Toronto shop The Hot Plate has rebranded to THP as it looks to expand beyond its origins as a food-marketing agency.
CEO Amanda Riva said the need for a name change has become apparent as the agency begins attracting clients from non-food sectors like appliances and home décor. She said the agency is currently adding between 12-16 new brands a month.
“Food and beverage is always going to be our niche…but there are so many consumer goods and lifestyle brands that work seamlessly with food and beverage,” said Riva, who opened THP in 2012 and was named one of Marketing’s 30 Under 30 last year.
“We’re starting to get some interest from other brand categories that have similar needs to the food and beverage industry, so we wanted something that was a nice, easy name that stuck to our roots, but was a little more inclusive,” she said.
The rebrand – including a new website and logo – was completed internally over the course of two months.
THP does not use an AOR-type approach, choosing to work with clients on a project-by-project basis. Riva said the agency, which now employs 33 full-time staffers, boasts a 98% client retention rate.
“We’re very unique in the industry in that we’re not trying to lock our clients into these big programs and annual fees,” said Riva. “In the modern landscape brands are tight on time and tight on budget, but they want to be creative.
“A lot of companies are looking for a partner to work with them on an as-needed basis, and we’ve presented an opportunity for them to work with a highly creative team that’s incredibly passionate about food and beverage.”
The agency – which has its own test kitchen as well 10 culinary professionals and one full-time grocery shopper on staff – has worked with more than 200 clients since its inception.
Riva predicted that 2015 would be a “very formative” year for THP, which counts Welch’s, Italpasta, Kraft Foods and Heineken among its clients. In the past year, the agency has added PR and social media strategy to its core competencies, which include food styling, recipe creation and video production.
“We really want to become a go-to hub for our customers that are looking for strategy development,” said Riva. “We want to be able to offer our customers an even more complete one-stop shop, from the strategy through to the content and the final communications strategy.”