The Indie List: doug&partners

Results through strategic input
The doug&partners senior team, from left: Doug Robinson, Kristin Burnham, Matt Syberg-Olsen, Moxie Garrett, Bonnie Lall, Adam White, Brad Kumar and Caroline Kilgour.

The doug&partners senior team, from left: Doug Robinson, Kristin Burnham, Matt Syberg-Olsen, Moxie Garrett, Bonnie Lall, Adam White, Brad Kumar and Caroline Kilgour.

Doug&partners is reaping the rewards of recent restructuring. With a new senior leadership team now in place, the shop that has been steadily building a solid reputation for great work since 2002 is now getting even more invitations to pitch new business, says founder, partner and CEO Doug Robinson.

d&p has seen the most growth in strategic and digital planning, which it believes makes the 40-person Toronto shop a more useful collaborator to its marketing partners.

If you can’t bring the people to nature, sometimes you just have to bring nature to the people. For Go RVing Canada, d&p co-created the “Head into Wildhood” installation, allowing RV show attendees to insert their heads in a terrarium for a verdant experience in the middle of winter.

Caroline Kilgour, who joined as VP managing director in 2018, says that with the current trends of marketers developing in-house competencies and working with a proliferation of partners, “they still need to have strategic coherence with each partner’s contributions, and we’ve become quite adept at assisting on that front.”

Ontario Honda Dealers would like everyone to remember to not forget to put their winter tires on. The key message of this point-of-purchase campaign was to incentivize people to book their winter-tire swaps in advance. It appeared in posters, postcards, e-display and window clings.

Ontario Honda Dealers would like everyone to remember to not forget to put their winter tires on. The key message of this point-of-purchase campaign was to incentivize people to book their winter-tire swaps in advance. It appeared in posters, postcards, e-display and window clings.

Robinson adds, “We’re fortunate to work with clients who understand that engaging us more ‘upstream’ in their planning process leads to a much more fruitful collaboration. Ultimately, it allows us to add more value to the equation.”

d&p is employing this upstream approach with recent client pickups including telco Distributel and accounting network Grant Thornton, and the resulting work will be unveiled in 2020.

Of course, developing deeper capabilities in digital strategy is also having an impact on boosting client results. Moxie Garrett joined the agency last April, taking on the newly created role of head of digital experience. She comes with a strong digital strategy pedigree, and is putting her expertise to work. “A creative idea is great, but if we can root that in an informed decision based on research and data, we can make a good business case for what we’re putting forward,“ Garrett explains. “We’re bringing to life our motto ‘creativity for commerce.’”

Case in point, the numbers are in for an earlier campaign for GoodLife Fitness that focused on testimonials, indicating a triple-digit percentage year-over-year increase in leads generated and a substantial decrease in cost per acquisition.

AutoTrader_Sm

Can you trust AutoTrader.ca for great deals and an extremely accurate valuation of your vehicle? Yes. Yes, you can. The agency went to air with three commercials – including testimonials and spots spelling out the functionality of the client’s site.

Strategy and analytics expertise is also helping inform custom creative approaches. For AutoTrader.ca, the agency went to air with three spots – ranging from testimonials to “Great Deals,” which reinforces the brand’s leading position in the automotive marketplace and spells out its functionality. “They had extremely successful playback, which has translated into great recall and results,” says executive creative director Matt Syberg-Olsen.

As much as digital and social platforms are changing the way we interact with brands, it’s also important not to eschew “traditional” channels.

For heating and cooling company Reliance Home Comfort, whose recent campaign included traditional media for the category such as multiple 30- and 15-second national TV spots as well as a high volume of radio ads, Syberg-Olsen says, “As much as the power of digital and social media is abundantly clear, we also can’t ignore the utility of some of the more traditional media to speak to people in a meaningful way and generate sales for our clients. Reliance is a great example of a brand that uses television and radio very effectively, and our audio branding efforts in that regard have been very successful.”

Broken furnace? Air conditioning not working? Call on Reliance (It’s OK if you just sang that to yourself). d&p’s recent campaign for Reliance Home Comfort included multiple 30- and 15-second national TV spots as well as a high volume of radio ads.

Broken furnace? Air conditioning not working? Call on Reliance (It’s OK if you just sang that to yourself). d&p’s recent campaign for Reliance Home Comfort included multiple 30- and 15-second national TV spots as well as a high volume of radio ads.

Award-winning work for Go RVing Canada, meanwhile, saw experiential offerings driving social media. The organization provides RVers with retail and camping information, outdoor shows being an important outlet. So, following its earlier “Wildhood” integrated campaign, d&p developed the “Head into Wildhood” installation, allowing show attendees to insert their heads in a terrarium to provide a plant-filled nature experience in the middle of winter. The experience and the resulting user-generated content, helps to augment ROI on Go RVing’s investment in the shows.

The agency is also adept at triggering the viral and PR side of social. Tapping into social’s movement potential, the agency teamed with The Period Purse, which distributes free menstrual products to help reduce the stigma around menstruation. d&p developed “Say the Word,” a three-spot campaign looking to normalize use of the word “period.” The term is bandied about randomly by a father and son doing homework, a plumber, and a weatherman, with the incongruous videos being shared via social.

Online videos for The Period Purse aim to reduce stigma by saying “period”. A lot. The campaign received positive feedback and was picked up by bloggers and trade press and was shared by social-media influencers.

Online videos for The Period Purse aim to reduce stigma by saying “period”. A lot. The campaign received positive feedback and was picked up by bloggers and trade press and was shared by social-media influencers.

The shop’s range and body of work has not gone unnoticed. “There has been a steady flow of knocks at our door,” says Kilgour. “And what we’re most proud of is that those knocks have typically been referrals. It’s tremendous to have new business come in that way.”

CONTACT:
Caroline Kilgour
VP, Managing Director
caroline@dougpartners.com