The particular person who interviewed Lisa at the other firm came over to lead, and essentially rebuild, Edelman’s consumer practice. Interestingly, Edelman was consumer PR’s pioneer and originator but that wasn’t the case in Canada at that time.
He asked her to help build a consumer practice, appealing to her entrepreneurial spirit – the idea of building something new was incredibly attractive. She ultimately became the SVP & national practice leader, consumer marketing.
“With almost 40 people on the team, we now have the largest consumer practice in Canada,” Lisa explains. “Although it’s not about being the biggest, it’s about doing the best work.”
She remembers the first year was incredibly hard – this was back in 2002. “We had clients who were not happy with us, many of whom continued with us simply because their U.S. counterparts worked with Edelman in the US,” she tells us. “We needed to convince them why they should give us a second chance and give us the opportunity to prove what we were capable of delivering. We needed to figure out how we were going to attract new talent, which we did and it’s been a fantastic ride.”
One of Lisa’s first big clients was Indigo. The team felt vindicated that they landed such a high-profile client after putting in some very hard work. They also won Loblaw and Michelin. First, they won the Michelin brand and then their affiliates – BF Goodrich, Uniroyal and a retail chain called Alliance Tire Professionals.
“Having experience with automotive aftermarket products, my approach was that this was an opportunity for us to extend ourselves creatively. We had to ask ourselves what’s sexy about tires? How can we make tires into a great story? We were very successful with it for many years.”
Today, Edelman works with clients including Unilever, Kraft, Starbucks, Intuit, Roche and AIMIA.