Rebrands do not always have to result in a completely new name. Sometimes the best name is the one you currently have with some minor updates to refine your message. So long as the rebranding decision is made with sound judgement, concluding a naming project with a similar name is not necessarily a failure. This is something Canada recently experienced with its foreign investment program.
A process that started in 2017, Canada embarked on a rigorous business naming process to rebrand its foreign investment program to grab the attention of foreign investors. Francois-Philippe Champagne – the International Trade Minister – said the current name for the foreign investment program did not resonate with international audiences. The country hired a naming firm, reportedly spent $24,000 with this firm, and ended up changing the tagline from INVEST IN CANADA HUB to INVEST IN CANADA.
Francois-Philippe Champagne said “[t]hrough a series of brainstorming exercises, benchmarking, focus testing, and official languages and trademark queries, a series of names were generated and refined.” 2,000 words were tossed around, and while INVEST IN CANADA was not new, the name followed the same convention used by most countries seen as Canada’s competitors for foreign investment. Two names that made the short list, but were ultimately passed up were CANADA GLOBAL and ENCORE CANADA.
The article does not identify in what countries the trademark searches took place, but we assume that the United States is one country that was searched in part because Canada has registered various trademarks in the United States before for a variety of promotional services. There is no reason to expect the same would not be true for its foreign investment program. However, CANADA never registered the name INVEST IN CANADA HUB despite launching the program in the fall of 2016.
Sometimes, delays in federally registering a trademark can result in significant, negative consequences especially if the marketing plan involves nationwide promotion of the services. We have talked before about common law or unregistered trademark rights being geographically limited, and how a federal trademark registrant can freeze the senior user to that geographic location.
Since BOB is a trademark search engine, we had to see if Canada will have a problem protecting INVEST IN CANADA for promoting foreign investment. You can see the trademark search we conducted by clicking HERE.