It is my pleasure to welcome you to our second annual review of BrandZ Top 40 Most Valuable Canadian Brands. When we had our inaugural launch in the Fall of 2019, none of us could had imagined how much the B2C landscape would change in one year; and with no clear sight to what next year will bring.
This year’s study spanned the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, with our brand health measurement conducted during the early part of the year and our financial analysis as Q2 results were being reported. Our empirical database of global BrandZ results has demonstrated, time and time again, that strong brands are less inclined to fall as far in a financial downturn and they rebound faster and even stronger.
In this year’s report we will see new dynamics play out. Although we still have a high concentration of brand value held by our large and highly regulated banks and telcos, discount retailers are moving up the rankings with a bullet and No Frills emerged as the only new entrant to our Top 40. While most banks have strong brand fundamentals at play, time will tell if the telcos can seize the opportunity to create stronger bonds with their customers as they become more essential to their livelihood in the home office environment, and if discount retailers will reinvest some of their new found revenue to build lasting brands in the post-pandemic world.
Another theme this year is the return to the ‘death in the middle’ brand concept. While discount retailers are rising in brand value, so is some of the premium segment. Brand differentiation drives a brand’s ability to command a price premium, and many highly differentiated brands managed to grow during the pandemic while most others declined in brand value. This was probably demonstrated best by Lululemon’s 60 percent increase in brand value this year as it fulfilled consumer demands for a new dress code and further penetrated the world stage.
Canada still has an opportunity to create more brands for export. Although we are a major global technology hub, there hasn’t been a Canadian tech brand in the BrandZ Global Top 100 Brands since the decline of Blackberry. In fact, of all the countries measured, Canada is among the lowest for overseas exposure of its top brands. Although there are strong ‘buy local’ sentiments with Canadian consumers, a market of 38 million consumers will not provide the kind of exposure required to rank among the top global brands.
As a B2B brand, Shopify does not fall into our BrandZ criteria, however its financial value was reported to have surpassed RBC ‘s in May 2020. This is not only an indication of what Canadian tech brands are capable of, but also highlights the acceleration of ecommerce this year. While Canada has been less developed in this area compared to markets like the US and the UK, our consumer online experience has vaulted from a point of differentiation to a survival staple for Canadian brands as all our digital plans were suddenly pulled forward by many years.
Although it is hard to predict what will happen in the coming year, it is time to reflect on our brands and changing consumer needs. In this report you will find articles and points of view from a number of Kantar and WPP thought leaders, ranging from brand and media insights through to Canada’s cultural impact on the world. There are also numerous reference and resource materials available for Canadian marketers and agencies to lever as you help to blaze new trails for our beloved Canadian brands.
Happy reading. Happy marketing.