Best Managed Companies 2021

LG2

This creative agency wants to help shape Canada’s post-pandemic future

In-the-know millennials brainstorming tag lines over ping-pong may come to mind when you think of a creative agency, but a laid-back vibe truly can foster inspiration. Claude Auchu, CEO of LG2, would know: he has thrived in this type of environment his whole career. Creative buzz and collaboration were always part of the office culture, he says. “Just tapping someone on the shoulder about an idea or chatting with someone at lunchtime — it brings a positive spiral of creativity.”

When founders Sylvain Labarre and Paul Gaultier launched LG2 in 1991, the focus was on advertising and promotion. It has since evolved to offer a more comprehensive suite of services, including branding and design, strategy, packaging, data and, most recently, the creation of commercial spaces. Today, the agency, whose client list includes Bell Canada, LCBO and Under Armour, has 367 employees and offices in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto. “Everyone is so brilliant — we think we have one of the best teams in the country,” Auchu says. “We put pride into hiring and retaining our talents. We have the lowest turnover in our industry. Twenty per cent of our employees have been at the agency for at least 10 years.” And, crucially, the agency has remained independent, as joining a larger network would take away some of its autonomy and necessitate spending time and energy answering to a head office. “We answer to our clients and our talents only — not to quarterly reports for distant headquarters.”

LG2 has 24 owners in the company, more than half of whom are women. “When people join LG2, they have this unique potential access to partnership,” says Auchu. “We have pride in having a culture of entrepreneurship.” An entrepreneur himself, Auchu joined the agency as a partner in 2006 to head up its new design arm, and he was named CEO in 2016 when the founders retired. He has seen a lot of change in that time. “The pace has changed dramatically,” he says. “Everything is really fast. We have many channels and we need many types of expertise. There are so many different talents nowadays involved in every project.”

The future looks bright for this dedicated group. There are no concrete plans yet, but expansion is certainly on the horizon. “There are going to be new offices. We really feel that we have a duty to put our talents and our creativity to work building a better future for Canada and creating a positive impact every day.”

In the meantime, the buzz is at a slightly lower hum while everyone works from home, but LG2’s leaders have been working to maintain as much interaction as possible to keep the creativity flowing. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on internal communication, and we try to put people together as much as we can, like with town halls and meetings,” says Auchu. He hopes they’ll be able to return to normal soon and predicts they’ll have a hybrid mode where people alternate working remotely and in the office. “They’ll be happy to have a chaotic, creative environment like before.”