Do you love Canada? Don’t be afraid to let it show on your signage. A Canadian theme can help you achieve a better brand image and a more welcoming storefront.
Here is an open marketing secret that has been known since the Second World War: patriotism sells. Just as sexy images evoke longing and happiness, patriotic images evoke pride and civic virtues. Among the civic virtues are kindness, generosity, community, and selflessness, all of which inspire people to support local retailers.
Patriotic advertising can sometimes be over-the-top, garish, and disrespectful. For example, far too many companies have tried to take advantage of wars to sell products. However, if you show some restraint, you can both show genuine love and respect for your country while still increasing your profits.
A Welcoming Environment
A great side benefit of a Canadian flag is that it indicates that you identify as Canadian, and will be welcoming to all Canadians. This can be especially useful if you lived in a very diverse neighborhood.
Flags and Positives
Every country has both negative and positive aspects, even great countries like Canada. As a business owner, your job is to always focus on the positive. Stick to neutral patriotic images, like the flag, photos of old hockey games, or portraits of early Prime Ministers. Don’t reference any history of the last 30 years. A photo of Paul Martin or Stephen Harper is an invitation for an argument with your clients.
Kitsch is Good
Corny jokes are always a good thing. Even if they’re groaners, people will still read and remember them. Jokes that reinforce patriotism, like “You know you’re Canadian when” jokes, are especially good for business. Canadiana takes the edge off any joke, and builds goodwill and common identity with potential customers.
Timing is Everything
It is a good idea to keep up some Canadiana all year long. However, it can also be a good idea to go full-on patriotic near major Canada-themed holidays, like Canada Day and Remembrance Day. This is for two main reasons:
- Near these holidays, people are particularly receptive to patriotic imagery. Customers are more likely to reward businesses who show support and pride for their country.
- These holidays are basically a “free pass” to be as garishly patriotic as possible. Customers might think a full-window Canada flag in a storefront is a bit much most of the year, but not near Canada Day or Remembrance Day.
In general, positive patriotic imagery helps improve your image. People walking by your store for the first time are forming an opinion of you. Ordinarily, they are working from scratch, trying to build an idea of you based on the fact that you are a “stranger.” However, if you have patriotic imagery, they will instead build an image of you based on the fact that you are a “fellow citizen.”