TORQUE Strategies: One Year Later

It is hard to believe that one year ago today we launched TORQUE Strategies at the XL Leadership Summit in Vancouver. It has been a year of incredible growth, from adding to our client family, to bringing on new team members and partners. While we look back on the past year, we also can’t help but get excited about what is in store for us in 2015.

To celebrate, we have asked our team to share their personal memories from the past twelve months.

Bart_Given_Web101 Bart Given, Managing Director & Chief Innovator


Whoa. Where to begin?

Such an incredible year with so many shared memories with my teammates – some of which carry a TORQUE business card, others who have graciously trusted us to join their teams through consultation. We’ve shared accolades, world championships, brand evolutions, standing ovations (never for me), encores, record breaking results, BHAG’s, exponential growth and more than a few laughs in past 365.

At the risk of bragging…here are a couple of my favourites.

Share your favourite TORQUE picture from 2014

This photo was taken from the unique vantage point of being underneath a massive Canadian flag at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Toronto. We had the privilege of being there during our strategy work with TELUS which resulted in sharing our Heart with Canada and witnessing some incredible dance moves from a TELUS team member – not to mention any names….but it rhymes with Shadi Sakr.

What is one of your favourite client successes?



For those of you who know me, live music is a huge passion. So the opportunity to work closely with Live Nation and brand.LIVE on the Squamish Valley Music Festival has been another example of loving what you do.  Attending the 2014 event with Aub, Mo and Paige (Pedro in spirit) was epic. Head of the Herd, Bruno Mars and Artic Monkeys were great – but the energy when Eminem hit the stage was palpable. (Don’t judge me – Marshall and I are the same age…)

Sadly, one thing I haven’t been able to check of my Bucketlist is solving the TORQUE Rubik’s Cube. It’s now looked like this for 364 days…


Peter_Gardner_web101 Peter Gardner, Senior Partnership Architect & Insight Development

PG TQBD1 1 Share your favourite TORQUE picture from 2014

Apparently, a picture says a thousand words.  So I’ve picked one that says A LOT about who we are and where we came from. I’m going to let the picture do the talking but it’s so hard to believe it’s been a year since we launched TORQUE Strategies at our XL Leadership Summit in Vancouver. So much has happened since then. New clients. New ways of doing things. New projects with old clients. A new adventure. I count myself lucky to work with so many talented and hardworking people and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015!

What is your favourite example of Storybuilding? PG TQBD 1

Because I can’t pick one, I’m going to call out the cause sector here. I’m loving the social business movement and am excited to see more meaningful partnerships between brands and charities come together in 2015.

What is one of your favourite client successes?

Helping my friends at TELUS with their sport sponsorship strategy. It was so great to launch the new approach at World Juniors and watch Team Canada take home the gold! And we’re just getting started!



Auburn_Sigurdson_web101 Auburn Sigurdson, Senior Partnership Architect & Brand Builder

Share your favourite TQ picture from 2014

Thanks to TORQUE’s ingenious new after-work “Condo-Crawl” tradition, our intrepid leader Bill Cooper and I identified a common goal, to own a tiny tin boat in which to fish, set crab traps, and meander around all the gorgeous coastlines Vancouver has to offer. Not a glamorous dream, but perhaps a romantic one. While I assumed our wine/beer infused banter that evening was in jest, arriving to work on Monday to find several Craigslist boat ads in my inbox was a welcomed surprise! We now collectively own a 12-foot boat named the SSC Yop – slaying a big Bucketlist item and many delicious crabs this summer. While this isn’t a client related story, it certainly reflects the nature of our corporate culture. Best team ever. Next goal: get a car that is able to tow a boat! (details, details).

What is your favourite TORQUE moment for 2014?

We like to define TORQUE as “a system of forces that tends to cause revolution”. And while I’ve had the great and humbling honour to work with incredible brands, storied athletes, international organizations and more in just the first twelve months of our existence… the most defining and change inspiring moment for me this year was interviewing our client Chief Robert Joseph of Reconciliation Canada. We asked him, what does “Reconciliation” mean to you? His answer was so simple, yet profound… no marketer could have ever come up with it. “It’s no different than love. Although “love” only has four letters. It’s about forgiveness, humility, compassion… All of us know about love, and yet we can’t practice it in the way it should be practiced… We don’t believe in it. And so, we have broken dreams, families, relationships… because we lose sight of the definition of love.”


It was a moment that changed the way I see the world and inspired a powerful strategy. Please check out Reconciliation Canada and the amazing work they do…. And #ChooseLove.

What is one of your favourite client successes?

2014 has been a year full of unbelievable opportunities to learn, grow and build. Very tough to pick a single favourite success, so I’ll share two. Supporting Squamish Valley Music Festival with a strategy and tools to build a partnership family that has quickly translated into impressive results for their team (thanks to their nimble approach and incredible brand!). And, supporting the bid for Canada to host one of the coolest events to descend upon Vancouver in years – the Sevens World Series. Pretty sure that if we win, this city’s entertainment landscape will be changed forever!


Veronica_Watson_MacDonell_web101 Veronica Watson MacDonell, Consultant & Brand Builder

 What is your favourite TORQUE story? 

One of my favourite moments with the TORQUE team was getting to join the TELUS account team at the semi-finals of the World Juniors tournament. Not only did we get to sit practically on the ice, it was incredible to witness our team’s work come to life on rink boards and in the fan zone. I definitely won’t forget that night. #AllHeartCanada

What is one of your favourite client successes?

One of my favourite client programs to work on this year was the Hyundai Hockey Helpers campaign with KidSport. I was able to give back to my community while building a social media campaign, designing all campaign collateral and managing the development of a testimonial video. Talk about a dream project for a social media and design obsessed employee!

What was your favourite brand activation from the year? 

It may seem like it was longer than 12 months ago, but the Canadian Olympic Committee partners really stepped up their activation around the Sochi Games. One of their partners, confectionery brand Mondelez, released an app during the Games called Pride and Joy. Fans who downloaded the app would received real time updates and push notifications whenever anything momentous happened in Sochi. This put their brand in the hands of Team Canada fans, while adding value to their Olympic experience.

Rohaan-web101 Rohaan Sethna,

RS TQBD 1 Rohaan is on vacation and is missing out on the birthday celebrations but without a doubt, our favourite moment with Rohaan this year was during Halloween when he won best dressed as Mogatu. He has raised the bar for Halloween costumes in our office and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2015.


Monica_Whiteley_web101-2 Monica Whiteley,


Share your favourite TQ picture from 2014

Attend the Squamish Valley Music Festival for work. Check. Rap Eminem lyrics with Auburn and Bart while watching the real Slim Shady live. Check. Pretty much sums it up.

What is your favourite TORQUE story? 

My favourite TORQUE tale begins when TORQUE’s journey does, one year ago. I had just began working for TORQUE’s sister company, the TwentyTen Group. Synonymous with TORQUE’s launch, both companies held a magical event called the XL Leadership Summit. This is where Chris Hadfield and John Furlong, among others, filled our heads with inspiration as to what is and what can be possible. Anyway, I remember both organizations sat in our office listening to our founding Mother (Andrea) and Fathers (Bart & Bill) speak about our companies, feeding my first inclination, as a newbie, into what TORQUE Strategies is and will be. What remains clear in my mind was the aura of excitement in the room, for a new road to be paved and for these fine people to share it. Accompanying it are the words Bart used to describe the stories that TORQUE will build:

“Storybuilding is the future and we revel in the process; digging deep into analysis, research, and the consumer continuum to build integrated stories that amplify your brand through engagement. Our goal is to not only provide the narrative, but to write the audience into the storyline through strategic sponsorship.”

And that’s when I thought, I want to be a part of that story.

What was your favourite brand activation from the year? 

I stumbled upon an AirBnB activation of a Pop Up AirBnB Park at Austin’s SXSW Festival (no I didn’t attend, just experienced extreme FOMO online) where Snoop Dog was whipping up his favourite jelly breakfast sandwich. Over the course of five days, the Park offered up games, refreshments, unexpected acts of hospitality, and special events to attendees. Snoop Dogg and other musical hosts co-authored unique AirBnB pop homes complete with gold plated mailboxes, each artists’ favourite toys and ‘BO$$’  tufted blue velvet sofas where fans could hang with the musicians. This is just the tip of the iceberg. With vintage arcade games, live concerts, and outdoor Jenga, why leave the park? AirBnB brought the party to their audience’s doorstep, creating a unique experience that made each individual’s attendance even more unforgettable than SXSW alone. Their pop up homes dazzled, so synonymous with their brand story of feeling at home wherever you are in the world. By activating at SXSW they were not only able to connect with millennials, a key demographic of theirs, but also make their experience better by leaving a lasting impression in their minds. This activation affirms that AirBnB can directly compete with hotels in terms of status and luxury which is what their brand needs to continue to address. I think it’s working.

Nicole_Headshot Nicole Wong,

What is your favourite TORQUE story? 

My time at TORQUE has been short and sweet, with a mere 27 days of experience under my belt. One of my favourite moments would have to be when Peter piled all of the leftover snacks from a meeting on my desk (I’m talking Doritos, Lay’s chips, date squares, coffee flavoured candies – the works). However, when I returned in the morning, he had eaten most of it. Unfortunately I didn’t snap a pic’ of the moment – we even joked about taking a picture – but sometimes those moments are just meant to be.

What is one of your favourite client successes?

While I have not been present for all of TORQUE’s amazing accomplishments so far, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about and being fortunate enough to work on the closure of TELUS’ #AllHeartCanada campaign. The campaign was a huge success for TELUS. The hashtag was designed to reflect TELUS’ DNA as a giving company, which they authenticated with many rewards at the World Juniors including free hats, seat upgrades and custom World Juniors T-shirts. The hashtag trended as high as number three in Canada on days when Team Canada was playing.

What was your favourite brand activation from the year?

To make a brand activation successful you have to look at the key elements: insight, relevance, creativity and the ability to evoke some kind of emotion, but sometimes simplicity is all it takes. This is why, I personally, am a fan of Mark’s brand activation in partnership with Astral Out-of-Home that linked daily temperature to in-store discounts and promoted the campaign via Toronto Transit shelters. Ex. If the temperature is minus 15 than the in store discount would 15%. Mark’s noticed a trend between the temperature and their in-store purchases, so they used this opportunity to build a campaign, “the colder it gets, the more you save”. As a frequent TTC traveller, I can appreciate this well-executed campaign running until February 15th. It is short, relevant, and creative, leaving the viewer feeling a bit optimistic about the sometimes bone-chilling cold. Plus, we can all appreciate a good sale.