Buy Social Canada

Buy and sell with impact.

Building a community-centric marketplace.


Role: Brand Strategist, UX Researcher & Visual Designer
1 Brand Strategist, 3 UX Designers, 1 Project Manager, 1 Visual Designer
Agency: Dossier

Buy Social Canada (BSC) is a social enterprise with a mission to advance and grow social procurement. By building relationships between social suppliers and purchasers, Buy Social Canada is paving the way for communities, corporations and governments to buy and sell with impact.

We met the Buy Social Canada team at an exciting time of growth and opportunity. With Buy Social Canada expanding its services offerings, our team was tasked with creating an updated brand strategy, identity, website and verbal guidelines to better capture Buy Social Canada’s revolutionary spirit.

My role for this project focused on distilling the brand strategy into clear copy, performing and synthesizing design research, creating the visual brand identity, and client communications.

Understanding Buy Social's why, how and what.

Understanding social procurement.

Our process began with unraveling Buy Social Canada’s extensive history, and how we could define social procurement. We began by immersing ourselves in the social procurement space, by conducting stakeholder interviews, attending Buy Social Canada’s community huddle and reading just about everything we could find on social procurement. Our team was instantly impressed with what the small, but very mighty, team had already accomplished. Inspired by their ambition and passion, we set out to work on the brand strategy.

Some of our interviewees included leaders from organizations such as Chandos Construction, York University, and the Government of Canada.

Research and stakeholder interview insights in social procurement.

After extensive industry research, stakeholder interviews, and exploring key themes, we defined social procurement loosely as a mindset shift: the building of thoughtful relationships between suppliers and purchasers to focus on community-centric capital instead of only economic capital.

David LePage, our client and the founder of Buy Social Canada, wrote more about this mindset shift in his Marketplace Revolution book. An intriguing point I discovered during this initial research phase was the power of changing our intentions, and how this shift can lead movements towards envisioning radically different futures.

Social finance: the mindful and intentional investment of funds to improve the lives of citizens, communities, and the environment at large.
Brainstorming on keywords for Buy Social's brand and creative direction.

A focus on community capital.

Our primary strategic focus was to clarify the questions: what does Buy Social Canada offer and who is it for? Buy Social Canada has a wide range of clients and partners - from social enterprises and corporations, to purchasers at the federal government. By understanding each unique audience's mindsets, motivations and expectations, we created a unified strategic foundation that spoke to all.While codifying other elements of the brand strategy, we paid particular attention to the use of inclusive language and the emotions, thought and actions certain works evoked. A back-and-forth iteration process allowed us to select words that accurately conveyed the brand’s values, character and impact.

Persona building for Buy Social's key stakeholders.


During this project, it became clear to me that visually, conceptually, and communicatively, a brand should be a system that communicates an idea and its core values.

Buy Social Canada was a wonderful client to work with. Initially intimidating, I later realized that it was because they cared deeply about their mission and had very strong values. Working with a client with strong values was a reminder to remain sensitive and informed about social issues that concerned our localities, our cities, and our nations.

This project reminded me that by changing our intentions, we can change entire experiences. We can change the world by changing our mindsets and acting on values for the betterment of all human beings, and the planet.

Being a trailblazing brand and organization is not easy, and requires tremendous courage. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to brand an organization that cares greatly about the bigger picture, and igniting a fairer path forward.