Michaels : Landing smoothly in the Québec Market


As one of the most anticipated retail openings in Canada, American arts & crafts giant, Michaels opened seven stores throughout Quebec in September 2012. Michaels main goal was to smoothly enter the Quebec market where a well-established local family business was dominating the market. CASACOM was chosen throughout an extensive RFP process for their high level strategic counsel.


Strategy & execution

From the outset, we analyzed the competition and local environment through media, studies and data analysis. We interviewed experts, journalists as well as consumers. This research led us to key insights that influenced our whole strategic approach: Michaels needed to enter the market with humility, positivity and proactivity. Among the activities we implemented were:

  • Advising Michaels on brand positioning and French tagline: Tout pour vos projets créatifs
  • Identifying and training a corporate spokesperson
  • Setting up meetings with Ministers & OQLF on culture, language and business
  • Adopting a positive speech about the local competition: we are here to grow the market
  • Spreading the announcement over six months to create anticipation amongst Michaels fans
  • Bringing Québec media to NYC stores
  • Creating a bilingual web site, a new Facebook page and YouTube channel
  • Producing videos with celebrity, Brigitte Lafleur
  • Organizing a crafter contest, On the hunt for Michaels's creative ambassador (to this day, the ambassador is still the same)
  • Securing a three-year partnership with Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts + other parternships
  • Partnering with a creative firm to develop a new circular and ad campaign
  • Hosting a VIP pre-opening event
  • Holding seven simultaneous store opening events
  • After the launch, we consistently worked with influencers and media towards growing the brand for three years with multiple activities.


The official opening of Michaels’ seven stores took place on September 14, 2012 at 10 a.m. Billboards were put up and radio advertising was recorded. For each of the seven stores, hundreds of customers excitedly waited for the doors to open. Dignitaries and the manager of each store cut the ribbon and confetti was tossed. Sales goals for opening day were exceeded.

Media widely covered the event. At the time of the opening, the news was the subject of 66 reports in media such as La Presse, The Gazette, Radio Canada’s Première Chaîne, 98,5 FM, Radio One, The Globe and Mail, RDI, the Argent channel, and Les Affaires, to name just a few. The number of contacts rose to 65 millions for 2012. Our team has been asked to present this successful case study to many forums. We also won several awards, notably a Platinum Award in the “External Public Relations” category Award of the Quebec Society of Professional Public Relations (SQPRP) and a Gold Award in the category “Canadian campaign of the year in marketing communications” of the National Excellence Awards from the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).

To learn more about our integrated public relations program for Michaels, including research, issues management, government relations, digital communications, media relations, influencer relations, contests, event planning , etc., read this post and watch a testimony from our client Paula Puleo, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Michaels.