People are attracted to brands they feel they can trust
Brenda van Ginkel uses her experience as a strategist and creative director to nimbly focus solutions to each client's needs. Just as no two clients are the same, each plan, website or creative initiative is unique for each client. Brenda's strategies, content and tactics for digital and in-real-life brand marketing communications deliver audience engagement, using the Narrative Build method to help clients inspire, inform and invite. It's a creative strategy process that Brenda developed from working with big brands and startups so budding brands or brands in transition can forge lasting connections with hearts and minds.
Inspire: At the first point of contact, we attract people with something that elicits a positive emotional response, creating a gut reaction. Rather than bombarding people with information and telling them what to do, this is the opener at a dinner party that makes people feel good and want to know more. Inform: Now that we have peoples' attention, we can answer some of their questions, help them understand the problem being solved and the offering a bit better and describe the options. This is where a brand becomes a subject expert. Invite: This last part is the closer, the invitation that brings people into the fold and converts them into customers, supporters and advocates for the brand.
This smart methodology has been shown to be effective on the planning level – on brand communications strategies as an example – and on the tactical level where each piece of content does its job. The step to invite becomes a call-to-action.
10 years ago, Brenda decided to shift her focus from award-winning creative that was getting great results for big brands to quieter, innovative projects that were flying under the radar simply because they just didn't have the competitive advantage of substantial brand marketing. Her vision was to transfer what she had learned from an accomplished career in design, advertising and publishing to smaller projects facing challenges simply because they didn't have a brand presence that resonated with a wider audience.
Working with purpose-led small and midsize businesses, social ventures and nonprofits that are developing innovative products and impact-driven services as well as with the arts sector, Brenda has created plans, campaigns and visual presence that have acted as springboards for clients, connecting them with customers, donors, partners and media.
Brenda has created content that has built trust and reputation for leaders, so they are on-point with messaging that is relevant now. For clients in a range of specialized niches – such as water tech, cleantech, social impact, food innovation, healthcare, consumer goods and culture sectors – the content, websites and campaigns developed have boosted clients' brands with lasting results, beyond the expectation of the project brief.
Brenda specializes in clients who support social and environmental responsibility. Past volunteer work includes mentoring for HackerNest; advisor to MaRS' social innovation, tech and cleantech ventures; mentor for Futurpreneur startups. She has participated in conferences and tech events on aging, supporting audience engagement and the user experience for new solutions. She is a past board member for Freshwater Future Canada and TIFF volunteer for the film festival. Constantly learning, Brenda has taken courses in business model generation, digital design, inbound content, user experience, inclusive leadership and eco-based disaster resilience to create up-to-the minute digital presence for brands and help clients communicate the pressing issues of change in ways that are meaningful to their audiences.
Brenda van Ginkel has more than 30 years of internationally-recognized experience on high-profile lifestyle, packaged goods, travel/hospitality, fashion, financial, retail and media brands; such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Canadian Pacific Hotels, Levi's, Club Monaco, Coca Cola, Ocean Spray, Kraft, Knorr, Mead Johnson, Wampole vitamins, BMO, Imperial Oil, Suzuki and more. Along with branded magazines for leading health and beauty and home décor labels, Brenda has art directed Toronto Life magazine and Maclean's (as contributing art director). Some of her design, advertising and editorial work is included in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum in a collection with other gold award-winning work from the Canadian Advertising & Design Club of Canada. The campaigns and magazines she has contributed to have consistently developed new markets and expanded brand awareness – and have informed her rewarding consulting practice supporting impact- and purpose-led projects.
“Brenda and her team guided us through a re-branding initiative at our company. When we launched the new look, logo and brand strategy, the response was phenomenal. Her philosophy on audience-centric branding has transformed the way we look at our company and now frames many of our decisions on new product development and marketing. Her ability to analyze an organization and industry and capture the essence of what defines and differentiates the brand from the rest of the pack is very remarkable.” – Alex Batler, Latoplast
“A savvy brand specialist with her finger on the pulse and a keen eye for delivering a client’s vision... Brenda is engaged, supportive, thoughtful and always keeps the client’s long-term goals top of mind.” –Julia Harper, Idea Workshop
"Brenda is the creator of Tiffinday's brand identity; when I first met her, all I had were words to describe what I felt my brand should look like. Brenda took the time up front to understand this ... to develop a creative strategy for the brand before any of the design elements could begin. Strategy drove the design and this is what I found most impressive about Brenda's mode of operation. The strategy document is what I have relied upon to drive all facets of Tiffinday's communication, which includes social media marketing, print advertising and media relations. Referring back to this document frequently has allowed me to keep the brand messaging consistent and focused. I have since hired Brenda to develop the visual identities for two other ventures, one being a sister brand to Tiffinday, and in consistent fashion, she has delivered excellent results. – Seema Pabari, Tiffinday
“An uncanny ability to draw out insights and founder values and sew them into stories that birth brands... Brenda's courage is impressive; my company seeks to disrupt the status quo. Where other marketers have feared to tread, Brenda jumped in, excited by the challenges of changing consumer opinion.” – Eli Cadesky, C-Fu Foods
"Coming out of a brand strategy Brenda had done, we commissioned her to write a series of case studies examining how Canadian organizations used diversity and inclusion initiatives to increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction. These articles attracted the attention of people who are sharing them for the lessons learned. The effect has been that people who aren’t diversity professionals but care about it have a better understanding of how to make their own workplaces more inclusive." – Michael Bach, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
"Brenda provided fantastic branding insight to our company and guidance to our team as we built up our marketing and content strategy. We worked together to develop inbound marketing content that had a direct effect on boosting our SEO ranking so that Econse was consistently in the top three." – Derek Davy, Econse
"Without solid brand footing, marketing and communications are like a house without a foundation. Brenda is a master builder. When the communications team at Skills for Change got the brand guidelines Brenda developed, their eyes lit up and their enthusiasm increased ten-fold. Especially in the age of social media, understanding your brand is absolutely essential." – Cheryl May, Skills for Change