The Indie List: Elemental

Applying a loyalty lens to building brands via emotional connection
Elemental believes the best work is done when collaborating with clients. So much so that this is painted on the wall as a focal point and reminder for everyone on the Elemental team.

Elemental believes the best work is done when collaborating with clients. So much so that this is painted on the wall as a focal point and reminder for everyone on the Elemental team.

The challenge of the modern agency business is getting upstream. Everyone from consultancies to accountants want a seat at “the big table” where high-level branding decisions get made. Agencies must fight for space in that conversation.

Elemental and Campari looked to increase first time purchasers and build loyalty across their 22 brands in Canada.

Elemental and Campari looked to increase first time purchasers and build loyalty across their 22 brands in Canada.

Elemental, however, has been finding itself at that table more and more thanks to its collaborative approach and continued success connecting brands with consumers.

In addition to consumer marketing skills, the 18-person Toronto agency has deep expertise in the trade marketing and loyalty spheres. It’s the trade AOR for 22 Campari spirit brands and has worked with Starbucks on its loyalty program for the last two years.

Increasingly, Elemental is showing its strategic know-how applies in the broader world of branding. Its strong work ethic and focus on solving business problems has earned real trust from marketers. That in turn has led to organic growth and expanded mandates from clients.

SCENE_03

In 2019, SCENE launched No Excuses Day, their first official National Day dedicated to inspiring people to get up, get off their devices and get out with friends across Canada. Over 1.5 million SCENE members participated

“We’ve found that, in loyalty especially, clients are looking for ways to make emotional connections in a category mostly known for just giving away free stuff,” says Dustin Brown, partner and head of strategy at Elemental. “We’ve had to be experts in emotional connection to serve that need.”

SCENE_04As an example, Brown points to Elemental’s expanding relationship with cinema loyalty program Scene. Over the last five years, its worked more on acquisition and engagement drivers, helped evolve the brand platform and successfully created the “No Excuses Day” campaign. That work called on members to get their friends out to have more fun in order to drive brand favourability, increase Scene card activity and attract new members.

 

Brent Wardrop, partner and creative director at Elemental, says growing trust with clients comes down to Elemental’s key differentiator. “It’s all about solving business problems,” he says. “It’s about fitting our service to business needs. So if advertising isn’t the right solution, then it’s not part of our solution.”

Elemental adheres to this philosophy by making sure it hires people who grasp the importance of client business strategy. Whether interviewing an account lead or creative, Wardrop says Elemental hires people “who are fluent in the course of business as a whole and can focus on client needs, no matter their role.”

That approach not only helps grow business organically with clients like Scene, but attracts new business too. In the last year, Elemental started working with two new Canadian companies: the venerable Stanfield’s and up-and-coming dog food-maker Crumps’ Naturals.

Perhaps the best example of Elemental’s full range of talents is its new branding campaign for Baffin. The apparel brand was known primarily to construction and industrial workers. Baffin launched a series of consumer footwear products that showed growth potential but lacked the brand recognition that its industrial products enjoyed.

Elemental has worked with Baffin since 2017 when it was asked to improve its e-commerce capabilities and drive sales, says Brown (which it has, increasing sales 47.5% from 2017 to 2019). “There was always the stated goal of unifying their industrial and consumer brands, which they felt were fragmented. But we had to make them a believer in our capabilities. We don’t mind earning it.”

Elemental and Starbucks partnered to launch a National Starbucks Rewards campaign using a simple straight forward approach to remind Canadians why Starbuck’s loyalty program was the favourite amongst Canadians. It doesn’t get simpler than “One Two Free.”

Elemental and Starbucks partnered to launch a National Starbucks Rewards campaign using a simple straight forward approach to remind Canadians why Starbuck’s loyalty program was the favourite amongst Canadians. It doesn’t get simpler than “One Two Free.”

When given the nod to unify Baffin’s brand, Elemental explored its family-owned heritage. The Hubner family plans an expedition each year to test their gear out. “That’s their lifestyle, and it’s the soul of their company,” Brown says. Elemental made it its mission to move beyond the “it keeps you warm and safe” message to show real Canadians exploring a range of environments and seasons in comfort and style.

The “Made For All Seasons” branding campaign uses quick product shots of hiking boots and winter hats between scenes of snowy hiking trails and golden fields. Film grain and the tinny recitation of the poem “Canada, My Home” adds a sense of cinematic nostalgia and history. It’s a campaign that holds its own against competing brands that have been marketing in the consumer sphere for far longer.

With expertise in improving business at every step of the customer journey, expect to see Elemental continue to earn a spot at the big table with its proven collaborative approach.

CONTACT:
Dustin Brown
Partner, Client Services
Dustin.Brown@elementalinc.com

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