Lg2 joins WPI agency network, names new partners

Investing in its independence and extending its international knowledge are among several recent changes at the agency.

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In its search for scale and sustainability, Lg2 has made several changes to its operations and structure.

First, the agency has joined the global independent agency network World Partners Inc. (WPI), announced to the public this morning after being unveiled to the agency at a town hall on Thursday.

Fed up with being hindered by a lack of global market knowledge to cater to an international client base (which Claude Auchu, partner and CEO of the Lg2 Group, tells strategy was “probably our main weakness”), the agency reached out to WPI in September 2019 and, by November, a deal was struck.

John Harris, president and CEO of the 82-year-old network, says receiving the call from Lg2 “was very good timing.” WPI is signed with three other independents in Canada – Fuse in Toronto, Tequila in Montreal and Wasserman + Partners in Vancouver – but it was looking to address a client conflict and needed another agency to be able to pitch. Unable to disclose details, Harris says it needed more options to be able to work with a client in a category that its other partner agencies already service.

“It’s always been a struggle to convince our clients that we can help them on their international business, and we were always partnering with [research firms] and media companies to get the data and insights from markets outside of Canada,” says Auchu. The multinational support and collaboration between WPI agencies offers Lg2 shared learnings from brand and market intelligence to business best practices, adds Harris.

Lg2 gives the network three additional offices – Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal – to add to its group of 70 global autonomous agencies. But Harris says WPI is also looking to recruit another firm in Vancouver that will be “complementary” to its other Canadian creative hubs.

Joining the network was not the only news broken to Lg2 staffers yesterday and the public today: it’s also named seven new partners to its leadership across Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City.

Nicolas Baldovini (partner, VP, ECD, digital experience); Guillaume Bergeron (partner, copywriter); Hélène Fortin (partner, architect); Julie Pilon (partner, VP, account services); Marie-Christine Cayer (partner, VP, account services) are the five new appointments in Montreal. Keith Barry (partner, VP, strategy) and Alexandra Laverdière (partner, GM) have also been given equity in Toronto and Quebec, respectively. Together, the 23 partners will work to grow Lg2, while also nurturing the culture that makes the agency proud to be an independent, says Auchu.

Auchu is one of the original partners appointed by the agency’s founders in 2005 to be the shop’s next gen leaders. “They nurtured us, and we grew in the agency. We learned about the culture, how to manage, and 10 years after that, we took the lead,” he says. “But we think, to get to a long-term objective, to be able to become a sustainable independent agency, we need to be on the circular method.”

What Auchu means is that, every two years, Lg2 will reassess its structure and bring in new talent to join as partners. Some might leave, he says, but there is going to be a “chain” where people come in and go out. “There’s no limit to the number of partners we will have,” adds Auchu. About 7% of the agency’s employees are now partners, he says, and the intention is to continue growing the leadership as “new expertise, offices and markets open up to us.”

Therein lies one of the reasons Hélène Fortin was specifically given equity in Montreal. Going forward, Fortin will lead Lg2’s Architecture division (which has built physical spaces for Natrel, Van Houtte, Bell, Tourisme Montreal and the Olympic Park) as it becomes a more formalized business.

Auchu says that city law previously prohibited the agency from officially becoming an “architect firm” without official management of an architect (Fortin is a legal architect). “We are making a new company that will work on its own [in the office], but we will still have the same creative, UX, design and technology [work] that we have been doing in Montreal,” explains Auchu.

“For us, everything is about sustainability. We’ve been here for the last 30 years, and we want to keep it that way” he says. “It’s the best way to serve our clients and to grow our employees. It’s our way of making a better environment, a better place to work, a better country.”