Happy Canada Day, Canucks!
In honor of the country whose 152nd birthday we are celebrating this year, we wanted to show our love. And, let’s face it – everybody loves Canada. It’s the quiet unassuming northern neighbor of the US of A, a country with stunning nature and friendly cities – like Toronto and Vancouver and a funny and generous nation of people originating from all over the globe. We aren’t just easy-going either – we also have an uncanny ability to turn a statement into a question (You know what we mean. Eh?), which makes us pretty easy to strike up a conversation with.
But, not to digress too much, we wanted to show you the marketing moves and lessons we can all learn from some of the most iconic Canadian brands. Stick with us!
Hudson’s Bay Company
Hudson’s Bay Company holds the title of Canada’s oldest company, but the modern Bay bears little resemblance to the bygone fur-trading empire. The company dabbled in everything from fur to transportation to oil exploration before it finally settled on retail in the 20th century. The retail face of Hudson’s Bay has evolved as well. When it broke ground in Quebec in 1965, the HBC gave its stores a trendy new title: The Bay/La Baie. The company later refreshed its brand and reclaimed the original name.
Throughout its incarnations, Hudson’s Bay has maintained an iconic brand identity. People immediately recognize the name and the four-color stripe pattern (known as the HBC Point Blanket) as a symbol of quality. Hudson’s Bay has held its place as other large department stores struggle in tough economic times.
The lesson: When times change, Hudson’s Bay Company changes with it. The original Canadian company owes its longevity to its ability to adapt without compromising on core values.
And it didn’t get there by accident. Though it has changed corporate hands over the years, Tim Hortons has always maintained a clear and consistent identity. Its advertising appeals to nostalgia and family values, and small communities embrace Tim Hortons for its sponsorship of sports teams and fundraising for local causes.
The lesson: The Tim Hortons of today is the same one we stopped by for Timbits after hockey practice. It owes its success to the generations of good will it has built with Canadians.
Surprised? You’re not alone. Aldo is iconic and even though part of (international) Aldo Group, many shoppers don’t realize their favorite shoe store is Canadian.
Aldo was fashioned from the remnants of Le Chateâu’s shoe division. Its key to success was bringing trends to its shelves before its competitors could with its founder’s vision being to capture the latest in street styles in record time. Now, Aldo has 2,000 stores in more than 55 countries.
The lesson: Aldo sells itself as a global brand and its social feeds feature photos of trendsetters from around the world. This has paid off to the tune of millions of followers on Social Media. Its success proves Canadian brands don’t have to fly the flag to stand out in the world marketplace.
Some 45 years ago, a small leather goods store sprouted up in Toronto. Its name is Roots and it caught on with Canadians who love the outdoors with its line of comfortable, durable clothing. Today, there are over 200 Roots stores all around the world.
From its iconic beaver logo to its rustic store design, Roots capitalizes on our reverence for the Canadian wilderness. When we think Roots, we think nature. And when we think of nature-ready clothing, Roots is the first brand that comes to mind.
The lesson: With so many distinctive cultures, it can be hard to pin down what it means to be Canadian. Roots succeeds by tapping into something that transcends cultural and generational lines: love for the great outdoors.
John Molson founded Canada’s oldest beer brewery Molson Coors on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal in 1786, but the company’s history could be traced all the way back to 1774. In 1959, Molson Canadian was first brewed and today is one of Canada’s most iconic and best-selling brands. As the story goes, John Molson was committed to “brewing the best beer in the world for the people of Canada.” We could argue about the merits of his brew all night, but one thing’s for sure: Molson knows the Canadian people.
Molson first launched its “I Am Canadian” campaign in 1995. Canadians aren’t prone to self-promotion, but when Molson made the declaration a retort to Canadian stereotypes, it was a hit. “I Am Canadian” has been the heart of Molson’s marketing ever since. Molson has since incorporated the theme into mountains of merchandise and viral video campaigns.
The lesson: Morson Coors is one of those brands that has helped define the Canadian identity – and has leveraged this to build an incredibly loyal following.
If you want us to handle your brand image, contact us today. We are looking forward to talking with you.