Homegrown Business: Toronto Creative Advertising Studio King Ursa

We recently had the chance to catch up with Paulo and Eric from Toronto creative ad agency King Ursa located in Toronto’s east end on Queen Street.

King Ursa

What is your business called and what does it do?

Eric: King Ursa is a Toronto-based, full service agency. We keep our offerings dynamic and ever- adapting, because each business problem we work on is as unique as the next. We ground our approaches through customized offerings that fall within analysis, strategy, creative, production, and media buying. It’s our mission to solve real business problems for our partners and we do so by rooting decisions in data and executing through creative solutions that motivate and change behaviours. We’re grounded in these principles – so much so that we trademarked the phrase ’Strategically grounded. Creatively unleashed.TM’

What made you want to do this work?

Eric: Our primary intention in starting King Ursa was to better serve clients with an agency model that allows itself to adapt and pivot to today’s needs. We’ve seen improved campaign results with this model and it has enabled us to offer a wide variety of services, and have information from one part of a campaign influence another. We don’t just want to claim that we’re doing things differently, we want to back that claim up through our work and how we are structured.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Paulo: In one word, we wanted to consolidate. We saw a fragmentation of services in the industry as a problem and wanted to provide clients with a more holistic approach. The need for a combined creative and data driven approach is apparent, and we are proud to be leading the way. We also wanted to bring transparency to the industry and let clients in on the work being done. At King Ursa, we bring our clients along the journey, allowing for fast iteration and collaboration to find the optimal solution.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Eric: Everyone with a business problem looking to outthink their competition, rather than outspend
them. We firmly believe in thinking critically, strategically, and creatively, all at the same time.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

Paulo: We’re in the service industry – we make money by servicing our clients. However, truly our success is 100% fuelled by the success of our projects. We hold ourselves accountable for the work we do at King Ursa.
At the end of the day, we take a hands-on approach and that’s how we not only find clients, but also retain them. We’re very proud of the relationships we have with our clients. Our business grows with them year-over-year and we’ve maintained this by building an AOR (agency of record) focus to our relationships. The AOR model has been considered a thing of the past with more clients going project by project, but that isn’t the case with King Ursa. This wouldn’t be possible without our team. We are devoted to bringing on absolutely amazing people. As seen with any major sports organization, investing in team talent means great results for clients. We foster an amazing team and achieve amazing results.

Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

Paulo: You can find King Ursa on the East End at Queen East, separate from where other agencies are located. Our location is a perfect example of how we constantly seek to break patterns of the agencies that are currently out there – differentiation comes in every form.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Eric: The best question a client could ask is, “would you align to a performance-based model?” The answer – “Heck yes!” The idea of running through a performance-based model exemplifies everything King Ursa is. This question plays into what we promise a client, and actually being able to deliver those results. When we rally behind the curtain, we can ensure the results are seen. We walk the walk.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the most challenging part?

Eric: The best part and the most challenging part of what we do is actually the same – it’s achieving success for our clients in a non-traditional way. Being recognized for this type of work isn’t a standard in the industry. There are awards that are seen as industry standards, and they don’t recognize the type of disruptive work we do. We happen to be in a business that is all about consumers. Consumer expectations change, and we change along with them. We are dedicated to shifting with the changing demands of the industry. The challenge is the best part – we’d be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t like the challenge, it’s what motivates us and keeps us on our toes!

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Paulo: The generalization of the Mad Men idea. Mad Men is all about what advertising practices made sense back in the day, but it is not representative of the industry today. Of course, there is still a part of Mad Men that is crucial in our business. The intuition, and inclination to follow your gut, is represented very well on that show. That intuition still plays a big part in advertising to this day.
Eric: Another joke is to think that data, alone, drives success. Data has to be rooted in consumer truths and creativity. Creativity fuels data and consumer insights. It’s thoroughly integrated, and to see it as compartmentalized is to not see the full picture.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?

Paulo: RateHub! From bootstrapping to Dragon’s Den, the founding story is unique and it’s one of Toronto’s sweethearts. We also love Knix Wear – they are creating a new category of womenswear, and it is all founded on the backbone of authenticity.