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, 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 appeals to people and makes them want to know more. Inform: Now that we have peoples' attention, answer some of their questions, help them understand the offering a bit better and describe it, show how it works. 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 planning, campaigns and audience engagement strategies – as well as on the tactical level where each piece of content does its job and 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 smaller, forward-looking 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 developing innovative products and impact-driven services, the plans, campaigns and visual presence that Brenda has contributed to have become springboards for clients' brands, with growth from new ties with customers, partners and media.
Brenda has created content that has built trust and reputation for leaders, helping them be on-point with messaging that is relevant now. Across 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. Her volunteer work includes having mentored for HackerNest; advisor to MaRS' social innovation, tech and cleantech ventures and mentoring Futurpreneur startups. She has participated in conferences and tech events on aging, supporting audience engagement and 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 help clients communicate issues in ways that are meaningful to the people they want to reach.
Brenda van Ginkel has worked 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 magazines for leading retail brands, Brenda art directed Toronto Life magazine and was a contributing art director to Maclean's magazine. Some of her work in design, advertising and magazines is included in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum in a collection of Gold Awards from the Canadian Advertising & Design Club of Canada. The campaigns and magazines she has contributed to consistently developed trust and respect in markets and expanded brand awareness – and has informed her rewarding consulting practice supporting purpose-led projects.
“Brenda and her team guided us through a rebranding 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
“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
"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 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. – Seema
“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