Think Big June 17, 2020

Dress for Success Interview

An inside look at P&G’s Dress for Success Helping Women Now campaign

P&G just helped launch a website for Dress for Success Vancouver to spread the word on their initiative Helping Women Now, which supports women through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Keep reading to hear P&G’s own Tara Steinberg and Jessica Luch talk us through the process of doing an entirely new brief and explain the importance of the campaign.

Kat: Hey Tara and Jess! I’m excited to talk to you about this campaign because I think it’s so amazing that both of you, Marguerite, Kateland and Lewis worked together to create something completely new all for a great cause.

Tara: Hey Kat! We’re so excited to tell you about it as it’s a project all of us were passionate about contributing to. It always feels good to deliver something impactful for our clients, but it’s extra special when the need is so great and the results will have a meaningful and immediate impact on people’s lives.

Kat: How do you and the other partners decide on working on projects such as this?

Tara: Giving back is ingrained in the ethos of Pound & Grain. It’s written into our Code of Conduct. Each year we take on a number of projects with charitable organizations pro bono or at a discounted rate to support their various causes. If one of us feels a connection to that organization, or the team feels strongly about a certain organization or cause, we will typically take on the project if we have the capacity to do so.

Kat: What does Dress for Success do?

Tara: The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women into the workforce. Many people think of them as the organization that provides professional attire for women seeking employment but they are so much more than that. They have extensive programming and support to build confidence, skills and a community around all women who access their services. The long term impact of the difference they’ve made in people’s lives is really powerful and something we felt strongly we wanted to be a part of.

"At Dress for Success Vancouver, our mission is to empower women into the workforce. Pound & Grain partnered with us not only to help make that a reality by building our Helping Women Now website, but through their work as a team of women who are giving back to their community with their time, creativity and talents." - Amy Robichaud, Executive Director

Kat: From my understanding, the original brief was supposed to be a re-brand for a gala that got cancelled due to the virus. How long did it take to do the re-brief and what was it like to balance that with other client work?

Tara: Yes, that’s right. Initially, we were engaged to rebrand and create the promotional campaign for their primary fundraising event, the Spring Gala. Our initial discovery session was held on March 11. Little did we know that by March 13 all offices would be closed and all staff would be working from home. In a pivot from the first brief for a physical event, we worked through the strategy and initial creative concepts for a virtual “un-gala” event. Ultimately, the Dress for Success Vancouver team felt the community would be better served with what became the Helping Women Now program. The focus moved to a platform focused on economic recovery, mitigating isolation, and providing resource information to vulnerable women along with a general fundraising appeal. Just over a week after presenting our initial concepts, we had a new brief. Recognizing the critical need for these resources, we worked with a very condensed timeline and within two months, the Pound & Grain team had updated the wordmark, designed and developed the website and created the print and digital ads to spread the word.

Kat: The initiative is to help women across Canada who are being affected by COVID 19. Is there anything you learned from the clients while you were working with them?

Jess: When faced with adversity, people really do come together. In the darkness of a global pandemic, there are bright lights that shine through, like Helping Women Now. Let’s be real, 2020 has been a tire-fire, but people have reacted with kindness and compassion. That’s pretty uplifting to learn first hand from our clients.

Kat: What was everyone’s role in the campaign?

Tara: It was a small hustling team of 5 that worked on this project. Marguerite Gaylie did the research and strategy on the revised initial brief for a virtual un-gala. Jessica Luch and Kateland Clarke provided all of the art direction and design of the revised wordmark, website and campaign assets. Lewis Dupuis led the development of the website and digital banners. And I helped out with the client communication and project management.

Kat: How did you feel when the website went live?

Jess: I felt proud that Pound & Grain was involved with such a rewarding project. Dress for Success is doing some truly heroic work, and it felt great to be a part of that. 


"Pound and Grain have been such an amazing digital creative organization to work with. They were flexible to our needs, welcomed our feedback, and provided something that we are so proud to share with our community." - Marissa Ledding, Marketing and Events Manager

Kat: Do you think digital marketing can make a big impact when it comes to good causes such as Dress For Success?

Tara: Absolutely. We know the impact that our mobile phones have on our lives, so digital is a critical channel to help spread important messages. The beauty of digital marketing is that if you have an impactful campaign, your content is on a vehicle that is designed for sharing, participating and commenting.

An impact in the not for profit space is not only about the monetary value that a campaign brings in during its time in market; influence means that you continue to have an impact after the campaign is over. And a way to have that type of influence is when you leverage a channel that can keep it alive in perpetuity, as well as to create a campaign that encourages people to join in. The digital space allows for people to participate in challenges, nominate others, and spread awareness in a way that other channels can’t accomplish.

Kat: The world is going through a really sensitive and difficult time right now. As Managing Partner of P&G, do you have any advice for brands and agencies who want to use their platforms responsibly?

Tara: Every brand or agency, whether they know it or not, is a media company. We all have social media accounts, and we are all producing content. In today’s climate, the type of content we produce should go through two filters:

  1. Produce content that has value. We don’t need more noise on social media. We need content that helps people, makes them laugh, educates them…whatever you deem ‘value’ to be for your audiences. In troubled times, we all need to be helping each other, and producing content that is useful and consumer-centric is a great start.
  2. Inclusion and diversity need to be more than just words we say. I would encourage all brands and agencies to scroll through their social feeds, look at their advertising, their messaging and look inwards (at practices, policies and talent). Given our influence, we have a duty to use our platforms to be inclusive of all people and not be afraid to have a voice to support those who feel they can’t speak up.

These words are by Katarina Vidojevic

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