Tim Hortons

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PROFILE: CANADIAN MARKETING EXCELLENCE
It began as a one-store shop in Hamilton in 1964 founded by legendary hockey player Tim Horton. By 1967, there were three Tim Hortons stores open for business under the first successful franchisee, Ron Joyce (who currently serves as chairman emeritus of the TDL Group). Since then, Tim Hortons has grown to 2527 stores (2343 in Canada, 184 in the United States) and over US$800 million in revenue. With a 13-year cumulative average growth in sales of 7.1 percent in Canada and 17.5 percent in the United States, Tim Hortons is one very successful coffee and doughnut shop. How this local operation turned into an international franchise company and a major Canadian cultural icon, with a rapidly expanding U.S. presence, has everything to do with a very well-planned and carefully executed marketing strategy.

Tim Hortons’ core strategy is the reason for its success. On its most basic level, the Tim Hortons’ marketing team has created a brand that represents an idealized image of the Canadian national character: friendly, neighbourly, unpretentious, gently playful, frugal, trustworthy, and clean. The company measures everything it does against this list of brand values. “In everything we do, we’ve always focused on the concept of being that friendly, unpretentious, good neighbour you’d want living down the block from you,” says Cathy Whelan Molloy, TDL’s vice-president of brand advertising and merchandising. It also uses extensive customer and franchisee surveys, and other consumer research, to make sure its products, service, and communications fit the ideals. Furthermore, the organization has shown unwavering commitment to this vision and strategy for over 30 years. Tim Hortons has executed this core strategy through many years of innovative marketing campaigns. It was one of the first Canadian organizations to tap into the benefits of sports marketing. Its first stores were painted blue and white to capitalize on the fame of Tim...
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