Citizen Relations has launched a new offshoot PR agency in Canada called The Colony Project and has landed M&M Meat Shops as its first new business win.
Over the past five years, Citizen Relations has seen tremendous growth and “we saw a need to have a second agency,” says Amanda Shuchat, managing director of the new Toronto shop.
Shuchat says not all clients need the service model of Citizen Relations, which now has 75 employees across Canada. She notes that Colony acts “as a small agency with the capabilities of a large agency.”
Colony has four employees including Shuchat, who was previously vice-president at Citizen Relations and has been a senior strategist at the firm for six years. The other employees are new hires.
M&M recently chose Cossette as its advertising agency and later decided to go with Colony as its PR shop starting this month, Shuchat says. Cossette, Citizen Relations and Colony are all part of Vision7 International.
Hyundai Auto Canada, a Citizens Relations client since 2011, Alcatel, a client since 2014, and Bayer have all followed Shuchat to Colony. Shuchat led all three accounts.
Colony, which operates in English and French, plans to open a Montreal office later this year.
Shuchat says Colony will focus on integrated and innovative solutions and will work closely with Cossette.
While Citizen will continue to serve large-scale clients, Colony will focus on helping clients reach new audiences beyond the traditional, outside of comfort zones and even their own industries.
Shuchat notes that Colony is a good fit for both Hyundai, which previously tasked Citizen Relations with PR for lifestyle and influencers, and Alcatel, which had Citizen Relations handle the non-tech press.
The Colony name is based on the fact everything in life begins with one citizen, but a colony is formed when a group of citizens work together to form a common good, Shuchat says.
She adds that Colony is a first-of-its kind agency for Citizen Relations, which together with its strategic partners operates in more than 60 countries.
“With the evolving communications landscape and our continued growth as an agency, it’s become clear that clients need custom solutions,” Nick Cowling, president of Citizen Relations North America, said in a statement. “The Colony Project will allow us to offer a complementary agency model.”
The Colony Project website notes that the agency “is based on the idea of people working together — creatively and passionately towards a common good. As an earned-first agency, we are built to uncover deep insights, smash boundaries and deliver meaningful results.”