welcome to the zinctank…

a place where you can get to know us + gather insights on topics we’re passionate about

We’re hiring! Senior Communications Consultant

By: Marci + Colleen

It’s an exciting kick off to 2024 – with a busy year ahead, we’re laying the groundwork for more growth and adventure. That means, we’re hiring! Check out the info below and reach out if you have any questions, or to introduce yourself if you think this could be a fit. LINK to posting on…

ZINC’s 2023 book roundup

By: ZINC staffers

Looking for a great holiday read? Christmas gift? Book club pick for 2024? Here are some of the ZINC team’s favourite reads from the past year, and why we enjoyed them. Fiction, non-fiction (including a little bit of self-help) – there’s a little something for everyone. We hope you enjoy! fiction reading Utopia, by Heidi…

Mapping It All Out: Planning the End at the Beginning

By: zinc staffers

Planning a public engagement requires careful attention to detail and forethought. In fact – we’ve written an entire blog post on why it’s important to make a comprehensive engagement plan before diving into a consultation. One thing that all engagement plans look towards are a final report – to collate feedback collected, survey results or…

Engagement Plans: An Essential Part of Every Public Participation Project

By: Dana Wilson, communications manager

We understand the pull to jump right into a public consultation project. Whether it’s sending out an invitation to an open house or scheduling social media posts – sometimes, in the thick of things, you just want to get the ball rolling. So, why stop and make a comprehensive engagement plan? Here are three reasons…

Survey says “Yes!” to more surveys

By: Colleen Dane, Director

I’m a sucker for a survey–both responding to them as a participant, but also using them as an engagement tool with the public. Surveys offer a quick way for people to share details about themselves, their community, their activities and their priorities and preferences. As a resident, I like giving my input via surveys; particularly…
woman's hand with pink fingernails using a mobile phone

We’ve got apps for that!

By: zinc staffers

It’s a digital world and we’re living in it! At ZINC, we rely on mobile apps that help us stay on track, communicate, check our work quality and more. We also have some faves for a variety of out-of-office lifestyles. We’re highlighting our most used apps for work and play in the hopes that one…
a stack of reading books with one book laying open on a wooden surface in the foreground

2022 reading roundup!

By: zinc staffers

We’re back! It’s that time of year when we like to reflect on what we’ve been reading that’s compelling enough to share. In 2022, we seemed to steer more toward true stories; after what we’ve all been through with the global pandemic, our ability to let our imaginations run wild may still be in recovery….
white lettering on a black background that reads: you didn't come this far to only come this far

ZINC gives back to pay it forward

By: Zinc staffers

It’s that time of year again! We just received a heartfelt package in the mail from North Island College’s Foundation, letting us know the winner of our bursary award for 2022 – a donation we make annually. It always makes our day to receive these letters, and learn about the bursary recipients and their goals…
A classroom with rows of tables and chairs, and open laptops facing a power point presentation screen

Tips for the non-spokesperson

By: Colleen Dane, director

There are very few things in life that are guaranteed, but this may be one of them: no matter how many times we host media training sessions, for any organization, anywhere in BC, we always get asked: “Why do I need media training? I’m never going to be a media spokesperson.” And it makes sense…
Trail sign in the middle of a dark forest that reads: Please Stay On Trail

Write your way through the forest

By: zinc staffers

When we want to write for impact, it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. That’s because, for most of us, writing doesn’t always come easy, even when the subject is one close to our hearts. While finding the right words can be a struggle, a lack of clarity can quickly sideline…
newspaper clipping from Business section about new Ritual spa in Victoria with photo of a woman in a bathing suit under a bucket of spilling ice water

Building a new ritual

By: zinc staffers

Our ZINC team is amazing. Have we mentioned that? They really are. They do amazing, interesting things, both inside and outside the office. You may have heard our Founder/Principal, Marci, is taking on a particularly impressive project these days – the opening of RITUAL Nordic Spa in Victoria. It’s the embodiment of many things Marci…
woman in cafe facing a window facing a city street and typing on a laptop

Our Must Reads & Vital Viewings for 2021

By: zinc staffers

It’s time for our annual must-reads roundup – but this year, given the craziness of the pandemic, we’re opening it up to include vital viewings because let’s face it, sometimes we just need some guilty pleasure TV to get us through tough times. Below is our list of what we’ve been reading – and watching…
microphone over a desk in a radio station booth

ZINC Celebrates International Podcast Day

By: Margot Fedoruk, writer

Looking ahead to September 30th, ZINC wants the world to join us along on our journey to celebrate International Podcast Day. A day to remind us to sit back, tune in and listen to some of the really good content. But with close to 700,000 podcasts to choose from, how does one go about finding…
A forest of fold-out chairs on green astroturf to depict a world that is once again open for business

reopening community engagement: tips for planning

By: Margot Fedoruk

Now that the world is re-opening for business once again, the team here at ZINC Strategies is excited to ‘reopen doors’ to the public. The last 18 months have taught us a lot about working with people – and we look forward to engaging in person once again. With plans now underway for in-person events…
Books piled on a wooden bookshelf

Zinc’s 2020 Book Wrap Up

By: ZINC Staffers

The ZINCsters are at it again! This time last year, we shared our favourite reads from 2019 – and we’re back again to share this year’s top book picks. With 2020 bringing us lots of extra downtime, we spent these socially-distanced hours getting inspiration – and a little escape – from new books. Whether you’re…
A woman smiling on a zoom call with another woman representing online engagement

Taking it Online: Tips for Engagement Platforms

By: Colleen Dane, Director

Online engagement has come a long way in recent years. In fact, it came a long way in 2020 alone. Where it started with standard social media outreach – more and more local governments are turning to engagement-specific platforms like Engagement HQ, PlaceSpeak or Ethelo to create hubs of interactivity with their constituents. Participation in these is picking up pace…
two wooden puzzle pieces half fitted together to represent common language for civic projects

Finally a Common Language for civic projects! A Brief Introduction to IAP2

By: Marci Hotsenpiller, Founder and Principal

It’s been interesting here in Canada over the past year, as all levels of government struggle to determine what constitutes “enough” consultation and public engagement around civic projects. Many of our clients in local government are being proactive in these areas. Some have drafted and adopted engagement policies, guidelines or frameworks for consultation. From the…

Measuring Trust in Uncertain Times

By: Colleen Dane, Director

UPDATE: On May 5, Edelman released an interim update on their trust barometer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – answering some of the questions raised in the blog below. In short? In the face of the pandemic, trust in institutions has taken a significant leap in Canada by a 10-to-20 point increase. That’s…

Zinc’s 2019 reading Adventures

By: ZINC Staffers

Looking for some good holiday reading? OR, simply wondering which books the ZINC team couldn’t put down this year? We’re sharing a shortlist of some of our favourite literary discoveries from 2019, in both fiction and non-fiction. As a group of book-lovers and devoted readers, it was difficult to narrow the list – and to…

Media Training Milestone: Hitting 200

By: Marci Hotsenpiller, Founder & Principal

It’s fun to mark a milestone at your company that actually makes a difference in other people’s lives. Here at ZINC, we recently completed a media training session for members of the federal government, specifically those involved in Coast Guard activities. This fact isn’t new—we’ve been working with federal government staff in BC and the…

Why We Went “All In” on Communications for Infrastructure Projects

By: Marci Hotsenpiller, Founder & Principal

For anyone not familiar with the history of ZINC, I started the communications firm wearing two very different hats. At the time, I had enjoyed success in two distinct areas – helping tech companies get amazing international media coverage, and guiding cities and local governments in telling better stories about the projects they were building….

Communicating in Colour: Insights on Three Colour Identities

By: Dana Mills, Communications Account Coordinator

At ZINC, we’re always thinking about colour and how best to use it in the materials we create. When communicating information, it’s key to choose colours that are appropriate to your message and goals. For example, using a colour that signals excitement or urgency might be right for a community event poster, but not for a…

Food for Thought: Three Inspiring Spots for Summer Learning

By: ZINC Staffers

Here at ZINC, we see the laid-back summer days ahead not only as a chance to get out and discover new places on Vancouver Island, but also as an opportunity to learn new things and challenge old ways of thinking. We’ve rounded up a few of our go-to spots for inspiration and insights. Check them…

Media Filters: What Might Influence a Story?

By: Colleen Dane, Director

Picture this: A news story is about to come out about your latest project. You prepare and are interviewed, ready with the important information and messages to share. You’ve done your part and so, you sit back and wait. And then the story comes out … and…. It is nothing like you pictured. So – how can…

Starting a Career in Communications: Reflections on My First Industry Position

By: Sid Boegman, ZINC Intern

Starting a career feels like walking for the first time. It’s a daunting process, but eventually those uncertain steps become familiar enough that the motion is muscle-memory. This past summer, I took my first steps at ZINC Strategies, where I had the pleasure of working as an intern. Before I started, I was incredibly excited….

Social Media for Local Gov: Six Tips for Success

By: ZINC Staffers

If we’ve learned anything through our work with local government clients over the years, it’s the importance of communicating with citizens clearly, transparently and in the right places. If you want to get the word out to the public, social media is a great tool for reaching out, spreading news and for taking the pulse…

Back to Basics: A Little Newsletter Goes A Long Way

By: Colleen Dane, Director

When I’m asked at dinner parties what I do for a living, my long-winded answer often boils down to something like this: we get information to people about work that is (or will be) happening, and will affect them. Why? To help work go forward smoothly by getting people on the same page. While it…

Launching Zinc Gives Back: how we’re Supporting Communities in 2019

By: Marci Hotsenpiller, Founder & Principal

Over the past decade here at ZINC, we’ve donated time and resources to different charitable causes across Vancouver Island. But this year – after passing the milestone 10-year mark of operations – we have decided to do more. And make it official! We want to formalize ZINC’s charitable giving and really make a difference in…

Want Fair Media Coverage? Here Are Six things to Avoid When A Reporter Calls

By: Leigh Carter, Senior Communications Advisor

Media coverage can be exactly what your organization, product, idea or point of view needs to reach a wide audience – but media coverage can also fill people with dread. Most people aren’t used to talking to reporters regularly, and for many, when a reporter calls it’s about an issue or situation that’s less than…

Why ‘ZINC’: The Story of Our Name

By: Dana Mills, Communications Account Coordinator

One question that many of us “ZINCsters” are often asked is, what’s ZINC? How did Marci, ZINC’s Founder & Principal, come up with the name, and what does it mean? When I first started at ZINC, I also wondered this. And through discussions over the past few months, I’ve gathered some details about the origins of…

Planning Your Next Public Event: Pre-Event

By: Susan Auchterlonie, Senior Communications Consultant

There can be a lot of moving parts when it comes to public engagement – but the rubber really hits the road when you’re creating an event where you are asking the community to participate. The events we coordinate at ZINC range from “Inform” to “Involve” on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation. From traditional open…