Made in Canada ‘thought starters’

From: Tony Chapman

From: Tony Chapman

[tchapman@capitalc.ca]

Sent: Friday, July 09, 2007 9:50 AM

To: Kenneth Wong

Subject: thought starters

I’ve been asked to give a talk on the future of Made in Canada Marketing and I need help. The future I’m seeing isn’t very bright. Multinationals faced with deflationary pricing in the trade and inflationary costs of goods are doing everything they can to cut costs, including consolidating brand strategy and creative at head office. Thoughts?

From: Kenneth Wong

[kwong@business.queensu.ca]

To: Tony Chapman

I just wrote for the Conference Board Record on the need to rebrand corporate marketing, especially in multinationals. The pressures you note are just the tip of the iceberg of forces leading to a new emphasis on ‘marketing efficiency.’ Even if we can’t always estimate ROI, we need to do whatever we can as efficiently as possible. But when it comes to global business, the template is global manufacturing and global product mandates, which means centralization and standardization.

From: Tony

To: Ken

Yes, efficiency is what drives capitalism and innovation. What I don’t get is that all signs point to a consumer who is moving from mass to my – how can they possibly be served by a one-size-fits-all strategy and campaign? Case in point: why is the super premium segment in packaged goods and retail categories now being contested by entrepreneurs, while the beer, car, food and retailers that used to dominate this space are now fighting for their lives in that no-man’s land that borders against Private Label?

From: Ken

To: Tony

There’s nothing wrong with efficiency gains via centralization. But somewhere along the line we lost sight of the second part of ‘Think Global, Act Local.’ There was supposed to be a ‘re-allocation’ of savings from globalization (where possible) into better LOCAL execution and customization. Without the customization, we’re selling commodities ON price. The smaller players, by contrast, use customization FOR price.

 

From: Tony

To: Ken

Canada is where these multinationals should be testing the campaigns of the future.  

At global HQ their business is complicated by layers of management, a massive roster of agencies, and the pressure of making things happen in their ‘home court.’ To even co-ordinate a meeting could take months, let alone the impossibility of having so many interests agree on the killer insight and the big idea.

Give the challenge to Canadians. The marketer can assemble a dream team in minutes, with talent who have cut their teeth on making the impossible possible for a fraction of the cost.

 

From: Ken

To: Tony

Absolutely! What better testing ground for global programs than a place that

weaves cultural diversity into the fabric of our society? Anyone who sells anything knows Quebec is different from Ontario, which is different from the Atlantic and Western provinces. If it works here, it’ll work anywhere.

From: Tony

To: Ken

How do we champion this cause?

From: Ken

To: Tony

Give Mary at strategy a call. This is right in their power alley…practical thought leadership. Maybe we can do a series.

 

From: Tony

CC: Mary Maddever

[maddever@brunico.com]

Thoughts???

From: Mary Maddever

To: Kenneth Wong, Tony Chapman

Sounds like a column, even a series…but I’d love to hear some solutions.

The Dove team certainly made some substantial noise for Made in Canada marketing, so there are significant successes out there. In that vein, I would like to invite anyone who’s made strides in the realm of shoring up Canadian marketers place at the global table, or knows of some effective strategies, to please, send us an e-mail, so we can share your ideas and intel.

Ken Wong is a career academic at Queen’s School of Business where he’s obsessed with practising what he preaches. He can be reached at kwong@business.queensu.ca

Tony Chapman wishes he had half the IQ of Ken Wong. He is an entrepreneur who will always resist the overtures of the multinational agencies in favour of having Capital C’s destiny a matter of choice, not chance.