SAINT JOHN- When it comes to the struggles charities and non-profits face with marketing and promotion, Zack Spear and Mike Capson have seen it all in their 10 years in business.
The owners of ICS Creativity Agency in Saint John have seen how so many non-profits in the city are already stretched thin, yet are tasked with the challenge of telling the story of what they do and who they help with the public.
“It’s an operation where you have to wear a lot of hats. If you’re working for a non-profit you probably have your set job, but you’re probably asked to do some other things that you wouldn’t normally be doing,” says Spear. “I know a few people who work for non-profits and they are there for fundraising, but they’re still doing marketing. They are still doing what they can to get people aware of it.”
Then there’s the matter of funds. An obvious course of action would be to hire an agency like ICS to help, but that also costs money – money many non-profits don’t have.
“If you want to reach a lot of people, you have to spend money. It’s not just about hiring an agency, it’s paying for the ad space. If you wanted to do Google Ads, for example, it’s expensive and you need a budget to do that,” says Spear. “I think that’s the biggest struggle – that and creating a message that makes the most sense so that non-profit people understand what they do.”
That’s why, to celebrate 10 years in business, ICS Creative Agency has decided to give away more than $35,000 in marketing services to non-profits and charities in the Greater Saint John area through an online contest.
“We wanted to figure out a way to give back,” says Spear. “There are so many businesses that give back and we don’t have the finances to give back large sums of money, but we can donate time and work extra to help.”
“It’s a way for organizations that may not have the budget to use our services,” adds Capson. “It gives them the opportunity to get a high-quality product.”
The contest will work like this: Non-profits in the community can nominate themselves online and choose the top three preferred prizes they’d like to win. Prizes range from a brand new custom-built website to things like a personalized social media strategy, photoshoot, a commercial, and logo design.
From there, the nominees will be narrow down to a shortlist of 10. ICS will then film a professional nomination video for each of the finalists which will highlight the work they do. Each nominee will be able to keep their nomination video for future use and promotion.
From there, the finalists will be showcased online for the public to vote. The winners will be announced at an event October 9.
ICS first started out in a spare room in Spear’s home. Now based in uptown Saint John, the agency has established clients not only Greater Saint John but in the United States and across the world. But even though their client base now expands beyond the borders of New Brunswick, Spear says the ICS owes all its success to the support it has received at home.
“We wouldn’t be here without Saint John. We have clients across the globe, but Saint John is the biggest supporter for us,” he says. “That’s why wanted to give back and the way we know how to give back is through what we do and what we’re successful at, which is helping people through marketing and digital.”