Pioneer – A Journey

Inspire was informed we won the Pioneer Agency of Record business through a horoscope.

After endless months of hounding (ok stalking), we were thankfully granted a meeting with the soon to be newly appointed Director of Marketing, Andrew Murphy. We were an excited, slightly nervous but cocky bunch. A new agency with some nerdy swagger, a few substantial clients (GE, Stanley Black & Decker), and key staff with category experience (JVC). I knew within the first 30 seconds, any dream of getting the account was sunk. Andrew, kindly, just wanted us to stop calling.

Ok, lesson learned. Annoying a potential lead to death, rarely leads to success – either does employing a salesperson that doesn’t give you a heads up that was his tactic until you are actually in the meeting.

Two months later, we were named Agency of Record.

One year later, our new Brand Identity and Strategic Principles were implemented across Pioneer’s global network. And every year hence, Pioneer Canada was the # 1 global division.

Page about Audio Receivers from Pioneer Elite Catalogue showing a saxophone player lit in high contrast to the black background

So what happened?

First – we listened.  

Andrew wasn’t engaged in our dog & pony show, that was clear. But he was young, super smart and led a team that was clearly enthusiastic about their brand and very pragmatic about their challenges.

His first point of angst: Managing all his brand assets digitally across all dealers, ensuring consistency of message.

Wow, okay.  Our fabulous business partner, ColorShadow, had successfully built a platform to achieve a similar pain point for our client, Volvo Trucks.

We went home, put together a comprehensive action plan accompanied with an in-depth analysis report on his top competitors. And left him alone.

We got called for a second meeting and awarded the project. 

Second – we bonded.

Relationships are key to success, yada yada. I wish I could be more profoundly unique. But it’s so true. Andrew and I, all these years later, are still friends. In our third meeting, sitting side by side going over the dozens of incorrect iterations of Pioneer branding, we sussed each other out.  

Elevating a brand requires not only understanding the needs and wants of its customers but understanding the team of ambassadors behind the Brand. Pioneer and Inspire wanted the same thing – to crow! Pioneer was already building the best products in the industry, just nobody outside the industry knew it. Inspire – ditto!

Third – we responded.

Over the past decade, we’ve collaborated and executed hundreds of projects. From super bowl ads to new product launches to effective media and PR strategies. Our overhaul of their brand principles and identity were implemented across the Globe and we were the only independent agency allowed to remain at Pioneer after a “global” agency in Japan was selected. And Canada remained the # 1 global division during our tenure!

Feels good to crow!


“We have relied on Inspire to develop literature, point of sale materials, internal websites and all forms of media buying. While remaining a boutique agency they have been able to handle all of our needs, working within the global brand guidelines to create cost-effective materials.
Inspire has also elevated our knowledge as a team through open communication. Ideas and directions are developed through collaborative discussions, and not one-sided presentations from a traditional agency.
Our selection of Inspire has also coincided with an increase in our performance within the industry and the Pioneer group.”

Andrew Murphy

Director of Marketing – Pioneer Canada