Leading the transformation

Art & Science significantly ups its strategy game to help shape the future of brands
After 32 years as the number-two mortgage insurance provider, Sagen moved into the number one spot after a complete rebrand by Art & Science.

After 32 years as the number-two mortgage insurance provider, Sagen moved into the number one spot after a complete rebrand by Art & Science.

As 2020 forced a shift to digital,it brought with it an unprecedented level of soul searching. With the world temporarily on pause, brands had a chance to take a breath and evaluate what and where they wanted to be.

“I think we’ve seen more opportunities from a brand strategy standpoint,” says Art & Science president Spencer Saunders. “Brands are going through this moment of disruption, and it’s an opportunity to refine and reflect on what’s working and what isn’t.”

Traditionally, digital was often seen as a lower funnel experience. But with growing expectation on effectiveness and ROI, it’s not just about pulling off executions. It’s about coming up with a holistic media strategy that’s based on evidence and good data – something that can move the dial.

And you’d expect an agency named Art & Science to lead the charge when it comes to the marriage of creativity and analytics. While the Toronto-based shop’s roots might be in digital, over the past few years it has evolved into a transformational brand agency. It’s seeing the world from a wide-angle lens and, as Saunders puts it, “designing the future of brands.”

“Our emphasis is on the effectiveness of our campaigns and all our marketing and communications efforts,” he adds. “It’s a story that’s landing incredibly well right now. If you have to go digital, you want to work with the folks obsessed with measurement but also with creativity and innovation.”

Art & Science developed drum maker Sabian’s new brand “Play Your Way,” an initiative that welcomed a younger, more diverse audience and grew market share globally.

Art & Science developed drum maker Sabian’s new brand “Play Your Way,” an initiative that welcomed a younger, more diverse audience and grew market share globally.

Art & Science added a half dozen new clients in 2021, including California hair-care brand T3 and Toronto indie Kingsway College School. Saunders says the agency typically has about 50 clients on its roster with requirements ranging from one-off projects to long-term campaigns.

You can see bigger-picture thinking in the agency’s work for mortgage insurance company Sagen. Acquired by Brookfield the year prior, the client needed a complete rethink, including a new brand strategy, name (its previous moniker was Genworth Canada) and design. The result? After 32 years as the number-two mortgage insurance provider, the company moved into the number one position earlier this year.

A&S also developed and introduced drum manufacturer Sabian’s new brand – “Play Your Way” – an initiative that welcomed a younger, more diverse audience and grew market share globally.

On the cause front, the agency also landed a national campaign for the Canadian Cancer Society, tackling the issue of higher smoking rates in the LGBTQI2S+ community. Created in combination with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, the social media-based campaign and research initiative kicked off with pilots in Toronto, Montreal and Thunder Bay in January, looking to create a conversation around the topic.

Over the last year, the decade-old shop has hired more than a dozen people to answer the call for more transformational work – including VP of strategy Marcel Zierfuss – to reach a bench strength of about 46. It’s also in the process of rolling out its own new brand identity in the coming year.

“The world is going to become increasingly digital,” Saunders says of the agency’s current growth. “Clients appreciate and have an appetite for speed and agility – and they’re going to expect that the work will deliver true and real value.”

 

CONTACT:
Spencer Saunders
President
spence@artscience.ca

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