One of the long standing challenges of the IT sector in this country is the lack of marketing and brand awareness. There are many great technology companies and solution providers but finding them would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Case in point, the recently released Interbrand Canada fifth biennial 2014 Best Canadian Brands report does not include one technology company. BlackBerry and Future Shop were previously on this list, which examines and ranks Canada’s top 25 brands by brand value. The new list, which has a total value of $72.8 billion – a four per cent increase over the total value of the 2012 ranking, was led by the major banks TD and RBC who came in No. 1 and No. 2.
But what makes this new list tragic to the high tech sector is that BlackBerry and FutureShop were replaced by a dollar store, Dollarama. This hardly screams Canada innovation. What’s also missing from this list is a cloud provider.
Carolyn Ray, Interbrand Canada’s newly appointed managing director, said Canadian brands are faced with extraordinary and unique challenges, making it imperative that they have the courage and confidence to step out of line to transcend the ‘business as usual’ approach.
And Ray is correct here. Canadian technology companies need to get out of their collective shells and toot their own horns. Another thing they should do is hire some marketing professionals to help them. There are only a few channel partners who have a full-scale marketing department and that needs to change.
Ray added that world-changing brands don’t wait in line. They leave industry norms behind, she said, redefining sectors and embrace innovation to compel and captivate consumers, employees, and stakeholders alike.
Now the Toronto-based Interbrand Canada list does include Bell and Telus which do have IT reselling divisions as part of their business, but Interbrand classifies them as telecommunications. One of the findings from the report is that Telus, who came in at No. 10, continues to get closer to Bell and Rogers in the telecom industry, growing 46 per cent to $2.9 billion in brand value.
The last time Interbrand Canada, a subsidiary of the New York-based marketing agency, released this list BlackBerry placed fourth and FutureShop came in at No. 24.
The criteria for Interbrand’s Best Canadian Brands ranking requires that the brand’s country of origin must be Canada so that’s one reason why you don’t see Microsoft Canada or Apple Canada on the list. Also there must be substantial publicly available financial data; economic profit must be positive; and the brand must have a broad public profile and awareness.
There are three components to the Interbrand Canada analysis:
- Financial Analysis: measures the overall financial return to an organization’s investors, or its economic profit;
- Role of Brand: measures the portion of the decision to purchase that is attributable to the brand, relative to other factors;
- Brand Strength: measures the ability of the brand to create loyalty, and therefore to keep generating demand and profit into the future.
One quick hit before I go. Tech Data Canada appointed Wendy Franklin to the role of director, mobility and retail.
Franklin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Canadian mobility and retail market gained over the course of several years spent building business development and enablement activities in the Canadian IT channel with Ingram Micro Canada as mobile vendor manager.