Metro, Saputo and Loblaws among Canada's best brands

The most influential brands in the country, ranked by the only metric that matters—the respect of average Canadians

Canadian Business has chosen 25 of Canada's most influential brands, ranked by the only metric that really matters: the respect of average Canadians. This is not merely a list of the best-known brands in Canada. It’s also a list of the companies that best connect with their customers. The chosen companies are shaking up everything from retail to travel, with Mountain Equipment Co-op topping the list. We've singled out the food and grocery companies that have made their mark on the rankings. Click here for the full list of Canada’s 25 best brands, as chosen by Canadian Business. JEAN COUTU(#20) Nowhere can a brand become an institution like it can in Quebec. And although Jean Coutu’s business isn’t confined to that province, that’s certainly where its power comes from. Being a fixture of daily life for millions there has given Jean Coutu the incumbency of a senate seat. Predictably, it’s also made them a target. Promotions and discounts have been their key defenses, so far, but those things can be hard on a brand over time. MCCAIN FOODS (#19) McCain Foods remains a Rorschach for branding pundits. Do we admire them because they’re an international success with operations in 160 countries? Or do we admire the irony-free family values that eternally radiate from its marketing? Maybe we just want to live in a world where a wholesome storyline like that can make you a multi-billion-dollar frozen food business. The best Canadian brands validate us, and that, more than anything, is what McCain is doing here. METRO (#16) Not that long ago, grocery retail was a stale commodity in central Canada. Dominant brands were generations old, and there weren’t many of them. Metro has been a player in changing all that. Sure, we like its quality and its focus on food, but Metro’s real advantage has been that it’s fresh and new, and it’s helped make grocery shopping feel like shopping again. The challenge ahead for this brand will be surviving its own familiarity. SAPUTO (#15) Behind this sweetly naive brand stands a global dairy giant with $10 billion in sales, and that’s probably what this impressive ranking is really all about. Saputo’s stature owes a lot to smart corporate dealing right now, and Canadians like seeing the home team win globally. But Saputo can’t afford to let boardroom ambition distract them from making good food. Based on their strong quality score, it’s a mistake they aren’t making. CANADIAN TIRE (#13) It was one of the first retailers to distribute e-flyers in the 1990s, but that kind of forward thinking doesn’t gather much cred with Canadians. Instead, take a peek in our shopping baskets: That we now stop in for everything from floor polish to furniture suggests Canadian Tire may be getting right what Target got so wrong, giving us the home-grown mass merchandiser we needed all along. LOBLAWS (#9) What’s impressive about Loblaws is not that they’re on the list, but that they’re still on the list. They revolutionized the grocery category in Canada, but that was decades ago. That a grocer has maintained a place in Canadians’ hearts, despite skyrocketing food prices and handing off pitchman duties to CEO Galen G. Weston, speaks to the power of quality products and services. Indeed, that’s exactly where they excelled in our survey. SHOPPERS DRUG MART (#6) When judging brands, consumers ignore the corporate Game of Thrones and rely instead on their own experience. Shoppers Drug Mart is a prime example. Canadians shrugged off its 2013 acquisition by Loblaws, and endorsed Shoppers’ quest to become the Canadian Tire for the human body as manifest destiny. Shoppers’ paradigm-busting decision to sell food gave pundits fits, but customers just accepted it as adding value to a shopping routine they’d long since come to trust. How we rank: The list of the 25 Best Brands in Canada is the result of a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,868 Canadians by Rogers Consumer Insights Team. Performed online in May 2015, the poll seeks opinions on five key aspects of a company’s reputation (the quality of its products and/or services; its customer service; its commitment to innovation; community involvement; and also, the person’s overall view of the brand) from individuals who profess familiarity with the brands. The individual results are then compiled, based on a weighted ranking of the responses, into a single score for each brand. In order to be considered for the list, a brand must have originated in Canada, have a broad consumer profile and have a significant presence in two or more regions across the country. This article first appeared on

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