• Five Tips for Creating a Socially Responsible Brand
    20/06/16 Business Development , Communications , Corporate Social Responsibility , General Marketing , Karran Finlay Marketing , kfm , Management , Marketing , Marketing Trends , Social Sustainability , Sustainable Event Management , Sustainable Marketing , Vancouver # , , , , ,

    Five Tips for Creating a Socially Responsible Brand

    Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined as the actions that companies take that allow them to operate in an economic, social, and environmentally sustainable manner. It is a value that consumers are increasingly looking to in order to form an opinion on a brand. Not only are people more willing to give their business to socially responsible brands, there is also a higher demand to work for them.

    Here are five tips for business looking to adopt CSR practices.

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  • 18/08/15 General Marketing , Green Marketing , Karran Finlay Marketing , Marketing , Sustainable Event Management , Vancouver # , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Supporting companies that are ‘green’ and ‘do good’

    One of the most rewarding parts of working in an agency setting is meeting so many socially-conscious companies and the amazing people that run them!

    At kfm, we have been fortunate enough to connect with many companies that place a high importance on environmentally-conscience operations, no-waste products and patient advocacy.

    Currently, we work with Pedersen’s Event Rentals, who are constantly initiating new ways to reduce the environmental impact of their operations with disposable packaging, high efficiency washing machine, paper-free offices, and more!

    We also work with the Save Your Skin Foundation, who work to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, provide melanoma patients with access to information about trial drugs, emotional and financial support, and more!

    We now work with Delish General Store, which sells several product lines that support an eco-friendly, non-throwaway lifestyle. They have Canada’s only Jar Bar, ‘green’ cleaning products, ‘no-waste’ beauty products, and more!

    If you are looking for an agency that understands your company’s unique values, get in touch with our team!



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  • 22/04/15 Environment , Event Marketing , General Marketing , Green Marketing , Karran Finlay Marketing , kfm , Marketing , Sustainable Event Management , Sustainable Marketing , Uncategorized # , , ,

    Happy Earth Day! Our Top 7 Sustainable Practices

    Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.43.58 PM
    At kfm, we’re proud to call ourselves an environmentally sustainable agency. We continue to find new ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. Here are 7 ways we have implemented sustainable practices in our daily operations.

    kfm’s Sustainable Practices

    1. Over 75% of our employees bike, walk or take public transit to work. We will also be participating in Bike to Work Week this May.

    2. We use paperless technology whenever possible and only print materials when absolutely necessary.

    3. We recommend remote meetings to reduce unnecessary travel.

    4. We recycle waste materials in our office and on-site at events.

    5. We save energy in our office by turning off the heating, air-conditioning and lights. We turn off computers and printers overnight.

    6. We use tap water and refillable bottles rather than a water cooler.

    7. We reuse materials and repurpose equipment whenever possible.

    Shoutout to our Green Clients!

    We take pride in representing clients that are similarly concerned with environmental sustainability.

    Greenscape Design & Décor
    In addition to their extensive collection of environmentally friendly products, Greenscape donates 100% of their reused products to charities, schools and associations. 75% of their employees use public transport for work, meetings and tasks. They also employ an extensive recycling program for the unique materials they use in their design work. Read more at http://www.greenscapedecor.com/sustainability

    Pedersen’s Event Rentals
    At Pedersen’s, environmental initiatives are happening at all levels within the organization – from simple efforts to reduce energy on a daily basis, to aggressively seeking ways to minimize packaging of goods. In addition to their recycling program, they have a high efficiency dishwasher and laundry system, they use 100% biodegradable plastic bags, and reusable plastic boxes and bins for storing and shipping. See more at http://vancouver.pedersens.com/community/environment

    Empyrean Lighting
    Empyrean is at the forefront of the LED revolution, specializing in design technology that presents an efficient, cost-reducing, green and safe lighting alternative. They also developed a turtle-safe LED lighting series to reduce the fatal effects of artificial light on sea turtle hatchlings. These lights that have been utilized on beaches in Australia where they were ranked in the TOP 100 of Australia’s smartest innovations. Read more at http://anthillonline.com/andromeda-turtle-safe-led-street-lighting-qld-2014-smart-100/

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  • 15/03/11 Environment , Event Planning , Sustainable Event Management , Vancouver

    Are Sustainable Meeting Standards Important to You?

    ISES Vancouver is hosting a panel discussion on the topic. As an ISES board member, I agreed to be the panel moderator. I haven’t moderated a ton of panels before, so I hope to do a good job – but more importantly, I really hope the audience gets something out of the discussion. The panelists are three local experts doing some pretty incredible things for sustainability awareness. In my opinion, this kind of knowledge is critical for the events industry to keep tabs on and incorporate into daily practices.

    The three panelists are: Shawna McKinley, Director of Sustainability, MeetGreen; Catherine Wong, VP Operations, Vancouver Convention Centre; and Ginny Stratton, Principle of Strategin Solutions.

    The panel discussion comes at a relevant time, as the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) gears up to launch their ‘Sustainability in Event Management’ Standard (ISO 20121) in 2012. The three panelists will discuss how this affects the Vancouver events industry and will share key learnings from their own business positions.

    The event, “NEW Green Meeting Standards; Thinking Beyond the Checklist“, takes place this Thursday, March 17th at the Vancouver Convention Centre (event details here)

    ISES Canada will also be incorporating live tweets into the discussion, so follow along! @ISESVancouver Hope to see you Thursday!

    Karran Finlay

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  • 01/06/10 Communications , Event Planning , Special Events , Sustainable Event Management # , ,

    Celebrating Excellence in Style

    By Karran Finlay, Marketing Director, KFM

    Last month, the KFM team had the opportunity to be part of something great. We participated in the planning and celebration of the BC Chapter of IABC’s (International Association of Business Communicators) 30th Anniversary Celebration.

    Photo Credit: Ballistic Arts Media Studio Inc.

    On Wednesday, May 5th, 150 IABC/BC members arrived at Harrison Galleries, in downtown Vancouver, to raise a glass to the BC Chapter’s successful 30-year history – a history that has garnered the Chapter an international reputation for progressive and professional communication.

    Photo Credit: Ballistic Arts Media Studio Inc.

    The event included a celebratory welcome, an awards ceremony, and an anniversary video produced by some of IABC/BC’s finest. Guests networked, sipped Champagne, and sampled a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres created by Nu Restaurant and Lounge (by C Restaurant). And who can forget the delectable desserts from Butter Baked Goods!

    Photo Credit: Ballistic Arts Media Studio Inc.

    In the role of Event Manager and as one of the event sponsors, KFM had the luxury of working with members of the IABC/BC team in several capacities; As the Event Manager, I worked with the most incredible team of volunteers. The group was made up of current IABC/BC members who volunteered their time to support the momentous occasion. I’ve never worked with such a dedicated, talented and professional group. I was honoured to volunteer my time with such an inspiring group on an exciting and rewarding event. It was also great to work with industry suppliers that we, at KFM, love! Graphic Zoo, DJ Leanne, Upright Decor, and Lavish Liquid – you guys rock.

    Photo Credit: Ballistic Arts Media Studio Inc.

    As one of the event sponsors, KFM was proud to support IABC/BC’s 30th Anniversary Event alongside other reputable brands such as Pink by Yellowglen, Ballistic Arts, Rigamarole, Whistler Water and CNW. We truly value the opportunity to support educational and important industry associations.

    There’s great value in being an IABC/BC member. We network with and learn from the best communicators in the industry. The BC Chapter of IABC is one of 105 chapters worldwide and is the third largest chapter in Canada. If you’re interested in attending future IABC/BC events or if you wish to become a member, visit IABC/BC online.

    Photo Credit: Ballistic Arts Media Studio Inc.

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  • 20/04/10 Event Planning , Special Events , Sustainable Event Management # , , , ,

    Working While Relaxing. It Exists.

    Yes, the comfort of one’s hotel room (when traveling for work) matters a great deal. And my favourite experience to date has been my recent stay at the Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria, BC.

    I was in town on business and wanted to find a place that would let me relax while working…does that exist? Well, yes, as a matter a fact it does. It exists at Laurel Point. From the moment in stepped foot in my hotel room, I loved this place.

    My room looked out on to a beautiful Japanese Garden framed by the Ocean. I fell asleep each night to the peaceful sounds of the garden and to the soothing scent of a complimentary relaxing yuan zhi sleep mist that had been placed by my bedside.

    I felt like I was at the spa every time I entered the bathroom – the soaker tub was equipped with lovely Molton Brown bath gels and a relaxing seamoss stress-relieving hydrosoak. There were samples of Molton brown’s cooling eye cream and moisturizing lip rescue (translation: lip balm). Not only do I love Molton Brown products, but Laurel Point has brilliantly picked intuitive items from the Molton Brown product assortment. This is not just your standard shampoo and conditioner offering…it feels a lot more like a private spa boutique right in your very own hotel room!

    There’s also a brand new fitness facility, a glass enclosed indoor pool with a view of the garden, an award winning restaurant (Aura), and my favorite…in-room spa services. Seriously…I’m not joking. Hotel guests can experience a rejuvenating and healing spa treatment in the privacy and comfort of their own room. It’s awesome.

    They also welcome pets (which is actually very handy for many travelers these days) and they’re the first (and only!) carbon-neutral hotel in British Columbia – which aligns nicely with the sustainability efforts that KFM employs.

    Not only would I recommend this hotel to any business or vacation travelers, but I have complete confidence that planning an event or conference at Laurel Point would be a great experience.

    I didn’t want to leave and I’ll definitely be back.

    p.s. As luck would have it, I just won a $250 gift certificate to the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa at the Pacific Rim in Vancouver! I won’t really be able to share how I’d feel if I was staying at the Pacific Rim on business, but I’ll you all know what I think of the spa!


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  • 08/12/09 Event Planning , Special Events , Sustainable Event Management , Sustainable Marketing # ,

    Tips For ‘Greening’ Your Events, with a guest contribution by Heather S. Teegarden, CSEP

    I’m delighted to include an incredibly useful green event resource in today’s blog post. KFM’s guest contributor, Heather S. Teegarden, has kindly allowed us to feature her latest guide that outlines “Tips for Greening Your Events“.

    Heather’s guide is a great tool for anyone wishing to green their events, integrate greener business practices into their work, or to simply gain further knowledge in the area of green event management. The guide covers topics such as venue selection, entertainment, decor, and catering and even lists other great green links and resources! This “green tips” guide can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

    Tip For Greening Your Events by Heather S. Teegarden

    Should you wish instead to have this guide emailed to you directly, simply send us an email at KFM.

    Heather S. Teegarden, CSEP


    Heather is a well-known “green” resource as well as a certified event professional based in Seattle, Washington. She has contributed her event expertise and experience towards efforts at the Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties; the Woodland Park Zoo; the University of Washington; the United Way of Snohomish County; the Pacific Science Center; and was also a recent speaker at the CSEME09 (Canadian Special Events and Meetings Expo) in Vancouver. Heather has received industry awards for her proven excellence in the field and is highly regarded for her non-profit organization management.

    Further information on Heather S. Teegarden can be found on her LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn/Heather Smith Teegarden, and those interested in contacting Heather directly may do so at: hteegarden@live.com.


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  • 30/11/09 Event Marketing , Event Planning , Special Events , Sustainable Event Management # , ,

    Event Planning: Choosing the Right Food for the Mood

    By Karran Finlay

    Whether planning a party, a wedding, or a gala evening, the three most important aspects to get right are – 1) food and beverage, 2) how food and beverage are served (and quantity available) and 3) music. If you get these three things right, you can be sure to have a happy crowd.

    Sounds simple right? Well, it’s not quite that straightforward so I thought I’d start with food and jot down a few tips for choosing the ‘right food for the mood’. I’ll also blog about beverages, service standards and music in the future, so be sure to check back!

    Here it goes…

    Whether planning a big or small event, make sure you source a professional catering service (or work with someone – a chef – who’s used to event catering). Working with someone who understands proper quantities, service standards and preparation can make all the difference. One of my favourite Chefs to work with when I do events in Toronto is Chef Corbin Tomaszeski (I might be biased because he’s also originally from Edmonton, but mostly it’s because he get’s it – and that makes my job a lot easier).

    Chef Corbin Tomaszeski, Holt Renfrew

    BUT, before you confirm your caterer, I suggest you first follow these steps.

    1.) Event Format: Know what event format you want. Is this a cocktail party, a corporate meeting, a wedding or a gala affair? It’s important to pair the food served with the format of the event. For example, during a cocktail party it’s important to serve bite-sized appetizers that can easily be popped in to one’s mouth with one hand while the other hand is holding a glass of wine. It’s surprising how many times I still find myself at an event needing to put down a glass of wine in order to eat a large portioned messy appetizer – it’s awkward and can easily be avoided.

    2.) Size: Yes, size matters. As I mentioned above, bite-sized pieces are usually best for cocktail parties. Guests need to be able to negotiate a glass of wine, a napkin and hors d’oeuvres at the same time – so the smaller the better (within reason). I would also suggest avoiding dips. Some thicker dips are ok, but all are usually messy and a bit awkward at events. A small intimate dinner party with friends allows for more appetizer flexibility (i.e. dips, larger servings that require a small plate, etc.) but at any stand up function, keep the bites small and tidy. Similar rules apply for other types of events and obviously sit down dinners are a whole other set of rules. A few general rules for sit down dinner parties can be found here: Tips on How to Plan a Formal Dinner Party. And although I don’t agree with everything she says, Martha Stewart is certainly a well-known expert so I’ll also include Martha’s tips for planning a dinner party: The Best Laid (Dinner) Plans.

    3.) Food Tasting: Once you have your short list of caters, arrange to do food tastings. Most caterers these days are very open to this. Some may ask for a deposit, but in most cases it’s understood that in order to confirm the right caterer one needs to ensure food quality satisfaction. Food tastings are a great way to test the standards of the catering company and allow a greater understanding of likes and dislikes (what you like and dislike may very well be what your guests think as well!). Ask lots of questions at the tastings – you’re the customer!

    4.) Waste Management: Ask your caterer about their waste management and average event food quantities. It’s important to have a bit more food than you think you need (running out of food is one of the worst event faux pas), but, you also don’t want to end up with too many leftovers (that you end up being charged for!). This is unfortunate for two reasons – one, you just paid more than you needed to, and two, it’s a waste. Ask your caterer for average food quantities from some of their past events – this should give you a good idea to confirm your numbers by. Good caterers will also be able to provide you with great advice for how much to serve for your guest numbers. Also, ask your caterer how they manage food waste. Will they allow you to keep non-perishables for your corporate lunch meeting the next day? Can leftovers be composted? This will save you money and help the environment!

    Once you’ve finished your tastings and have confirmed your caterer, you will next want to discuss food service and presentation (i.e. what trays to use for serving and how many appetizers per tray – tip: don’t have too many per tray). For this blog entry I’m not going to get into the details of these steps but check back as I’ll be writing about this in future!

    It’s also important to send thank you notes to all the caterers you did tastings with to thank them for their time and effort.

    And remember, these are just general tips – there are so many ways to great creative with food and food service! As someone who loves to cook, this is one of my favourite areas of event planning.


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  • 28/10/09 General Marketing , Green Marketing , Sustainable Event Management , Sustainable Marketing # ,

    The ‘Nu’ Trends in Sustainable Signage

    By Karran Finlay

    I was recently speaking with Alex Fiordelmondo (Sales & Marketing Manager for NuTrends), who I met at the CSEME09 show, and we got to chatting about eco initiatives. I was delighted to hear that NuTrends is one of the first sign shops to start going green! It’s becoming increasingly important for companies to start “greening” their supply chains, so I wanted to pass along the great news about NuTrends – an industry example to follow!

    NuTrends uses UV inks instead of the hard solvents that damage the ozone. Their inks are designed to sit on the material rather than be absorbed. As a result, they no longer require the use of hard solvents to break down materials in order for the inks to stick. This new process allows materials to be more biodegradable.
    NuTrends has also changed their internal practices in order to reduce their carbon footprint. They’ve switched most of their systems over to email based formats (i.e. invoicing, contract agreements, etc.) and are in the process of finalizing a deal with a company that will take their waste (old signage & waste materials) and re-purpose them into sewing thread. In Alex’s words “pretty cool huh?” Yes, very cool! And I couldn’t agree more with Alex’s statement “…it’s not only the products that need to be eco-friendly, but the manufacturing processes and the operational practices that must be sustainable as well”. NuTrends aim to be leaders in a new generation of eco-friendly signage shops…and I think they’re off to a great start!

    Here’s a list of green products that NuTrends currently offers:

    • Biodegradable/recycled Coroplast (plastic substrate great for events)
    • Biodegradable/recycled banners
    • Retractable banner stands that are made our of panda safe bamboo
    • Sign frames made out of 100% recycled plastic
    • A line of eco pens, bags, water bottles and other great corporate eco-gifting options

    If you’re interested in contacting NuTrends for your next event, just send Alex an email at alex@nutrends.com. Visit the NuTrends website for more information.

    And, if you need someone to plan your next event simply send me an email to KFM: karran@karranfinlaymarketing.com

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  • 06/10/09 General Marketing , Green Marketing , Strategic Marketing , Sustainable Event Management , Sustainable Marketing # ,

    Big Businesses Going Green: Eco-Friendly efforts pay off for large companies

    By Karran FinlayKarran_color-36

    Incorporating eco-efforts into your every day business practices can not only save you money, but it can positively affect your brand. This is true for any sized company; in fact big corporations are initiating some of the most talked about “green” efforts.

    Microsoft’s Convergence Tradeshow in March 2009 was the first U.S. event to be certified under BS 8901 – a British sustainable management standard developed for the events industry. Microsoft’s eco event practices attracted delegates but also ensured that Microsoft was moving in the right direction to achieve their sustainability goals.

    Suncor Energy is also investing in clean, renewable energy sources. They have four wind power farms in operation with a total capacity of 147 megawatts. These farms offset the equivalent of around 284, 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Suncor’s long-term goal is to develop a new power initiative every 12 to 18 months. They’re currently looking into additional wind farm locations to build on their wind energy portfolio. I hope they successfully achieve their green power goals and continue to make renewable energy sources a priority.

    eco_car_162x104Even insurance companies are increasing their “green” offerings. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (a company of Allianz) has launched green auto insurance. They’re the first to introduce hybrid upgrade auto insurance, enabling car owners to “go green”. Companies are spending more to bring in eco-specialists to ensure these programs can be available for the increasing consumer demand. A recent article, posted on “The Green Economy Post” (by Tracey de Morsella), also outlined a survey showing that many companies are increasing their hiring of environmentally and sustainability professionals. They noted that GreenBiz analysts are finding that environmental, health and safety (EHS) departments of large corporations are also increasing spending.

    And for those that enjoy a little celebrity gossip, we’ve got this for you too. Celebrity “green givers” are also on the rise. More celebrity award shows are ensuring environmental practices with venue choices, lighting, and food practices. Celebs are also getting more involved with highly publicized eco-initiatives and organizations such as Global Green USA and Global Cool. SIENNA MILLER IN MUMBAY

    So what does this all mean for big companies today? Going green is a good thing for the environment and your brand. There are many ways to strategically align eco-initiatives to the specific goals of your company or brand and now is the time to start thinking about this if you haven’t already.

    To receive ongoing updates and news from Karran Finlay Marketing, sign up for our eNewsletter.

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