Brand Canada – Aw Shucks

The headlines this morning point out that Canada’s ‘brand’ second only to Australia’s. That is based on a study by Future Brand, a New York consulting firm who surveyed 2,700 business and leisure travelers to gauge which countries they had visited, which they most wanted to visit and which they would recommend to friends.

For four years now, Canada has been working on its brand with the phrase "Keep Exploring," to show that we offer more than just pretty scenery.  Perhaps it is working. Rina Plapler of Future Brand wrote. "It’s a familiar country to people. It’s familiar, it’s well-liked, it’s safe, it’s seen as family oriented."

Canada Brand International Is also trying to leverage that brand to sell more food around the world.

Canada has a positive image around the world. We’re known to be trustworthy, reliable and competent people. Our land is thought of as pristine, fresh and environmentally friendly. Our food and agriculture products are considered safe, fresh, and natural.

Clearly getting to the top spot will be tough.  The experts on Branding in Canada cite the following difficulties:

  • Canada itself, and what it means to be Canadian, are widely debated but any agreement there might be remains largely unarticulated
  • Canadian brands have not consistently leveraged "Canadian-ness" nor have they created a universal appeal for Canadian attributes and values in corporate, product and service branding
  • The Canadian character does not lend itself to bold communications

That is perhaps why another study by renowned national branding experts, the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index, puts Canada at only the number four position with Germany as number one.

nbi country brand hexagon

Their index is based on a survey in which respondents from across 20 major developed and developing countries are asked to rate their agreement with statements about each nation. The statements cover six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. The NBI ranking is based on the average of these six scores.

Germany is viewed as the best overall "brand, receiving the highest ranking of the 50 nations measured. The full listing of the top twenty is as follows:

1. Germany
2. France
3. United Kingdom
4. Canada
5. Japan
6. Italy
7. United States
8. Switzerland
9. Australia
10. Sweden
11. Spain
12. Netherlands
13. Norway (tie)
14. Austria (tie)
15. Denmark
16. Scotland
17. New Zealand
18. Finland
19. Ireland
20. Belgium

Clearly the time for Aw Shucks is over.  Canada needs to continue to speak out but at least we seem to be making progress.

Books that may be of interest

A Field Guide to
Canada’s Brandscape
Jeanette Hanna

Brand Innovation Manifesto:
How to Build Brands,
Redefine Markets and
Defy Conventions
John Grant

The Global Brand:
How to Create and Develop
Lasting Brand Value
in the World Market
Nigel Hollis