Brand alignment at Canadian Tire creates a strong purpose to attract new hires

A well-defined and focused brand can not only present value to consumers, it can help guide staff as well. At the latest “Store” convention held by the Retail Council of Canada, Susan O’Brien, chief brand and customer officer for Canadian Tire Corp., talked about how far-reaching the effects of a good brand strategy can be.

“Even staff can take pride that’s fostered when they’re involved in your brand,” she told the audience of retail representatives from across the country.

Through COVID, Canadian Tire faced challenges along with the rest of the retail community, but its high profile among Canadians made it more vulnerable to criticism. For example, when its website crashed in the early days of the lockdowns, the news made the newspapers. But despite store closures and efforts to keep its people safe, Canadian Tire found money for COVID response and for investing in local communities.

As for the inward-facing benefits, a strong brand message makes what your company stands for clearer to potential new hires. “Sixty-seven percent of employees expect their company to have a higher purpose,” O’Brien said, citing the results of the “Edelman Trust Barometer.”

“Embracing our brand purpose will transform our entire organization.”

On Nov. 22, 2021, O’Brien and Canadian Tire CEO Greg Hicks presented the new branding to the entire staff: “We are here to make life in Canada better.” The statement requires melding a company’s purpose with the need to make money and grow sales, but together these ideas make a company better, said O’Brien.

“Being there for Canadians isn’t just part of our brand. It is our brand,” she stressed.