“There is originality in [Big Red Oak’s] techniques, which I think mirrors the cutting-edge work we do.
– Stacey Johnson, Director of Communications and Marketing, CCRM
CCRM is a public-private partnership with a complex and critical mandate: to build a strong regenerative medicine ecosystem in Canada through global collaboration. Regenerative medicines, including cell and gene therapies, have the potential to cure, not simply treat, devastating diseases and conditions. The foundation for successfully transforming cell and gene therapies into life-changing patient outcomes depends upon strategic funding, dedicated infrastructure and specialized expertise. CCRM approached Big Red Oak to create a stakeholders’ relations content program to strengthen that foundation.
Part of CCRM’s success rests on appealing to funding and investment partners, building equity in expertise by attracting academic and business talent, and communicating its services to industry and academics. Their broad and complex message demanded extensive exposure. Stacey Johnson, CCRM’s Director of Communications and Marketing, also explained that stakeholders, customers and partners regularly ask for tours, but this entails the risk of bringing contamination into the facility, particularly in the GMP-compliant Centre for Cell and Vector Production (CCVP), where manufactured products will be used for clinical trials and sterility is paramount. How could they show their state-of-the-art facilities to prospects in a meaningful, precise manner within the restrictions of biosecurity?
Big Red Oak strategized on a way to equip CCRM with the tools they needed to communicate their value proposition quickly and efficiently to industry, academic and government stakeholders. Engaging, succinct and easily shared video is a particularly useful medium. And it carries another benefit. “Not only does a video make the space accessible to anyone who is interested,” Stacey says, “but it also gives them access to areas that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter in real life.”
Discovery sessions with CCRM complemented Big Red Oak’s research to learn about the organization and its key stakeholders and to formulate a winning strategy. The first phase presented an overview of its people, mission and impact through a corporate video, followed by further videos clarifying its work and elevating the brand.
Phase 1 illuminates the path “from the bench to the bedside” by sharing CCRM’s achievements and objectives with stakeholders through on-camera narration by executives, scientists, technicians and partners. The video introduces the central Toronto MaRS location through a timelapse treatment and incorporates a moving testimony from a patient whose life was saved through progressive therapy. The Big Red Oak content strategy expanded the return on investment through an adapted content approach to create a collection of short, shareable social media content.
Big Red Oak’s strategic planning leveraged existing footage for Phase 2, together with additional macro videography and motion-graphic overlays. The award-winning video highlighted the new CCVP, a Good Manufacturing Practices-compliant facility producing cells and viral vectors for clinical trials, taking the viewers on an informative but humanized tour.
Phase 3 used video to replace live lab tours within the Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies (CATCT), freeing up time and resources and mitigating contamination risk. The virtual tour is both efficient and engaging, introducing key staff members who describe their roles in achieving the objectives of CCRM. A hosted voice-over is complemented by experts’ narratives which juxtapose the explanation with the activities and demonstrate the link between process and patient outcomes.
Big Red Oak wrapped up the program with a culmination of the solution to provide CCRM’s stakeholders with effective content by honouring its ten years of achievements and recognizing the promise of the future. A punchy introduction reveals the passion of its partners and advocates through a single-word testimonial. The mixed-media treatment includes self-recorded videos, motion-graphics text and previously shot footage.
Stacey recognizes the success of the platform developed by Big Red Oak. “We’ve been very pleased with what they’ve produced. We have a good working relationship, and I think it comes through in the videos.”
Big Red Oak uses its strategic insights based on experience and ingenuity to develop concepts that overcome constraints: in budget, in timelines, in forces of nature. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 introduced new challenges, and Stacey was impressed by Big Red Oak’s solution for capturing the spirit of celebration for their 10th anniversary. User-generated content was transformed into a compelling video to recognize our corporate milestone, she said, adding, “I may have shed a tear or two.”
The Big Red Oak solution has proved its efficacy in CCRM’s communication initiatives, and it continues to perform to drive their return on investment. “We have shown the videos at grand opening events; they get embedded into conference presentations; we use them to introduce CCRM to meeting guests and new employees,” Stacey says. By producing content that is flexible and adaptable, Big Red Oak has furnished CCRM with an excellent library of assets to share the story of its revolutionary medical breakthroughs and maintain its ongoing outreach to stakeholders.