Totem arrives as leading brand storyteller

Inspired evolution results in new name, new vision, new ownership

TORONTO, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - After a two-year process of evolution, Totem has arrived. Today, the launch of www.totembrandstories.com marks the completion of a total transformation for North America's leading custom-media agency, formerly known as Redwood Custom Communications. At the beginning of a new decade, Totem is well positioned to meet the escalating challenges of the marketplace with forward-thinking strategies that include a new name, a new vision and new ownership.

THE POWER OF BRAND STORIES

For the past 10 years, the agency has been at the forefront of innovative CRM content marketing, working with global clients including The Home Depot, Kraft Foods, Mazda International, Aeroplan Group, Frito-Lay, Bank of America, GEICO and Procter & Gamble. The agency's new name and accompanying tagline - brand stories - encapsulates Totem's vision, addressing the fundamental shift in how consumers make their buying decisions. Eric Schneider, CEO of Totem and original CEO/founder of Redwood, explained, "As consumers have gained a new level of control of the conversation with brands, there has been an overall recognition that well-constructed content that brings entertainment, solutions and clarity of information has huge value for both the consumer and the marketer. We take our clients' brands and extend them as media properties, using brand stories as totems for brand communities."

This unique perspective comes from a strong service-journalism heritage that focuses the agency's work on building meaningful connections between consumers and brands. Content is crafted to be sought-after and welcomed into consumers' lives. Adding to the agency's distinctiveness is the drive to go beyond traditional marketing insights to enhance that connection with consumers and build loyal communities. In fact, leveraging the dual power of what Totem has coined "marketing journalism" has brought an unparalleled level of audience understanding and insight to the agency's custom-media solutions, a benefit not lost on its blue-chip clients.

The power of Totem's innovative marketing journalism is illustrated in the agency's Rouge program for P&G. One of the largest integrated-media strategies of its kind, the program's cornerstone is Rouge magazine, a custom publication developed in Canada in 2005, piloted in the U.S. last year and rolled out to 11 million North American households this year. The print component introduces P&G beauty consumers to a richer, broader array of digital content available through a website, social media and e-newsletters. As a multiplatform content program, Rouge demonstrates Totem's visionary approach as a complete marketing-services agency focused on brand storytelling.

EVOLUTION OF AN INDUSTRY LEADER

Evolving Redwood into Totem officially began in 2008 when the company entered into a partnership with Canadian printing and media giant Transcontinental Inc. Now part of Transcontinental's Marketing Communications Sector, Totem is part of a collection of best-in-class specialty-communications companies. The advantage of being a lead agency among a family of top industry resources has been another significant factor in Totem's evolution, and a key to Transcontinental's growth strategy. Christian Trudeau, President of Transcontinental's Marketing Communications Sector, said, "Totem represents an important and dynamic component of our sector's vision. We're extremely pleased to be a part of this new beginning that will bring exciting value to our clients."

Staying innovative while keeping true to the agency's journalism heritage will always remain paramount to Totem's growth and success. "I believe that consumers will be looking to brands as beacons of integrity", said Schneider. "There's a real need for content worth spending time with - content that's crafted with the best production values. Digital content, mobile, first-class magazines, websites, blogs: no matter the platform, the objective remains the same. The key is that consumers increasingly want content that speaks to them in a meaningful way and adds substance to their experience. Building strong brand communities that inspire enthusiastic brand advocates - that's our vision. That's the future."

About Totem (formerly Redwood Custom Communications)

Totem creates branded content and custom-media programs by combining best-in-class journalism and marketing talent to build meaningful customer relationships and drive clients' business objectives. Totem has offices in Toronto and New York and is part of Transcontinental Inc.'s Marketing Communications Sector. Totem's North American client roster includes Procter & Gamble, The Home Depot, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Frito-Lay, Sears, Sobeys, The Principal Financial Group, Rexall, Mazda International, Aeroplan Group, Bank of America, GEICO and more. Totem has won over 170 national and international awards. For more information about Totem and to view its portfolio, please visit www.totembrandstories.com.

SOURCE TOTEM - BRAND STORIES

For further information: For further information: Joseph Barbieri, Toronto: (416) 847-8548, New York: (212) 896-3849, joseph.barbieri@totembrandstories.com

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TOTEM - BRAND STORIES

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