27 SEP. 2018
Going Deeper Than the Buzz: Canada Goose, Your Sherpa for Daily Exposure
Project Coordinator, Vancouver
Canada Goose, the Canadian manufacturer renowned for its winter clothing and luxury appeal, has been gaining traction internationally including recent announcements to enter the China market. In addition to gaining popularity, the brand is also expanding its product lines to include accessories and knitwear.
What will these actions mean for Canada Goose’s brand positioning? Let’s use the 4 facets of brand positioning to uncover the strengths and plot the evolutions of this reputable family brand.
TRUTH (what?): Made for Extreme Weather
Canada Goose is well-known for its functional and high-quality garments that keep you warm during the winter season. Their signature winter jackets are made from natural materials and importantly, made in Canada.
With authenticity as a core value of the brand, Canada Goose opted to keep production of its jackets in Canada despite the higher costs. The Canadian-ness of the brand brings credibility to the product: if the jacket is made in one of the coldest places on Earth, it should keep anyone warm in almost any place, even the North and South poles.
Indeed, the famous Expedition Parka was originally developed for scientists working in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, allowing them to work in the harsh and extreme weather. Afterwards it became an (un)official "uniform" for scientists, climbers, and film crews, which further reinforced the publicity and benefit of the jackets.
Canada Goose has now expanded into raingear, accessories and knitwear. While each of these offerings needs to stand for itself, there is undoubtedly a halo effect of the strong track record of their iconic jackets.
Canada Goose's Instagram
VISION (why?): Equipping Everyday Heroes
The vision of Canada Goose brand is to equip people on explorations and adventures in any environment they choose, including inhospitable ones. Nowhere is too cold or too challenging when you are well equipped and comforted by a high-quality garment. If you aren’t climbing mountains or braving the Antarctic, you can indulge in Canada Goose as a luxury product knowing you will be warm, protected, and part of an elite. Functionality is at the core- Canada Goose aims to be non-trendy, utilitarian and simple while it empowers the adventurous.
"We have turned down offers to do women’s jackets that include more frivolous details or design features. We really don’t see ourselves as a fashion brand.” - CEO Dani Reiss
OCCASION (who?): Facing Harsh Conditions
The occasion is the moment and place a brand anchors itself in. For Canada Goose, it is gradually shifting from its original occasion of keeping researchers and film crews warm in the Arctic, towards ambitious yet everyday people who want to be protected against harsh weather conditions in daily life. In visiting the Canada Goose website or Instagram page, we can still see harsh conditions such as climbing mountains and surviving in rainforests showcased alongside an image of luxury lifestyle. The occasion for Canada Goose brand has likely contributed to its success: as CEO Reiss explains, warmth and protection from the elements are emotional experiences, which makes Canada Goose an emotional brand.
PERSONALITY (how?): The Sherpa
Just like a Sherpa on whom you can rely and whose mission is make a challenging exploration a bit safer, so does Canada Goose with its expertise: the brand protects you against any harsh elements you might come across, and acts as a shelter in various unfriendly environments, be it the cold, the rain, or the wind.
Canada Goose's Instagram
There are two recent brand actions by Canada Goose that have generated buzz and can be analyzed in light of the 4 facets. Firstly, there is their international expansions including into China. This move is consistent with the brand vision and personality- exploring into new territory to equip people for the conditions of daily life.
Second is their expansion into knitwear, which was undertaken as a result of customer requests. In general offering knitwear is still aligned with the brand positioning since it’s keeping people warm and comfortable. But the company has been challenged for sourcing its knitwear from Italy to ensure top quality, while it touts its coats as made in Canada. It is hard to say whether this is a challenge to the brand’s value of authenticity, or if it supports it, as they are staying true to best in class garments even if that means going beyond its Canadian home. Going forward Canada Goose will need to carefully consider its product extensions, as anything they offer should still emphasize protection from extreme environments. Clothing or accessories for a mild summer day, for example, would not fit.
All in all, Canada Goose is a brand that facilitates your challenging journey and will make you feel comfortable inside and out.