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Virtual Reality: Endless Possibilities with MAMMOTH XR and VRKADE

The BottomLine team took a deep dive into the world of virtual and augmented reality this month. We’ve been curious about the possibilities that the technology holds, not just for entertainment, but for marketing, learning, business and day to day living.

Our entire crew had the pleasure of taking in presentations from two Calgary VR heavyweights: the creators at MAMMOTH XR and the virtual reality arcade upstarts VRKADE.

The team at MAMMOTH XR bill themselves as an island of misfit toys – an ensemble of creatives, futurists, explorers, and storytellers who love what we do. Their award-winning Virtual Reality development and Augmented Reality development studio creates world class XR experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain.

MAMMOTH XR has built startling activations for brands like Shell and the Calgary Flames, and our President Lisa Genovese took some time to talk to MAMMOTH XR’s Chief Experience Officer and Founder Matthew Wright about what they do, and the possibilities that exist for brands and marketers in the VR world.

Meanwhile, VRKADE has been rapidly expanding their brand through Western Canada, taking the old school arcade concept into the 21st century with gaming experiences that are incredibly lifelike and provide a wild experience for the entire family. They’ve also teamed with Stanford University to provide virtual field trips, where they can take students into incredibly immersive learning environments with a simple set of VR goggles.

Lisa spoke to VRKADE’s Marketing Director Brayden Clark about their offering and endless fun that their product brings.

Both brands are on the vanguard of the VR revolution and will be bringing big things to Western Canada in the near future. Do you know about an Evolutionary Leader that’s changing the game in technology and future-looking offerings? Let us know! Contact us today to share the next story.

Farm to Fork with Persall Fine Foods

Persall Fine Foods is a vertically-integrated, value added food company that is nearing 15 years old. It’s a family business rooted deeply in their 4th generation Ontario farm that is focused on supplying fresh, quality ingredients to consumers and businesses right across Canada.

Persall Fine Foods, (and its cooking oil-focused offshoot Pristine Gourmet) is a field-to-fork operation that allows chefs both amateur and professional to have a strong knowledge of where their ingredients are coming from, allowing them to cook with confidence.

Our president Lisa Genovese had the opportunity to speak with Persall Fine Foods President Jason Persall to find out more about their business, how the pandemic has affected their operation, and to answer the burning question: what does “virgin” mean when it comes to cooking oil?

The Persall team has some exciting projects on the horizon. If you’re looking to learn more about the Pristine Gourmet line of cooking oils and supplies, you can visit them on the web, Instagram and Twitter.


Optimize your Team with Stoke Growth

In any business, or operation, there’s ways you can maximize your time, effort and inputs. You can make sure your equipment and tools are up to date and optimal for the task at hand. You can ensure your work space is safe, and suitable to your needs. We can perform regular maintenance and updates on everything from vehicles, to servers to new phones and computers, but what about the most valuable asset within our organization: our people?

Enter Stoke Growth. Led by Phalan and Rich Grof, Stoke Growth helps leaders to grow their businesses without burning out. They work as coaches and advisors to help teams better understand how their colleagues and clients work, and how they can optimize their personalities for success, all with an eye towards organic growth and retention.

Stoke Growth’s methods have been very influential to BottomLine, and we’re proud to not only call them colleagues, but also friends. Using the personality-driven Kolbe test, Stoke Growth has helped our team to build a strong foundation to better serve our clients and be the best team mates we can be.

Recently our President, Lisa Genovese had a great conversation with Phalan Grof about their work, and how they are helping businesses navigate the COVID roller coaster. Phalan offers up some incredible insights for leaders and team members alike, and we highly encourage you to take some time out of your day to have a listen to Phalan’s tips in team building, leadership and getting the most out of their team.

During this tumultuous time, we’re all looking to tighten up on our bottom line, however the Stoke Growth team helps you to minimize major staffing costs due to high turnover, stress leave and low productivity.

If you’re interested in talking to Phalan and Rich about their offering, we encourage you to reach out to Stoke Growth and start building your team up the right way.


Using Google to Your Advantage with Tyler Cumberford & Factor One

Tyler Cumberford and his colleagues at Factor One Marketing are wizards. At BottomLine, we don’t use that title lightly, but after collaborating with their team on several of our clients, our minds are continually blown by their expertise with Google along with their dedication to staying on top of the latest trends and features that the ad platform and search engine provides.

Recently our President Lisa Genovese had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler to talk about some of the latest features from Google that can help you to learn more about your customer base, and really target people to drive them to purchase, however it’s not quite as simple as you think.

As we tell all of our clients, the path to purchase is rarely linear, and Tyler has the Google data to prove it. He also breaks down how knowing your customer, from what they do for a living, to what they eat, to where they visit, to the things they watch on YouTube can help you reach them better, faster and easier.

Curious? We’re ALWAYS curious when we get a chance to talk with Tyler. Check out our latest conversation to learn about “digital fingerprints”, Google Ad Sequencing, and the one thing that every business needs to be doing on Google (bonus: that thing is FREE!).

BottomLine and the Factor One team have teamed up in the past to deliver unparalleled customer research, funnels, ad delivery and analytics to our customers. If you’d like to chat further with Tyler and the Factor One team, you can reach out to them here.

Do you know an Evolutionary Leader that’s changing the game, sharing knowledge or making big waves? We’d love to talk to them. Send them our way and help them share their message.

You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Do you know of a business that’s trying to change the game, take on the top players in the market and challenge the status quo? We’d love to feature them on our next Evolutionary Leaders Series. Drop us a line today to put us in the know!



Virtuoso Energy: Sustainable Power Solutions for Everyday Life

Virtuoso Energy is on a mission: Reduce the impact of humankind by integrating sustainable solutions into everyday life.

So what does that mean? It means the team of Calgary entrepreneurs work to provide clean energy solutions like solar panels, LED lighting and electric vehicle charging stations to both homes and businesses alike.

Gursh Bal, Director of Business Development for Virtuoso, tells us that the first step in their offering often starts with overcoming the misconception that the sustainability industry and associated services are expensive, or poorly performing, or non-viable. However, they’ve found success and gained traction by focusing on why their products are effective, as opposed to trying to demonstrate how it works, which has led to the Virtuoso team becoming involved with both Porsche and Tesla across Western Canada, as a preferred partner for home charging station installs.

So how does Virtuoso continue to make headway in a business environment dominated by oil and gas and traditional energy sources? For Gursh, the answer is simple:

“One of the most important lessons that we have learned is that collaboration is more important than competition, and we have to learn how to work together with other industries.”

Gursh and the Virtuoso team are feeling well positioned for the future, where it’s estimated that 1 in 3 new vehicles sold in Canada in the near future will be electric, with that number increasing steadily in the years to come. However, Gursh tells us that the sustainable solutions industry has to focus heavily on education, “What it really comes down to is education. As soon as people understand the benefits of these different items, the longevity, the reduced maintenance, and the ability to be able to own and control your own energy source. For longer, sustainable growth, it’s the education that’s lacking. As a nation, as humanity as a whole, we need to stop thinking about short term gratification and think about long term potential growth. Instead of thinking weekly and monthly, we have to think yearly and in decades. It’s a shift in perception and it does come down to education.”

Growth and success haven’t come without a few bumps in the road. Like virtually all business leaders, Gursh and the team at Virtuoso have found themselves needing to pivot due to changes in governments and programs that were available to them. However, Gursh says they’ve learnt a valuable lesson in the process: “You can’t rely on the government to provide your business with viability. If that’s how your company is functioning then it isn’t very viable at all.”

Virtuoso’s future is focused on shoring up gaps in the sustainable energy industry. “As an organization we’ve tried to focus on those different gaps, saying how can we fix these things? Whether they are different tech platforms or different apps that we can bring into the market, even small fixes that we can help with from a governance perspective, that’s what we’re going to be focusing on in the next 5 years.”

To learn more about the Virtuoso Energy story, check out the full interview with Gursh Bal and The BottomLine team.


Annex Ales: Cold Beers to COVID Response

The past month has been, to say the least, challenging. However, we at BottomLine have been completely buoyed by seeing so many businesses adapting, pivoting and doing everything they can to be operational. It also brings us pride to see so many Calgary businesses doing what they can to support and help their community, and that is exemplified by the team at Annex Ales.

Annex was one of the first microbreweries out of the gate during Alberta’s craft beer boom a few years ago, opening up a tap room in in the Foothills industrial park, and branching into craft sodas, before expanding their operations again to include a boozy soda/cocktail bar and a tasty little burger and hotdog stand called Lil’ Empire Burger (you might remember them from a previous Evolutionary Leaders Story).

When the COVID shutdown hit, Annex quickly pivoted their operation into making hand sanitizer alongside their delicious and hoppy beers. According to founder and brewer Andrew Bullied, they are now selling hand sanitizer faster than they can make it, and will continue to keep making it as long as there’s demand. They’re also going and donating 10% of the proceeds to organizations that help those in need in Calgary. And yes, it does come in a custom tall can that you use to refill containers.

Recently Greg from our team had a conversation with Andrew from Annex to talk about his journey from beer enthusiast to brewery owner, and how they’ve been pivoted in the COVID era:

If you’re feeling a thirst, we highly recommend hitting up the Annex team, or any local brewery for their beers directly. Your purchase helps keep Calgarians employed and businesses operating.

Do you know of a business that’s trying to change the game, do some good in their community and challenge the status quo? We’d love to feature them on our next Evolutionary Leaders Series. Drop us a line today to put us in the know!


Foothills Creamery: A Commitment to Quality

Foothills Creamery has been serving up quality (and delicious) dairy products to Western Canadians for over 50 years. Originally focusing on butter back in 1969, Foothills Creamery expanded into ice cream in 1986 and they now produce yogurt, sherbert, soft serve, sorbet, non-dairy treats and ice cream cones for both the retail and wholesale market.

Based in Calgary, but with locations in Edmonton and Kelowna, Foothills Creamery has always stood for one thing above all others: quality.

Recently our President, Lisa Genovese, had the opportunity to speak with Foothills Creamery President Cathy Sanders about her journey from the quality control program, through to leading the Foothills team post-acquisition. You can listen to their full conversation below:

 

 

One of the things that struck us about both her, and the Foothills Creamery story, was the need to pivot your business when the time calls for it, and the perfect case in point was their acquisition of another Calgary brand, Screamin’ Brothers:

“The market was dictating a move to plant-based options, so while we were looking at formulating our own brand, we heard Screamin’ Brothers was for sale. They not only had a great story, but a great product, and it’s been great for us ever since.”

Foothills Creamery initially was only producing butter, however their move to making ice cream in the late 80’s is what really helped to grow their business into the multi-faceted producer it is today.

Meanwhile, Cathy’s career has followed the growth of the Creamery. Initially starting out in their lab, then taking on production and additional leadership roles as older management transitioned out, she found herself in a unique position when the company went up for sale to a private investment firm last year. Cathy is now the president of the company, and represents the dairy industry on a number of boards and groups.

What remains very clear is that Cathy’s roots in the lab and quality control program have translated into a leadership role committed to producing delicious, local food with a fascinating backstory that shares so many key ingredients with other Calgary success stories:

  • A desire to grow
  • A commitment to quality
  • A strong tradition
  • Rooted in agriculture
  • Unafraid to pivot and shift

We congratulate Cathy and the Foothills team for being the definition of Evolutionary Leaders, and look forward to watching them grow in the years to come.

You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Do you know of a business that’s trying to change the game, take on the top players in the market and challenge the status quo? We’d love to feature them on our next Evolutionary Leaders Series. Drop us a line today to put us in the know!

Covid Communications with Trevor Beckman

We now live in the Covid-19 era, a time of uncertainty and an ever-changing business environment. Communications have become a key factor in making sense of this world, as business leaders everywhere scramble to keep their operations running, make adjustments and, in far too many cases, shut down indefinitely.

In our latest episode of the Evolutionary Leaders Series, we talk to Trevor Beckman, Principal of Story Communications based in Calgary.

Trevor has over 20 years of experience spanning sectors including oil and gas, retail, agriculture, and not-for-profit. She is well-versed in all aspects of communications from strategy development to media and community relations. Trevor has an uncanny ability to get to the root of a communications issue, clear the clutter and extract the messaging and tactics that garner results for her clients.

This week our very own Greg Callsen caught up with Trevor to talk about communicating with your people, and your customers, in a Covid-19 world. Trevor has offered up some great starting points for anyone struggling with finding their voice, and how to use it.

Trevor has built her business working with corporate and not-for-profit clientele to create awareness, build profile and drive results. Clients include Suncor Energy Services, Brookfield Properties, Vencomatic, Highmark Interactive and the Coalition for Safer Alberta Roads, the last of which, we have been proud to partner with Trevor to create an outstanding brand voice.

If you’d like to reach out to Trevor for her expertise, you can find her at:

StoryCommunications.Ca
LinkedIn



SureCall: Making a Difference One Call at a Time

When you hear the word “call centre”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many of us, we think of row upon row of cubicles, bright neon lighting and dozens and dozens of customer service agents speaking in monotone to frustrated callers.

That’s definitely NOT the case with SureCall, who are deliberately setting themselves apart by proudly calling themselves a “purpose-driven business process optimization company, that provides global services to SMEs and large corporations alike.” Based out of Calgary and Denver, the organization has been around for almost 40 years and can handle customer service, dive into BPO (Business Process Optimization) as well as emergency response calls for any operation that needs support 24/7.

One of the things that we loved about the SureCall team was their commitment to a higher purpose. Their mission statement says it all:

‘To delight our customers, to give back to the community and to take care of each other.’

The decision to be a purpose-driven organization has made a significant impact on their culture, and has allowed them to enable their team, engage new talent into their business, and bring new customers and clients into their fold.

SureCall is a certified B Corp that is committed to social responsibility through both their GoodCall program that supports non-profits, and through Hero Girls that works to help educate girls in underserved and developing countries.

The GoodCall initiative sees 2% off of their top line profits going to both local, national and international charity initiatives. This means that a piece of every call, every transaction and business item goes directly back to the community. The SureCall team sees their top line revenue commitment as not only a way to show how driven they are to give back, but it also serves as an attractive concept for new clients who are socially conscious about their spending.

Meanwhile their Hero Girls initiative was launched in October 2018, and in late 2019, members of the SureCall team traveled to a remote community in Nepal to visit a class of 100 girls who graduated thanks to the Hero Girl funding.

Recently our President Lisa Genovese sat down to talk to Desiree and Christine from SureCall to tell us how their “Tribe” is changing the face of Contact Centres.

If your business is looking to maximize your customer service experience, develop an omnichannel brand or optimize your business processes, the team at SureCall is ready to help.

Do you know of a business that’s trying to change the game, take on the top players in the market and challenge the status quo? We’d love to feature them on our next Evolutionary Leaders Series. Drop us a line today to put us in the know!


Ditch the DIY with Harding’s

In the era of DIY shows, blogs, and tutorials, Rob Hilditch, President of Harding’s, is going against the grain to “Ditch the DIY” with home improvements. Harding’s asks “why waste time, energy, money, buying tools – and an inevitable fight with your partner when you can just hire someone to do the mundane household tasks?” As their services are the answer, their efforts are proving to be successful!

Harding’s has evolved since their 1996 start from a small professional painting service to a one-stop-shop home improvement company. Over the last 23 years it has been an organic shift to providing more services such as handyman, interior and exterior cleaning, window cleaning, renovations, ceiling texturing, decorating and staging. Their unique franchise model has also contributed to their growth. With this model, Rob has audacious dreams to expand beyond their Alberta and BC locations to be the largest franchised home improvement company in the country. With their tenacious leader and team, we have no doubt they’ll succeed.

So how did Harding’s successfully grow their business from a one service provider to a multiple-service provider? Check out our interview with our own Lisa Genovese and Harding’s President Rob Hilditch to hear their Evolutionary Leader Story.

“You need to let go of fear to grow” – Rob Hilditch, President, Harding’s

If you are looking to “Ditch the DIY” for your next home project – whether that’s changing out a light fixture, painting a room, or retexturing your ceiling check out Harding’s at https://hardingsservices.com/.

Do you know a business leader who is challenging the status quo? We’d love to feature them on our blog! Give them a shout out today so we can tell their story in the near future.