Wrapping Up the Season
Our Year in Review
I suspect that 2016 will be remembered as a year of significant change… for lots of reasons. We are no different. As I reflect on 2016, the first term that comes to mind is ‘change’. Change always presents businesses unique opportunities to adapt to better serve their customers. In our case, we changed in three significant ways:
We became a Certified B Corporation.
We focused on our impact areas.
We saw a change in our ownership.
First, adopting our status as a B Corp allowed us to focus on the importance of being a sustainable business and looking after all the stakeholders in our business including: customers, employees, vendors, our community, our environment and our shareholders. It has changed the ways we operate and the lens we use to view our business activities - all in positive ways.
Secondly, we continued to focus our efforts in the mental health and arts and culture industries with even more precision. We believe in the importance of mental wellness and helping to educate, inform and fight the stigmas associated with mental illness. We are excited to close out the year working with local health agencies such as CMHA Middlesex and mindyourmind.ca (who continue to do amazing work with Be Safe and other mental health initiatives for youth).
Our continued expansion into the arts and culture space has helped our customers to benefit from a greater breadth and depth of experience that can benefit all the organizations we support. In particular we were happy to welcome regional arts customers like the Grand Theatre, #WePlayOn, Forest City Film Festival and Montréal’s SBC Gallery, as well as organizations that have national/provincial impact such as the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario Presents and Business for the Arts.
Lastly, one of our founding partners has moved on from our organization to start his own journey to help clients discover and enhance their culture. Shawn was doing this work internally as Chief Culture Officer, and is key to our organization’s development into an agency that has received recognition and awards for employee development (and our certification as a B Corp that is good for its employees). The remaining partners, Josh and I, wish Shawn well on his new journey.
- David Billson
Celebrations of Holidays Past
This time of year, we often reflect on where we came from and look forward to where we’re going. We had a plan to forego our typical holiday greeting so we could put our best efforts into our first ever annual report as a B Corp (coming to you January 2017), but as the year continues to draw to a close, we’ve found ourselves reminiscing (as is the way of the season) and have pulled together a few memories of our greetings from holidays past.
2011: The year we “walked” in a winter wonderland.
‘Tis the season to embrace your inner child, and we took this opportunity to play with HTML5. To let our clients know we were donating to ReForest London on their behalf (we planted the trees the following year), we took them on a little digital journey and ended up at a sweet digital snowglobe.
2013: The year we embraced our inner Santa / pop star.
For anyone who ever wondered what kind of Santa they’d be if they were a Santa, we made a fun, interactive personality test (with a nod to the pop hit of the day in question 3). From Bad Santas to Hipster Santas, we had a Santa for everyone (complete with companion paper dolls).
2014: The year we gave even BETTER advice.
Inspired by some of our favourite holiday movies, we created an advent calendar full of inspired design and words of wisdom. Breaking from our three-year tradition of donating to ReForest London, we decided to sprinkle our donations around and chose organizations that aligned in some way with the theme of the film or advice.
2015: The year we were competitive and things got a little hairy.
We took the opportunity of rebranding as Ellipsis Digital (our digital marketing agency) and Engine SevenFour (our custom software development shop) to engage in a little friendly competition. We pitted cats (and a bird, in an unlikely alliance) against dogs in a social media showdown for good (we donated to A.R.F. Ontario as our annual community gift).
As much as we like to reminisce, we also like to be present. Here are a few of our favourite campaigns and goodies for this holiday season:
- Heart Fun: From the heart of a seven-year-old (and daughter of fellow B Corp champion, Greg Hemmings), Heart Fun is based on a mission to “spread messages of love, kindness, inclusion and happiness!” If you need a little something to kick of a year of love and kindness, consider ordering an awesome, ethically-sourced “Heart Fun” or “Be an Includer” shirt.
- #25DaysofAwesome: Oliver Russell, another B Corp, is celebrating the movement this holiday season with a spotlight on (and daily giveaway of) products from 25 awesome companies using business as a force for good.
- Put Your Phone Down: Because this is the season to connect with the people you love, our friends over at REDspace have created a cool, “barely interactive experience” to encourage you to connect offline while you’re with the people who matter most to you.
Happy holidays to all of you from all of us!