Understanding the differences in consumer attitudes between the United States and Canada…and Quebec #Qual360 #QRCA

Live blogging from the Qual360 conference in Toronto, Canada. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.qual360

Understanding the differences in consumer attitudes between the United States and Canada…and Quebec 
Moderator:Diana Lucaci, Founder, True Impact
Panelists:Catherine Yuile, Senior Vice President, Ipsos, Neil Rennert, Director Qualitative Services Canada, GfK, Jeff Doucette, General Manager Canada, Fieldagent
  • Canadians are more skeptical than Americans and Quebecers are more skeptical than the average Canadian
  • Frame of reference from three areas differs – designs on packages have imagery, what worked in US for one product didn’t work in Quebec because frame of reference was different, the symbols represented death and funerals
  • Our industry is Toronto centric, it’s hard and expensive to fragment research beyond english/quebec even though there are very big differences among our big cities, need to go to the middle to develop a market that is profitable
  • How many markets are there? It’s easy to say quebec is one market but that’s not really how it works, quebec is changing, it’s more of a melting pot, more immigration, 10% of home language in question isn’t french or english
  • Quebec is a multi-market territory, quebecers distrust outsiders, need to understand implications
  • It’s not only will the brand work in another area but will the same research method work in another area
  • will elements of an ad be relevant across the boarder
  • successful big ideas transcend time and culture, speak to basic human emotions, e.g., Nike’s “just do it”
  • influence can be european as well, if creative is developed in Paris, it may not work her, how do you please 100 countries with one creative
  • Many large retailers have moved into Canada, eg Target hasn’t delivered the experience that Canadians expect, Canadians didn’t want the US Walmart to come, some were careful to use Canadian music in their ads
  • Just because we don’t like a retailer doesn’t mean we won’t shop there
  • Many Canadian companies have tried to make a go in the US but it didn’t work. TD bank has been successful but many americans don’t realize it’s a canadian bank
  • In some cases, we WANT the US experience in canada. we don’t want another place to buy tide. we want to be able to buy that thing we can buy only on our holidays.
  • Canadians grew up with Target as a destination that they could only go to rarely and so they spent a lot of time there when they were there
  • Do the people doing the market research understand the local markets? you can’t just take the “canadian data” back to your country and understand it properly
  • I know the US from my vacation in one city, i don’t know all the culture and politics and local markets
  • Much of Canada has a subtle distrust of Toronto
  • There are regional gaps important ones being Quebec and the west, need more emphasis on local relevance of brands
  • Sometimes budget dictates you have only money for Toronto and if you’re lucky, Montreal
  • We know we aren’t going to change the product launch in a big way but we can make it more relevant to various communities
  • Race and religion are a bigger issue in US, more culture
  • Canadians can be more open-minded, like to see different pics of families in advertising but this doesn’t work everywhere in the US,  US has stronger beliefs that women do the laundry (think of that in terms of making a commercial about laundry detergent)
  • More than half of US ads do not work in Canada
  • Manhattan is very different than Kansas just as Canada is different from the US, how/when do you change the ad
  • How do I define myself as Canadian? “I’m not american”  That’s not very clear
  • American women want to look as young as possible, Canadian women want to look good at the age they are so there is less radical surgery in Canada – now design US/Canadian ads around that, which celebrities do you choose to reflect that
  • Maybe advertising can stay the same but the model/celebrity changes by region and country

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