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article imageIdea Couture, a Toronto business that gives back Special

By KJ Mullins     Nov 9, 2009 in Business
Toronto-based Idea Couture is a new breed in the design industry. The company partners with their clients to advance business goals while at the same time helping new Web technology companies thrive in the critical first year.
Helping companies become more socially aware with creative ideas from both a design and business viewpoint is one of the key elements of the Toronto-based company Idea Couture.
Idea Couture's incubation program during that first year to 16 months includes a capital investment of up to $500,000. If the project needs more funds, they work with other venture firms to raise addition money.
Ashley Perez is in the Public Relations department at Idea Couture. During a telephone interview we discussed the company's approach to business.
Perez told me that when Idris Mootee founded Idea Couture in 2007 he wanted to take a very different approach to business by merging the "B- School and the D-school." That translates to taking the business side and the design side of Internet Design and fusing them into one company.
Ashley Perez
Ashley Perez
special permission by Idea Couture
"They really do take a different approach," she said. "Everyone is an equal partner and every opinion is held as valuable."
Jeff Richter, Head of Human Factors, echoed that ideal as he spoke to me from his hotel room in Miami about the ideals of Idea Couture. Richter has been with the company since June 2008.
"We have an incubator program where we offer the research needed for new companies to excel," he said.
One of the core foundations of Idea Couture is the B School and D School approach, which rings strongly when you speak with those involved with the company.
"Having folks from both the business and design fields is very powerful."
Idea Couture looks at the cultural value of their clients, understanding that different age groups among consumers want different things. The Baby Boomers for instance want to know just the facts when it comes to products. Having this type of insight allows for businesses to align their company values with the values of consumers.
Research about the Baby Boomer market indicates Boomers want their advertising to be transparent, efficient, they want it to have context, show them the product is a secure company, have a solid ethics base and is socially responsible.
"Idea Couture fills the void between strategic consultants, customer insight firms and design studios," Perez said.
Using social media the company has taken their clients to new heights. One of those clients is Aviva Insurance; the insurance company came to Idea Couture wanting to find a way to connect with their clients. The result is the Aviva Community Fund. Using social media as a tool along with a base website, Idea Couture has worked with the insurance company from coming up with the plan to current web presence in their competition for funding of community projects.
"No one really has a true connection with their insurance company," Perez said.
As for the Aviva campaign, Richter was very excited. He has worked on the project from the beginning.
"It's a very powerful campaign," he said. "The company is new to Canada and this campaign is much more effective than standard ones for getting their name out. The insurance industry is not generally loved by consumers. We all need insurance but there's no love connection generally between company and consumer. We are hoping to change that."
Idea Couture came up with an idea about funding community-based projects in Canada. That idea is now the Aviva Community Fund. The project has had very positive feedback within the social media networking world and has been featured on We Day and Canada AM.
Looking for the right connection between consumers and their clients is a big part of what Idea Couture offers. Richter is now on a road trip to do market research with the consumers of another client.
"We believe strongly in the research side of operations."
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