Ot­tawa spends $24K on re­brand­ing ‘In­vest in Canada Hub’ to ‘In­vest in Canada’


OT­TAWA — The fed­eral Lib­eral gov­ern­ment em­barked on an ex­haus­tive cre­ative process and spent $24,000 to hire a con­sul­tant to help re­brand its new in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion body to grab the at­ten­tion of for­eign in­vestors.

In the end, they changed the name of their “In­vest in Canada Hub” to “In­vest in Canada.”

The gov­ern­ment’s “rig­or­ous busi­ness nam­ing process” started in 2017 to deal with in­ter­nal con­cerns that the of­fi­cial ti­tle would fail to give the or­ga­ni­za­tion a fresh start at its launch, ac­cord­ing to a brief­ing note ob­tained by The Cana­dian Press.

In ad­di­tion to wor­ries the name failed to set Canada apart from the pack, there were reser­va­tions about the word “Hub.”

“While the leg­is­la­tion pro­vides the le­gal name, the In­vest in Canada Hub was not seen as res­onat­ing with in­ter­na­tional au­di­ences as ‘Hub’ is typ­i­cally a word asso­ciated with in­no­va­tion and not in­vest­ment,” said the memo, pre­pared last De­cem­ber for In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Fran­coisPhilippe Cham­pagne.

“Through a se­ries of brain­storm­ing ex­er­cises, bench­mark­ing, fo­cus test­ing, and of­fi­cial lan­guages and trade­mark queries, a se­ries of names were gen­er­ated and re­fined.”

Cham­pagne, who made the fi­nal choice from two op­tions, of­fi­cially un­veiled the or­ga­ni­za­tion un­der its new ti­tle in March.

Ot­tawa first an­nounced the In­vest in Canada Hub in the fall of 2016, promis­ing $218 mil­lion over five years to cre­ate it. The goal is to lure global in­vest­ment and sim­plify the process for in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses to make Canada their new home.

The doc­u­ment said Ot­tawa hired a cre­ative agency for about $24,000 to as­sist in the nam­ing ef­fort, tossed around 2,000 words in search of ideas, wrote a long list of sug­ges­tions and con­sulted more than 125 stake­hold­ers in­side and out­side gov­ern­ment on the pos­si­bil­i­ties. Cham­pagne’s ul­ti­mate se­lec­tion wasn’t the No. 1 op­tion gen­er­ated by the process, the doc­u­ment says. The top rec­om­men­da­tion was “Canada Global.”

A “ma­jor draw­back” of In­vest in Canada was that it wasn’t new, the doc­u­ment said. The name fol­lowed the con­ven­tion used by most coun­tries seen as Canada’s com­peti­tors for for­eign in­vest­ment — from In­vest in Italy to In­vest in Spain.

“(It) does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate Canada as unique,” said the note, ob­tained un­der the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act.

The memo said the pre­ferred English name was In­vest Canada, but since the ac­cept­able cor­re­spond­ing French ver­sion would be “In­ve­stir au Canada,” the trans­la­tion needed “in.”

“This es­sen­tially brings the process back to the same name that has been used over (the) past 10+ years,” it said.

Canada Global, on the other hand, was viewed as a choice that would help Canada stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion, par­tic­u­larly from ProMex­ico and Se­lect USA.

“A strong name for an in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency, al­low­ing for a broad in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing ap­proach,” the memo said of Canada Global.

Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne

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