Republic shifts focus to ’empathy marketing,’ announces new hires

Toronto agency Republic has announced five new hires to support a recalibration of its business around what it calls “empathy marketing,” which espouses a media neutral approach to creative complemented by a business-led approach to account management.

“It’s us defining and declaring the work that we’re doing,” said Republic president Kathy Murphy, who joined Republic from Kraft Foods in 2016. Empathy is more than a “soft skill,” she said, but is crucial to understanding consumer motivation, enabling clients to intersect with potential customers at the appropriate time and place, and ultimately drive better client results.

Republic has adopted a new account management model that Murphy said is closely aligned with business consulting, with account teams led by “business leaders” who understand both their clients business challenges and the category as a whole.

“It isn’t good enough to just have account management,” said Murphy. “Our clients want real business partners—a team that immerses itself in their audience, their business and their industry to truly understand what matters and moves the needle. Not just a team waiting for the brief.”

Republic’s new hires—which increase its staff size to 19—include director of client success Jacob Barnes, who was previously employed at Sid Lee and who worked on projects including the Toronto Raptors hugely successful “We the North” campaign.

Another new appointment to the agency’s client success team is Julie Wierzbicki, who was previously with Giants & Gentlemen—working as an account director for clients including Dr. Oetker and Fisherman’s Friend.

Fiona Scott arrives at Republic as senior manager of digital marketing and growth from Loblaw, where she served as marketing manager for its Joe Fresh brand and e-mail programs for its online grocery business.

Republic has also promoted Michelle Nguyen to community manager, while naming former intern Cassie Chan junior designer. Edyta McKindsey has also joined the agency as “director of first impressions” with responsibility for Republic’s people and culture.

The agency recently landed the Summer Fresh account, and is preparing to launch a new campaign for the trade association BILD GTA.


Chris Powell