This is somewhat of an aside, but I think it’s worth noting because it really struck a chord with me.
Manulife Indonesia were gracious enough to be sponsors of Junior Team Canada’s trade mission to Indonesia this year and we were lucky enough (and perhaps gracious enough depending on your confidence level) to learn about their company and operations in Indonesia. Personally, I found the event amazing. We were given an inside look into the many facets and operational departments of Manulife and were reached out to on problems a Canadian company was having in Indonesia.
As someone heavily immersed in the marketing industry, I found what Manulife Indonesia was going through was absolutely fascinating. Beyond the new product offerings of the company or talent retention issues that plague the industry, I was blown away by the unique position they had been placed in. Despite having been here for decades, the company has found itself in a position where it is able to begin their brand anew and reboot their image to the Indonesian people. Without getting into the details of the matter, one of the most exciting things to see is when a new company enters a market and decides what its brand will be and how that brand acts as a living breathing creature. However, Manulife is not new to the market.
According to market research data, their brand is hovering around neutral. This means that the company is essentially able to reboot their image and become whatever they want, while still having the safety net of being an established company and brand. It’s perhaps slightly akin to Don Draper developing the Lucky Strikes campaign on season 1 of Mad Men. I may be the only one, but I find this situation, especially for a Canadian company, to be extremely interesting. This is especially true when you consider Canadian companies (and to extent, their people) have a history of being unable to compete effectively (or even decide to enter) the international sphere.
I’m just glad there are programs like Junior Team Canada out there that are developing this international perspective that is necessary for the next generation of leaders to change the world’s perception of our company, as well as the culture that exists in Canadian business. In some ways Canada is in the same position as Manulife Indonesia. I know the leadership team at Manulife Indonesia are dedicated to building the business in a sustainable manner and have the utmost confidence in their ability to make a splash in the country. In the same way, I feel like my fellow members in Junior Team Canada are also helping to build the brand of Canada and changing people’s perception about what Canada is all about in the international community.
The ball is in our court as to how people will perceive Canada as a whole. I’m confident we can make a mark for Canada.