Top 5 B Corps Top Drawer Has a Crush On

April 24, 2018 by  Top Drawer Creative

What the F is a B Corp, Anyway?

There’s an ongoing debate in our office about what the “B” in B Corp stands for. Bold? Brave? Beneficial? Regardless, what we do know for certain is that B Corp is a business certification comparable to what Fair Trade is to coffee and Organic is to food. To become a certified B Corporation, a business must meet strict standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. And by strict we mean capital “S” Strict, if you catch our drift.

For the same reasons consumers choose certified Fair Trade and Organic products over others, B Corps stand out as businesses with something more to offer. They are also great places to work at and work with for their high standards of social and environmental responsibility. How do we know this? Because we’ve worked with a bunch ourselves (and we also happen to be one).

But B Corp is more than just a seal of approval. It represents a global shift in thinking about the role businesses can (and need to) play in shaping a world that’s prosperous for all. Becoming a B Corp also helps to shape the story of a business’s brand. It’s a testament to their commitment to being a force for good in the world – for people, for planet, and for profits.

Being a member of the B Corp community is something we at Top Drawer are proud of every day. “Every business has an impact,” explains Howard Chang, Top Drawer Founder and CEO. “It’s up to us to decide what kind of impact we want to have.”

We also get kind of nerdy excited about what other businesses in our community are up to! Here’s a list of the top 5 local B Corps we are totally digging right now.

Our Top 5 Favourite Local B Corps

1. Flow Water

Flow alkaline spring water comes from a local, family-owned artesian spring. It’s perfect just the way nature made it. We love this B Corp for their refreshing commitment to responsible packaging, minimal environmental impact, and mindful oversight of every single step of their production process.

2. Reunion Island Coffee

Reunion Island Coffee is not only delicious, there’s a story mixed into each and every cup you enjoy. We’re inspired by Reunion Island’s successful approach to creating a great product in a socially responsible way. Along with making it onto Canada’s Greenest Employers list, this B Corp also partners with important initiatives, like Coffee Kids and Trees for the Future.

3. Beau’s

A beer with a story always tastes fresher. Beau’s family-run, community-driven brewery is totally independent, certified organic, and takes the art of craft beer brewing next level. Beau’s has donated over a million to charities, communities, and the arts since 2006, and has pledged to donate another $5 million over the next decade.

4. Manitoba Harvest

Hemp is such an important product for many reasons and we’re encouraged by Manitoba Harvest’s goal to provide it to more people. Sustainable, fresh, traceable, and – well – just plain delicious, Manitoba Harvest is a great example of how a business with a purpose that goes beyond profits can achieve success.

5. Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel is so much more than a hotel (that makes a delicious Negroni, btw) and that’s why we love this B Corp. The Gladstone’s commitment to sustainable practices, fostering community and creativity, and preserving a landmark piece of Toronto history, are just a few of the reasons why this B Corp makes it onto our list.

About the only thing we love more than being a B Corp is working with other B Corps. It’s kind of our jam, you know? As the first full-service agency in Canada to become certified as a B Corp, Top Drawer has a strong history of mapping the terrain for corporate social responsibility. This is not only true for the Top Drawer brand itself, but also for the fellow B Corps and businesses with common good mandates whose brands stories we build fame for.

Brand Storytelling: 5 Insights from #ReMark18

April 13, 2018 by  Top Drawer Creative

Top Drawer Creative Attends Retail Marketing Conference


In a sea of brands, retail marketers are continually faced with the challenge of how to keep theirs relevant. At the recent Retail Marketing Conference held in Toronto by the Retail Council of Canada, Top Drawer Creative CEO and Founder Howard Chang delivered a clear message for his audience: “If you think you will win in the market with a better price or better selection, you are wrong.”

So if it’s not prices or selection or expertise or value or whatever, then what attracts consumers to one retailer over the other? What keeps customers coming back?

“The only way for retailers to differentiate in this hyper-competitive market is to connect emotionally with consumers.” And to do that, Howard insists, you must have a compelling brand story.

Like every good story, a brand story consists of a hero (or protagonist) who faces obstacles and is inspired to embark on a journey to become their ideal self. But any old story won’t do. There’s an art to it. “Brand storytelling isn’t about feel-good. It’s about being memorable and desirable.”

What, then, makes a memorable and desirable brand story?

How to Be an Expert at Brand Storytelling


1. You are not the hero of your brand story. Your customer is.

Good stories are built on drawing your listeners into the story. By making your audience the hero of the story, you gain their attention and they begin to empathize with and root for that hero.

2. Know your customer.

What are their concerns? What keeps them awake at night? What do they wish to change about themselves or the world around them? A well-crafted brand story provides a resolution to your customer’s innermost needs and desires. Knowing your customer is how your brand builds a connection with them, and it’s what keeps their attention.

3. Your story needs an arc.

No one remembers flat stories. The stories we enjoy are those with highs and lows, ups and downs. It is important to weave a journey, rather than a sprint. Speak to more than just their needs; speak to their values and aspirations. To take a brand from like to love, a customer must feel aligned to that brand in more than a few areas.

4. Be honest.

Why? Because your audience will know if you’re not. This is where you demonstrate how you truly know them and can leverage your audience intelligence to connect with them.

5. A great brand story is not created in a vacuum.

Brand stories do not become great brand stories without a little help. With a team made up of brand strategists, seasoned storytellers and retail industry experts, your brand story can achieve its full potential.

For over 25 years, the team at Top Drawer has been crafting game-changing brand stories for local to national retail brands. Our structured brand strategy workshops and creative story building processes are backed by research, experience and creativity.