Local agency rebrands, renews

Co-founder of The Turn Lab, Howard Chang said the new partners were inspired to help solve business problems beyond marketing. PHOTO: Susan Legge

Celebrating 25 years in business on Queen Street East as the advertising and creative agency Top Drawer Creative, CEO and Beach resident Howard Chang decided to launch a new agency business model along with three new partners, and it’s called The Turn Lab.

In its previous incarnation, Top Drawer was ahead of the curve. As one of the first and only agencies to have a carbon neutral footprint it registered as a B Corp—a certification assuring companies meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards. In fact, Chang says they still pay staff $5 a day to ride their bikes to work.

Working with like-minded, purpose-driven clients, Chang says the previous business was successful, but he began to notice that he was dealing more and more with the owners of the business rather than the marketing folks.

“We started having more conversations with the C-suite, and we realized we needed to have much more emphasis on technology, marketing automation, business insights, consumer insights, and insights into culture and the world we live in,” he said. “These are all things that inspired us to create something new.”

Referring to the The Turn Lab “as the nexus of marketing, culture and technology,” Chang says they will continue to offer traditional marketing services, but will spend a lot more energy on the culture piece, offering insights into the world we live in by focusing on
ethnographics, gender and lifestyle by building a panel of 10K Canadians to poll.

“In the past, our panel helped clients develop things like new Green energy products, by asking questions like ‘what are you willing to pay for Green energy.’ These types of questions are really great insights for clients. We’ve use these insights to help clients develop products, which I think is really unique. It helps them solve business challenges, not just marketing challenges.”


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