Canada is rapidly emerging as one of the world’s design industry hot spots, as global consultancies race to establish a presence in the North American market. FutureBrand has this week followed groups such as Deepend, establishing a major Canadian office.
By merging recently acquired brand development consultancy Dollery Rudman Freibauer with existing Canadian digital group FutureBrandHypermedia, the group claims it has created Canada’s largest branding player.
Known as FutureBrand Canada, the consultancy will have anticipated annual revenues of Canadian$10m (£46m). Former DRF managing partner Ed Freibauer has been appointed managing director of the newly formed company. Based in Toronto, FutureBrand Canada will initially employ 40 staff. The client roster of its two constituent parts includes Air Canada, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bell Canada, Esso, Kellogg’s and the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“The strength of the Canadian marketplace and the continued globalisation of Canadian companies is a tremendous opportunity for us,” says Freidauer.
“We have learned that Canadian companies require a unique combination of local market knowledge and an international industry perspective,” says FutureBrand managing director Larry Drury.
However, Ron Maclachlan, chief executive of Canadian retail consultancy International Design Group, questions the trend. His group has a fee-income of Canadian$5m (£2.3m), but 75 per cent of it comes from outside Canada. “The economy’s good, but not that good,” he says, adding that newcomers may see the country as an untapped market. He says IDG could not survive on its income from the Canadian market.