Media room

July 22, 2019

Zone Franche Welcomes Four New Team Members

The public relations agency Zone franche is pleased to welcome four new members to its team, Ludivine Félix as Account Director, Raphaël Rochette and Élodie Minguet-Mei as Coordinators, and Francine Gnago as Accounting Technician.

Ludivine Félix
Ludivine Félix worked for several years in the communications and PR agency Dr2 Consultants, in Belgium, before moving to Bolivia, where she managed two non-profit organizations. In early 2019, and after two years of service, she left and moved to Quebec. A seasoned communicator, she specializes in 360-communications strategies and is proficient in social media, event organization, media relations, crisis management, graphic design and project management. Ludivine has a golden heart, and her aptitudes have served her well in working with a variety of national and international non-profit organizations. Today, she volunteers as the treasurer and a member of the board of directors at Montreal’s non-profit, L'Alternative.

Raphaël Rochette
Following a solid professional experience in the fashion industry, Raphaël Rochette decided to go back to school in 2016 to further his public relations skills. A graduate of Public Communications from l’Université Laval, he now counts three years of public relations experience under his belt, and has worked on both sides of the consulting business. Since then, he has contributed to ensure the success of numerous local and national campaigns, particularly in the health, beauty and culture sectors.

Élodie Minguet-Mei
A Université du Québec à Montréal graduate in public relations since 2018, Elodie Minguet-Mei was a student athlete for the UQAM’s varsity cheerleading team. During this time, she completed an internship at the Caisse Desjardins du Haut-Richelieu where she promoted, organized and coordinated events. She then put her passion for community management and event planning skills to good use for the UQAM Sports Center. Hired upon the completion of her internship, she became responsible for all of the UQAM Sport Facilities’ communications, as well as promotional activities. Élodie sits on the board of the Caisse Desjardins du Haut-Richelieu.

Francine Gnago
Fascinated by finance and accounting, Francine Gnago has worked on several projects in Africa, such as the Paris-Cotonou-Abidjan project funded by the European Union, the tuberculosis project in Côte d'Ivoire financed by the Global Fund and the project to support children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, funded by the United States Agency for International Development. She then finessed her knowledge and working methods in a Quebec context by returning to school, graduating with a Master's degree in Economics and Management from Côte d’Ivoire, which is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Francine also has a certificate of access in accounting from HEC Montréal. Prior to joining Zone Franche, she worked in a number of organisations including the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec as an accounting technician.

May 30, 2019

Foreign companies succeed in Canada when they lock down an effective public relations strategy

Businesses that choose Canada as their port of entry to North America would do well to take an effective approach to public relations that is tailored to their target market. Marie-Françoise Hervieu, President of the agencies Zone franche and Villemarie, reveals how public relations can play an important role in the success of a business plan.

“Building up your name and reputation takes time and consistent effort,” explained Marie-Françoise Hervieu, President of Zone franche and Villemarie. “Expect it to take two or three years. Public relations are still the best way to earn credibility with clients, partners, business people and investors.”

As is expected with legal and financial needs, companies should also prepare to push into a new market by seeking out services from communication experts with fine-tuned skills for navigating issues specific to the Montréal, Quebec and Canadian markets. Each culture comes with its own distinct particularities and codes. Language and observable behaviours must be factored in.

“In France, for example, communication often goes hand in hand with advertising, but many companies aren’t aware of how much there is to gain from relationships with journalists. It’s a much more established tradition in North American culture,” explained Ms. Hervieu.

The full spectrum
Media relations open the door to a whole range of communication and positioning opportunities for newcomers to the market: launches, appointments, manager profiles, investments, studies and research, opinions on social issues, etc. Newspapers, for example, still reach more than 70% of Canadians each week.

Since the advent of social media, people called influencers—because their activities, opinions and lifestyle influence thousands of people—can also play a major role in establishing your brand and reputation. “Tell one million followers that an exhibition is taking place at the Google Cultural Institute, and you just informed them that Google supports local culture,” she said, adding that social media is more widely used here than in France, for instance.

Positioning with prestigious forums is another strategy that public relations experts can offer foreign companies trying to establish their reputation. Just like targeted networking, philanthropic or business activities, sponsorships can have a remarkable effect on creating sustainable relationships. “Not only are these companies improving their competitive positioning, but they attract candidates who are seeking a stimulating career,” said Ms. Hervieu.

Favourable public opinion
Building sustainable relationships with different groups is also a good defence against potential crises. Businesses that neglect to form and maintain third-party relations often wind up stuck in a tight spot when disaster strikes. A company should generate as much public goodwill and trust as possible—it will come in handy at some point. Companies that have a solid reputation can count on a network of strong, present allies when the going gets tough.

Companies should fortify this defence by joining forces with experts who have a solid grounding in their market and a deep understanding of their environment if they wish to protect their hard-earned reputation.

May 6, 2019

ZONE FRANCHE JOINS THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK 3AW

The Montreal-based public relations agency Zone franche announced today its alliance with 3AW, an international network of independent communication agencies. In doing so, Zone franche becomes the network’s exclusive agency of reference in Canada and its French subsidiary, Villemarie Public Relations, will represent France.

3AW is comprised of a vast network of independent agencies, specializing in public relations, media buying, digital solutions, marketing and creativity, with a presence in 29 countries around the world.

“We were seduced by the expertise and reputation of Zone franche,” said María de Cárdenas Llanos, 3AW's Director of International Business Development. “There is a growing demand for communication support in Canada within the 3AW network and we are happy to rely on a team of seasoned professionals in that country.”

"More and more of our clients are looking to be positionned internationally and our 3AW network colleagues will now allow us to help support them with the most qualified professionals, around the world,” explained Marie-Françoise Hervieu, Co-Founder and President of Zone franche. “We were impressed by the high level of expertise of 3AW's members and are very proud to represent Canada and France through our subsidiary Villemarie.”

Zone franche was invited to join the 3AW network due to its solid reputation for media and influencer relations, social media, public affairs and internal communication. Its membership will allow the agency to participate in international requests for proposals.

About Zone franche
Founded in Montréal in 2010, Zone franche offers strategic counsel, corporate affairs and issue management services to a wide range of companies and organizations operating in fields as diverse as education, energy, information and technology, health, real estate, transport, telecommunications, financial services and insurance. Through its subsidiary Villemarie public relations, the agency supports French businesses targeting the Canadian market, as well as local businesses looking to break into France. Zone franche represents Canada within the 3AW international network.

About 3AW
3AW is an independent multinational with a broad strategic vision, specializing in communication, media buying, digital solutions, public relations, marketing and creativity. The company has four main offices in Mexico, Brazil, USA and Spain, in addition to a Network of agencies across the world, which allows them to cover more than 29 countries. 3AW offers more than 15 services in the field of communication around the world thanks to its expansion and its ability to deliver global strategies in all countries, and catered to each market. More information at www.3aw.com.

November 12, 2018

Louis Beauchamps named Vice-president of Zone franche.
Matthieu Sauvé set to retire in spring 2019 and 
Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé named general director.

Zone franche is proud to welcome new vice-president Louis Beauchamp into its ranks. His arrival coincides with the retirement of founding agency managing partner Matthieu Sauvé, who will hang up his hat in spring 2019, ending a fruitful career of almost 40 years in the industry. Zone franche also announces the promotion of Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé to managing director of the agency.

Matthieu Sauvé, a committed professional
« Matthieu has made a significant contribution to the public relations field in Quebec, said Zone franche president, Marie-Françoise Hervieu. Over the years, he served his clients with inspired writing and sound advice, and made a name for himself through his intellect, professionalism and integrity. On a more personal level, I had the privilege to benefit from his vast experience and close friendship. » Earlier in his career, Matthieu Sauvé was the President of the Société des relationnistes du Québec, from 1994 to 1996, and joined the Canadian Public Relations Society's College of Fellows in 2004. In 2009, he was awarded the Prix Yves-St-Amand by the Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques for his contributions to the advancement of the profession. He is the author of Les relations publiques autrement : Vers un nouveau modèle de pratique, now a reference book in public relations classrooms, and recently contributed to the book Introduction aux relations publiques : fondements, enjeux et pratiques, published in 2018 (PUQ). He has served on several boards of directors, mainly for cultural organizations. He currently sits on the board for Productions Porte Parole and the Château Ramezay board of trustees.

Louis Beauchamp named Vice-president
A communications expert with more than 30 years' experience in journalism and public relations under his belt, Louis Beauchamp held high-level management positions with the Ville de Montréal (2014-2018) and Autorité des marchés financiers (2009–2014), where he served as director of the communications service, and had previously worked in a large public relations firm for nearly a decade. Before making the jump to public relations, he spent roughly 15 years working as a journalist, notably with Groupe TVA as news director and manager of TVA's parliamentary desks in Québec and Ottawa. He coauthored the guide L’avocat et les médias, published by Éditions Yvon Blais. Louis will draw on a solid background in issues and crisis management, public affairs and writing. Zone franche's clients will benefit from his knowledge of complex organizational structures. He will be phased in over the winter of 2019.

Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé promoted to managing director
To support the growth of Zone franche, which now employs a staff of around 20, the agency is also announcing the nomination of MarieHélène d’Entremont-Sauvé as general director. An employee of the agency for seven years, she will be in charge of day-to-day operations, human resources and administration. She will also continue to assist clients with their public affairs and corporate communications needs. After working as a press agent for three years, Marie-Hélène entered Zone franche as a consultant, though she quickly distinguished herself with her propensity for strategy and leadership and rose through the ranks, most recently serving as managing director.


About Zone franche
Founded in Montréal in 2010, Zone franche offers strategic advising, corporate positioning management and issue management services to a wide range of companies and organizations operating in fields as diverse as education, energy, information technology, health, real estate, transport, telecommunications, financial services and insurance. Through its subsidiary Villemarie public relations, the agency is also able to assist European businesses targeting the Canadian market and local businesses looking to break into the European market.

July 6, 2017

Canada’s 150th: Bombardier Celebrates Canadian Innovation

Bombardier celebrated Canada's 150th anniversary by honouring several Canadian innovations in a video broadcast in French and English on Canada Day on Facebook.

While some of these innovations are obvious, like the snow blower (1927) and the jockstrap (1927 ... definitely a good year!), others are more surprising: The Walkie-talkie (1942), the caulking gun (1894), the egg carton (1911) and the paint roller (1940), innovations that are still used every day throughout the world.

The video concludes with images of the Innovia metro (SkyTrain in Vancouver, 2002), the Global 7000 (2016), and the C Series (2013), all innovations created in Canada by Bombardier.

“Innovation is part of Canada's DNA, said Olivier Marcil, Vice President, External Communications, Bombardier Inc. For the 150th anniversary of our country, we wanted to find an original way to pay tribute to our great Canadian creators, while recalling that Bombardier - from the invention of the snowmobile to the C Series - has perpetuated this great tradition of ingenuity that defines us collectively. Year after year, Bombardier is the Canadian company that invests the most in research and development. We are developing and exporting Canadian ingenuity around the world, and we are very proud of it."

Since its launch on July 1, the two French and English versions of the video have had a reach of close to 400,000. On July 10, Bombardier will be back in celebration mode as the company celebrates its 75th anniversary.

ClientBombardier
AgencyZone franche 
Creative DirectionRobert Boulos, Farweb.tv
ScriptGerry Wneck, Robert Boulos 
French adaptationMatthieu Sauvé, Zone franche
DirectorRobert Boulos, Aurele Desjardins
Voice talent Keith Thomas, Louis Champagne
CastHuguette Roy, Elias Benoît, Michel Labrosse, 
Sylvain Grenier, Pascal Fleury
Culinary stylistJohanne Dépelteau
Post-ProductionFarweb.tv
Mix + sound design Luc Raymond
Colour timingThierry Sirois, Casa del Films
MusicJoseph Perrault, Les Productions Kut
Digital marketingLabelium

Octobre 24, 2016

Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé named managing director of Zone franche in Montréal

Zone franche management is pleased to announce the appointment of Marie-Hélène d'Entremont-Sauvé as the agency’s managing director. As part of her new responsibilities, she will play a prominent role in managing the agency’s human resources and supervising its major projects, while continuing to act as a strategic advisor with clients.

Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé, Managing director
Marie-Hélène has a master’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and has been part of the Zone franche team since 2012. “Marie-Hélène quickly came to play a significant role at Zone franche, and now her support to the management team will be even more valuable as the agency continues to experience substantial growth,” said Zone franche President Marie-Françoise Hervieu.

Marie-Hélène started her career in media relations during federal and provincial election campaigns. After her stint in federal and provincial politics, Marie-Hélène became press agent for a candidate for Mayor of Montréal during the 2009 municipal election. She developed her writing and public affairs skills as part of the Ville de Montréal official opposition office, where she advised municipal officials on a variety of city administration issues.

Octobre 14, 2016

A New Arrival at Zone franche!

Public relations agency Zone franche is pleased to welcome Morgane Lopez to its staff as a coordinator.

Morgane Lopez, Coordinator
Morgane settled in Montréal three years ago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications (Lyon) and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communications at UQAM. Before joining Zone franche, Morgane was a project manager for the event agency Forsept and a web project assistant for Adgensite, in Lyon. As an intern at Republik in Montréal, she was responsible for communication and relations with influencers at Rachel’s Box. Passionate about public relations, she is a member of the social media committee for the Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques (SQPRP), and writes for Index-Design and the What The Gang blog.

August 30, 2016

Two promotions at Zone franche

The public relations agency Zone franche is proud to announce that Justine Plourde and Éliane Légaré were appointed consultants, an initiative that reflects their important contribution to the ongoing success of the agency since their arrival in 2013 and in 2014, respectively.

Justine Plourde, Consultant
Justine holds a B.A. in communications (public relations) from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a certificate from the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal. As part of the communications team, Justine began her career helping to build the reputation of one most coveted interactive audio-visual production companies in Montreal. Her attention to detail, her desire for continuous improvement and her solution-driven attitude, as well as her extensive knowledge of the automotive industry and technology sector, make her an undeniable asset to the Zone franche team where she provides daily counsel to clients. During her time off, Justine is the Director of communications as well as the Online Editor at POSTHUME, a collective of Montreal theatre productions.

Éliane Légaré, Consultant
With a B.A. in industrial relations and a certificate in public relations from the Université de Montréal, Éliane began her career in communications as a publicist. Éliane’s comprehensive understanding of the underlying issues of organizational communication is undeniable. Additionally to being a remarkable social media strategist, she brings a fresh approach and develops bold tactics that allow the companies she advises to shine. At Zone franche, Éliane is responsible for mandates in various sectors including technology, arts and culture as well as business. She is also the latest recruit of École nationale de l’humour’s AmbaHAHAssadors, a group of ambassadors dedicated to support the institutions mission to become the hub of Canada’s and the Francophonie’s expertise in humour, and to ensure the legacy of Quebec’s comedic heritage.

April 25, 2016

Strong growth at Zone franche since the beginning of the year: two new hires and a promotion

Having hired two consultants in February, the PR agency Zone franche is proud to announce the arrival of Chloé Lebouc as a consultant and Valéry Chartrand as a coordinator, as well as Ariane St-Pierre’s promotion to junior consultant.

Chloé Lebouc, Consultant
Hailing from Chalon-sur-Saône (Bourgogne), Chloé Lebouc built solid experience with organizations and agencies —including TBWA\CORPORATE— in New Zealand, Grenoble, Lyon and Montréal. She holds a master’s degree in communications from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Lyon and has developed skills in strategy, social media and events. Alongside her work at Zone franche, Chloé continues to work as an ambassador for ONLYLYON, an organization dedicated to building the international reputation of the southeastern French city.

Valéry Chartrand, Coordinator
Valéry holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from UQAM and a graduate degree in applied communications from Université de Sherbrooke. She debuted in the world of public relations during an internship at Engagement Labs. She then worked as an executive and communications assistant at Tel-Aide, where her responsibilities included social media management and event coordination.

Ariane St-Pierre, Junior Consultant
The agency is also pleased to announce the promotion of Ariane St-Pierre to the position of junior consultant. Though she joined Zone franche barely three months ago, Ariane has shown the necessary skills and aptitudes to reach this level immediately. During her young career, she has already been called upon to manage media coverage for various clients, maintain good relationships with the media and position relevant, current topics around client brands.

Sustained growth
These new hires bring the Zone franche team to 14 members. The agency has experienced particularly strong growth since the beginning of the year. This growth is fuelled by new projects in fields as diverse as environmental services, information technology, real estate, insurance and specialized dermatological products.

About Zone franche
Public relations agency Zone franche provides services in public affairs, external and internal communications to a wide range of companies and organizations operating in fields as diverse as education, energy, health, real estate, transport, telecommunications, financial services and insurance.

March 17, 2016

Zone franche announces two nominations and two promotions

The public relations agency Zone franche is pleased to announce the arrival of Patrick Préville as Senior Consultant and Ariane St-Pierre as coordinator.

These hires follow the promotion of Kim Gradek as Senior consultant and media strategist. Since joining the agency in 2014 as consultant, Kim quickly demonstrated outstanding leadership and a proven ability to manage large-scale projects, including the Starbucks and Google accounts in Quebec.

Patrick Préville has been interested by the measurement of the impact of communications for the last 15 years. This is what led him to found and lead a company specializing in measurement and evaluation for five years. Before joining Zone franche, he spent 14 months at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to implement the globalization of its internal communications. He also worked for a major law firm, as well as Loto-Québec. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts (public relations, applied communications, journalism) from Université de Montréal.

With a BA in communications, writing and multimedia from Université de Sherbrooke in hand, Ariane St-Pierre contributed to several media relations campaigns for companies operating in the fields of health, finance, technology, online commerce and retail. She also collaborated in the implementation of communications programs leveraging new media. She is also active in the public relations industry as a volunteer at the SQPRP.

The agency is also pleased to announce the promotion of Vincent Laniel as administrative assistant. After contributing to the launch of Zone Franche in 2010 as office clerk, he left the agency in 2012 to pursue his BA in Economics and Politics at the Université de Montréal. Back since 2015, he currently manages the administrative systems of the agency, as well as relationship with the agency’s suppliers.

October 23, 2015

Latest News from Zone franche

Zone Franche is pleased to announce the appointment of Louise Lavoie (ex-National) as Director of Finance. The agency, which soon will move into larger offices, also welcomes a new consultant, Laurence Côté (ex-Laboratory Press analysis Caisse Chartier UQAM). Laurence is well known for her exceptional copywriting and media analysis skills as well as for social media strategies.

March 27, 2014

Latest News from Zone franche

Zone franche welcomes their newest consultant, Marcello Barsalou (ex-Coalition Montréal-Équipe Marcel Côté, ex-Ministère des Finances et du revenu). Owing to his multidisciplinary background and broad experience, Marcello draws from his creativity, his strong work ethic, and his robust pragmatism to advise Zone franche’s clients.

Justine Gagnepain (BranchOut and FACE Up!) joins the agency as a coordinator. Justine boasts a diversified university background and an impressive dedication to her community. She plays an essential role in supporting the team in all its endeavors.

Also, Marie-Hélène d’Entremont-Sauvé has been promoted to senior consultant and Stéphanie Sisto to consultant. For more information, please visit the Team page of our website.

September 10, 2013

Justine Plourde appointed junior advisor at Zone franche

Zone franche is pleased to announce the appointment of Justine Plourde (ex-Moment Factory) as a junior advisor. With a strong academic background and experience in one of the most prominent studio in multimedia production, she puts her talents in media relations and community management 2.0 to contribution to help them achieve their goals. You can see their full profile here.

June 4, 2012

A first award for Zone franche!

There was some happy news last week, as Zone franche won its first prize at the annual gala of the Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques: a Silver award in the Electronic and interactive communications category for the BBD 360 webzine project, created and delivered in partnership with Marie-Claude Roy, M.Sc., Senior Communications Advisor, Public Affairs at Bombardier Inc.
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