Founded in 1991, Sennheiser Canada currently has 50 employees based in Montreal under the leadership of Jean Langlais, President, Gilles Marcotte, Sales Director and Hélène Lajoie, Finance Manager.
"In the early days of Sennheiser Canada, we were mainly an accessories player – we would sell microphones without knowing the broader context of a given project," recalls Jean Langlais. "By becoming a solution provider and being able to cover an entire range of audio products, we were able to get on top of the deals much sooner to understand project goals and how the gear was to be used. This gave us a tremendous advantage over competitors, especially considering the quality of products and support we were able to offer."
Montreal is Canada’s most culturally and linguistically diverse city. It is an important centre of film production and software development – especially in gaming applications – as well as music and record production in all genres from Arcade Fire to the world-renowned Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. It is home to Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School and many multilingual theatre companies. The city is a hub for aeronautics and aviation, high-tech industries and the transportation of goods by sea, air, road and rail. There is a vibrant restaurant culture and a hot club scene here, featuring some of the best DJs on the continent, and a booming bilingual broadcasting market – all on the doorstep of the USA. In short, Montreal is the best environment in Canada for Sennheiser to operate from.
In addition to the Sennheiser brand, we represent Neumann, K-Array, Kling & Freitag, Yellowtec and Televic, and we service 500 dealers with the Sennheiser brand, 40 with the other brands and more than 1,500 retailers across the entire country.
We have an average growth of 15% per year over 20 years, but we are constantly aware that we are operating in a highly competitive environment. How do we meet that challenge? We believe that a superb product range is only half of the equation. We also place our focus on the relationships we build with our customers. It is those artists, sound engineers, musicians, audiologists, pilots and consumers who are the other key to our success.
Over the years, Sennheiser Canada has maintained a loyal customer base, playing an integral role in helping customers realize their own growth. "Our customers knew they could always rely on us. If we sold them something it would work, and if it broke, we would fix it, says Jean Langlais. One such customer is Solotech, a Montreal-based company that has since grown to become one of the largest supplier and integrator of audio equipment in Canada.
We cater to all Sennheiser target groups: consumers, music industry dealers, aviation companies, audiology clinics, rentals, installed sound dealers, telecommunication dealers, broadcasters and the recording industry, as well as a number of highly specialized companies and individual artists in other fields.
The stars and celebrities we deal with and supply include Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, Simple Plan, Walk of the Earth, Three Days Grace, Gowan, Sam Roberts, The Canadian Tenors, Angèle Dubeau, Hedley, NOFX, Sound Garden…We sponsor 200 Canadian artists and are currently building a DJ team that is raising Sennheiser's profile on the national and international club and electronic music scenes.
We are active and visible in high-profile music and cultural events such as Canadian Music Week, Osheaga, ECMA (the East Coast Music Awards), D-Tox Rockfest, Rideau, BPM, Musiexpo… At the same time we are also committed to lower-profile community outreach. For example, we recently built a studio for a programme that encourages disadvantaged young people in Montreal to explore music using the best possible recording equipment.
Sennheiser Canada is involved and invested in education in Canada, with active links to McGill University, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montrèal) in Montreal, as well as Humber College and Metalworks Studio (Canada’s elite Entertainment Arts school) in Toronto.
Our work has been recognized by our peers at Sennheiser and by the industries we serve. We received an award from the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology in 2010, the Team Excellence Project 2009 award from Sennheiser for our installations at Cirque du Soleil’s Elvis Theatre at ARIA, Las Vegas, and Sennheiser’s 2006 Relations Award.
Looking ahead, our strategy is to build on the success we have established in some markets and transpose it into other sectors. We are using artists to promote consumer products, aviation companies to promote our communication products, and audiology recommendations to increase professional sales. And we are confident that the new sound wall will help us further enhance Sennheiser’s profile in the context of emotional branding.
"We were a very small, entrepreneurial outfit back in 1991," says Jean Langlais. "Now, we are a much more sophisticated company with dedicated warehousing, finance, operations, marketing and sales units. We are very well structured for the growth to come."