Live blogging Andrea Mandel-Campbell at Canadian Public Relations Society 08 National Conference

I’m going to try CoverItLive this morning to live blog Andrea Mandel-Campbell ‘s session at the CPRS08 national conference. So, if it works, you should be able to see my notes live blog notes below.

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Andrea-Mandel-Campbell (06/10/2008) 
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Mandel-Campbell is the author of Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson.
She is always surprised about how we see our country and the rest of the world see us.
Canada is a trade reliant country. We are “price takers.” Not a great position to be in.
Canadian corporate icons Alcan, Dofasco, Inco, Algoma and Falconbridge were all founded and funded by Americans.
Why don’t Mexicans drink Molson? It’s about the ambition we have for ourselves, our country and our children. Molson was content to focus on the Canadian market and failed to expand aggressively into the world.
Molson is representative of Canada. Molson was the oldest brewery in North America. A company so powerful it had its own bank. Known for a high quality product. And today, it doesn’t really exist. As a result of the Molson Coors merger, all the senior execs now reside in Colorado.
Even Andrew Molson himself acknowledges that the Montreal headquarters of Molson has been hollowed out.
Contrast this with Heineken – which has expanded globally. Or Mexico, which imports barley from Canada to brew its beer. Yet, Corona, considered a substandard beer in Mexico, is sold in over 100 countries around the world.
Two reasons for Molson’s (Canada’s) failure: 1) They never invested in the brand. 2) They never had a global ambition.
Ontario is the most profitable beer market in the world – because the government provided Molson and Labatt with a regulated virtual duopoly.
The Canadian brewers failed to plow their profits into business expansion because they lacked a global vision. Things were too comfortable at home. And while Canadians looked inward, the global industry expanded and consolidated around them. When Molson finally woke up and tried to expand into Brazil, they lacked the skills for global expansion, failed and ultimately had to seel the company to Coors.
This is a pattern that repeats over and over in Canada.
This problem has been replicated across industries. In all the sectors in which we are rich in natual and human resources. Forestry. Oil. Grains. Banks. Our companies are dwarfed and simply don’t figure in the world as significant brands.
When Canadians make the excuse that we are a small country and that we shouldn’t expect to be able to grow world beaters, we are demonstrating the national psyche that has led to our current circumstance as global also-rans.
Mandel-Campbell sees us as being “skimmers.” We take advantage of the natural wealth of our country. But because this is so abundant, we haven’t really learned how to go beyond the easy to product results. So, we haven’t really learned how to be world-class competitors.
Canadians are paying a price for this complacency. We are slipping in our relative standard of living. Our companies are being outpaced by globalizing companies from other countries no larger than us.
In Canada, instead of focusing on our advantages – natural resources, human capital, access to U.S. markets, we too often focus on the “limitations” – a too small population spread across vast distances.
Our corporate and competitive failure is particularly egregious when you consider our abundant riches.
Canadians also are not very good salespeople. We fail to make the most of our successes when we do have them.
Canadian must learn that we can be successful and tout our success in a confident and assertive way – without sacrificing those national traits we are proud of.
8:23 [Poll]
Do you agree with Andrea Mandel-Campbell’s contention about the reasons for Canada’s failure to compete globally?

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Mandel-Campbell’s bottom line: “Canadian succeed when they dare. All that’s missing is the dare.”
Government regulation has played a huge role in this. It’s no accident that our well-known successes such as Cirque de Soleil and Research in Motion are in unregulated sectors. “When you regulate and protect a sector, they become lazy because they don’t have to work very hard.” Look at banks. If you can get the kind of return that you do in Canada, there’s no incentive to compete in markets where you’ll have to work harder for thinner returns. And this contributes to a psychology in which Canadians come to believe that we aren’t good enough to compete internationally.