The Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) is an internationally recognized not-for-profit body accrediting private and public sector testing labs in Canada and abroad. CALA accredits labs working in a variety of areas, including minerals, cannabis, food and food safety and particularly water and environmental safety, a highly-regulated market where CALA is the national leader. CALA also provided training and proficiency testing services in addition to its accreditation work.
Our initial work with CALA began with the development of a marketing and communications plan to support its business goals laid out in its strategic plan. As part of the research for creating that plan, we discovered that CALA needed to clarify and communicate its unique position in the accreditation landscape.
Engagement across all stakeholder groups became critical to bringing together varied perceptions to a single point that CALA could move forward with. One of the key issues that while accreditation in regulated areas such as water safety is mandatory for labs, in non-regulated sectors such as minerals or cannabis, accreditation was perceived by many as an unnecessary business cost. Yet, what all sectors shared in common was the need to win customer trust, an insight that CALA could use to distinct advantage.
“Trust, measured accurately” became the organization’s mantra, one that has proven highly effective as the organization has moved successfully into unregulated sectors and increased both penetration and share.