A harbinger is defined as one who initiates or pioneers change or one who portends what is to come. Much the same might be said of public relations and marketing communications firm Harbinger Communications which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and positions itself as experts on Canada. The firm was founded by Marilyn Short, a self-described information junkie with an obsession of wanting to know what’s new and what’s next.
Based in Toronto, Harbinger works with clients in beauty and personal care and the food and beverage, especially in the consumer-packaged goods, consumer services, and manufacturing industries. They serve the media and entertainment industry as well. The firm also works with partners in Quebec and the U.S.
Harbinger’s services include launch strategies, multi-channel content strategy, earned media relations, influencer marketing, social and community management, event strategy and activation, corporate and executive profile management, digital creative and advertising and an in-house design studio.
Some of Harbinger’s major clients include Nehimiah Manufacturing, a personal care manufacturing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio; ConAgra, Kaz, and evenflo. ConAgra’s head of marketing in Canada credits Harbinger for its successful relaunch of its Orville line of popcorn by launching what he called a brilliant strategy that addressed key issues and reached their target audience with reasons to try and purchase their healthier product. That strategy was also credited for driving sales to record highs and setting things up for future success.
Eric Wellinghoff, VP for Marketing at Nehimiah credited Harbinger as being fast, flexible and good stewards of their advertising budget. He acknowledged their expertise and for pro-actively providing recommendations about the Canadian market to their firm.
The former brand manager for Kaz, Bhawna Sharma, also credited Harbinger for being nimble and flexible as well as driving value for a limited budget. Sharma said the agency was an integral partner for the company’s portfolio of brands which included Vicks, Honeywell, and Braun.
The former Canadian manager for evenflo was also laudatory towards Harbinger. Colin Nias referred to the firm as an extension of his team and called them trusted advisors. Nias said Harbinger helped evenflo not only reach their goals but also exceed expectations. He cited the firm’s ability to move discussion to critical conversations that led to uncovering what was needed to be successful as a key element.
Some of Harbinger’s other clients include Dove, infant care company, Clutch, Taste USA, a trade association of more than 40 U.S. food and beverage companies, hand-crafted product company lesley stowe, Milkadamia, another US company specializing in macadamia nut-based milk, Dole Foods, the California Prune Board, and Simple, a UK line of beauty products.
July 1 also marked Canada’s 153rd birthday. Harbinger used the occasion to remind its followers how different it is this year with COVID-19 and alert brands that they’re still available to help launch new products. The firm cited two brands that deserved special recognition on Canada Day for its support of hospitals and front-line workers, Simply Good Food Canada and Dole Foods Canada. Both have been donating protein bars and fruit cups.
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