Case Study – Oceanside

Case Study – Oceanside

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Our challenge was to change the long held perception that the *Oceanside area of Vancouver Island was at best, “a quiet place for retired people” and at worst, “in the middle of nowhere with nothing going on.” Research showed, among other things,  that job opportunities in the region tended to cluster around lower paying service jobs in the tourism industry. With a focus on stimulating work and entrepreneurship in the area, we had to come up with a way to attract young ‘lifestyle entrepreneurs’ to live and work in the region.

We started by digging into the psyche of the people who live and work there, to find out as much as we could about them and the area. We did in-person and online surveys with residents, and a focus group with local business leaders. What was it about the area and the lifestyle that attracted them. What live/work situations were they coming from. What changes were they looking for. What were they willing to give up? What did they have to gain? Our job was to use what we learned as a starting point to develop a video, and create a website.

What we found surprised us. Not only were people moving to the area to live and work, although in small numbers, a number of them were our target audience – young, 30 – 55, “lifestyle entrepreneurs”, with young families, looking for a better quality of life, closer to nature, with access to transportation and a strong sense of community.  We further discovered, as they did, that there is a whole (underground) community of like-minded entrepreneurs who have moved to the region for their own personal reasons. We had to differentiate our messaging from a tourism focus to one of entrepreneurship and quality of life.

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We created a storytelling framework for the project and featured personal stories of young lifestyle entrepreneurs in a 4 minute video called  This Could Work and an entrepreneur focused website. We interviewed a dozen or so people who told us their personal story about why they moved to the area and what they loved about it. They shared what they’d learned along the way and told us what they thought others who were considering a move should know. Our strategy was to produce a video, website, branding and tagline, marketing materials, powerpoint presentation, and postcards.

As well as reflecting the voices of local entrepreneurs, it was important to use local suppliers. We wrote the video script, and then worked with a local videographer – Digital Media Studios to shoot the video. We chose the new Digital Media Studio in Qualicum Beach for the location.

P1030066 We worked with a local website developer – Geeks on the Beach, to build a website that had been designed by Trapeze – our design partner on this project. To better reflect the diversity of the region, we later, in phase two of the project, wrote additional stories of entrepreneurs of different ages,  sectors and backgrounds.

The website went live in late November, 2014. We’ll announce the project to the world via a news release and provide recommendations about how to promote the site and the video through social media.


JUST ANNOUNCED Dec. 11, 2014 

The Parksville and Qualicum Beach area is on its way to creating a long-term, Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan thanks to the work of Oceanside Initiatives and financial support of $10,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust.

“From their competitive analysis to their strategy and marketing tools, Oceanside Initiatives has been committed to ensuring continued growth in the region,” said ICET Chair Phil Kent. “This next step will build on the work already completed, and set out immediate, concrete actions to attract new businesses and keep them over the longer term.”

Here’s a link to the news release issued by Island Coastal Economic Trust.


*Oceanside includes the communities of Coombs, Deep Bay, Errington, Hilliers, Parksville, Qualicum Bay and Qualicum Beach.

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