Organizations must get creative to recover from pandemic, advertising expert says

Jun 18 2021, 5:34 pm

Navigating the obstacles that come with being a business leader can be challenging under normal circumstances. During a pandemic, there are additional layers to unpack. 

Kim Pickett, the principal and creative director of Vancouver-based agency KIMBO Design Inc. (KIMBO), understands the challenges of leading a business. Now, the KIMBO team is helping business executives stay resilient through the COVID-19 crisis. They’re providing support through innovative solutions for branding, marketing, and web design.

The KIMBO team is happy to share this opportunity with business and non-profit organizations — to receive money from the Government of BC — that will cover up 75% of funds for their online presence enhancement. “The Launch Online program will help our economy restart post-pandemic,” says Pickett.

As the creative director of KIMBO, Pickett believes it’s important for organizations not to go silent and put everything on hold during this business climate. “I think that’s one of the worst things that anybody can do in terms of an organization,” she says. “I’ve recommended to all my clients to stay consistent and keep doing what they’re doing, with modifications, of course.”

For example, KIMBO is currently in the process of helping a client open a restaurant and bar. “We’re helping brand this bar to maximize a successful opening during this unprecedented time,” says Pickett. “Things have got to be a little bit different in terms of the brand and the interior space.”

Honeybrew Strudel Bar exterior (KIMBO Design Inc.)

With anticipated delays to the opening due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, the KIMBO team thought of doing a window wrap in place of the old “under construction” window coverings. This gives the client an additional advertising platform to introduce their brand, and it’s like their own free billboard that allows for brand exposure despite all the delays due to COVID-19. “It’s getting lots of engagement and free advertising,” says Pickett.

BC Corrections (KIMBO Design Inc.)

KIMBO has also worked with many government organizations, including BC Corrections, responsible for managing 10 correctional centres across BC. The team created a recruitment branding campaign to help fill integral positions at correctional facilities during the pandemic.

Banner ad for Tourism Valemount (KIMBO Design Inc.)

KIMBO works in the sectors of economic development and tourism. Without the strong brand recognition of world-famous destinations, like Whistler, tourism in small towns such as Valemount, which traditionally rely on word of mouth, are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To keep Valemount on the radar of potential visitors, KIMBO developed an online marketing campaign tailored specifically for the area and its businesses. This included using various social media and digital marketing platforms, such as Google Ads, to establish and maintain a stronger online presence.

Naturally, Campbell River was coined by KIMBO as “the place to be” in terms of visiting, relocating, or starting a business.  The City of Campbell River did not skip a minute when launching its economic development brand during the early stages of COVID-19. Smart messaging with engaging visuals will always attract attention, even during a pandemic, says Pickett.

Naturally, Campbell River brand identity and guidelines (KIMBO Design Inc.)

In addition to client work, KIMBO stays connected with what is going on around the city artistically. The agency has worked in partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, sponsoring Modern in the Making, a show about mid-century designers in BC — a show that reflects KIMBO’s own style of simplicity, fine craftsmanship, and functional design.

“Supporting the Art Gallery is really important to us and finding a place for the staff to be inspired,” says Pickett.

Modern in the Making (KIMBO Design Inc.)

The scope of work carried out at KIMBO has not happened by fluke; the agency has been committed to offering clients a custom service for almost two decades. “Everything that we do here is custom,” Pickett explains. “It’s got to be custom because every client is different, and their objectives and goals are different.”

This extends to the websites designed in-house at the agency’s Vancouver office. “We don’t use templates. Everything is designed and programmed from scratch with an emphasis on originality and security (especially when it comes to website projects).”

KIMBO typically works with established businesses and executives, and client service is the top priority. Providing sustainable marketing solutions for clients, Pickett says, could mean the longevity of a brand. That’s why the agency maintains a simplistic, minimal, and timeless style of design.

Since collaboration is a huge part of the relationship, brainstorm sessions occur in the agency’s spacious boardroom, a place where Pickett dubs the “creative zone.” The office has a wine fridge, and during client meetings (before social distancing orders came into effect), artistic collaboration can happen over a bottle of wine (or some coffee), cheese, and fruit.

KIMBO team’s boardroom collaboration (KIMBO Design Inc.)

Looking ahead, Pickett remains optimistic about helping clients progress through this difficult time. “It does take creativity, being able to pivot. And that’s what we’ve been helping our clients do during the pandemic. We are lucky that KIMBO was more prepared for remote working than many other businesses, thanks to the nature of our work. Still, we understand that this is not the case for everyone. That’s why we want to help because, at the end of the day, we can only get through and recover from this global pandemic together.”

To discover how KIMBO could help bring your creative vision to life, head to

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