CPHR – Campaign Case Study

Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHRs) are strategic business advisors, uniquely qualified to help employers and employees succeed.

Core Issues:

  • Many business leaders in Canada are not looking to hire CPHRs or are underutilizing the skills, knowledge and experience that CPHRs bring.
  • CPHRs have the knowledge, skills and expertise to function as strategic advisors who support the achievement of measurable business goals.
  • Professional designation just changed from CHRP.
  • Ontario has a different series of designations, which can cause market confusion.
  • CPAs have multi-million dollar national campaigns promoting their value to business leaders.
  • Their brand position should be equal to CPAs.
  • The campaign budget was strong from the national association, but there was much media ground to cover with the budget.
  • The messaging needed to be reinforced at the provincial level using consistent tools.
  • CPHRs needed a brand and a campaign they could take pride in.

Key Solutions:

  • Develop an online campaign targeted as tightly as possible to business owners and leaders, board members and CEOs across the eight provinces where the CPHR designation is established.
  • Link the campaign to issues that are top of mind for Canadian business leaders, based on two annual CEO surveys: the Conference Board of Canada and the Price Waterhouse Coopers Survey.
  • Have CPHRs as a secondary target market, so they can see the campaign and take part of they choose.
  • Develop materials that showcase the expertise of CPHRs and make them available to the provincial associations for their use as well.
  • Use the newly defined brand platform, the tone of voice and communication approach to elevate the profession and positions CPHR as the national voice of the profession.


CPHR Canada is the 27,000 member association that represents the human resources profession across Canada. Through their eight member associations, they certify practitioners as CPHRs: Chartered Professionals in Human Resources.

In 2015, the Ontario Human Resources Association announced that they would change the nationally accepted designation for human resource practitioners of CHRP into a three-tiered system of CHRE (Executive) CHRL (Leader) and CHRP (Practitioner). They made this unilateral change despite requests and protests from the balance of member associations across Canada. In doing so, the designation proudly earned and held by the rest of the country was devalued to entry level.

In 2016, the eight member associations across Canada declared a strengthened vision and mandate for the profession, under a single, stronger designation. CPHR Canada and the member associations had recently established consistent minimum requirements for certification, and a national code of conduct; each of the provincial associations is moving forward together toward self-regulation, and they are accrediting post-secondary education programs across the country that align with CPHR educational requirements.

They also renamed the designation, the national association and each of the provincial member associations under the CPHR banner.

Challenges and Insights:

The primary challenge was in developing a message that positioned CPHRs as strategic advisors.

We needed to identify the real time needs, wants and worries of Canadian CEOs. So we went to trusted sources: the Conference Board of Canada Annual CEO survey and the PWC Annual survey of Canadian CEOs.

The industry and many members have been engaged in HR speak for so long, that it was a challenge at times for them to focus the communication on the CEOs needs. They wanted to stay competitive rather than talking about the traditional strongholds of HR.

We shifted the key message a month into the planning, away from ‘hire a CPHR’ to ‘value a CPHR’ which changed some of the approach.

CPAs campaign is about predicting or recognizing change. CPHRs, while the primary change managers, needed a different message.


The last of the provinces finalized their name changes by April 1, so we wanted to be out during the month of April to continue the momentum.


The strategy was to associate the designation and the brand with strategic business answers, placed where business leaders were already focused on related issues.

Five questions were developed to which the answer was: Ask me. I’m a CPHR.

For those who were exposed to the ads and didn’t engage with them (15.6 million impressions) the key message left was: CPHRs have answers to strategic business questions.

The Five Question

  • Want to out-skill your competition?
  • Need a strategy for managing change?
  • How can you become a disruptor in an innovation economy?
  • How do you gain a position of strength in a volatile economy?
  • Looking to reduce your financial exposure?

Each question led to a landing page which contained summarized points created to the topic of interest, as well as an option to read more on a blog post, and/or download the Canadian CEOs Guide to Better Outcomes, a compilation of all the content developed for the campaign.


The campaign media buy was spread across the participating member provinces (excluding Ontario and Quebec) based on the number of businesses operating in each province, with allowances made for the smaller provinces, to increase the visibility impact, as follows:


Impressions are views of any of the five ‘Ask Me. I’m a CPHR.’ ads, as seen by our demographic – business owners, leaders and board members and HR Professionals in medium-to-large organizations across the participating provinces. The ads were designed to ensure that they enforced the key message – CPHRs are instrumental to Canadian business leaders. All the subsequent materials reinforced and validated that key message.


  • Initial budget share Native Ads = 6,800,000 impressions.
  • Initial budget share Content Marketing = 1,200,000 impressions, 130,000 re-targets.

These ads appeared inside of content that was relevant to the ad topic. The following are the stats for Native and Contextually targeted ads by the province to business leaders:

We had some challenges with content inventory availability in all provinces for our demographic. So we decided on MSN.com impressions only as it gave us the best value. MSN delivered a high number of conversions. The environment on MSN.com was something we thought was very appropriate for our demographic and numbers proved it. 

With bidding only on one domain we decided to move some impressions to mobile apps advertising and it performed excellently. We have also put together a whitelist of websites that we wanted to target such as the daily news for each of the provinces as well as Forbes, CBCCNNGlobal, The Globe and Mail, and Global TV.

The whitelist did not deliver as well as some of the other ad sets in terms of CTR (click through rate), but we felt it was important for our campaign to have premium sites for building the brand awareness and prestige. 

Our retargeting audience is grew daily. The retargeting audience consists of people who have shown interest in the brand by clicking on an ad or visiting the site.

The campaign concluded with 20,000 people retargeted and our ads are received high conversion rates. Over time, as the audience continued to grow, the total number of conversions obtained through retargeting grew faster than any other ad set because these were lower funnel leads. 

Here is a short list of some of the other placements we have manually added to the campaign to complement the contextual targeting:

  • Mobile app: The Weather Network
  • Mobile app: CTV news Go
  • Yahoo.com
  • Forbes.com
  • Mobile app: BBC news
  • Mobile app: BBC sports
  • Mobile app: Solitaire
  • Globaltv.com
  • Harperbazaar.com was not on our list to target, but we have received conversions through our retargeting group. 


Initial budget =7,021,000 impressions

Designed to target relevant companies (150+employees, etc) by IP address, based on available and acquired data. Using cross device ID’s we can reach a single consumer across all their devices (phone, tablet, desktop) IP addresses are determined based on a target company list.

The following are the final stats for Desktop IP and Cross-device Targetting :


Throughout the over 15 million impressions, the click-through rates have exceeded industry standards.

258,535 impressions were retargeted, meaning people clicked on the ads and went to the website and the ads were represented to them as a result.

Over 500,000 impressions were placed contextually – specifically in stories that were relevant to the selected keywords, but they weren’t performing well in terms of click throughs, so the campaign was redirected in week one to the geographic and demographic placements that were performing better.

In the month immediately prior to the campaign, the CPHR Canada site had 7,226 sessions.

About 65% of visitors came to the site organically, meaning they searched something related to HR in Canada and selected CPHR Canada from a search engine list.

About 15% were referrals, meaning that they came from a link in another site (a provincial association, or HR Reporter, for example).

The remaining 20% was split between social media and direct access (typing cphr.ca into a search bar).

75.6% of the visitors were new (meaning they hadn’t been to the site in the past 30 days).


During the month of the campaign, the CPHR Canada site had 19,256 sessions, 2.5 times greater than the baseline.

About 22.5% of these visitors came to the site organically.

The vast majority of the balance of the 77.5 % of the visits came through the campaign.

81.91% of the visitors were new (meaning they hadn’t been to the site in the past 30 days).


We have had 296 people sign up for a CPHR Canada e-newsletter, 60 of them after the campaign ended. Of the e-mail addresses we can distinguish, there are Canadian business representatives, HR professionals and other professional associations included in the mix.


39% of provincial leaders received unsolicited feedback about the campaign – 100% of that feedback was positive; 40% was extremely positive.


“(The Campaign) added some additional profile to the organization. Our general positioning within our province has been that our profession is ‘professionalizing’. This campaign helped to show that was true by highlighting more of what our profession does. Really well received.”