Fuse rebrands to put focus on creativity

Toronto agency Fuse has revealed new branding representing a far greater emphasis on its creative offering.

After 17 years as Fuse Marketing Group, the agency will now be known as FuseCreate. Fuse’s experiential group, which had operated as a distinct brand, will become part of FuseCreate, while Fuse Health will continue to operate as a standalone brand within the company.

The rebranding, revealed Tuesday, is the result of a reinvention process that has been in the works for a few years now, said CEO Stephen Brown. “We knew we needed to change the model of the business to be creative first,” said Brown. “This wasn’t about fixing a problem, as much as evolving to meet the needs of clients.”

The agency had developed a reputation for strong customer service and strategy, with a creative department known for its good tactical work, delivery and execution. But the marketing world has changed dramatically, and Fuse had to change with it.

“The worst thing you can do as an agency is sit back on your laurels and hope that your past will be your guide to your future,” said Brown. Client expectations have changed, and all agencies are facing new competition for many of the services they delivered in the past.

The one thing that can’t be commoditized in this new world is creative, said Brown. “I think the concept of agencies is actually going back to our roots: You need great relationships, great strategy and great creative and that’s it.”

Which is where Steve Miller came in last February, hired as executive creative director from One Method not just to lead the creative department, but to help change the entire agency.

Soon after he arrived, Miller addressed the agency. “He said creative is number one. Not the creative department, but creative is number one. No one in Fuse’s history had said that before. And there was this sigh of relief, a moment of excitement for a lot of people,” said Brown.

Since then Miller has been working to instil that philosophy across Fuse, changing the culture to deliver on that promise. “We needed to internally shift the way that we thought about our product,” he said. “To stop making clients happy and make them look like heroes, and stop making good creative and start making really great creative.”

After a year of making those changes behind the scenes—including a number of additions to the creative department, most recently Patrice Pollack as creative director—the agency was ready to tell the rest of the industry about the shift with new branding from Jackknife Design.

The new name comes with a complete brand identity system, including a wordmark and icon that integrates both an “F” and “C” for a graphic representation of the name.

The new branding is bright, flexible, positive and fun, said Miller. “I think our website will definitely be the most colourful out there.”

As for announcing the new branding in the middle of this COVID crisis, Miller and Brown said they were actually ready to reveal it just as the crisis was hitting. At first they decided to push pause, but after a few weeks they realized now was actually the right time.

“The rebrand is causing so much positivity in our office we thought why don’t we share it now” said Brown.

It’s also a tangible reminder that this crisis is only temporary, added Miller. “It shows the confidence, that sense of there’s gonna be another side to this, and we’re gonna be ready for it.”

Disclosure: A FuseCreate executive is a financial supporter of The Message. Financial supporters have no influence or input on editorial decisions.


David Brown