Accelerate Okanagan

Accelerate Okanagan (AO) is a nonprofit technology accelerator based in Kelowna, B.C. Since 2012, the organization worked with the community and multiple levels of government to a successful technology ecosystem with even more room to grow.


Strategic communications Media relations

4,600,000+

Estimated earned reach from media mentions

$16,000+

Sponsored content equivalency

955,000

Estimated reach via Twitter article shares

The challenge

Accelerate Okanagan (AO) is a nonprofit technology accelerator based in Kelowna, B.C. Since 2012, the organization worked with the community and multiple levels of government to a successful technology ecosystem with even more room to grow. Serving as a resource for the entire Okanagan region, the organization’s mission is to help businesses grow, create high-paying knowledge-based jobs and create positive economic and social benefit for the region. The community (and region as a whole) has seen explosive growth in recent years. However, AO, nor the Okanagan had been formally recognized in the media in comparison with other established Canadian accelerators and tech hubs. Currently, the technology ecosystem consists of more than 630 companies employing over 7,600 people and contributing over $1.3B to the economy. AO had a big story to tell and needed some support and guidance to do so. In addition to sharing the excitement of the area’s burgeoning tech sector, AO wanted to profile local success stories, attract more companies and talent region, and put their community on the map with some of Canada’s more visible technology hubs like Vancouver and Waterloo in the media.

 

The solution

Working closely with AO’s Marketing Manager, we began by identifying spokespeople within AO to be the media faces of the organization. We developed a full suite of media-ready materials, media relations protocol and compiled a media kit for their website. We provided AO’s spokespeople with media training, honed in their messaging and taught them best practices for delivering those messages and speaking with journalists. Starting locally, we built buzz with community and regionally-focused outlets. We leveraged these headlines to show mainstream media and tech publications that there was a story of an emerging tech sector in the Okanagan to be told. We gave AO’s spokespeople the tools to position themselves as experts on the technology industry and economic growth in the Okanagan region. We continue to collaborate with them to build on their successful media momentum and are working to develop full communications and social media plans to complement the existing media relations efforts.

 

The result

AO has been approached as experts by mainstream news sources such as Global News and The Globe and Mail to provide perspective for larger stories. Beyond local media, they’ve had headlines, quotes and interviews featured in a wide variety of regional business outlets such as BC Business, Business in Vancouver, and Roundhouse Radio; and national technology publications such as TechVibes, Betakit and the US-based Digital Journal. Techvibes mentioned the Okanagan region in its year-end Accelerator landscape roundup and a direct lead from a Betakit headline article materialized into a strategic partnership for AO. To date, the cumulative estimated reach of the media relations campaign is upwards of 4.6 million but there is more work to be done to position the Okanagan as a serious contender in Canada’s technology landscape and build awareness of the region south of the border.

Accelerate Okanagan - Case Study

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