Futurpreneur Canada is a national, non-profit organization that provides
financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners
Following a rebrand from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to
Futurpreneur Canada, the organization needed to launch a national
brand campaign. Futurpreneur enlisted Brandish to develop a way of
addressing the nation about the need for more young entrepreneurs and
their increasing importance in our economy.
To create a new narrative for Futurpreneur, we spent a significant
amount of time evaluating the national conversation around Canadian
youth and entrepreneurship.
Technology is disrupting the workforce.
Young people are entering an economy that, for their entire lives, has
been unpredictable. Waves of technological advancements are changing
the labour force and disrupting the job market every day. Things like
artificial intelligence and automation are displacing entry level jobs that
historically formed the foundation for long-term careers. Not only are
young people experiencing a disproportionately high rate of
unemployment, studies show they are also learning skills may already be
out of date for the job economy they are entering.
Trends like automation are only amplifying challenges in the national job
market caused by globalization. Major emerging economies are
becoming more competitive in areas that the North American economy
has traditionally been dominant, such as the design and manufacture of
semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and information technology services.
Nobody is Supporting the Emerging Workforce
Very few organizations are explaining to young people that they’re
individually competing in a global marketplace for their jobs.
Until recently, entrepreneurship has been viewed as risky, unattainable
and ultimately out of grasp for the average person.
Futurpreneur already communicates that they help reduce the risk often
associated with entrepreneurship, a new narrative needed to be applied
to entrepreneurship as a whole. One that inspires young Canadians to
take risks and explore the idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur.
While starting your own business can be risky, for young people, so is
pursuing a traditional career.
Despite popular belief, entrepreneurship is not always about seeking
rewards or chasing success. Despite many of the voices around
entrepreneurship supporting that narrative, young entrepreneurs told us a
different story. These young Canadians didn’t think of themselves as
typical ‘entrepreneurs’; they viewed themselves as small business
owners, freelancers, or subcontractors. Their driving factors for
self-sufficient career choices were for economic necessity or for a desire
to have a flexible work-life balance.
This 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.
With 34% of our workforce
now made up of freelancers
(projected to be 50% by 2020)
There are a significant number of young people already working as
entrepreneurs. They often wouldn’t categorize themselves as
entrepreneurs. To these young people, an “entrepreneur” is Richard
Branson, not a hard-working subcontractor pursuing flexibility,
independence or creative control, rather than financial gain.
It’s dangerous to keep talking about entrepreneurs like they are unicorns.
Entrepreneurs come in all different shapes and sizes and are not only
about financial success or explosive growth. We knew we needed to
spark a new conversation that is inclusive to all entrepreneurial
With the goal of recontextualizing entrepreneurship and positioning it as
a rising pillar of employment, we had to educate young Canadians on the
trends of the changing job market. Our hope was that the facts
associated with entrepreneurship would elicit a sense of ease and
accessibility, especially when sharing the resources available to them
through Futurpreneur Canada.
Our work needed to communicate that entrepreneurship is no longer the
domain of an ‘elite’ group of people, but instead a viable and accessible
career alternative for young people. This presented an opportunity to
recontextualize the futurpreneur name as well. Moving from that of
‘future entrepreneurs’ (Unicorns) to ‘our future is entrepreneurs’
This shift better aligned Futurpreneur with it’s core audience. It allowed
us to speak directly to young people about how owning your own
business can offset the uncertainty of a rapidly shifting work economy
and provide benefits a traditional job can’t.
WORK IS CHANGING.
The ways in which we work are changing — profoundly and forever. Old
rules are being replaced with new norms, driven by technology and
changes in the economy. The best way to prepare is with open and
well-informed conversations around the trends causing these change. As
organizations across Canada become more involved in discussing how
work is changing, Futurpreneur can help lead the conversation and
ensure entrepreneurship has a clear place in the discussion.
“Work Is Changing” was our core message and the foundation of our
campaign. Awareness comes from 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.
Once we had developed our campaign message and accompanying
themes, we built core media assets to demonstrate how the narrative
themes would be represented in-market.
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 to house all content created around “Work
is Changing” and its narrative themes.
We created an anchor content piece on Workischanging.ca to outline “Work is Changing”, its purpose and its relevance to readers. We invested heavily to make sure that this piece would be 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.
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. Through storytelling and an approachable, informative tone, we wanted to better prepare young people across Canada and empower them to evaluate all the facts when making decisions about their careers.
Part of the approach was to communicate how not all change is bad. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are empowered by technology that can help them scale at a lower cost than ever before. We knew it was important to demonstrate the significant opportunity for young people who are starting their own businesses.
Early in our research, we found that most participants leading the
conversation around work were journalistic institutions like Vice or the
CBC. Our content strategy focused on providing a variety of insights and
opinions on current events related to our campaign. Our strategy was to
provide high-quality journalistic content, and create 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 outlined in
depth. Their core purpose is to educate visitors and introduce them to
the specifics and nuances within each theme. Each of these pieces was
also designed for visibility
Example: The Robots are Coming: How Automation Will Change Your
Short Form Curated Content
Curated content is focused on timely and responsive trends in the media
relevant to each of our narrative themes. Following the launch of the hub,
our goal was to provide enough content and structure working with
Futurpreneur that this content would eventually become the
responsibility of Futurpreneur Canada.
Example: Boston Consulting Group’s Robot That Will Kill Your Job.
Conversion oriented content would present Entrepreneurship as a strong
alternative for the trends being 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....
Example: Entrepreneurship is on the Rise.
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; economics, technology +
automation, innovation + growth, future of work and entrepreneurship.
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.
Once campaign materials were finalized by Futurpreneur Canada, we
formalized campaign standards for future implementation.
Following the completion of Workischanging.ca, we developed an
in-depth content strategy for Futurpreneur Canada. Our goal was to
empower their internal team to continue building the Work is Changing
website. We developed a plan for curated content that outlined our
process for sourcing and developing new posts.