The kinds of things we can do together

Gowling WLG

The 2016 combination of Gowlings in Canada and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. in the United Kingdom to form Gowling WLG demonstrates that like-minded firms can work together to give their clients an international alternative to the global mega-firm experience. Gowling WLG now offers their relationship-based model of legal services everywhere in the world their clients need them to be. 

Alectra Utilities Brand Strategy 

The combination of four large Ontario utilities into one was the first step in responding to the need for consolidation in the electrical utility sector and the imperative to prepare for the coming disruption of the power category. New ways to generate, store, move and use electricity are fundamentally changing the role if the traditional utility - both by potentially undermining regulated business but also by creating new opportunity for new business models. With a new name, bold positioning strategy and refreshed visual identity, Alectra was able to launch as a fresh, new player...

The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto

By most measures, the Rotman School of Management is the top business school in Canada and has a growing reputation internationally as a leading research school . But you can never stand still in the business education space; it's being disrupted by new, specialized degrees, online options and fast-tracked alternatives.  Under the leadership of Dean Tiff Macklem, we set out to define a brand for the future of Rotman that would help the School compete for the best students and help create a global market for its graduates and for the insights emerging from its...

Defining the new Canada Life. 

Great-West LifeCo has housed a portfolio of insurance companies - Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life - each with venerable histories but without enough distinction to justify maintaining multiple brands. The strategic decision was made to unify these brands under one, iconic idea: Canada Life, and to move to a single, powerful entity taking its rightful place as a leader in Canadian financial services. With two of the best words in the English language - Canada and Life - in the name, I knew the challenge was to take advantage of the inherent, positive associations with both of...

The Boundless Campaign for the University of Toronto

Today's donors need to know that what you do is going to help them achieve their goals for making a difference in the world. The University of Toronto goes right to the heart of what matters - by asking donors to be Boundless - defying boundaries to achieve transformational outcomes. I worked with the University's Advancement Communications teams on the original strategy behind the Boundless campaign brand and the subsequent years of application, testing and refinement. Through this time I worked with many of the University's schools, faculties and Divisions (e.g. En...

Nature United: Positioning and Naming
Nature United – an affiliate of the Nature Conservancy - the world’s largest conservation organization – is consolidating its presence in Canada by amplifying, not duplicating existing conservation efforts. The Nature United partnership model aligns economic, social and conservation goals to raise the game for anyone committed to large scale conservation outcomes in North America. I worked with this incredible team of true change leaders to help articulate the Nature United difference and translate it into messaging and creative direction that would reinforce the unique impact the...

Does your brand architecture make you easier or harder to figure out?

Let's face it: Brand architecture - how you present what you do to the world - can be a drag to deal with. It's often confused with organization structure (and power structure) and can make people very territorial. But if you don't have it right you are very likely, at best, confusing your customers and at worst undermining the potential in each relationship. While in some settings there is hard science behind finding the optimal brand structure based on valuation impact, there is also just some good common sense to finding the right place on the spe...

MaRS Brand Strategy and Architecture 

MaRS has always struggled with the gap between the value it helps create and the perception of that value. As a globally significant centre for innovation, the incredible wealth of resources and networks available through the MaRS ecosystem has helped launch countless commercial and social profit enterprises and it continues to deepen and grow as our Canada's innovation culture matures. 

I'd been enjoying my role as a volunteer MaRS client advisor and participant in their strategic planning process. Because I knew the place from the inside, the leadership at the time asked me t...

Koodo Mobile Naming 

In 2008 Telus knew it needed a sub-brand to help engage younger mobile consumers who were not interested in contracts or paying for features they didn't use. I developed the Koodo name, informed by the idea of the Greek kudos, to suggest: hey, good for you; smart choice. The enormous success of Koodo from the moment of launch caused Bell and Rogers to respond by building out their flanking brands, but Koodo has continued to be the brand that defines happiness, choice and freedom in mobility. Partner: Taxi

RTO/ERO Brand Strategy 

This remarkable organization quietly and doggedly helps 80,000 retired educators and members stay healthy, active and connected through a broad line-up of benefits, events and programs. Their Foundation supports research in geriatrics and they advocate actively for the interests of seniors across Canada. They needed a brand that reflected the dynamism and spirit of a very engaged community who value education, personal growth and generosity to others. I worked closely with the RTO team and my colleagues from Hambly & Woolley to engage members and their representatives at every stage of the proce...

Scotiabank L'earn Visa card 

Anyone who knows me knows I can't resist a good pun. I can't even resist a bad one. So when asked to position and name Scotia's Visa points card for students, it came pretty easy. L'earn kind of says it all. Best of all, there's a pun that's just as bad that works in French: Savoir

IESO Brand Strategy

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is at the centre of a power sector that is undergoing fundamental change - from how electricity is generated to how it's distributed, stored and used. New rules are fundamentally changing the regulatory, commercial and security demands of planning and running the Province's power system. What does is mean to be a system operator in this new reality? With a refreshed strategy and deep work on values and culture, I have been working with IESO leadership on articulating a new value proposition for a changed world and a new brand strategy to allow...

CIFAR positioning

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) plays in the big leagues of global research and relies on a range of donors and partners to fund what they do. Their story has to convey their proprietary approach to bringing the best together to solve the toughest problems. That’s what makes them unique in the world.

Canadian Museum of Nature

 

By more explicitly uniting its mandates of science, learning and outreach, the CMN has elevated its impact from a terrific local asset to a vital national resource. It reaches a broad mix of Canadians eager to understand our natural world and visitors keen to experience our iconic nature.

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Client list

Financial Services

Canada Life

RBC

Grayhawk Investments

Sun Life Financial

BMO Wealth Management

InnVest REIT

CPPIB

OMERS

B2B Trust (National Bank)
Birch Hill Equity Partners

Professional Services

Avison Young

Gowling WLG

McCarthy Tétrault

SNC Lavalin

Zachry Group
LGA Architectural Partners
Bruce Mau Design
Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario
Welch LLP

Social Enterprise, Culture and NFP

TIFF
The Stratford Festival
Canadian Museum of Nature
Nature United (The Canadian affiliate of the Nature Conservancy)
Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
North York General Hospital
Headwaters Health
Easter Seals
Earthrangers
Social Capital Partners

Higher Education, Technology and R&D

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

The University of Toronto

CIFAR

The Rotman School of Management
University of Waterloo
OCAD University
Centennial College
Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

Startups and Acceleration

MaRS Client Advisor
InMotive
InnVest REIT

Business to Business Services

Canada Post

Plexxus
LoyaltyOne
The IESO
Northland Power
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd/Candu Energy
Forrec Ltd
Port of Halifax
Electrical Safety Association
 

Consumer

Quark Expeditions
Pfaff Automotive
New Roads Automotive Group
Cumbrae’s
 

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