The Imagine Education au/in Canada brand is the product of joint effort by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) and the provinces and territories through the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC).
The Imagine Education au/in Canada brand is intended to suggest that the high value of the Canadian educational experience is unrivalled. Essentially, the brand conveys a message of openness and supportiveness through the concept of "Empowered Idealism." Like those of our competitors, our education system is founded on quality, and our brand aims to convince international students that the quality of a Canadian education will provide them with the tools they need to develop their full potential. Our brand is therefore intended to be a springboard that will help them fulfill their dreams and ambitions.
Objective of the brand
To enable governments, educational institutions and the various other participants in the education field to address international students using a consistent voice.
A new brand was needed to clearly establish Canada and its provinces and territories as a preferred destination for the growing number of international students looking to travel abroad to pursue their education. With its new international brand in place, the education sector in Canada is now communicating a consistent message across the country.
Spectacular growth in these new markets and fierce competition by an increasing number of countries vying for international students made it necessary to create a strong and distinctive image. By conveying the message that an education in Canada opens the door to a world of opportunities, our new campaign Imagine allows us to move forward and thereby enable an entire generation of international youth to discover the many advantages of studying in Canada.
- In Government of Canada Budget 2007, DFATD was given the mandate to launch an education marketing campaign, which included creating a brand for Canadian education abroad, and was specifically directed to build on existing partnerships with provincial and private partners.
- The Budget allocates $1 million per year to DFATD for five years.
- Since April 2007, DFATD, other government departments (OGDs) and provincial ministries of education (through the CMEC) have worked closely through the Federal-Provincial Consultative Committee on Education-Related International Activities (FPCCERIA) to create, develop and manage this education brand.
- In May 2008, after extensive negotiations and consultations, the deputy ministers of education of the 10 Canadian provinces approved by consensus the proposed Canadian education brand, with the understanding that the brand would be jointly managed by DFATD and the CMEC Secretariat.
- In June 2008, the Minister of International Trade approved the education brand concept and the principle of joint governance of the brand by DFATD, on behalf of the federal government, and by the CMEC, on behalf of the provinces.
- On September 22, 2008, the ministers of education officially launched the Canadian education brand in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and the brand was immediately put into use.
Process of brand development
- Bang Marketing, a trademark development and branding company, was selected through a competitive bid process.
- Bang Marketing prepared a positioning analysis of Canada as a study destination for international students and proposed a brand essence, which was approved by consensus by all partners and stakeholders.
- Bang Marketing developed four brand concepts that were tested with both existing and prospective international students as well as with Canadian stakeholders.
- Following these consultations, FPCCERIA accepted the Imagine brand platform, which comprised a stylized red maple leaf—the most recognizable visual image identifying Canada and therefore the most efficient graphic—alongside the phrase "Imagine Education au/in Canada".
- The platform can be adapted thematically and by each individual province.
- Two types of users with distinct levels of access to the brand have been identified. The first type comprises the federal government, i.e. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) and OGD partners, and the provincial partners, through the CMEC. The second type comprises educational institutions and organizations authorized to use the brand through an agreement with the CMEC.
Stages of the brand launch
- The brand was launched and the owners began to use it (September 2008).
- Policies and user norms were established for institutions and organizations (2008-2009).
- Technical tools were created, e.g. the extranet site to be launched shortly (November 2009).
- Each province and territory established a list of eligible institutions.
- Representatives from eligible institutions and organizations were trained on Brand use guidelines and eligibility policies. (October and November 2009).
- Eligible institutions and organizations may apply to use the brand through an agreement with the CMEC.
- Authorized institutions and organizations are granted access to the brand through the extranet site (Starting November 2009).
Imagine Education au/in Canada is a protected trademark. This brand is the property of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD). The brand is licensed to the provinces and territories through the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) by an official Master Licence Agreement. Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.