Success Stories

Kimberley Hanson

Communication Director | Payments Canada

CEB IgnitionTM Diagnostic and Ignition Guides for Communications: The Communications team at Payments Canada faced rising demand to support enhancements to Canada’s payments system. Our insights and tools helped the team develop an integrated stakeholder communications plan, operationalize the brand, and win extra resources.

Client Challenge

  • Support continuing innovation of payments systems.
  • Meet growing communications demand despite limited team resources.
  • Manage stakeholder communications more effectively.


  • Integrated stakeholder communications strategy
  • Greater clarity of team roles and responsibilities
  • More efficient and better-resourced team


Payments Canada is at the heart of the Canadian financial system, with all transactions—amounting to $3 million a second—cleared and settled through its systems. The company has to make sure those payments are processed efficiently and securely every business day of the year, and work with banks and other financial service providers to improve the end-to-end payments system.

Given the potential impact on the Canadian economy should these systems fail, Payments Canada is leading a major program to innovate and provide new functionality. As Kimberley Hanson—the company’s Communication Director—explains, a program of such complexity, involving many stakeholders, placed a high demand on the Communications team.

“There was an intensive demand for documents, web content, and slide decks, and we’re a relatively small comms team within a small company. So we needed to find a way to meet and resource those needs appropriately. For a not-for-profit organization, that can be quite a challenge. It means tough decisions on what needs to be done in-house and what we can, and should, outsource.”

There was also a growing need to capture and share knowledge internally. “We have to be more formal and systematic so we know who is engaging with whom and what is being said because it’s critical we bring external stakeholders with us on this journey.”

In looking for best practices and practical tools to help her meet these challenges, Hanson recalls it was an easy decision to use CEB, now Gartner. “I became a member when I was with my last employer, and I knew that if any organization could help me deliver and make my life easier, it would be CEB.”


The Payments Canada Communications team used our tools, including the CEB IgnitionTMDiagnostic and Guides for Communications, to help it focus its external stakeholder communications. Hanson also receives regular communications insights, ground-breaking research, and valuable networking opportunities as a member of the CEB Communication Leadership Council.

Having joined Payments Canada only recently, Hanson says we have helped her get up to speed quickly with the challenges her team was facing. “There was a duplication of effort and a lack of role clarity, which made it harder for us to focus on the most critical things.”

Hanson and her team completed the CEB Ignition Diagnostic for Communications, which enables Communications functions to compare their operations and capabilities with those of other Communications teams and with industry best practice.

She says, “The CEB Maturity Assessment, including peer benchmarking, was a real game changer. The analysis gave us a better understanding of where we needed to focus so we could agree accountability and actions for each line item. It gave us the clarity we needed to get our house in order.”

Identifying a need to focus on executive communications led Hanson to develop a new conceptual model for coordinating stakeholder engagement at Payments Canada. “At the same time, we’ve been using the CEB Ignition Guide to help us build a communications and engagement strategy for 2017.”

We are also helping Hanson drive renewed focus on Payments Canada’s brand message. The company recently underwent a major rebrand, and to capitalize on that work Kimberley attended our executive roundtable, Building and Activating a Compelling Corporate Narrative.

“It was really timely”, says Hanson. “I was feeling a little overwhelmed by what we had to do, and the event helped me see that it didn’t have to be anything like as complicated as I thought. I saw that it was more about piecing together what we had already rather than starting from scratch.”


After seven months in her new role, Hanson is finding our resources as useful in helping her build a successful function as she did with her former employer. “The support we’ve had from CEB [now Gartner] has been a huge relief given that when I came in there were so many urgent priorities.”

Hanson now has an integrated stakeholder engagement strategy and 2017 communications plan, and she has been able to identify the resources needed to support them.

In particular, our benchmarking data enabled her to argue successfully for two new team members. “It’s very natural to say to yourself, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve got so much work to do, I need more people,’ but that’s not always true. CEB analysis showed that our team has a very broad scope of responsibility for an organization of our size and budget. It meant my request for more people was founded on solid data and relevant context, not on any subjective anxiety of my own!”

Hanson’s team is also seeing the results of our insights in a newly mobilized brand. “What we learned in the Corporate Narrative session is helping us operationalize the brand work and really bake it into our ongoing communications.”

Hanson stresses that while being a CEB member has delivered clear value for her employers, it has also helped further her professional development. “I came to Communications from a business background, so have spent much of the last four to five years learning as I worked. And there is no way I could have done that without what I’ve learned from CEB. It’s my go-to resource. In my previous role, it helped me grow the value of our media coverage 400% in a year, so continuing membership was almost a condition for me in my current job.”

Overall, she says, “CEB helps us focus on the communications elements that have the biggest impact on our success and gives us the insights and tools to drive continuous improvement in an efficient, cost-effective way.”

She concludes, “From CEB, I know I’m always going to get intelligent, well-thought-out advice that helps me up my game to the benefit of my organization.”

Related Stories