Marketing firm m5 moves into new St. John’s office where its creativity, curiosity and collaboration brand can breathe
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ST. JOHN’S, NL – After 41 years in an office building on O’Leary Avenue, St. John’s employees are adjusting to their new surroundings for one of Canada’s largest independent marketing agencies.
m5, an Atlantic Canadian agency with five regional offices and approximately 150 employees, was founded in St. John’s in 1981. About a third of the company’s employees are still based in St. John’s, and earlier this month they relocated to 570 Newfoundland Drive.
Heather Dalton, one of four partners at the agency, spent 25 years in the old office and admitted to having “some mixed feelings” about moving out of the building.
“We’ve kind of re-examined our footprint as we grow in the region,” Dalton said.
The company has offices in all four Atlantic provinces, including offices in Moncton, New Brunswick and Charlottetown. m5 also moved to a new home in Saint John, NB last month and recently expanded their home in Halifax.
Dalton said the company wanted an office that would fit the type of work environment m5 wanted to create in St. John’s. She added that the timing of the move coincided well with the new branding, also launched last month.
“The timing for the building and the new brand went hand in hand as our new brand is built on that curiosity, spirit of discovery and ability to collaborate with other people in the organization, to work interdisciplinary and to break out of our silos and coming together in this open space was important to us,” she said.
Dalton and her partners acquired the company five years ago – the anniversary was Wednesday February 1 – from company founder Gary Wadden and his business partner Derek Langdon, two Memorial University graduates who founded the company in St. John’s.
Since then, Dalton says, they’ve tried to position m5 as an agency that doesn’t slow down but keeps up with everything that’s happening in the marketing, communications and advertising world.
“We’re taking the growth that we have and using it to leverage and drive more growth, and part of that is looking at all of our office space across the region. It’s part of our vision to design our spaces for our people (and for) where we want to go for the organization as a whole.”
curiosity and creativity
The new branding was part of an effort to mark the five-year anniversary of the change in ownership. With a new chief creative director on board, a new vice president of insights and innovation at St. John’s, and expanded media and digital video teams overall, Dalton said there is an ongoing effort within the company to improve internal expertise a wide range of disciplines.
This, she said, will help m5 continue to serve its many customers. These clients include all four of the region’s provincial governments, Subway, General Motors, Fortis, the law firm of Cox & Palmer and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association.
“Our vision is for creativity to be recognized for its power to solve problems,” said Dalton.
“There’s just something about this line that I absolutely love because when we produce a campaign you often see the end product that is beautiful and creative. Front end to truly ensure that everything we do is related to the client’s actual problem or business problem that they came to us to solve.
“It doesn’t necessarily happen naturally. It comes from making sure we hire people who have those qualities; who are interested in digging and learning and working together to solve problems – and part of that is space too. Make sure we’re set up in all of our locations to work together and have plenty of places to meet. Even remotely, all of our boardrooms are set up to connect to our other offices, so that we can actually work together across the region. “
Dalton believes the move to the new office will pay off for the company in just a few weeks.
“We’ve seen some real differences in how we get together and brainstorm,” she said, adding that it’s also been good for social interactions among co-workers.
“Getting together downstairs in the kitchen, getting together in the meeting rooms and collaboration rooms just to talk things over. Then if we need to bring in our other teams (remotely), we can do that. Just being here together has really empowered us to truly live this new brand mantra of curiosity every day.”
To further ignite this creative streak among employees, m5 recently launched an employee program that contributes $300 annually to any type of activity that stimulates their curiosity, be it an art class, college course or martial arts.