The difference intellectual diversity makes

A new leadership team and reimagined offering reenergizes Doug & Partners
The Junction Toronto office of Doug & Partners

The Junction Toronto office of Doug & Partners

As mark twain once said, to stand still is to fall behind.

After almost 20 years in business, Doug Robinson, founder of Toronto’s Doug & Partners, felt his agency was indeed standing still. He felt it was time for a wholesale reimagining of the company. Following the departure of some key people, he believed he had a new strategic canvas on which to envision his company’s future.

Moving quietly and carrying a fresh, big bud – Doug & Partners built the new brand Contraband, which is relentlessly determined to exceed the expectations of the most discerning, OG cannabis users.

Moving quietly and carrying a fresh, big bud – Doug & Partners built the new brand Contraband, which is relentlessly determined to exceed the expectations of the most discerning, OG cannabis users.

Within a year, Robinson hired ECD Marta Hooper, head of client service Jessica Goldberg, managing director Christine Scott, head of planning Meg Kerr, and head of social/content Matthew Taylor. With virtually the entire senior leadership team overhauled at the 40-strong agency, the soul searching began. Scott was ready. “When I met with Doug, we connected on this idea of thinking about things differently,” she says.

They understood that doing things differently causes discomfort. “I’m a woman of color, so I’ve been living in discomfort my entire life,” Scott says. “For me, discomfort is important – it’s where growth happens.” They also agreed that a deliberate focus on intellectual diversity would be their differentiator. While this is a well-known concept in the theory and practice of innovation, it’s not widely understood in marketing communications.

D&P leveraged industry buzz around the 2022 Honda Civic with a social and influencer campaign that inspired consumers to get in on the reviewing fun – preferably by booking a test drive at their local dealership.

D&P leveraged industry buzz around the 2022 Honda Civic with a social and influencer campaign that inspired consumers to get in on the reviewing fun – preferably by booking a test drive at their local dealership.

“Things are changing at the speed of light,” Robinson says. “The problems we encounter are more complex, and if we want to continue solving them for our clients, we need to come at them with a different perspective. Every time we see a problem, we all need to ask ourselves, ‘What’s another way of looking at this? How do we solve this? Who is the right person to solve it?’”

A convention D&P would like to leave behind is the lengthy process by which insights are gathered, briefs written, and creative ideas developed. Kerr says the agency has asked itself, “‘How can we be faster? How can we design an approach that allows us to pivot when we need to?’ I’m excited to be part of that process.”

Influenced by the GOAT, D&P is helping spread the Gifts of Hope giving spirit with the help of a fresh, soft, and kind new face for Plan International Canada.

Influenced by the GOAT, D&P is helping spread the Gifts of Hope giving spirit with the help of a fresh, soft, and kind new face for Plan International Canada.

She’s also excited to be where values are taken seriously, adding, “I’ve never joined a firm that made a discussion of their values such a big part of the onboarding process. I was impressed that this isn’t just lip service or something you stick on your website or in your training manual. D&P really holds you to account.”

Striving to be capable of addressing a variety of challenges, the firm’s offer is also diverse, including integrated communications, design and branding, strategic planning, digital marketing, social content and experiential marketing.

Go RVing helped people reconnect with their “wildhood” by reminding them that “a life well-lived is a life well-travelled.”

Go RVing helped people reconnect with their “wildhood” by reminding them that “a life well-lived is a life well-travelled.”

It delivers these services to an equally diverse portfolio of clients. For Valens, D&P delivered new product identity and design systems, a digital and social launch campaign and an experiential strategy. For Ontario Honda Dealers Association the agency designed and deployed monthly retail promotional strategy, custom video and media content, and sponsorship and influencer support.

To rekindle awareness of the University of New Brunswick – Canada’s oldest English-language university – the firm provided online video, social, and digital display illustrating that “UNB is anywhere students are making a difference.”

Pulling no punches, D&P designed a new visual and verbal identity for cannabis brand Versus, which is not afraid to deliver the best weed at the best price.

Pulling no punches, D&P designed a new visual and verbal identity for cannabis brand Versus, which is not afraid to deliver the best weed at the best price.

For Plan International Canada, D&P crafted online video, digital display, social, and OOH to get the word out about their “Give a Goat” gift-giving campaign. And for Period Purse, a charity dedicated to providing marginalized women with access to free menstrual products , D&P created online videos, print, social, and digital display that use humour to bust the taboo around this natural function.

Other ongoing clients for which the agency has done award-winning work include Reliance Home Comfort and Go RVing. Another notable client is telco Primus, which was bought by Distributel in early 2021, calling for a new marketing direction. For the latter, Robinson says, “The work we’re doing is very broad and traditional in one way, but then completely new and innovative in others. This duality in thinking is what we are going to be bringing to all clients moving forward, and the future is already looking bright.”

 

CONTACT:
Christine Scott
Managing Director
christine@dougpartners.com

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