In the Great White North, Go the Way the Snow Flies

Peter_Gardner_web101 Peter Gardner, Senior Partnership Architect & Insights Development

Canada is a winter nation. We are known far and wide as the land of ice and snow. Equal parts ice, equal parts snow. But in the world of sponsorship, brands tend to be one dimensional when it comes to their winter portfolio. For the major players in sponsorship in this country winter means hockey and, yes, more hockey. From grassroots to the NHL, sponsors spend the winter trying to stick handle around one another to find a new take on Canada’s national pastime. Now, I’m not anti-hockey, and I understand why brands do this – just look at how these brands have leveraged their hockey assets. I just think that there is a lot to be gained from diversifying that portfolio and exploring the other side of winter.

Take mountain resorts as an example. As the snow starts to fly, many of our world-class resorts are getting set for opening weekend, and millions of Canadians are starting to think about and plan their ski vacation. Now, I know “millions” may read like hyperbole, but it’s not. From our research we know that roughly 1 in 4 Canadians aged 12+ is what we like to call a “Mountain Enthusiast” – that is, a mountain-bound consumer that spends disposable time and money recreating at mountain resorts.

Not only is there a huge base of these consumers in Canada, but our research also shows that they are a highly desirable audience for sponsors. Compared to non-Mountain Enthusiasts, they are significantly more affluent (higher education, more likely to be a manager/owner/ professional, higher average household income), and have children under 18 at home (Charlton Strategic Research Inc, 2013). We also know they are passionate about the outdoors and active living, and significantly more likely to recommend products to others, consider themselves brand loyal, and are more eager to try new products and services (Charlton Strategic Research Inc, 2013).

As an affluent and influential group that is receptive to sponsorship, engaging Mountain Enthusiasts through marketing partnerships can be a great way for brands to connect with a massive set of Canadians while they pursue their passion in a far less cluttered environment.

Taking an even closer look at skiers and snowboarders in Canada, we know they are positively influenced by sponsorship, tend to be early adopters, and are extremely media and tech savvy (Repucom, 2015). They are also considered cultural consumers interested in music festivals, film, art and museums, and travel (Repucom, 2015). Just take a look at some of the numbers below.

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So whether it’s this winter or next. Think about how you might be able to grow your business with both snow and ice. After all, there’s plenty of both in the land of the north.