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Originally posted on August 23rd, 2010.
In an organization’s lifetime, there will always be a period when it thinks about expanding its offer to a new market. Quebec and the French Canadian market are often a new target. Keep in mind that it’s a different market then the United States, or even the rest of Canada. You will need to adapt your marketing strategies to reflect those differences. Here are things to consider when launching a new product on the French Canadian market, specifically in the Province of Quebec.
1 – Opportunities
Is there really an opportunity for your product or service or is there plenty of good offers already available? When Virgin Mobile launched its services in Montreal, it didn’t make the hit the company thought it would. Simply because there were about 6 other organizations offering similar products. Those corporations were already into the marketshare and had strong marketing strategies. This situation placed Virgin Mobile as a secondary player on the telecommunication providers industry.
2 – Location, and weather
Get to know the place where you plan to launch your product/service. Chase bank did it pretty well in San Francisco with their billboard ads saying: “If you can’t spot a Chase Bank, it’s probably the fog”. It focused well on the location’s weather and hit the target. In Quebec, weather is of good consideration. Don’t launch a winter campaign with a video taking place during summertime (unless selling a vacation package). You’ll get calls from angry customers…
3 – Language
Well, that’s self-explanatory. If you are addressing the French Canadian market, you have to speak in French. But not only French: French Canadian, which has a different accent than the French from France. Expressions are not used the same way. For example, the AAA billboard in the SF Bay Area said: “AAA really has my back”. This, translated literally in French, means the opposite of what it means in English…
4 – Laws
In Quebec, where over 80% of French Canadian resides, French is the only official language. Bill 101 states that French has to be the most prominent language used for everything, including signs and advertising. So forget advertising in English for the English-speakers living in Montreal, or you could end up with a heafty fine.
5 – Political history
Is your logo red? Or blue? If so, your marketing campaign could make an outcry. Those two colors refers to the colors used in two flags: Quebec is blue, Canada is red. Patriots don’t exists only in New England. Learn more about the history on this link.
6 – Culture
The French Canadians have a different culture than the rest of Canada. Their ideology is more similar to what you’ll find in Europe, even if it is blended with the American influence. This culture makes the French Canadian market a unique market that has to be treated differently.
Good luck with launching your new product/service on this market!