STOP: and listen to your donors and customers

DATE: April 25th, 2016

Here’s some interesting — and a little daunting — research on the checkout process for online donors and shoppers.  We need to take this seriously. We have noticed that a number of our clients are experiencing a drop off on web use, with a couple of exceptions. In studying the differences, we noticed one glaring difference. The exceptions (our customers who are growing in online donations/purchases) are regularly watching the analytics, studying when their donors/customers leave the process.

Here’s why you need to know how donors/shoppers are feeling about your site:


Don’t let it slide — track, tweak, track, tweak.

Digital is an ever changing medium. We need to keep up. There is no reason for a clumsy online giving/shopping experience. Untangle your checkout process from old and tired systems. Make it as easy as iTunes.

Donor Apathy

DATE: April 4th, 2016



(Marketing Week)

Cultivating loyal, committed donors is tough. We live in  a noisy world of Facebook challenges, emails from friends doing a special fundraising project, a mailbox filled with charitable requests, TV and radio ads, and online information. Events, peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, door-to-door, face-to-face……..

Fundraising is tough.

This paragraph struck me this week. It’s out of the UK — but we need to take it into consideration:

Charities that effectively bridge the gap between branding and fundraising will also have a far better chance of engaging supporters in the long term, but working out the value of different types of communication is an issue, so Snedden suggests the measurement framework has to evolve Marketing Week, 

Many organizations continue to silo communications and fundraising, giving brand and organizational collateral to the communication team. The “real” work goes to the fundraising (development team). That silo has to come down — or at least a walkway built between the two. Brand matters. Research shows that the charitable organizations that are engaging more and more donors are those that know who they are, run integrated campaigns and have a strong brand presence.

When brand integrity encompasses every communication and fundraising message, trust is built. Donors know they can count on you. The feel confident of your work because they know you personally.

Try experiencing Barefoot: Experts in Brand, Retention and Interactive

DATE: March 16th, 2016





Do you look for a strong brand strategy? Is your biggest pain point donor retention and loyalty? Can your website do everything you need it to do and more?

Then keep reading!

We all have a few things we do really well. Here are our three areas of expertise:


Brands can be powerful or powerless. It’s up to you. Left in the hands of the consumer, brands can flutter and perish. They can be taken off course, forcing corporations to live to an identity that does not define their core product  or service.

Strong brands build loyalty, increase profile and visibility, build credibility and legitimacy. Strong brands stand out in the marketplace; they reduce risk. Strong brands increase profitability.


The days of being loyal to one organization for a life-time are rapidly receding into peer-to-peer support, crowd funding and the ever present hope of going viral.  The most important reason for a donor to continue their support is to feel they are essential to getting the work done.

Even in the agency world we need to up the ante on our customer care program – if we bring chocolates, but never take the time to know our clients, the smart ones will find an agency that does care.

Donor loyalty is no different than client or customer care. It’s all about knowing what your audience values and building your relationship models on that information.


In 1996 Google was just a tiny spark of an idea in the minds of a few university students looking for a project. Today, it’s a verb.

Digital technology continues to evolve, demonstrating the fluidity of the modern marketing environment. Social media, apps and online activity are critical components of marketing collateral.

As a communication agency, we have highly invested in the technology, bringing software developments specialists into our team to build the foundation of all our applications. Joining the techies are talented user-interface specialists.

Our goal is to help our clients work smarter, using integrated applications that allow multiple uses at a single entry point. Our team is innovative, imaginative and intelligent.

Try using Barefoot: What we do

DATE: February 25th, 2016

The great thing about any boutique is that you get high quality services with intimate, personalized charm. Here is what you get from us:


  • Programming


Our software engineers are agile, working in diverse programming languages. They proficiently integrate with third party solutions and organizational software. They start with your needs and build a solution that works.


  • Research, Strategy and Consultation


To build great online experiences, we start by understanding your company’s unique needs and goals. Our scalable discovery process allows us to build a comprehensive project strategy tailored to meet your corporate objectives. This gives us a solid foundation to develop effective solutions.


  • Writing and Content Development


Creating content can often be the most difficult and underestimated part of any site. Our team of writers are experts at understanding your brand’s “voice” and developing engaging SEO focused content. With our marketing expertise, we strategically write your copy to drive customers to conversion.


  • Online Marketing


Marketing your website is just as important as building an excellent user experience. We use direct response strategies in conjunction with online advertising, email campaigns and social media marketing to drive qualified users to your site. We have over 15 years of experience in marketing and can take your campaign from the web to print, television and radio to strengthen your campaign with a unified marketing strategy.


  • Website Management


Ongoing site management can often overextend an internal team. It is difficult to stay ahead of email campaigns, blog updates and general content management. With our site management service, we will fully manage your online presence or augment and assist your web team. Using our expertise in web development, we keep your content fresh and engaging, while keeping you on top of your site’s performance with regular data analysis and reporting.

Try going Barefoot: Simplicity of Brand

DATE: February 18th, 2016

Yes, we wear shoes to work.

Sneakers (running shoes), pumps, heels, Sorrels…. We’re not fussy. But people check. And then they ask: “Why Barefoot?”

So here’s the thing.

In our past we worked with complex agencies named in honour of the last name of the partners. We wanted something new and fresh. We also noticed that huge fees and less creativity came alongside the partner-named agencies. At least that was our experience.

So we wanted to be naked – our fees transparent, our creativity fresh.

As we considered the politically correctness of sheer nakedness (remember, this is almost 20 years ago), “barefoot” struck us as the most viable nakedness.

“Barefoot” also expresses the simplicity we strive for.

There is brilliance in simplicity. You cannot truly simplify your message unless you truly understand the message and the audience. Our job is to help organizations that become myopic in their own brand rebuild the strength of their own simplicity.

So while we long for moments of curling our bare toes in the sunny, sandy beaches not located in Canada in February – we are energized by the sheer joy of going barefoot.


Production/Project Manager: Come join the Barefoot Team!

DATE: November 26th, 2015

Job Title: Production / Project Coordinator

The Production Coordinator will coordinate the efforts of print projects as they are processed through creative and prepress departments. Responsibilities include project management and scheduling of both local and off-site relations with various account teams. Additional responsibilities include:

Job Responsibilities

  • Manage project timelines
  • Interact with vendors to insure timely completion of projects and quality assurance of final pieces
  • Provide excellent customer service by responding to direct inquiries, address concerns in a timely manner in addition to building and maintaining positive relationships with customers.
  • Communicate and provide support with account teams and/or vendors
  • Knowledge of the printing & mailhouse industry
  • Commercial printing, prepress and film output processes
  • Resource and work load management
  • Send copy out for estimates and translations

Job Requirements

  • Demonstrate the ability to manage multiple projects and multiple items rapidly and in prioritized sequence.
  • Demonstrate flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing requirements and schedules.
  • Demonstrate the ability to act on own initiative.
  • Demonstrates the ability to remain organized under tight deadlines
  • Demonstrate the ability and willingness to help others achieve their best.
  • Demonstrate the ability and willingness to show leadership by consistent positive example.
  • Demonstrate the ability and willingness to build and maintain positive relationships quickly.
  • Possess the ability to work with management Jouets gonflablesto achieve Company goals including customer satisfaction and Company profitability.
  • Demonstrate willingness to accept direction from management and peers to improve quality and performance.

Education and Experience

  • 3-year college education or equivalent
  • 2-3 years’ experience in production coordination

​Please send resume and cover letter to

Fresh ideas for 2016

DATE: November 25th, 2015

A recent study by Hotwire PR has identified several upcoming trends for marketing & communications in 2016. Targeting based on interest rather than age, pursuing native advertising in the age of ad-blockers and exploring opportunities in virtual reality are just a few of these trends. Read the full report and try some fresh ideas in 2016!

Meet the New Girl-Sara Nadalin

DATE: November 19th, 2015

We are so excited to welcome the amazing and talented Sara Nadalin to our Barefoot team (yes, we do wear shoes to the office, no, it is not a requirement that they be removed upon working here.) Enough about us, I’ll let Sara introduce herself:


Born and raised on a hobby farm in Cambridge, Ontario, I first started messing around with HTML at the age of 12 when I was looking for a fun way to practice my typing skills. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was more interested in designing the website than programming it. Not having a clue where to start, I begged my parents for Jasc Paint Shop Pro—I clearly had not yet discovered the glory of the Adobe suite.

Fast forward 15 years: I am a graduate of Conestoga College’s Graphic Design program, a self-proclaimed “typography junkie”, and I couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter of my design career at Barefoot Creative!

When I’m not designing or doodling I enjoy singing, going for hikes, exploring, and practicing yoga.

Non-profits as leaders in innovation…

DATE: November 18th, 2015


“Innovation” and “non-profit” in the same sentence?

First of all, let’s dispel the notion that Non-Profits are, well, not-for-profit. Unlike the For-Profit sector, Non-Profits’ role is to make as much profit as possible and then distribute that profit to their owners – society. As a societal shareholder, I want to see my Non-Profits contribute with professionalism and effectiveness. It’s a misnomer to believe that Non-Profits should work on shoestring budgets with low paid staff working on hand-me-down computers and sitting on mismatched slightly malfunctioning chairs.

Those working for social good should be industry leaders, using strategies of communication, marketing and testing that meet stated goals. The role of the Non-Profit is to generate greater good. To generate greater good there needs to be an underlying source of funding. Believing that is done by happenstance and benevolence is naïve.

We often dream about doing a truly innovative campaign – like the “Share a Coke Tour” (custom product kiosks), Dove “You are Beautiful Campaign (unlimited appeal), and the infamous Apple/PC ad. But Non-Profits have been leaders: Movember, Dumb ways to Die and UNICEF’s Tap project have all won awards for innovation alongside For-Profit campaigns.

Non-Profits too often lament the lack of budget, rather than focus on what really matters: communication that truly connects with the audience.

It’s more difficult than expected. Too many times Non-Profits chase “what works” for other organizations. Putting five greeting cards, a pen and stickers into a label package is not innovative or brand centric. While the response of that package may make sense in the short term, the donors are neither loyalty driven or sustainable for the long term. I wonder if the package is done again and again and again because it is cost-effective and driven by a direct response method unconcerned about brand or, for that matter, long term loyalty.

While many Non-Profits wish for a quick, cash-rich campaign like Movember or the Ice Bucket Challenge, truly innovative Non-Profits must put their imaginations to work to develop campaigns and products that build long-term loyalty among donors.

Simple Makes Sense

DATE: November 17th, 2015



Innovation is always a result of an expressed need. Often the innovation, upon reflection, seems simple – like the Dove’s beauty campaign. It just makes sense.

Donor’s Choose, a US web portal, invites teachers to request items they need from the general public. The site celebrates crowdfunding. Donors can choose to provide a classroom tickets to the local museum, an art program, books for the library – the requests are broad and often inventive. The site was launched in 2003. To date, it has raised almost $370  million dollars for over 640,000 projects.

The theory behind the site is simple – teachers (the direct beneficiary) tell the public (the donor) what they need and why. The transaction takes place online, taking advantage of a huge reach. Donors can give a few dollars or provide the funds for the whole project. This kind of crowdfunding is raising eyebrows from coast to coast.

The idea is inspired by KickStarter, a funding site for entrepreneurs. Amanda Palmer, a musician who uses crowdfunding in a big way, uses extremely creative social media, events and web tactics to increase her ability to fund through crowds. She does not simply post and rely on the public to find her.

Her insights for raising funds are inspiring. She says:

But with busking, as with crowdfunding: asking is the relationship. The trust and humility created by the artist with their hat out on the street, and the generosity of the person tossing in their coin, is all part of the art form.

One of her most insightful observations was that she noticed that there were thousands of people who were just waiting to become a part of something that was much bigger than they were. Joining her on her journey to produce art resonated with them.

Amanda Palmer stood out. She did things no other artist had ever considered. She dared to change the paradigm.