Member Profile: Andre Paquin

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Andre Paquin

Company Name: Andre Paquin Associates

I’m an independent design consultant with close to 30 years experience working for Fortune 100 companies and for some of the world’s most accomplished branding and corporate identity consultancies. Prior to going out on my own, I was Director of Branding & Creative Services for Wells Fargo and have served as head of packaging design for the Planters LifeSavers division of RJR Nabisco, as Art Director for International Playtex and as packaging designer for General Foods Corporation (prior to the Kraft acquisition). I have also served as Director of Creative Services for Interbrand New York, and as General Manager and Creative Director for Interbrand’s Cincinnati office, providing packaging design services for Procter & Gamble. I have also worked in consulting capacities for Enterprise IG, Siegel & Gale and FutureBrand. My current client list includes Siemens Corporation, Wolters Kluwer Health, Radian Group and Time Inc. My business focus is in the area of branding, corporate identity, marketing communications and corporate innovation. I’m married with two children, a member of the Board of Directors for the Fairview Lake Camp of the Metro YMCA and an avid cyclist. I am a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Communication Design.

What is the best thing about working in-house?
I believe that working inside has tremendous benefits to many. It affords you the opportunity to understand how an organization operates. Knowing how things operate helps you understand why things work the way they do – it helps you to couch or position yourself, your unique asset and your expertise in such a way that you can add the most value to the organization. I’ve been blessed with the best of both worlds and that gives me something many consultants do not have – insight. I’ve walked a mile in the shoes of my clients. I understand what they’re going through and why. I can often times help my clients strategize the best approach to winning consensus with their senior management. I’ve also had the best training from the world of Madison Avenue to corporate America, giving me a wider scope of vision than most – for that I am fortunate. I believe it’s what makes me different than most.

What types of projects does your department do?
I believe my greatest asset is my consumer advocacy. For that reason, my communication skills and visual design sense position me well. My clients want to connect with their customers in a meaningful way – in a way that resonates with them, in a language they understand. This has been evident in the work I’ve done for my clients: For Siemens Corporation I was hired to create an internal communications campaign to raise employee awareness. I created the mission statement, the communications roll-out strategy, named the program, interviewed key stakeholders including the CEO, designed the logotype, the visual architecture system, a series of communication vehicles including posters, brochures, HTML email blasts and desktop calendars. For a non-profit New York theatre arts group, I created a whole brand position for their organization by working with their executive director and board of directors to write their mission statement, interview their customers and their key stakeholders. A whole new corporate identity was created including stationery systems, brochures and a web presence. For Wolters Kluwer Health, a Dutch medical information company with their US headquarters based in Philadelphia, I was hired to reinvent their Anatomical Chart Company catalog of products from a bland informational piece to a marketing sales piece. For Radian Group in Philadelphia, I designed their 2004 Annual Report. For Time Inc., I was hired to create user and administrative guides for centralized sales software used by cross-functional areas of the organization, unifying all of their advertising sales processes into one centralized function.

What keeps you motivated and inspired in your job?
I enjoy diversity and a creative challenge. Writing and language is a big part of what I do. I believe that communication is the artful blend of the verbal and the visual. I most enjoy creative thinking and problem solving as it pertains to an organizations brand essence. All those years of staring into space and out the window while sitting in class have really started to pay off. I also strongly believe in keeping things light when at all possible. Life is too short to take everything so seriously. Laughter is a wonderful thing.

What do you consider the biggest success of your in-house career?
While at Wells Fargo, I was fortunate to work with a wonderful team of creative designers, writers and marketers. Together, under my leadership, we led the articulation and development of a revolutionary (at the time) financial services product that crossed many areas of the organization and was a big boon to our customers. I consider this project to be a precursor to what everyone calls “Innovation” today. Our team had a major seat at the table, in fact, we even were major contributors to the development and fine tuning of the product. Many key innovations arose at the intersections created by designers, writers, marketers, product development professionals and consumers. The resulting campaign and launch was touted as one of the most successful the organization has been responsible for. The entire campaign was clever, well written, well branded and differentiated in a cluttered market. A great success.

What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?
Inspiration comes in many forms. One of the most productive forms of creative thinking I personally experience is my time in the saddle. No, not roping doggies – riding my bicycle. I concentrate on form, but my imagination runs wild. I try not to watch too much TV. I’m inspired by movies. I read. More than the words and thoughts of great business writers, I find reading science fiction to challenge the way I think even more so. I enjoy wondering what things could be like. I also listen to NPR and jazz and classical music to soothe the savage beast in me. Some times I find there is way too much stimulation and need to get away from it to give my mind an opportunity to breathe and work like it should. Staring out at the ocean works really well.[/membership]

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