WS agency finds agribusi­ness a good place for growth

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - DAVID PARKER NOTES David Parker ap­pears reg­u­larly in the Her­ald. Read his col­umns on­line at cal­gary­her­ busi­ness. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]­

The role of ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies has changed and con­tin­ues to be chal­leng­ing, as me­dia de­ci­sions have to take into ac­count the trusted press, ra­dio, TV and out­door, along with many new forms, in­clud­ing the puz­zling world of so­cial me­dia and lead gen­er­a­tion.

And so­phis­ti­cated busy clients are de­mand­ing more proof of re­turn on their in­vest­ments.

Calgary agency WS in­tro­duced a new con­cept called In­sights and An­a­lyt­ics a cou­ple of years ago that has en­abled it to make ev­ery move for its clients on in­formed data and de­signed by mea­sur­able re­sults.

“Gone are the days when the au­di­ence was cap­tive," pres­i­dent Jeff Groen­eveld says. “Now, un­der­stand­ing how best to reach them in­volves un­der­stand­ing who they are, where they are and what they be­lieve in.” His In­sights process puts data to work for brands, iden­ti­fies cus­tomer per­sona, buyer jour­neys and user be­hav­iours, which in­forms strat­egy at ev­ery step, from plan­ning to de­ploy­ment.

It works well for a grow­ing num­ber of clients, 60 per cent of them in­volved in a wide range within agri­cul­ture, food and re­lated in­dus­tries. Now in its 16th year, WS is owned by Jeff and Su­san Groen­eveld, who is vice-pres­i­dent of strat­egy and agency part­ner, and since mov­ing into larger space on 8th Av­enue S.W. they have been able to hire ad­di­tional staff to cope with the in­crease in busi­ness.

Ric Fe­dyna joined WS as ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of creative after 15 years with McCann in Calgary, where he served as creative di­rec­tor and gen­eral man­ager. He is happy to re­turn to a full-time creative ca­pac­ity and has made his mark on WS busi­ness, in­clud­ing com­ing up with the WS tag line of We Solve With Soul.

Other new hires in­clude art di­rec­tor Joel Hey­land and copy­writer Sean Mitchell, while Evan MacLeod has been el­e­vated from dig­i­tal di­rec­tor to as­so­ciate creative di­rec­tor. The team is en­joy­ing a busy year and some great re­sults have been mea­sured on be­half of their clients.

Arysta Life­Sciences has been an ac­tive ac­count for the past 15 years. Head­quar­tered in North Carolina, the lead­ing crop pro­tec­tion and life science com­pany chal­lenged WS with the goal of es­tab­lish­ing its Ran­cona Pin­na­cle ready-to-use seed treat­ment of­fer­ing disease pro­tec­tion on wheat across Western Canada. The cam­paign showed a brand aware­ness in­crease of 35 per cent and a 25 per cent in­crease in sign-ups for its Grower Re­wards Pro­gram.

An­other long­time agri­cul­tural client is Ver­sa­tile Trac­tor, Canada’s only agri­cul­tural trac­tor man­u­fac­turer based in Win­nipeg. Pur­chases of equip­ment are ma­jor busi­ness de­ci­sions for farm­ers who are faced with strate­gic choices of com­par­ing many fac­tors from price to ser­vice­abil­ity.

WS han­dles mar­ket­ing from ini­tial aware­ness to the shak­ing of hands over a pur­chase agree­ment, which in­cludes a web­site al­low­ing the sale of these mighty machines on­line.

On­line is also be­ing used by client Beef­booster, a top sup­plier of bulls, not for looks alone but sell­ing based on his­tor­i­cal data and hy­brid ge­net­ics. WS cam­paigns helped Beef­booster sell all of their bulls in 2017 — more than 200 to buy­ers across Canada — and 21 per cent of its 2018 in­ven­tory has been sold on­line.

WS is also work­ing with Vive Crop Pro­tec­tion to pro­mote a new liq­uid fer­til­izer; Fed­er­ated Co-op in nam­ing and brand­ing its pro­fes­sional agron­o­mist ser­vice; and Mor­ris In­dus­tries, the Saska­toon man­u­fac­turer of equip­ment pulled be­hind a trac­tor.

A big user of Prairie-grown prod­uct is the re­cently opened High River Brew­ery Com­pany that uses the his­tory, le­gends and land­scape in its mar­ket­ing. WS helped name and de­sign the la­bels that in­clude Ris­ing Pheas­ant Brown Ale and Float­ing Barn Pale Ale — a re­minder of the cat­a­strophic 2013 floods.

Like many other good Calgary com­pa­nies, WS sup­ports lo­cal char­i­ties and cre­ated quite a stir with its Make Hunger Rare cam­paign on be­half of Al­berta Beef Producers in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Meal­share.

Waste doesn’t ex­ist in na­ture — it’s a man-made prob­lem, says the Univer­sity of Calgary’s Fac­ulty of En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign. Forty per cent of land­fill waste comes from con­struc­tion projects, and the fac­ulty, along with GXN In­no­va­tion and Lab­o­ra­tory for In­te­gra­tive De­sign, is hold­ing a De­sign­ing Out Waste ex­hi­bi­tion in the down­town cam­pus Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 that presents new re­search on how the prob­lem can be tack­led.

The WS team, from left Su­san Groen­eveld, ex­ec­u­tive vp strat­egy, Jeff Groen­eveld, pres­i­dent and Ric Fe­dyna, ex­ec­u­tive vp creative.

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