Veteran pollster Angus Reid is throwing his name back into the commercial-polling business after getting the trademark for his eponymous public-opinion forum back from a British market-research firm.
The latest version of the Angus Reid Forum is, in part, the result of a two-decade-long professional friendship. Mr. Reid, who is 70 and had retired from commercial polling, announced on Monday that he had acquired a stake in a 30,000-member insights panel from the Vancouver-based market researchers Insights West. He and Steve Mossop – the latter firm’s president, who worked in the office next door to Mr. Reid for much of the late nineties – are the Forum’s co-owners. The pair plan to triple the panel’s membership, working across digital platforms such as e-mail and Facebook Messenger to deepen its millennial membership and better convey Canadian opinions.
The repatriation of the Angus Reid Forum branding, however, is the result of a multidecade web of acquisitions and divestitures. Mr. Reid’s name is, to many Canadians, nearly synonymous with public-opinion polling; the brand’s journey back into his hands shows just how widely he has touched Canada’s opinion-research industry in the past 40 years.
In 2000, Mr. Reid sold the two-decade-old Angus Reid Group for $100-million to the Paris-based research company Ipsos SA, becoming Ipsos-Reid Corp. A few years later, he invested in his son Andrew’s digital-services firm, Vision Critical Communications, and became its chief executive officer. It soon started a market-research and consulting division, and launched a consumer-insights panel called the Angus Reid Forum. The panel, Mr. Reid says, climbed to about 100,000 members. A decade later, Vision Critical sold that division to the British-based Maru Group for nearly $60-million, and it took the Angus Reid Forum with it.
(Mr. Reid cut all ties to Vision Critical in early 2017, selling his shares for $44-million and giving up two board seats to a New York private-equity firm.)
Maru Group continued to use the Angus Reid Forum branding for Canada – until late last month, when it revealed it was rebranded to Maru Voice Canada. In interviews on Monday, both Mr. Reid and Rob Berger, managing director of the Maru division that runs the panel, said Maru’s license to use Mr. Reid’s name on the panel had ended – just in time for Mr. Reid to take it back.
“I tried retirement,” Mr. Reid told The Globe and Mail on Monday, “and failed.
“I made the decision that it made sense to use the mark myself to build, along with Steve [Mossop], a new, exciting national panel.”
The two will be co-owners, with Mr. Reid as chair and Mr. Mossop as president and chief executive. The latter will also remain president of Insights West. He said by phone that he was excited to return to work with his old mentor.
“We both wanted to build a national panel of Canadians that would give their opinion,” Mr. Mossop said. “That’s not, maybe, a unique proposition - but what we have with him is the brand. Over 50 per cent of Canadians are aware of the Angus Reid brand. That’s how we can capitalize on getting more people to join and get their opinions on everything under the sun.”
Mr. Reid also runs the Angus Reid Institute, another polling firm, although a non-profit one. Mr. Mossop said the Institute will be “one of our biggest clients,” as the the Forum studies “social, political, economic, environmental issues that strike the heart of Canadians.”
With files from Sean Silcoff