Last September, after months of engagement and brand strategy development, we launched our new commercial district placebrand for Strathcona. Our brand celebrates all the people and businesses that make Strathcona different and exceptional. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 to bring people together, over this past year we’ve managed to bring our new placebrand to life in the streets and across digital channels. Through storytelling and activations we showcase what our members do to make Strathcona a vibrant and resilient community. Here’s how we’ve been bringing Strathcona to the hearts and minds of people across the Lower Mainland, welcoming everyone to come as they are, whoever they are.
New Website and Directory
We launched a new website that showcases the distinct character of our commercial district and draws people in to discover something different in Strathcona. A comprehensive member directory features all the businesses in Strathcona across our varied sectors. Members can now easily access our program services and information about what we do on behalf of the district. Since launching the website it’s been visited 19,880 times by 6504 unique users.
We continue to maintain 400 street pole banners across the district. The current wordmap design of place names on our banners leans into the diversity of the district of Strathcona. The refreshed design and colours bring vibrancy and pride of place to our streets.
#DoDifferent and Member Features
The inspiration behind our #DoDifferent hashtag are the stories of people and businesses in Strathcona doing things in their own unique and unexpected ways. Working with professional photographers and videographers, we’re capturing more original member portraits, behind the scenes photos, and video footage than ever before. We also amplify the content that our business members and community visitors share. We have featured a total of 72 unique Strathcona businesses across our social media channels in the last year. In that time we’ve seen a 56% growth in followers on our Instagram channel. As part of our focus to increase engaging video content, we’ve published two district promotional videos, three business feature videos, and 20 Instagram Reels. Our video content alone has reached 38,733 cumulative views across our social platforms.
In October 2020 we held our first ever Halloween Hop in partnership with the Strathcona Community Policing Centre, Strathcona Residents Association, and Raycam Centre. Eleven businesses and organizations in and around the 800 Block of East Hastings took part in this family-friendly trick-or-treat event. Local employees dressed up in fabulous Halloween costumes to safely hand out candy outside their businesses, and event-goers of all ages enjoyed some Halloween family fun.
Our November Dine Strathcona campaign brought together 17 businesses in Strathcona’s hospitality community to showcase the neighbourhood’s vibrant culinary scene while raising funds to provide support for vulnerable individuals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Participating dining establishments offered a feature dish throughout the two-week event period, with proceeds from each dish ordered donated to the WISH Drop-In Centre. In addition to dining in, Dine Strathcona encouraged people to order take-out and delivery options to accommodate the challenging health order restrictions on restaurants at that time. The campaign was covered by 32 media articles, and earned 9.4 million impressions from traditional media. By working with local food influencers, the social media related posts of the campaign earned 1.21 million impressions. Despite the timing of the health order restrictions, over 640 feature dishes were sold in the two-week time frame, which amounted to approximately $10,000 in cumulative sales.
Gift Big Shop Small
In December, to support our retail sector, we ran a Gift Big Shop Small campaign to support shopping locally for the holiday season. Customers were encouraged to spend $25 or more at three participating locations in order to win a $25 Visa card to support shopping local. Nine Strathcona businesses took part, and many happy customers enjoyed discovering all of Strathcona’s unique offerings for the holidays.
Love Your City
In February, Strathcona joined 15 other neighbourhoods across Vancouver to run the Love Your City Contest, a call to get out, explore our city, and find LOVE in our neighbourhoods. Event-goers could enter the city-wide contest by finding love related murals and installations in each neighbourhood and posting them to their Instagram profile. Plus, in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day we did a daily prize giveaway on our Instagram channel to local businesses and received over 2000 contest entries!
Automotive Sector Promotion
We have over 25 businesses in our community that assist with all types of motor vehicle needs. Our Automotive sector campaign in April highlighted five participating auto-sector businesses and supported them to run in-store and online contests to help engage existing and new customers. The campaign received 364 cumulative contest entries across the five businesses, featured original photography and quotes from sector employees on our social media, and helped solidify why Strathcona is one of the best areas in Vancouver for auto services.
In an effort to support our restaurant sector when Provincial health restrictions started up again in April and May of 2020, we ran a Takeout Strathcona campaign to encourage people to keep on supporting their favourite Strathcona dining establishments by ordering take-out and delivery. By raffling off gift cards to local restaurants through weekly Instagram contests, we encouraged new customers to discover the amazing dining options we have here. We showcased our favourite takeout items with fun weekly Reels on Instagram that earned over 15,000 impressions across our platforms.
Art Walk Strathcona
Strathcona is home to some of the most notable contemporary art galleries in Vancouver and across the country. In May and June we ran our inaugural Art Walk Strathcona campaign to celebrate our gallery sector. Strathcona’s galleries came together to bring a diverse selection of contemporary art from Indigenous and Canadian artists to the streets on billboards along East Hastings. Art Walk Strathcona invited people to take a self-guided walk to discover the billboard images, and explore the associated exhibitions taking place throughout May and June in Strathcona’s gallery district. In addition to the billboard campaign, we featured participating galleries on our social media channels, and created a transit ad for Art Walk Strathcona that reached communities across the Lower Mainland. Art Walk Strathcona reached over 20,000 users across digital channels.
The Temporary Expedited Patio Permit program meant it was a patio season in Vancouver like no other. To amplify the patio dining experience and to encourage customers to dine on patios all summer long, Strathcona BIA joined 15 other districts for the promotional PATIO campaign, which included a city-wide contest to crown the best patios in the city. An online patio map featuring all the patios across Vancouver, including those in Strathcona, was distributed widely by several campaign media partners. People were encouraged to follow along @patiovancouver to enter daily contest opportunities. Over on our own Instagram channel we shared a steady stream of patio pics and videos to highlight the excellent patio options in Strathcona this year.
To learn more about the Temporary Expedited Patio Permit program visit our advocacy report.
Bike to Shop
Strathcona was a community sponsor of HUB Cycling’s Bike to Shop event in August, along with 20 other participating districts across Metro Vancouver. Nine local businesses in our neighbourhood signed up to offer sweet deals and delicious freebies to customers who biked to their shop during the event. To celebrate Bike to Shop in Strathcona we sponsored a Knowledge HUB outside of the Landyachtz Factory store where people could enjoy free basic bike maintenance, complimentary snacks, and giveaways from Strathcona businesses. 2245 people registered for the event, and many of those participants discovered businesses in Strathcona as a result.
Fostering a sustainable and flourishing cultural community is important to us. We continue to provide community sponsorships year over year so that other local organizations serving the economic resilience of the district are supported. For the 2020/2021 fiscal year those included, The Powell Street Festival, Eastside Culture Crawl, Coldest Night of Year, WISH Drop-In Centre, and nəćamat Urban Indigenous Women’s Village of Wellness, a community wellness event for Indigenous women in Strathcona.