Montreal, Canada--This year, Sennheiser Canada celebrates its 20th anniversary--a significant milestone for the company as well as the Canadian pro and consumer audio markets at large. Incorporated in 1991 with just seven employees and a vision to become the premium audio solutions brand in Canada, Sennheiser continues to to provide highly innovative products and market leading support to a broad range of customers from Halifax, Newfoundland to Vancouver.
Since 1991, Sennheiser Canada has posted in excess of 15 percent year over year growth, successfully navigating through technology evolutions, economic recessions and uncertain market conditions. The company -- still situated in its original location just outside Montreal -- now employs 45 people across three business units. In 2003, Sennheiser successfully entered the Canadian consumer headphone market, a move that had a sizable effect on increasing the company's overall revenues and market share.
Before Sennheiser Canada was incorporated in 1991, TC Electronics had been selling Sennheiser products to the Canadian market since 1970. Once Jean Langlais was appointed general manager in 1993, one of his earliest goals was to begin importing and distributing other respected European audio brands -- such as L-Acoustics and Innovason (both of which companies are still distributed by Sennheiser Canada today). This gave Sennheiser increased visibility into the nature of lucrative projects and installations, as well as the ability to offer a complete range of complementary audio solutions.
"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 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." With such a convincing value proposition, the company was able to successfully penetrate the pro audio, live sound and MI markets.
Sennheiser Canada's early growth coincided with robust talent and entertainment that was coming out of Canada at the time. Well-known recording and touring artists like Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Sarah McLachlan and others -- as well as touring outfits such as Cirque de Soleil -- were beginning to make international waves and looked to Sennheiser to provide high-quality touring infrastructure and support -- further establishing the company's brand recognition.
"Our ability to support major tours helped establish our name in the Canadian market very quickly," recalls Langlais. "When Cirque de Soleil expanded rapidly in the early nineties, it helped deliver the market penetration we were looking for, while attracting the associated international recognition. We weren't just supplying equipment, but were offering customers a guarantee of performance and a total solution."
Over the years, Sennheiser has maintained an incredibly 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 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.
Sennheiser Canada remains poised for future growth. Recent innovations include the introduction of its digital microphones, in-ear monitors, noise-cancelling headphones and many other products. From an operations perspective, Sennheiser has come a long way since its staff of seven people, concludes Langlais: "We were a very small, entrepreneurial outfit back in 1991. 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."