The Campaign in the City

Reprinted with gracious permission by Translatio

The organisation of a strikingly successful publicity campaign despite a very limited budget: this was the ambitious gamble taken by the Quebec Translators’ Terminologists’ and Interpreters’ Society OTTIAQ (Ordre des Traducteurs, Terminologues et Interprètes Agréés du Québec) last spring. And in view of the excitement that followed it, the society gambled and won.

After more than 15 years of silence on the promotional front, the Society wanted to build up its reputation so as to encourage public and private sector organisations to make use of its members. So a task force was created to oversee a publicity campaign (1) and Réservoir agency was enlisted to assist in putting a win-ning strategy in place.

How to accomplish this with a budget of only $500,000 over two years, when the annual spend on advertising in Quebec was 2.7 million dollars?

In order to over-come this obstacle the Society chose to concentrate on only one of the professions that it encompasses (certified translators), on only one public target (businesses in the Montréal city centre) and on one medium – billboards. So from 7 March to 1 April the business quarter in the heart of Montréal was bombarded with eloquent messages extolling the advantages of investing in the services of an accredited translator: “it translates into productivity”; it translates into benefits”; “it translates into results”; it translates into confidence”. These messages, signed by “Accredited translators of Quebec”, were displayed on to 40 dig¬ital columns, 9 street columns, 2 large format panels, 30 bus shelters and 18 megacolumns. A concentrated impact over one square kilometre.

The effect was immediate: the media answered the call, especially Les Affairs, In-opresse and Yahoo the advertisement even featured in the awards of the five infos most read on Infopresse that week. The buzz also crossed the Atlantic and earned Réal Paquette, the society’s president, an invitation to present the campaign to the General Meeting of Swiss Translators, Ter¬minologists and Interpreters.

The advertising drive also produced excellent results for OTTIAQ members – they who financed it with a special levy. The day of the launch, members were emailed with a presentation of the campaign. They were also encouraged to download email signatures and posters sporting one of four slogans. This has been adopted enthusiastically. In so doing they have embraced a campaign which speaks of their professionalism and they have disseminated it with pride throughout their networks.

The success of this campaign augers well for the next steps. The OTTIAQ task force and Reservoir agency are already pre¬paring the second stage, which will be rolled out in 2017. Stay tuned.

By: Silvana Nahman, certified translator (OTTIAQ)

1 Réal Paquette, certified translator, president of OTTIAQ, specialist in advertising adapta¬tion; Sophia Bekkoucha, director of Com¬munications and Customer Service, OTTIAQ; Sofia Bulota, project manager, Communica¬tions and Customer Service, OTTIAQ; Silvana Nahman, certified translator, certified editor, specialist in written communication; Claude Dutil, appointed Director, advertising retired