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International businesses often face challenges when marketing products and services to Canadians. It can be difficult to appeal to such a wide audience, especially one with such unique cultural values.
Fortunately, international brands can effectively translate their marketing and branding to appeal to Canadians with a basic understanding of their culture.
Despite the vast size of the country, the Province of Ontario accounts for 38.5% of the estimated 36.3 million Canadians. Toronto contains 2.8 million of Ontario’s inhabitants, making it Canada’s largest city despite its neighbouring city, Ottawa, being the official capital of the country.
English is spoken by almost 70% of Canadians and nearly 90% of Ontario residents. With 30% of the nation speaking a first language other than English, it’s important to adjust marketing translations accordingly. For your company to reach more people, you must translate your brand message for the diverse population.
Considerations When Creating Marketing Campaigns for Canadian Audiences
If you’re marketing products or expanding a business across Canadian borders, pay attention to the special nuances of this bilingual nation. Some essential pieces of Canada’s culture to optimize your localization strategy include:
Canada’s Top Trading Partners
According to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Canada is one of the world’s top ten trading nations. Unsurprisingly, most of that trade happens with the neighbouring United States.
While Canada may be expanding trade relations with Europe and Asia, Ontario alone exported more to Michigan, USA in 2016 than all of Canada did to China, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Mexico combined. As the most heavily-populated province in the country, Ontario is responsible for most Canadian exports and imports. Meanwhile, USA and China remain Canada’s top sources of imports.
With this in mind, craft your translation strategy to appeal to the major Canadian trade partners.
If your organization currently resides outside Canada, get to know the Ontario audience because as the trade hub of the country, it is likely that you will do business here.
Canada enjoys an enviable world reputation, ranked 1st among all nations by Country RepTrak. Overall, Canadians are thought of as polite, friendly, open-minded, and interested in issues of equality and diversity. Canadians also have a strong sense of national pride. If you mistake a Canadian for an American, you will quickly be corrected.
Understanding the mindset and attitude of a Canadian audience can help you craft your brand message accordingly.
Working with localization experts that specialize in the region can also ensure your company comes across in the most accurate and effective way possible.
Canada is a nation of immigrants, accommodating more than 200 distinct dialects in their populace. While French and English are its official languages, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, and Punjabi comprise the top five non-official mother-tongues of Canadian inhabitants. This provides businesses with abundant opportunities for targeting certain audience segments, while making it even more important to translate and localize your message accordingly.
By 2031, Statistics Canada estimates that nearly half of all Canadians aged 15 or over will be immigrants or have at least one parent born overseas. Furthermore, it is expected that in Toronto, visible minorities will account for more than half the population in the same time frame.
Despite the geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity found in Canada, citizens have a strong national identity and actively look for the traits they have in common. Along with their national love of hockey, Canadians share a sense of pride in their parliamentary democracy. Along with that, their publicly-funded healthcare and education systems and staunch belief in the value of multilingual and multicultural societies help to strengthen the Canadian identity.
If you are planning to trade or do business in Canada – or more specifically Ontario or Toronto – you will do well to keep these intrinsic values in mind.
Keeping cultural differences in mind will ensure your products and marketing messages connect with the Canadian audience. This will also help you adhere to federal and provincial regulations for language and other essential information, such as product ingredients or general health and safety information.
Content Specialist and Taktical
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).
Posted: April 23, 2018. Updated: April 23, 2018.
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