Brand Finance and the Globe and Mail’s Report of Business released their annual top 100 Canadian brands report over the weekend. The top ten brands on the list were the usual cast of characters, with the top five banks and top three telecom companies sharing familiar spots.
On the surface, it seems like there was nothing earth shattering to report. However, it is important to note that among the entire top 100 brands listed, Canada has just one AAA brand (which is a measure of strength, risk and potential relative to other brands) to report. That brand is Bell Canada. To further the troubling news, RBC, Canada’s number one brand, ranks just 102nd globally.
Sadly, our much admired brands such as Tim Hortons, TD and Loblaws rank well down on the leading global brands list and do not make the AAA cut.
So, should we as Canadians care? Should the CEOs of Tim Horton’s, TD and Loblaws care?
At LEVEL5, we believe the answer is a resounding YES. Sure, average Canadians don’t really care about AAA or global ratings as long as their wireless is fast, their coffee fresh or their banking experience easy. But as we have proven at LEVEL5 time after time using quantitative BrandMap™ studies, Canadians rarely LOVE their brands or branded experience the way Brits or Americans do.
Canadian brands often get the rational side of the brand experience right. But we also very often see a dry sea of sameness in Canadian marketing, products and services.
Truly successful brands like Apple, Wells Fargo or Taco Bell have mastered the emotional side of brand building – as well and having built their entire business systems around delivering a very emotive and differentiated brand promise. As a result, they outperform the competition by operationalizing their brand strategy. That winning combination allows global leading brands to grow faster over time. They are also able to manage risk more effectively. They can command higher margins. And they will consistently deliver very devoted customers.
So, how can Canadian brands learn by example from top global brands?
We see this as an opportunity for Canadian organizations to invest in building their brand equity by getting the emotional side right, linking it to differentiating rational attributes and focusing their entire organization on consistently delivering and measuring against a simple, compelling promise that evolves with the consumer.
Maybe then, our Canadian brands will be ready for the global stage.