Iconic Canadian Brands: 5 Questions With Canada Goose CMO Jackie Poriadjian-Asch

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Canada Goose knitwear 2017

As temperatures start to drop and winter jackets come out of storage, Canada Goose’s iconic logo and down-filled apparel remain a common sight on commuters and outdoors enthusiasts worldwide. The cold weather apparel brand, which was founded as an outfitter in 1957 in Toronto, this year was named one of the Interbrand 150: Iconic Canadian Brands. From innovating on timeless classics such as the parka to introducing knitwear and expanding its retail footprint beyond its homeland, Canada Goose is continuing to grow as an apparel and retail tastemaker as it turns 60 this year.

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that craftsmanship—real, authentic craftsmanship—takes time. After 3 years of exploration and steadfast dedication, we’re proud to share our Knitwear collection with the world. Shop Knitwear via in bio. #KnitWithPurpose

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It’s also expanding via co-branded partnerships including successful collaborations with Vetements, Drake’s OVO (October’s Very Own) and Opening Ceremony to “introduce exclusive new styles that leverage our iconic silhouettes and to authentically speak to a broader segment of the marketplace,” as CEO Dani Reiss stated on its recent quarterly earnings call.

Jackie Poriadjian-AschJackie Poriadjian-Asch (right), Canada Goose’s Chief Marketing Officer, shares the brand’s rich heritage and bright future, international expansion and the role of brand ambassadors and the entertainment industry in a Q&A with Dawn Whiteman, Interbrand Canada’s Senior Director of Strategy:

Jackie, Canada Goose was named one of the Interbrand 150: Iconic Canadian brands as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations this year—which also marks the 60th anniversary of the brand. In your opinion, what makes Canada Goose iconic?

The Canada Goose parka is recognized for its iconic design that has come to symbolize warmth—it’s at once functionally impenetrable and timeless—and function never goes out of style.

On the eve of our anniversary, it’s hard not to reflect on how Canada Goose has been shaped by 60 winters. Born in the Arctic, worn in cities around the world—we have a very rich history and tradition.

The FW17 collection pays tribute to the brand’s 60th anniversary. How else is Canada Goose engaging with its history and tradition?

Like other icons, Canada Goose has also participated in many historic moments. For example, working with Laurie Skreslet to design a jacket to support his mission to be the first Canadian to summit Mt. Everest.

I attribute our long-standing tradition of staying true to our roots—while evolving to support consumers increasing lifestyle needs—as a key factor in how we’ve been able to maintain relevance and authenticity to allow it to deliver a truly iconic experience.

You’re opening new retail locations in Tokyo, Boston, Chicago, London and Calgary, as well as extending your e-commerce platform across “cold-weather markets” (Germany, Sweden, Austria, etc.) As you expand globally, what is your strategy for the Canada Goose experience?

We believe the consumer should be able to experience Canada Goose consistently across any channel they choose.

As craftsmen who put function first and regard quality above all else, our stores are designed as a destination for fans to experience the full product range not available anywhere else—to touch and feel its performance, its unparalleled comfort and warmth—and be personally guided through the journey by highly knowledgeable brand ambassadors.

Stories of the “Goose People” who have inspired the collections take you deeper in discovery, where store environments provide more subtle nods to where we come from—marble from Canadian quarries or local artisans’ work featured throughout, for example.

Online we work equally as hard to ensure that, throughout the journey, our consumers are able to experience the brand as well as the breadth and depth of our product. Here we’ve prioritized the customer service experience to ensure that to assist with as much passion and knowledge as our in-store teams.

The “Goose People” have become a core part of your ideology and are deeply rooted in your Canadian identity. What role do they play in customer engagement, and is this part of the strategy going to be successful in other markets?

Our Goose People are not a strategy but a reflection of Canada Goose’s core values. Goose People are a personification of our brand in many ways, giving us a greater ability to build a deeper connection with consumers.

For 60 years, we have been invited to share in the journeys of extraordinary individuals as they chart their own course, often requiring extreme physical as well as mental toughness and usually for a purpose far greater than themselves.

We’ve listened to them talk about their missions, craft gear to ensure we were able to support their needs, and join them on the emotional road to making dreams reality. When we tell their stories, it is to celebrate their journey as well as their achievements, and ultimately to inspire our audience to dream big and make real for them the idea that anything is possible.

Many of our earliest Goose People relationships that were forged at home in Canada. Now, as a global brand, we are very excited to continue to share stories of great men and women from all corners of the world.

Canada Goose has been tightly linked to the film and entertainment industry for crews and talent alike, and as a partner of the Toronto and Sundance film festivals. What role do these partnerships play in building your brand story?

As a brand that designs products that are function-first, the film community’s trust and reliance on us to deliver on our promise plays a critical role in our brand story.

Frankly, there’s no more compelling way to engage consumers with our unique value proposition than being put to the test – through the experiences of real people with real needs that are being met through the utility our jackets provide.

Over the past 30 years, that relationship has gradually moved from behind the scenes to on-camera. Costume departments seeking to authenticate scenes started casting Canada Goose as depicting harsher climates when warranted, and once talent had the opportunity to experience the jackets—the warmth and iconic design—they often took it home after production wrapped.

Canada Goose today is as relevant in the harsh conditions of the Arctic where it was born to the major cities around world where it is often worn. While we don’t participate in product placement of any kind, we are proud of our role within the film and entertainment and excited to be able to tell are brand story through a celebration of the community and their craft through partnerships with Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival.


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