05 DEC 2017: Brand USA’s choice of a Canadian director, backed up by a New Zealand firm’s Chicago based company to represent them in Canada, was not well received by the Canadian industry. We conveyed these concerns to Brand USA and asked Cathleen Domanico, vice president, Global Trade Development for Brand USA, if she could elaborate on the reasons Brand USA made the choices they did.

Domanico did not specifically address the issues of the non-Canadian company, nor the qualifications of their choice of director, but she did respond, “Above all else, the decision we made regarding representation was one we took seriously, and as such, much time and effort went into the process. As with any market where Brand USA has a presence, our in-market representation teams (whether provided through a firm, a regional director, or a combination thereof) serve as extensions of the Brand USA headquarters office for engagement with the travel trade, media, potential marketing partners, and US mission staff.

“We are confident that working together with our headquarters team, TimeZoneOne and Karly Melo, as our in-market director, will help us continue to achieve our objectives and goals by helping us to implement our strategies related to the travel trade and product development, consumer public relations, consumer marketing, digital and social media, and partner marketing and strategic alliances.”

Domanico said Canada continues to be a critical market to Brand USA in its mission to increase tourism to the USA.

“Our holistic marketing efforts include a variety of marketing disciplines, across paid and owned media.” Domanico told us in an email, noting, “we will continue to enhance our marketing efforts throughout Canada by adding new and exciting programs and activities. As our needs in-market continue to evolve and grow, we will be looking for other partnerships with a variety of organizations in the travel trade and the media.”

Canadians will continue to cross the border as they have always done, and the industry at large, while badly disillusioned by the choices made, will ultimately continue to promote and sell the US - that is a given.

But Brand USA has not done itself any favours here in Canada by making the choices it did, nor have they offered any reasons for doing so. If this is the conclusion, it can only be considered less than satisfactory.

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