If consumer brands are anything to go by, Canada is a nation of banks and phone companies.
Financial institutions, both large and small, dominate the latest Brandz ranking of Canada’s most valuable brands from advertising and PR firm WPP and consulting and research firm Kantar.
Royal Bank of Canada and TD Canada Trust retained their top positions in this year’s ranking, with Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC also making the top 10. Canada’s Big Three telecoms ― Bell, Rogers and Telus ― all made the top 10 as well.
“Canadian banks tend to dominate any valuation study, due to their size,” Scott Megginson, President of Kantar Canada.
“In Canada’s highly regulated environment, there is a small group of banks with a strong national and expanding international presence. This is different from the U.S., for instance, where there are many smaller regional players.”
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But it’s what’s missing that might be most notable: Unlike most other developed economies, many of Canada’s largest brands are relatively unknown in the rest of the world. Compare Canada’s brand ranking to those of the U.K. and Germany, whose top brands are virtually all globally recognizable.
Canada’s 40 most valuable brands derive 28 per cent of their value from international markets, compared to 62 per cent for U.K. companies, Kantar said.
“That’s a big challenge for Canadian brands,” Megginson wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada.
“We haven’t seen a significant (consumer) tech brand presence since Blackberry, and our national Consumer Packaged Goods brands don’t have a large footprint outside of Canada. We also don’t have an automotive brand ― VW, Toyota, Hyundai, or Tesla.”
However, one notable Canadian brand that has made international waves was actually left out of the rankings: Ottawa-based e-commerce platform Shopify. That’s because the Brandz ranking looks at “consumer brands” only, and not at brands of companies that do business solely with other businesses.
Beyond that, there is some hope, Megginson noted ― yogawear retailer Lululemon was one of the fastest risers globally this year, while Tim Hortons is a top 10 global fast food brand while RBC and TD are expanding rapidly outside Canada.
“There is hope; we just need more brand leaders like these to take their brands to the world market,” Megginson wrote.