Citizen Relations gets insightful

The PR agency has promoted three staffers to lead its new team focused on strategy and analytics.

Citizen Relations Canada has created a new working group for “Insight & Innovation,” after seeing more demand from clients for PR to take a more strategic approach.

“One of our 2015 goals was to adapt and transform the way that we approach insight and strategy,” says Nick Cowling, general manager for the agency. Over the past year, he has been hearing from clients that they’d like public relations to be able to lead insight and strategy more, as well as being able to measure campaign success in a more meaningful way. Whereas before the agency might focus on a PR idea, it’s now looking to help create “the big idea,” or more integrated work, he says.

With a new emphasis on analytics within the group, created about a month ago, the agency is hoping to hone in on target audiences to provide more strategic planning for earned media and social media, and also use that information to establish key insights. “Now we can say, ‘here’s the target, here’s what really engages them and here’s some of the key aspects we need to hit on in order to make sure that they are going to feel it’s something worth sharing,’” Cowling says.

“We’re not becoming an ad agency by any means, but [clients] do want to know – if we’re going to be a lead strategic partner – that we can bake in that consideration,” he adds, noting that the agency will continue to work with clients’ other agency partners, but can now also take the lead on more strategic thinking. “It’s not like we’re trying to cut everyone’s grass.”

For the new group, the agency has promoted Amanda Shuchat to vice president. In that role, she will continue to lead retail and corporate accounts, along with leading the Insights & Innovation team, which is now hiring for more staff.

The agency has also appointed Sabrina Kandasamy to senior director of strategic planning, a new role for Citizen Relations focused on the company insight development process. Kandasamy has worked on both the agency and client side on strategic planning and has a background in digital and paid media as well. Morgan Todd has also been promoted to manager, analytics, working to expand metrics reporting and analysis used for PR, digital and experiential work.

So far, Citizen Relations has introduced the working group’s capabilities to about four or five clients and has seen positive interest from all of them, Cowling says. The group is based in Toronto, but Citizen Relations’ other Canadian offices (in Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City) will be able to reach out for support.

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