Meet JohnQ.

This is municipal leadership at the service of our citizens. JohnQ delivers regional services and develops strategic projects in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region to make communities better.


Effective municipal planning done through the power of effective communication and cooperation.

Sometimes, a great idea and a set of shared values are all you’ve got, but that’s enough to create a credible and meaningful brand that garners the support you need to proceed.


The 17 municipalities of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) completed a detailed action plan in 2017 to advance common objectives together. Many of their priorities have seen strong progress, but tackling some of the bigger projects was always limited by the capacity to move budget or generate new funds for research, seed money or pilot projects that would benefit all. They needed a pool of resources they could draw upon for projects like these.

After much research they found the key: coordinated, collective purchasing could provide better value for taxpayer dollars on purchases today, and be a source of revenue to build shared capacity that would result in further savings. Ultimately, this could create shared resources for projects and programs on the ground.

With the help of a highly respected business advisory council, the structure of JohnQ was outlined. The next critical step was to secure, at least, the benefit of the doubt from key stakeholders in the process: elected officials, administrators and staff, and business leaders.


  • Creating a new entity in Canada that was complex and difficult to explain
  • Multiple ownership = decision-making by committee
  • High degree of skepticism, wait and see
  • Low ownership / buy-in beyond the founding members
  • Election cycle meant brand needed to be established and understood quickly
  • High risk of any start-up, this one under-capitalized
  • Many unanswered questions


  • Work with the Founding Members to create a Forecast – a detailed, specific vision and their core values; and a brand platform, articulating the market, the audience, the tone of voice and more.
  • Develop a name that was memorable, relevant to the purpose of the organization and slightly controversial to set the tone and demonstrate the capacity to stretch traditional boundaries.
  • Establish unquestionably that the purpose of JohnQ is to maximize value for taxpayer dollars and deliver more for member communities, suppliers and purchasers.
  • Reinforce the messaging that the elected officials, business leaders, municipalities and taxpayers are all JohnQ and all benefit from its success.


The major challenge was the complexity of the messaging and the lack of definitive answers to key questions. It was important to build credibility in the process, while simultaneously owning that all the answers were not yet in place and that it would require open-minded commitment from many people to shape this evolution.

There were two distinct mindsets about the tone of JohnQ – revolutionary vs. reliable. The name presented its challenges, with its clear male focus, which caused some discomfort and uncertainty for both women and men.

What people are saying:

“I wanted to send you a quick note to congratulate you, your team, board members and all others involved.

“I am in full support of the direction that the WMR is taking and believe that your forward thinking, cutting edge initiatives, leadership and hard work will no doubt help to continue to develop and strengthen the region — which in turn will significantly benefit us all.”


This is how a values-based brand garners support.

The audacious tone of voice was tempered with clean, professional, conservative photography, creating an ‘executive revolution.’


The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region has been mandated by the Province of Manitoba to lead the development of Plan20-50, the first coordinated, long-term development plan in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

JohnQ has successfully broken ground on delivering high-speed fibre-optic internet services to the communities of the region, to eliminate one of the greatest barriers that communities face to their economic development.


Interested in finding out more about how you can transform your business with a purpose-driven brand? Let's chat.

How can a membership association build brand value and drive member engagement?
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The time to transform your brand and your business is now.

We've helped hundreds of organizations build authentic brands by helping them define their positioning, find their purpose, and clarify their messaging. We can help you too.

Call us at 204 947 6824 or email us below.