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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Raising the flag

Andy Critch holds his self-made Stanley Cup, which he brought to the Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, a Senators BBQ cover, and, behind him, the flag which we purchased and he is about to mount on the site crane. Johnathan monk is taking his picture. The crane is near the Ottawa Airport's flight path -- so many people will see the flag -- from above.

Johnathan Monk and I visited the site of a new school project in Ottawa to see the raising of an Ottawa Senators flag on the site crane. Our company paid for the flag -- a $400 investment -- all because Andy Critch of EllisDon mused out loud to his barber that he really wanted to raise a flag in support of the Senators, but he couldn't find one large enough to do the job.

Waiting my turn for the barber, I piped up: 'We'll get you a flag", and so started a month-long saga.

You can't just go into any souvenir shop to purchase nine foot flags. And of course you can't just custom make a flag with a hockey team's logo without following some procedures; like getting the team's permission. And if you want to put a flag on a construction site crane, you also need to get permission from the building's owner, the contractor, and others. All in all, from beginning to end, it took us about five weeks to get the clearances and the flag made before Andy could hoist it today.

Why do this? How can helping a contractor raise a hockey team flag help out in marketing? If I worried about the 'return on investment' here I probably wouldn't have started the process; but I realize that sometimes it is simply fun to do something a little different, to stretch the rules, to build relationships, and to make connections.

And the flag process certainly succeeded.

We'll have some really good photos taken by Johnathan for the January 09 issue of Ottawa Construction News.

And, yes, EllisDon and the school district granted permission for us to produce an advertiser-supported feature about the project later, so ultimately, we'll make some money on the process.

Marketing 101: Connect, share, and have fun.

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