No idea is too crazy for the three minds behind Grape Experiential, a mod experience-based marketing agency launched by brothers Andrew and Anthony Sannie, and long-time friend and collaborator Kyle Goldstine.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that these guys know a good time—the Sannies, members of iconic Winnipeg musical group The Lytics, are well-versed in what it takes to create a memorable experience, having performed at festivals and events all over the world. Mixed with Goldstine’s expert digital marketing background and desire to offer clients “stuff that’s not chicken and linen,” Grape Experiential delivers a fresh take on non-traditional marketing.
It all started with a call. Anthony was asked to DJ and find a venue for a party hosted by a local tech company. He mentioned it to Goldstine on the phone later, to which he said “just pitch them on the whole thing,” pushing Anthony to think bigger. They had already been swirling the idea of starting a business together for the past few years, so it felt like the perfect opportunity for the trio to jump into. Naturally, the event—which took several all-consuming months to plan—was a huge success. Word travelled fast and it’s been non-stop ever since.
But what happens when a company focused on creating live experiences can no longer put on events? When COVID-19 hit, Grape had to find other ways of creating engaging experiences for their clients. As it happens, thinking outside the box led to making literal boxes filled with items aimed at appealing to all 5 senses. These “experience boxes” were delivered to their clients’ employees in lieu of parties, providing successful strategic team building activities despite having to be apart.
Planning events can take months, so the pandemic actually allowed them to take on more kinds of projects and brand consulting work, ultimately growing the business into a more multidimensional operation. They describe it as a testing ground; clients bring them a far-out idea and ask if they can help execute it. And more often than not, they make it happen.
“The knowledge never stops because we’re always doing different things,” tells Anthony, sharing that they’ve been getting more and more calls that pull them into unexpected directions, and expand Grape’s creative edge. It helps that they’re all on the same wavelength, which they describe as “being part of a group that’s as crazy as you are.”
Years in the entertainment industry has brought a humbleness to their entrepreneurial attitude, explaining that “as a musician your ego gets stripped pretty quick cause you’re told no so many times.” Anthony notes that the opportunity is to have the opportunity. From stage to boardroom, they aren’t afraid of being told no, taking every chance they can to get in the room and shoot their shot. Right now, Grape is working with Calgary-based platform 1M to accelerate community projects and connectivity in the Exchange District, and we can expect more details in the coming months.
“We get to wake up every day and work on projects we love with brands we really respect.”