In 2016 Susan O’Brien was named SVP, marketing and corporate affairs for Canadian Tire. At that time she was given a prime objective, make CTC’s family of stores the number one retail brand in the country by 2022, which coincidently is going to be the company’s 100th anniversary.
The overall strategy to reach this goal has meant a lot of rethinking of not just what is being done with the brand but also how things are being done, including the composition of teams, whether it made sense to launch a new, all store encompassing loyalty program and a majour investment in big data to better understand the overall customer experience. This year has finally been what she has called “the accumulation of things" Canadian Tires now feels like it has reached a point of being customer centric.
All this hard work is also starting to be recognized externally. The Leger survey of 30,000 Canadians named Canadian Tire the “most admired brand” in the country, beating global brand behemoths like Google and Amazon.
For anyone familiar with Canadian Tire the one thing that you think of is Canadian Tire money. It's been around a long, long time and is still a hugely popular item with customers and why a lot of people stay loyal to the brand. As a result, part of the new loyalty and credit card program was focused on the best possible way to digitize Canadian Tire Money and bring it up to date. Today, the program’s overall awareness is 52% nationwide.
Digitizing the program was about more than just modernization. Canadian Tire's marketing team talks a lot about ‘one company, one customer,’ and a single loyalty program helps in-force that. Triangle rewards has become the foundation of Canadian Tire's strategy for the future – making sure they understand the customer and able to deliver value beyond a single retail brand.
Beyond Canadian Tire's loyalty program, promotion has also been overhauled. Canadian Tire had really strong data and analytics informing its flyers, but it wasn’t using that across all of the other stores. They had all the data they needed but it was a mess. Cleaning that data up to find real insights was the step that was most critical to it's next phase of evolution, and they have done just that. Take Canadian Tire’s Big Red Weekend promotions, which are now making use of cross-store data to change its ad strategy. Formerly relying on paper flyers with some supporting mass advertising, the program teams now dive deep into customer data across all banners to find who has spent money at these events in the past, and re-markets to this same segment. This has allowed the team to be better informed on how they spend money with Facebook and Google.
So has Canadian Tire become Canada's #1 brand? Not yet, but they are getting close and based on the recent trends, they could in-fact reach their goal a few years early.