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MSFHR 20th Anniversary Campaign

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is British Columbia’s (B.C.) primary health research funding agency. They have shaped health research in B.C. for 20 years, supporting health researchers whose work provides evidence for informed policies, practices, and medical advancements that have improved the health of communities.


They partnered with Be the Change Group to develop a campaign that could capture their rich history and future path. The digital storytelling campaign we launched was lighter, human-focused and based on a simple strategy: 20 years, 20 stories. It brought to life a variety of compelling stories and provided an opportunity for MSFHR to prepare their community for the consolidation of MSFHR and the BC Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) into what is now known as Michael Smith Health Research BC.



      Visit the microsite


      The change


      of employees said the campaign provided insight into the consolidation


      of employees said the campaign helped them better understand the Foundation’s 20-year journey in health research


      increase in the Foundation's Twitter Followers


      net follower growth on the Foundation's LinkedIn profile

      “Be the Change Group's deep communication expertise developed a highly successful, award-winning anniversary campaign that revitalized our corporate storytelling and brand awareness.”

      – Julia White, Director of Communications, Michael Smith Health Research BC


      Highlighting history and innovation

      In 2021, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) BC reached an important milestone: their 20th anniversary. To make the occasion, they wanted to raise awareness of their role and impact on health research in B.C. But at this time, they were also facing an upcoming consolidation and the effects of the pandemic on the province’s health system.

      With the upcoming challenges ahead, we came with a strategic approach. The campaign we developed highlighted MSFHR’s role in shaping health research in B.C., and celebrated the work of the B.C. health researchers they support, who have been driving innovation in B.C. ‘s health system and improving the health of populations.


      We start with focused research to inform campaign strategy and tactics, which include: a review of past MSFHR anniversary campaigns and library archives; group discovery sessions with MSFHR’s leadership and board; a market review of other research organizations that recently celebrated an anniversary; and survey consultations with select staff to ensure the stories were representative of the diverse researchers, regions, and MSFHR’s research priorities.

      Through our discovery sessions and review, we saw MSFHR’s 20th anniversary as an opportunity to bring forward their history of supporting equitable, diverse, and inclusive health research.

      Our Solution

      20 years of stories

      Our virtual campaign centred around a simple strategy: 20 years, 20 stories. It was light and human-focused, touching on key milestones in MSFHR’s 20-year history through storytelling. For this campaign, we developed a custom brand for the anniversary, created a sleek website, and launched an eight-month social media campaign that featured 20 researcher’s stories.


      Award-winning campaign

      We were honoured to receive the 2022 IABC Gold Quill Award of Merit in the Marketing, Advertising and Brand Communication category—an award that has recognized excellence in strategic communication globally for over 40 years—together with our partners at Michael Smith Health Research BC.

      The campaign also received a CPRS Vancouver Silver Award in the Best Digital/Multimedia/Social Media Project category and was recognized with an Honourable Mention in the Digital Community Engagement category for PR Daily’s 2022 Social Media & Digital Awards.

      Gold Quill Awards

      "This project is a benchmark in professional standards."

      – Judge testimonial, International Association of Business Communicators for the Gold Quill Awards