To have a successful brand, it is the country’s job to understand that the global marketplace has great opportunity, but it is competitive, fragmented, characterized by imperfect information.
How we view things, how we think of brands and how we remember them is often dependant on the visual look and feel and a specifically distinctive colour set. For Canada, our red and white maple leaf is the ultimate form of Brand Identity. Canada’s flag is unmistakable in the flood of stripes, stars, and crests. But are we using this to its full brand potential?
Countries like Italy or Japan have a factual ownership of their own distinctive brand which is extended to services and products of all kinds, from packaged food like pizza or sushi, to airlines. Perhaps Canada’s best known brand product is maple syrup, but it’s certainly not competing on the same level as Italy’s pizza.
A national brand should encapsulate the strengths, characteristics, and values that the country has and wants to project. There is no doubt that Hockey is Canada’s game and passion. This became more obvious when the IOC changed the rules of Olympic hockey in 1998, to allow National Hockey League (NHL) players to compete in the games, rallying Canada to rise to the top, building Canada’s brand strength.
Not only is Canada known for hockey, Canada is among the top countries for many natural resources. We have a well-educated, multicultural workforce, and Canadian cities are consistently top-rated globally as places to live and work. Our skilled and multicultural workforce in a world scrambling for talent, and our values which make us a good and reliable partner in an uncertain world.
Thanks to the 2010 Olympics, Canada’s brand is stronger than ever. We still have a long way to go, but there is a bright future for Canada’s brand. Showing the world we are more than just majestic landscapes and wild animal life. There is hope that Canada can become the Switzerland of America – social stability, economic prosperity and banking resilience beyond idyllic landscapes.