Encouraging youth to just "BE YOU"

November 2018

As a marketing director of a local shopping centre, I’m truly proud of the success that one of our signature initiatives has garnered. ‘BeYou’ is a national cause marketing campaign that was created to help increase self-esteem and empower females aged 9 to 16 years of age.

Developed by Morguard (ISC’s management company), BeYou gives young girls access to personal and professional development tools, while celebrating their growth, diversity and self-worth.

The program which is proudly supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada launched for a third year in September with programs now offered in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

One of the first orders of business was to create a national task force to help develop this large initiative. I was selected along with 5 other marketing directors to represent a vast variety of centres and markets in order to ensure that the program would work across the Morguard portfolio of 20 shopping centres.

The task force hired several experts in their fields (public relations, digital development/marketing, event production), who all became an integral part of the BeYou program.
In order to extend our reach of awareness, a comprehensive online program was developed including a microsite, as well as two custom designed platforms for girls to participate through social media and onsite. To help add instant credibility and gain extra notoriety a celebrity spokesperson was sought out. Fortunately, Erin Cebula, best known as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight Canada, and the Survivor series was brought on board as the program ambassador. Erin appeared in social media, in a launch video, public service announcements and at several launch events.

The primary objective for BeYou was to acquire extensive exposure across Canada and gain awareness of the issues facing today’s young women, and because all 20 Morguard Centres across the nation embraced BeYou and participated with a stunning combination of advertising, in mall programs and publicity efforts, the BeYou program was able to open the dialogue and provide solutions and tools to empower girls aged 9-16 and increase their self-esteem.

In 2018 we introduced a boys element and to increase our impact and help us reach our audiences, BeYou engaged three stars from Disney/Family Channel’s popular show "Backstage" as representatives for the 2018 BeYou campaign

This year’s BeYou campaign was highlighted through participation by major figures in Canadian media, including an appearance by Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Dynamic video content created in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada was also a major element of the 2018 campaign.

ISC has hosted 3 years of BeYou, and since 2016 attendance has doubled. Each year we try and add an element for the girls and boys so the event can grow and attract all kids and use local kids as our campaign faces. Kids have access to a full day of activities such as a jump wall, pledge wall, butterfly mural, self-defense class, yoga class, dance class, self-esteem workshops, healthcare workshops, negative thought pattern talks and art classes offered during the event. We have been very fortunate to have great speakers and mentors such as Thunder Bay Police Services, Kelly Mental Health, Santin Chiropractic and The Lakehead Thunderwolves hockey team to name a few.

In 2017 Intercity Shopping Centre was recognized by the International Council of Shopping Centers and received a gold award for marketing excellence in Public Relations, a gold award for Cause Marketing and the Community Foundation Award.

As we look ahead to 2019, we want to continue to evolve BeYou for girls and explore programming for young boys, conduct further research for boys and add an element to focus on the critical issues and/or pressures that young boys face without shifting the main focus of girls and the momentum that has been established.

The success of this campaign has been outstanding and the support from Thunder Bay has been great!

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