Stories new, stories old.
Stories all that now can be told.
- a Dr. Seuss fan

Please note: We've only named names, and shared secrets in cases where enough time has passed that the client no longer minds spilling the beans. We believe strongly in client confidentiality so, in newer situations, we're keeping mum. As one of our associates put it, "besides, this way people will know that you've been doing this a long time and know what you're doing".

 

Q Courses - Corporate Training Programs and Seminars
Course Descriptions and Pricing

Here you will find descriptions of some of the courses offered by The Q Group Training Team along with participants comments and pricing. All courses can be customized as desired or required. Others can be developed (often at no extra cost) based on your needs. Courses include:

Leadership in Changing Times

Branding and Your PoD (Point of Distinction)

Beyond Blue Ocean - Strategies for Success

How to Get New Customers from Unexpected Sources

Making Market Research Work Harder for You

FUBAR-proofing your Firm

Laying the Foundation Essential to Setting the Right Business

How to set the Right Business Strategy

Business Strategy Fundamentals (5-days)

What Service Customers Really Want

How to Become an Industry Expert

Business Writing and Presentation Skills

Leading a Mosaic

Lexus Canada
“A German hot rod; from Japan?” (CAR AND DRIVER), and “Hey Hans, here come those guys from Japan, again!” (MOTOR TREND)

The Q Group has produced the Lexus Canada brochures and auto show materials for the past seven model years. From the outset we adopted a “dispassionate observer of the scene” approach and used quotes from respected car buff books to add credibility to our specific performance claims. Customers told us this approach was more convincing than “the mere corporate fluff words you often find in these kinds of things” and…

 

A&A Jewellers (Harmony Diamonds)
All that sparkled wasn't gold

When we first started working with A&A Jewellers we were told they ranked “in the top ten” which usually means number 9 or 10. Before our second campaign has run its course, they were a solid Number Two.

BMW Canada
Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes

$15,000 for a BMW? Yup, only when we used that in a headline, people were shocked at how HIGH the price of the flagship had become. Justify the price we did and people flocked to the showroom, cheque books in hand.

 

BMW Canada
When BMW snuggled up to Mercedes-Benz

Our first ad showed a BMW alongside a Mercedes-Benz. The headline: "Before you buy one, drive the other." Positioning in a nutshell! Thirteen years later we still had the business and Canada led the world in brand image (BMW had surpassed Mercedes in sales here several years earlier). In the US, the Benz still reigned - both in image and sales. Market differences? None at the time, but the advertising. For Mercedes Benz’ reaction, etc. please click on BMW.

BMW Canada
BMW introduces personalized junk mail. Huh?! Not the kind of headline we’d want for our client, but…

In 1981, in an effort to reach people with the money to buy an expensive BMW coupe, an advertising agency (us) modest in size but perhaps less so in demeanour, asked, why, in the light of developing technologies, two or more databases, heretofore deemed incompatible, could not be united. The matter was studied and, whadya know, a new industry was born! Not everybody was delighted.

 

Citizens Utilities
Guess who invented flat rate long distance in 1996? (or, “Becoming a household name on a limited budget”)

C-Talk: We created a branded product and helped a new long distance provider become profitable in Year One. Our idea: a flat rate per minute, any time of the day or night, any day of the week, anywhere in the Continental U.S. 18 months later AT&T and Sprint followed suit and marketing of the industry was revolutionized. Story #2: Going head-to-head with the U.S. Postal Service – and coming out on top!

Damion Systems
Dragon slaying Knights

Damion designs software that enables District Attorneys to work more effectively – and to spend time making policy, putting the bad guys behind bars and doing all the good things that help them get re-elected. Prosecuting attorneys viewed themselves as doing battle with evil. That led to a brochure that had Knights slaying dragons, and a logo that showed the knight on horseback. Is it like other software advertising? Hardly – but then neither is the product.

 

Delta Hotels
When NOT to trumpet a great price.

Then a small B.C. hotel operator, Delta won a contract to manage an 800-room hotel in Toronto. Their initial thought: budget-oriented marketing. Our recommendation: a quality emphasis, letting low rates speak for themselves. Result: a 97.6% occupancy rate in Year Two that was sustained and bettered in the ensuing years. The Chelsea Inn became one of the world's most successful hotels; Delta became a leading hotel chain with hotels across Canada. Over the years, we helped open these hotels - from Victoria to Halifax.

Dominion Stores
Christmas in July

Imagine picking up a Digest-sized magazine from your mailbox and glancing at the cover (shown alongside). Lo and behold, there's your name on the masthead! Imagine being the client who gets this piece for free – and a 14% increase in sales, to boot.

 

Honeywell
When the convicts shook their chains and IBM got rattled.

Honeywell’s IS division marketed identical products in the U.S. and Canada. South of the border the division constantly lost money; in Canada it was the corporation's sole large profit generator. The difference: Management, aided by advertising created by Q Group predecessor, Norman Lowe Associates. Problem/solution executions utilized strong visual imagery: Chain Gangs and Flying Pigs captured the hearts of techies everywhere. The results speak for themselves...

Fiesta Holidays
“When you pick it up, grains of sand practically fall from the pages.”

Hired as strategic marketing specialists, we were credited with helping turn an unprofitable company into one highly attractive to buyers in less than two years. To get travel agents on side, new benefits were added. Trade advertising was deliberately provocative; copy addressed the agents’ specific concerns. In consumer brochures and advertising Fiesta was positioned as offering somewhat upscale holidays at everyday prices. The destinations were given their due. Our reasoning: Convince the would-be-traveller the place is perfect, and choosing Fiesta becomes a very easy and short “next step”. In the words of our client, the campaign was “a huge success”. As for the grains of sand…

 

ITT Canada
Raising corporate reputations on a shoestring

ITT Canada was a diverse collection of businesses, a few of them large, most of them not so. Our task was to give these concerns greater clout in the minds of business people by making their parent look good. We did so through recounting interesting stories of their activities. It worked. We have been told that the president, some time later, mused: "You know, John (ITT’s VP Marketing), it cost us very little money to become very well known."

ITT SEL
"One swallow doth not a summer make..."

Unless it's a multi-million dollar bird. We created media advertisements and a new brochure for their revolutionary computerized train guidance system. SEL had long been trying, unsuccessfully, to see and sell a major player. Copies of the advertising and brochure were mailed to their president, who, it is told, placed them on the desk of his Vice-President with a note: "I want to see these people." Result: SEL's biggest sale.

 

Matrix Telecom Inc.

When former Citizens* employees joined Matrix Telecoms to introduce their new dial around service, they asked us to join the team. AT&T and Sprint offered what appeared to be a similar flat rate service – but had hidden costs. We recommended a straight forward, “Tell it like it is approach”. Our client concurred. The “Do they think I'm stupid or what?” approach attracted both praise and customers. (*Please click through for complete story)

Metscan Remote Data Systems
Goliath invites David to the party

The presentation we created for Metscan was instrumental in helping them land a $300-million (US) contract with the world’s largest gas utility. The president often said that we were played an integral role in helping them grow from being a little building in the middle of a field in northern New York state, to being seen as leader of their industry - in 18 months. In our three-year association, revenues tripled.

 

OCS Technologies
“Some climate, some system” – a headline and program that generated millions.

OCS provides computer systems for all branches of the justice and public safety sectors in the United States, from police, fire and ambulance dispatch through administration of courts and prisons. The Q Group created two highly successful direct mail programs for OCS, one to prison administrators, the other to counties needing to upgrade, rather than replace, their systems. In each case, millions of dollars of sales were directly attributed to the programs.

Polaris
From unknown computer nobody to well-known contender in a single campaign.

Polaris had been providing computer programmers and analysts to firms experiencing overload and expansion challenges. The new president wished to expand into "total outsourcing" and other potentially more profitable areas. With one highly unusual, highly visible advertising program, Polaris went from unknown to well-known. The president said, "Before the program, people said, 'who's Polaris?' Afterwards, the question was never raised."

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers, East Caribbean (PwCEC)
Why did the strait-laced CA’s pick up Goldilocks?

“Not too big, not too small”, described PWEC, its highly personalized service and Barbados itself. So we used Goldilocks to help market the firm – and her colourful countenance caused PWEC brochures to be picked up long before their competitive counterparts at conferences. Furthermore, Goldilocks brochures were never left lying “forgotten” when the sessions were done. As for what happened after the merger that turned them into PricewaterhouseCoopers…

Quickmill Inc.
'The Drillem Millem Speedious'

Quickmill is a small company that makes very large machine tools, selling for half a million dollars and more. The Q Group addressed all aspects of marketing counsel and communication, including new company name, new brand name, direct mail, trade shows, videos and advertising. Within a year Quickmill had gone from one machine, or two at most, on the plant floor at one time to four emerging machines crowding out the floor space. As for “The Drillem Millem Speedious”…

 

RBC Dominion Securities
How to become a big fish in a little pond

Some of the pages from the RBC Dominion Securities brochure we created (one of the Q Group principals shot the cover image – without a cage – don’t ask!)

Remanco Systems Inc.
Nailing Jell-O to the wall

Q Group predecessor, Norman Lowe Associates, was hired when Remanco was in beta testing in a garage. We recommended who they should target and how, and created all advertising, sales and collateral materials. In four years the company grew from nothing to $40-million in sales, becoming the leading player in the industry.

 

TransCanada Pipeline
No punches pulled; gas flows uphill

Thinking it would increase their gas rates, Ontario companies lobbied against Trans-Canada Pipelines' intention to build a new pipeline to the U.S. Northwest. We created a brochure and a newspaper campaign – and recommended our client “show ‘n tell”. The Q Group counter-attack was blunt, specific and hard-hitting. The opposition saw the brochure - and withdrew before the media advertising ran. Victory came cheap!

Upstate Cellular Network (Rochester Tel Mobile Communications/ NYNEX/ Advantage Cellular a.k.a. Frontier Cellular)
From red ink to double black in three months – at a savings of over $350,000 US.

UCN retained us as marketing communications counselors; specific responsibilities included employee programs to explain the new partnership and database marketing initiatives to acquire customers. Later we were asked to take over retail media advertising from an under-achieving agency. We created and produced the radio and television commercials, did the corporate and co-op print campaigns and continued our data-driven marketing activities. Slumping sales recovered (from being in the red to realizing double digit increases) and Christmas targets were met - at a savings of some $350,000 (USD) in the first three months alone.

 

Corporate Complements/ Compliments
It just keeps growing – we can’t stop it!!!

Year One Sales: 51 baskets. Year Two: nearly 500. Year Three: Almost more than they could handle. Year Four: More than all the fancy basket places in the Eaton Centre!

 

Other Success Stories
A Smattering of Other Stuff

More success stories that have come through the path of The Q Group.