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Just one Canadian company among top 10 brands in the country: survey

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Tim Hortons is the lone Canadian company to crack the top 10 most influential brands in the country, according to a new survey by the Association of Canadian Advertisers and Ipsos.

The Restaurant Brands International-owned (QSR.TO) coffee and donuts chain climbed six spots in 2018 to claim the number 10 rank on the list dominated by U.S. technology companies. Ipsos questioned 6,700 Canadians in October 2018.

Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) Google remained in first place for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Amazon Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Facebook Inc. (FB), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), YouTube, Visa Inc. (V), Netflix Inc. (NFLX), and Walmart Inc. (WMT).

“Brands that have experienced challenges, like Tim Hortons, can and do bounce back if they focus on addressing the right issues,” Ipsos chief operating officer Steve Levy wrote in a news release.

The Tim Hortons brand, long associated with wholesome Canadiana, has been tarnished in recent years by bitter disputes between franchisees and head office, as well as backlash over the company’s handling of a minimum wage hike in Ontario.

The company’s iconic Roll Up The Rim contest is the latest source of controversy for the company. A Change.org petition launched by three young Calgarians is calling for Tim Hortons to use the contest as an opportunity to encourage customers to use reusable mugs.

Tim Hortons has introduced online alternatives to rolling up the rim of their paper cups in order to participate. However, prizes on the company’s app have been limited to coffee and doughnuts, excluding larger rewards like cars.

The Change.org petition has amassed over 100,000 endorsements. Dalhousie University food policy professor Sylvain Charlebois thinks Tim Hortons should take the hint if it wants to curry favour with younger consumers.

“Buying countless paper cups with plastic lids isn’t acceptable anymore, especially for younger customers, specifically Generation Z and Millennials,” he wrote in a recent blog. “They mostly see the internet, or apps, as a viable, easy alternative to any physical aspects of a marketing campaign.”

A recent global survey of nearly 30,000 consumers by the consulting firm Accenture found 55 per cent of respondents prefer purpose-led companies that share their beliefs, and avoid those that don’t. Fifty-two per cent said they want companies to take a stand on social issues.

“Canada’s most influential brands march to their own drums,” Levy wrote. “Only those that strike the right balance between trustworthiness, engagement, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and presence will truly make an impact with consumers.”

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