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PIGEON Featured in Grenier: The Agency Fueled by Truth

We are honoured to have been featured in Grenier’s latest issue where we share our approach as an agency on how we make brands come true and deliver ROI to our outstanding clients. See the English translation to the article below.  


PIGEON: the agency fueled by truth 

When asked what sets her agency apart from other branding firms, Elyse Boulet, CEO and partner of PIGEON, promptly responds, “We don’t define ourselves as a branding agency.” While PIGEON has built its reputation on its deep expertise in brand identity creation, particularly in packaging design, its lasting success stems from its ability to create complete, cohesive brand ecosystems rooted in informed strategies. “We’re a brand strategy, design, and communications agency,” says Boulet. “But above all, we are true experts in the moment of truth.” 

This moment of truth refers to the crucial three seconds during which people choose a service or product among many. It’s the key moment in the purchase journey for a consumer and the defining moment for a brand. PIGEON’s team has made this their unwavering focus. 

Facing Reality to Build Impactful Brands 

Founded in 1977 by Thomas Pigeon and acquired by Elyse Boulet and Kairos Capital last April, the Montreal-based agency is among the largest independent firms in Quebec. It boasts a portfolio of clients ranging from local to national and international companies. The partnerships they cultivate last an average of 14 years, an exceptional longevity in an industry where relationships typically last just over three years. Some clients, such as Danone, continue to choose PIGEON after 25 years, dating back to the Delisle yogurt days (those who know, know). 

Over time, the Montreal agency has mastered the art of creating connections between brands and consumers through its design perspective. “For us, design is like a catalyst for all brand expressions. It’s not something ephemeral; it’s an element that helps build the brand,” explains Boulet. This has led them to understand the importance of identifying fundamental truths to create valuable ideas that leave a mark. 

To achieve this, PIGEON employs a unique market approach: each new project begins with “Face the Truth” workshops. These intensive brainstorming sessions aim to discover exactly what it takes to make people buy, love, and recommend a brand, pinpointing that crucial moment of truth. 

“In a context where marketing budgets are shrinking, it’s crucial to focus on what matters most. And what matters most is the moment of truth because that’s when the brand connects with consumers,” says Stéphane Crevier, Vice President of Strategy. 

PIGEON’s experts use these sessions to bring together all stakeholders in the companies and foster transparent discussions about their products or services, pushing clients to face their truths and laying the groundwork for brands to thrive beyond a single advertising campaign. “Clients like to be told the real deal,” assures Crevier. “By confronting them with their realities, we help them see things differently. We also create great synergy between different company teams. Sales and marketing have never been more in sync than after our workshops!” 

The Proof is in the Pudding 

Clients undoubtedly also appreciate PIGEON’s ability to generate tangible results. The quest for truth is always tied to business objectives. In other words, PIGEON’s team isn’t creative for creativity’s sake. Their hypotheses are based on a rigorous process that includes primary or secondary research, aligning ideas with market realities. “With us, design sells,” says Olivier Chevillot, Executive Creative Director. 

“We can be highly strategic upfront and adapt to real business challenges. We can think about the ethos of a brand and give it long-term direction just as we can help our clients develop sales pitches to better position themselves with retailers. In between, we work on their packaging and build their communication campaigns,” adds Jean-François Béliveau, 360 Creative Director. And “the proof is in the pudding,” notes Elyse Boulet. Today, several clients come to PIGEON following a recommendation from an industry peer or a financial advisor who has observed that the agency improves business performance. 

Among Pigeon’s client’s successes in recent years is the 15%+ increase in organic milk sales and significant market share gains for Nutrinor, a food cooperative based in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. These results are particularly noteworthy given the 9% decline in this market segment and the modest marketing budget the company has compared to its competitors. For these notable efforts, PIGEON and Nutrinor have been repeatedly awarded both in Quebec and internationally, including at the Concours Idéa in the Business Results and Strategy category, GDUSA, PAC Awards, Grands Prix Dux, and most recently, the SIA Awards in Toronto. 

There is also the campaign ” Influenced by You”, signed by PIGEON for the back-to-school season, which turned out to be IKEA Canada’s most effective marketing initiative in 2023. This campaign allowed the furniture giant to achieve a return on investment significantly higher than average (nearly double the usual ROI) and generate concrete sales results in an inflation-laden economy. Or take Perdue Farms in the United States, whose air fryer sales have reached unprecedented heights since the food supplier partnered with the agency. 

Known for its expertise in the retail and packaged goods sectors, PIGEON is now sought after by a multitude of industries, ranging from healthcare to construction; a great pride for the agency and for its Vice President of Account Services, Armelle Dubourg. “We are fortunate to have a wide variety of clients and a good reputation thanks to the business results we help achieve. And because we work in several sectors, particularly in all grocery categories, we have a good understanding of consumer trends. Our clients range from startups to SMEs needing a strong strategy to enter new markets or established brands requiring coherence and innovation across their portfolio of brands and products. What they all have in common is that they appreciate our understanding of their business challenges and our ability to propose solutions that address them while taking their unique reality into account.” 

An Agile Team Playing in the Big Leagues 

Since Elyse Boulet joined PIGEON as General Manager of the Montreal office in 2017, the agency’s staff has doubled, as has its revenue. The growth continues with double-digit expansion. That said, great stories rely on multiple characters, assures the leading lady who also kindly insisted that each of her main collaborators should have a chance to speak here. “I have the right team,” she says. “I’m more focused on the future than ever because I know my team is on board. We will continue to enrich and deepen our collective expertise internally, with the addition of new talents and new skills, and by remaining open to new opportunities.” 

“When I joined the Montreal team in 1998, we were seven, all specialized in brand identity and packaging,” recalls Executive Creative Director Olivier Chevillot. “Today, we are a true 360 branding and communication agency composed of over 80 people spread across two offices. Our team spirit and agility are still there, but today we can offer all the services necessary for the development of internationally competitive brands.” 

Indeed, PIGEON competes with major firms worldwide thanks to its expanded range of services, from business strategy to the production of all marketing materials, including brand identity creation, design, and eco-optimization. Its fully integrated production studio makes it a true one-stop shop. “In many agencies, production services are seen as a commodity. At PIGEON, we emphasize the added value of this service because it allows for enormous efficiency gains while offering our clients peace of mind in terms of quality and technical process management. Our goal is to simplify their lives during these crucial steps,” says Philippe Morin, Vice President of Production. 

Ultimately, all the ingredients are in place for PIGEON to continue its momentum and keep guiding businesses toward their moment of truth. But while PIGEON has been playing in the big leagues for some time now, it has also managed to maintain its own truth by preserving the agility, collaborative spirit, and independence that have shaped it to this day. 

By Emilie Desgagnée  






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