Learning from Canada’s Top 10 Brands

Many of the conversations I’ve had lately with clients revolve around planning their 2010 marketing strategy and how to seperate themselves from their competition. I figured a good place to look for some information & insight on this topic is with Canada’s “Best” brands.

“Branding is about having a unique personality, a point of view and a positioning.”
David Haigh
CEO, Brand Finance plc


companies have experienced a dramatic shift from tangible to intangible assets as the main source of value creation. Though roughly two-thirds of global market value was intangible as of 2007

Total enterprise value for the Top 50 brands has decreased by almost -32%

Brands generally create value by shifting both the demand and supply curves. On the demand side, they influence customer behaviour – leading to greater trial, improved frequency of use, increased loyalty, and a willingness to pay a price premium. On the supply side, strong brands can attract better employees, influence terms of trade, and even reduce the cost of capital.

conditions are already having a major impact on the global and Canadian brandscape, as brands with strong value-oriented positions (e.g. Wal-Mart, McDonald’s) are seen to be making headway in this ‘thrift as chic’ market.

given the anticipated prolonged economic weakness in the months to come, brand values can be expected to decline – at least in the near to intermediate term
This said, the effects will likely not be evenly distributed. As noted, among those to thrive (all other things equal) will be brands with strong value-based positionings

we can also expect large and stable brands with significant reach and share of voice (many of which are represented in this year’s ranking) to make exceptional market share (if not value gains) in 2009, as short-sighted competitors blindly cut brand support during these challenging yet opportunistic times.

On this note, perhaps the more relevant issue for brand owners is: what should they be doing to prepare for the inevitable upturn in the economy?

Now is the time to prepare and invest – identify areas of inefficiency – marketing and otherwise – to enable investment in the brand, or at
least to hold investment relatively flat.Do this properly and, as the market turns, you should be disproportionately rewarded.

More deeply understand the drivers of your brand’s value – Quantify your brand’s value, derive insight into the key drivers therein, and connect your organization’s current investments against each driver area

Sharpen your brand’s positioning and key point(s) of difference – A meaningful, differentiated positioning preserves profit margins and provides purposeful brand investment.

Ensure organizational alignment to support consistent brand delivery – Seize the opportunity to examine how your brand is delivered against all key touch-points and stakeholders, and spearhead initiatives (across the organization) to address opportunity areas in this regard.

“Survival in a recessionary era is about far more than simply cutting prices, reducing spending and hoping you can hold out long enough for the recovery to gain traction. Smart firms recognize these times as ushering in an era of restructuring: within firms that thrive, areas of inefficiency are identified and reformulated. These actions generate new “degrees of freedom” for marketing executives who now find they can self-finance programs directed at adding value for customers, clients and consumers. The research is unequivocal: those that do, win – those that don’t, lose.”
Ken Wong
Vice President, Knowledge Development, LEVEL5 Strategic Brand Advisors
Professor of Marketing, Queen’s School of Business

2009 Top 10 Canadian Brands
1. RBC
2. Blackberry
3. TD Canada Trust
4. Manulife Financial
5. Bell
6. Scotia Bank
7. Loblaws
8. Bombarier
9. BMO
10. CIBC
11. Rogers

2009 Top 10 “Iconic” Canadian Brands

1. Canada Post
2. Canadian Tire
3. Tim Hortons
4. CBC
5. Air Canada
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
7. Montreal Canadiens
8. Petro Canada
9. Via Rail
10. CN Tower

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