The Agency A List: Craft PR

Storycraft and senior smarts
For the re-launch of GE Appliances’ style-centric Café line, Craft tapped Canada’s most stylish food expert – Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski – for social content integration, and kicked the program off with a VIP dinner at the AGO.

For the re-launch of GE Appliances’ style-centric Café line, Craft tapped Canada’s most stylish food expert – Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski – for social content integration, and kicked the program off with a VIP dinner at the AGO.

Lisa Pasquin, founder and president of Toronto-based Craft Public Relations, has seen her five-year-old firm grow from one person, a laptop and a mobile phone to 14 practitioners united on a mission to, in her own words, “tell stories so compelling others want to share them”.

In the pre-digital world, ‘others’ were usually journalists at major media outlets. They were the ultimate judge of whether the story you were pitching made it to print or air.

Now, when ‘on air’ encompasses a growing array of digital platforms with highly fragmented audiences, ‘others’ can include a diverse group of online content creators or even consumers themselves.

But the approach, Pasquin explains, remains the same: finding stories that fall at the intersection of ‘brand truth’ and ‘human truth’.

One hurdle to navigate is when the stories a brand wants to tell won’t naturally “generate water cooler conversation”. So vetting for topics that work on both fronts is required, always mindful of not losing the brand in the equation.

She cites a recent activation for long-time client, Moosehead Breweries. Back in January 2019, there was extensive media chatter about Mac the Moose, a giant statue in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan whose title of world’s tallest moose was challenged by a new statue in Norway. Stephen Colbert dubbed it a ‘moose war’.

“That’s a human truth that was capturing the world’s attention, in which we saw the opportunity to communicate a brand truth: Moosehead’s connection to Canadian values,” says Pasquin. Craft worked with Moosehead to donate $25K to fund an ‘antlerectomy’ for Mac, helping him reclaim his title – and maintain Canadian pride.

“That’s a fun example of capitalizing on something people are actually talking about to deliver relevant messages on behalf of the brand,” says Pasquin.

Craft brought Moosehead into the moose wars news cycle, helping to win one for the home team; Moose Jaw mayor Fraser Tolmie cheers with Trevor Grant, Moosehead VP marketing and sales.

Craft brought Moosehead into the moose wars news cycle, helping to win one for the home team; Moose Jaw mayor Fraser Tolmie cheers with Trevor Grant, Moosehead VP marketing and sales.

Moosehead, along with Nintendo and GE Appliances Canada, have been clients since Craft’s first six months of business. Pasquin says “they realized we were offering big agency thinking with a much smaller model, cutting out a lot of the swirl that can happen with big frms.”

This concept continues to work for Craft. This past year saw a number of noteworthy wins, including The Bentway, Toronto’s not-for-profit park under the Gardiner Expressway, which has become the site of all manner of novel activations from art installations to a Halloween costume competition for dogs.

New business wins also include Yves Veggie Cuisine, a brand that has been a provider of plant-based foods for 30 years – long before plant-based became a thing. Their pitch, aimed at the fexitarian consumer, is built around an endorsement deal with Olympic figure skater Tessa Virtue.

Earth’s Own, another plant-based brand, and Flexday, a Toronto start-up that connects people with underused spaces that can serve as workspaces during the day also signed on to work with Craft. And to round-off the 2019 win column, Craft added The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and shopping mall Vaughan Mills to their roster.

Aside from her crew of seasoned senior practitioners, Pasquin attributes the firm’s successes to the good old-fashioned skill of storytelling, and knowing not just how to tell a compelling story, but where and who to tell it to. With that approach in mind, her ambition.

CONTACT:
Lisa Pasquin
President
lisa@craftpublicrelations.com