According to Chatelaine magazine, fifty-two percent of women from British Columbia said they were happier now than they were 10 years ago compared to a national average of 44 percent. It may sound trivial, but the point is that we are a large country and cannot paint the entire country with a broad stroke of a brush when describing the national landscape. Here are some further examples how BC is unique from the rest of Canada:
- British Columbians are generally more relaxed and outdoors people than the rest of the country. One of the main reasons has to be climate, where favourable weather allows for year-round access to outdoor and physical activities. And we all know, when we are physically active, we are happier.
- British Columbia is diverse. Its people represent the highest proportion of visible minorities in the country at 27% of the population, of which Chinese and South Asian are the most prominent. Aboriginal citizens are also the highest percentage in the country at 5% of the BC population of over 4.4 million.
- British Columbians also have a very high respect for the environment which they depend on so much for the economy. They also expect corporations to have the same respect.
Just as British Columbia is unique, every sponsorship environment requires a customized approach in order to be successful. Simply stated, a “Made in Toronto” approach towards sponsorship in British Columbia will not be as effective as a home grown approach that responds to market nuances and conditions.
Sponsorship is about offering business solutions to help sponsors meet corporate objectives. Some of the unique challenges that companies (potential sponsors) face in British Columbia include:
- Because BC is so diverse, companies doing business on the West Coast must cater to a wide range of audiences with different cultures and lifestyles. Therefore, marketing campaigns must be targeted to reflect the distinct needs and interests of the audience.
- With over 40 different Aboriginal groups in BC, the responsibility to consult with First Nations is an important part of doing business in the province; especially for the resource sector. Companies must be respectful of Aboriginal culture and lifestyles and must be seen as “doing the right thing”.
- While BC is Canada’s third largest province in terms of land mass, over 80% of the population lives in the southwest area and this makes BC a very competitive environment for companies that market to consumers.
- Natural resources (forestry, mining and fishing) are, and will continue to be, a crucial component of the economic well-being of British Columbians. One of the greatest challenges facing business leaders today is ensuring that our economic development is environmentally sustainable. There is a strong demand for public policies on a host of issues, such as water use, air quality, carbon emissions, environmental assessments, bio-diversity and at-risk species. Companies must be seen as environment friendly by combining business objectives with sound environmental practices.
- BC’s changing demographics and shifting employment opportunities present key challenges for employers, such as how to find enough skilled workers, how to adjust to a more diverse and ageing workforce.
The bottom line is that citizens who live in British Columbia have certain values and lifestyles and companies doing business there have unique challenges. Our ability to uncover the “pain” of corporations and connect them to relevant sponsorship opportunities will determine what level of success we can expect through our sponsorship efforts.
These and other concepts will be discussed at the PAC-WEST PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE, October 11-13 in Vancouver where I will be the featured speaker. The two-day workshop will focus on the festivals and events sector, the West Coast sponsorship environment and how approaches need to be adapted to meet the corporate objectives of companies doing business in BC.
This is a unique opportunity targeted towards individuals in charge of festivals, events and fundraisers as well as Board Members, Staff and Leadership Volunteers involved with local not-for-profits and charities.