Headspace says it knows what Québec consumers want

Toronto agency Headspace Marketing has published a study on the “emotional buttons that get Québec consumers to buy” with the aim of helping marketers better adapt their English marketing messages to la belle province. Partnering with David Saffran Consulting on the first edition of the What Québec Wants survey (which the agency wants to publish […]

Toronto agency Headspace Marketing has published a study on the “emotional buttons that get Québec consumers to buy” with the aim of helping marketers better adapt their English marketing messages to la belle province.

Partnering with David Saffran Consulting on the first edition of the What Québec Wants survey (which the agency wants to publish annually), Headspace surveyed more than 3,000 adults living in Canada and compared those findings with a matching study sample of Québec residents.

“I’ve been working in advertising in Toronto for 30 years, and for 30 years I’ve been asked if Quebec was different, if it was worth the investment, and I’ve heard a lot of clichés,” said explains Eric Blais, Headspace president. “Jacques Bouchard’s 36 keys to Quebecers are 40 years old now, and were more an ethnographic approach. We wanted to update the knowledge, and quantify it.

“There is an interest in the rest of Canada for everything that [concerns] Quebec, but it doesn’t always transfer into investment,” Blais said. “Marketers don’t always have resources and time to think about their brand presence or strategy there. Our goal with this study is to help them understand what strong points they can exploit to be more relevant in Quebec.”

So what distinguishes the Quebec market from the rest of the country? The study identifies five ‘”heartstrings” or “emotional hot buttons” it says Quebecers identify with more strongly than other Canadians – attitudes that marketers can leverage.

1. Living in the moment
The old adage “live for today, for tomorrow may never come” is embraced by Quebecers. They seize the day and give less thought to the future. “That explains, among other examples, why they save up less than [other Canadians] and count more on the state to take care of the elderly,” said Blais.

2. Chez nous
Quebecers’ sense of place is central to their identity. They’re closer to home, to the land and to people like them. They’ll enthusiastically support all that reinforces their local pride. “This one might sound self-centered, but it’s true of a lot of minorities,” said Blais. Latin Americans, for example, “protect their traditions, their language, and are proud of their heritage and people.”

3. Joyful living
It’s the proverbial “joie de vivre” that compels Quebecers to seek pleasure in all aspects of their lives. Quebecers typically take this joyful approach to life to more intense levels than other Canadians. They want to live experiences more fully, and are more adventurous.

4. All about me
Quebecers look after number one. This makes them ask “what’s in it for me.” It’s a trait that may make them appear self-centered at times, but it’s also what makes them relentless at getting what they want. “For example, they give less to charities than other Canadians, but they give to causes that are close to them, locally.”

5. Life, uncomplicated
Citizens of la belle province want to keep things simple, short and sweet to help reduce complexity in their lives. They seek simplicity in everything and will reward those who deliver simpler solutions.
”Of course, these connectors aren’t exclusive to Quebec: wanting things to be simple is universal, what we say is that, in Quebec, it’s more important than in the rest of Canada,” a 12.9% difference, said Blais.

Headspace tracked how Quebecers rated a series of statements related to these “heartstring” sentiments, contrasting them with comparative views from the rest of Canada (ROC). The chart below indicates the difference between Quebec and ROC’s stated values.

But do all marketers have to adapt their strategy and message for Quebec’s market? Absolutely not, said Blais. ”The idea is not to rephrase your offer or completely change strategy for Quebec, but to communicate it so it resonates more. Also, some campaigns already refer to one of the five connectors. For example, Apple ads for iPad show what you can do with the tablet in a really simple way, there is no need to change the message.”

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