Different approaches to promotion

Every province in Canada does some level of promotion to the outside world that it is a ‘great place for business’. Some do it better than others.

I have often said that if you advertisments go to the U.S. or Europe, you need to use recognizable brands. You need to convince companies that other like-minded firms have set up here.

Now with that as the background, check out British Columbia’s approach to promotion from its web site www.investbc.com:

Between 2001 and 2004 companies from outside Canada spent over $17 billion for business expansion, modernization and new facilities in British Columbia. Nokia, Electronic Arts, PeopleSoft and Toyota are just a few companies that have recently expanded their British Columbia operations. This year we’ve also attracted top firms like eBay, Intel and BusinessObjects. Over 1,600 non-Canadian firms have discovered the pay-off from being here.


$17 billion in foreign investments
Nokia, Electronic Arts, PeopleSoft, eBay, Intel, BusinessObjects and Toyota – all Fortune 500 brands
Over 1,600 non-Canadian firms have invested in BC

This is a short but powerful statement of the investment climate in BC.

Now turn to New Brunswick’s investment site at www.newbrunswick.ca/investment.

Congratulations! You’re looking at New Brunswick for your next business expansion location, and that’s a very smart move.

There is no mention of the level of foreign investment and no mention of specific big name firms that are located here. There is a ‘Success Stories’ section which includes Virtual-Agent Services (which is a great project but has zero brand recognition); OAO Technologies (zero brand recognition); Irving Oil (outside of Maine, what CEO would know Irving? – plus this is not foriegn investment); Aliant (chuckle, foreign investment?); Saeplast (they may be big but would the average CEO in the US know them?); Spielo (locally grown company); etc.

You get the picture. The only brand name on the list that would be recognized by more than 10% of the Fortune 500 CEOs was Xerox.

Now, some would say that you can’t turn a skunk into a minx and I realize that the brand name firms that have located in New Brunswick are few and far between but there are a few and I would have used them in my promotional materials. IBM, Xerox, ExxonMobil, GE (Camco), UPS, FedEx, etc. These are all recognizable brands that show a track record of foreign investment here.

What’s that you say? All these firms arrived here ten years ago or more?

Ah, but’s that’s another side of the story.

Stay tuned.