Jackman reinvents itself

The firm that specializes in retail brand makeovers gets one of its own.

Joe Jackman has a history of helping brands reinvent themselves. Now he’s doing the same thing with the agency he founded five years ago, as Joe Jackman Brand Inc. this week unveiled its new look and name: Jackman Reinvention.

“We do a lot of work in the U.S. and Canada, and we’ve really been focused on the work and not so much on letting people know what it is we do and how we’re unique,” says CEO Joe Jackman.  “It isn’t a re-positioning so much as a time to tell the market who we are and what we do.”

The former EVP of marketing at Loblaw built a name for himself as someone who can provide badly needed makeovers to ailing brands. His biggest success was with New York drugstore chain Duane Reade (creative work pictured below), with whom Jackman’s firm worked to redesign the entire brand from store design up. The spruced up pharma-retailer was eventually purchased by Walgreens for just over $1 billion.

Now Toronto-based Jackman is embarking on a PR push to drum up business in North America and attract more talent to the company. “We heard from a few people that we’re one of the best-kept secrets out there, so we decided to become less secret,” says Jackman Reinvention senior partner Paul Clark.

Jackman has hired a PR firm for the first time, bringing on MSL about a month ago. The firm also placed print ads (designed in-house) in publications like the Globe and Mail and the Financial Post. “Everything is changing in terms of the brand expression and how we communicate our proposition. It’s all the things you’d imagine: the brand name, the [logo], the website, all our communications and internal materials.”

Jackman doesn’t reveal the clients his firm works with at any given moment, but said the firm’s client base includes companies whose retail sales total $120 billion annually. The firm’s most recent work in the Canadian market involves the rebranding of the discount grocery chain Price Chopper as Freshco outlets across Ontario. The agency, which employs about 60 people, offers research, consulting, brand strategy, creative design and activation. “It’s five disciplines you would typically find in silos that are now working together,” Jackman says.

When Jackman left Loblaw in 2007 he started advising brands on a freelance basis, before eventually creating his own company. The same core founders – including former Cossette CD Bill Durnan – still work with Jackman.