Think again! Marketing is a side of business that is changing at the speed of light and one that bears little resemblance to what it once was, if we are to believe Pénélope Fournier, Partner and General Manager of the Montreal office of lg2, the largest independent creative agency in Canada.
“The world’s biggest brands and local companies alike are affected by the profound transformation in our industry in recent years. There has been a tectonic shift in how we think of and work with brands and in how people consume the goods and services associated with these brands. Businesses have no choice but to embrace a whole new way of formulating their marketing and communication strategies,” she says.
In the midst of this all-encompassing digital revolution, both style and content have to be re-examined from the perspective of digital marketing and communications.
“At lg2, I think we reinvented ourselves at just the right time, if I do say so myself, while we were already at the top of our game. By being taking a pre-emptive approach, we were able to adapt to this new reality and stay relevant as we morphed into our new identity, while still building on our existing strengths,” says Fournier. “We made some major business decisions so we could continue to be real game changers, both for our business partners and their clients. And although we often continue to refer to ourselves as an ‘ad agency,’ we are actually much more than that – we have become brand experience specialists offering a dozen different services. Take TV ad campaigns, for example, which were a huge part of what we did in the 2000s. Now, they’re only one of a slew of options open to us. That said, it all starts with one thing: good ideas, especially ones that resonate with consumers and deepen people’s connections with a brand.”
So what does this mean for brand experience specialists, to use Fournier’s phrase? The need to diversify within the same firm. “We’ve never had such a wide range of in-house expertise,” she muses. “Not too long ago, we were working with maybe a dozen different kinds of specialists. The last we counted at lg2, it was up to 65. To accommodate our clients’ needs, we have had to expand our continuum of services. For example, we have strategists specializing in user experience (UX), electronic communications, front-end and back-end development and client relationship management. We also have architects who are working with us to create experiences in actual physical space, industrial designers who tackle promotional products and packaging solutions, and even graphic animation specialists, because a brand’s visuals have to move. It’s all so new! And I haven’t even touched on the various fields related to data analytics and insights. This diversity of expertise lets us develop an in-depth and very personal relationship with our clients. What we’ve forged with La Cage Brasserie Sportive is a great example of this.”
Fournier’s take on the situation underscores that the challenges facing creative agencies in the third millennium are as numerous as they are complex. Hence the importance in this new business context of establishing solid partnerships with clients in order to be poised to leverage the seemingly endless possibilities that have been unleashed by the digital revolution. Have we piqued your curiosity? Pénélope Fournier and her business partner, Jean Bédard, are eager to share their insights with you on the new digital marketing and communications ecosystem during the Marketing Communication Essentials course, coming to Executive Education HEC Montréal in January/February. Be sure to check it out so you, too, can stay one step ahead of this ever-evolving sector!