Who We Are

Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboos, Alberta, Canada.

Who We Are

Arcade Brand Strategies is a destination branding and tourism marketing consultancy based in Toronto, Canada, with a network of associates around the world.

We’ve come to the fascinating world of tourism by choice, after spending more than a decade in general marketing and advertising, dealing with some of the world’s largest brands and agency networks.

To us, tourism marketing presents the ultimate challenge. You’re selling a product you don’t control to a consumer you’ll rarely meet, competing with the entire world, managing a brand in which every local resident feels ownership, all the while relying on the goodwill and co-operation of your stakeholders to push the penny forward.

We love a great challenge. Over the years, we’ve realized that we’re pretty good at asking the right questions, simplifying complex ideas, and helping great people come up with great ideas. And that seems to fit quite nicely with the challenges facing tourism organizations, hoteliers, and tour operators.

Steve Wright

Steve has led more than 100 destination brand and tourism marketing program development workshops in Canada, the USA and Europe. He’s conducted international research programs in a dozen countries and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

Anyone can fall out of bed and sell the latest pair of hi-tech basketball shoes, but tourism marketing — that’s where the real fun is at!

Steve was the lead strategic planner on the development of the “Keep Exploring” brand for the Canadian Tourism Commission and developed the CTC’s innovative and award-winning Explorer Quotient consumer segmentation model. He led brand reviews for Toronto Tourism, Travel Alberta, The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, The Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau and Waikiki. Steve was the lead strategic planner on the CTC business for 6 years, during which Canada’s destination brand moved from #12 to #2 on the Futurebrand Country Brands Index and culminating in the organization being named “Marketer of the Year” by Marketing Magazine for 2009. Steve has worked with every provincial tourism organization in Canada and most of the major DMO’s.

In his spare time, Steve is an amateur photographer, weekend carpenter and avid traveller. He recently moved to the great city of Montreal, where he lives with his brilliant wife Nodjame and ill-behaved wonder-dog, Kingston.

Yvonne van Dinther

Prior to establishing Arcade, Yvonne was co-creator and managing director of Radar DDB, DDB’s social media marketing division. At Radar DDB, she provided strategic counsel and oversaw consumer engagement programs on behalf of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), Unilever, Ketel One, the Canadian Cancer Society, Servus Financial, Thermador, and Subaru.

With over 20 years experience, Yvonne’s rounded expertise includes brand stewardship, advertising, direct, e-marketing, database, collateral, public relations, sales support and communications research.

Upon joining DDB, Yvonne was responsible for the CTC business and its marketing efforts in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. She headed up the agency team responsible for the successful development and introduction of a new travel brand for Canada that garnered wide acceptance within the travel industry and aided in the Canada brand moving from number 12 to number one in FutureBrand’s country brand index. Yvonne also helped introduce a new market segmentation model – the Explorer Quotient – that is guiding the CTC and the Canadian travel industry’s communications and won the Best in Class award from the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association.

Prior to joining DDB Canada, Yvonne provided counsel and managed marketing communications initiatives for the Bank of Bermuda, and a number of Bell Canada Enterprises business units including Mobility, CGI, ExpressVu, Nexxia, ActiMedia and Bell Business. She has also provided strategic planning and communications counsel to a number of clients including Hilton Hotels, Singapore Airlines, IBM, and Procter & Gamble.

Yvonne was instrumental in the founding of a new media practice in 1995 at Canada’s largest communications agency (then Cossette Interactive), and was a member of TBWA’s North American Digerati group that examined the impact of emerging technologies on the marketing-communications industry.

She has an extensive public affairs background and has worked with a number of Crown Corporations, government agencies and departments, including the National Archives of Canada, and the federal departments of Employment & Immigration and Communications.

Susan Iris

Susan Iris is a recognized innovator with broad-based expertise in executive leadership, brand marketing, sales, and operations.  She has a proven record in identifying and analyzing long-range opportunities and translating them into strategies that deliver results.

Following her successful role spearheading the Canadian Tourism Commission’s (CTC) strategy, brand positioning, communications outreach, and worldwide tourism marketing for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, she helped launch Navigate, a new venture in partnership with Arcade Brand Strategies.   Recognizing that the immediacy of news and trends creates a need for a nimble response and innovation comes out of opportunity and willingness to push the status quo, the group customizes strategic and marketing solutions which define brands and capture consumer attention and engagement.

Her cutting-edge approach is evidenced in a number of unprecedented initiatives including the Signature Experiences Collection, a dynamic program to increase consumer relevance for small and medium-sized tourism businesses and a new strategic partnership model adopted by U.S. professional meetings organizations as the industry standard.

Her work has won recognition with notices such as Canada’s move to the top ranking tourism brand as determined in 2010 by Country Brand Index by Future Brand, the CTC’s selection as Canada’s 2009 Marketer of the Year, and the award for professional achievement by the Professional Convention Management Association.