cards featuring my 5 priority files for Ward10
  • Continued activity on my personal Twitter account
  • An active candidate Facebook page
  • I took my WordPress-hosted blog and transformed it into a self-hosted website with an integrated blogJAMES-CARD-6x-6
  • I continued actively blogging on issues important to Kitchener and Ward 10
  • Videos of speeches I’ve made
  • A radio
  • A newspaper ad
  • Facebook ads – promoting my Facebook page and my website

And all within a reasonably modest budget!

For this campaign, the evaluation of success is easy: Will I be elected or not?

Anecdotally, I’m getting good feedback on what is described as a “clever” slogan and substantive, specific materials. One person tweeted that I communicated my platform better than any other candidate. As a communications professional, what better compliment could I ask for?

I expect at some point I’ll share a review of my campaign from a communications perspective.

What happens to Communicate & Howe if I win?

My blogging activity here has been reduced as I campaign so you may be wondering if getting elected means the end of my company. The answer is no. I’ll continue to run Communicate & Howe! and work with clients in Waterloo Region, across Ontario or wherever else you may be.

In Kitchener, being a City Councillor is considered a part-time job so I’ll have time to continue helping nonprofits deliver their mission and strive for their vision through strategic use of communications.

In fact, having my own company ensures I have the flexibility to fulfill my responsibilities to both the citizens of Kitchener and my clients.


Digital Marketing That Gets Results (#14NTCdigital)

I’m just back from Washington D.C. where I attended the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14NTC) presented by NTEN. More than 2,000 others attended making it the largest gathering yet of folks interested in the noprofit use of technology from IT, communications and development perspectives. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of presenting as part of… Continue Reading

Putting the power of word of mouth marketing to work

Word of mouth marketing is the best way to promote your organization and its programs and services. It’s a traditional promotional tool that has stood the test of time because people value what they learn from others. The stronger the relationship, the greater the value they place in word of mouth–for better or worse. That’s… Continue Reading