The “Well Made Here / Bien fait ici” Program team is leading three huge projects concurrently with the hope of concluding at least one in 2021 and the other two in subsequent years.

The pandemic and the supply issues in our industry occupied and preoccupied the directors of the “Well Made Here” program at their last board meeting, on the February 12th. All these current affairs led the board of directors to agree, with staff, on a modified action plan for the current year.

At first glance, the planets appear to be well aligned, from a political standpoint, to force all federal parties to place incentives encouraging what is “Made in Canada” in general and the stimulation of the construction sector in particular, among their probable election campaign priorities. Because every politician knows that “when the building goes, everything goes”.

“Energy Star is an example of sponsorship where the central government’s support enabled the logo to acquire its reputation”, remarked Richard Darveau, President and CEO of “Well Made Here” in their latest newsletter. “Such an endorsement serves as our inspiration to approach politicians and officials,” promises Mr. Darveau.

Variable geometry partnership agreements will also be explored with several national, provincial and even local initiatives that endeavour in favour of local buying.

“Whether it concerns, for example, programs like Le Panier Bleu in Quebec or Ontario Made, we believe that by helping each other, we more effectively reach a still marginal, but growing fringe of people and companies that are sensitive to short supply chains and to the quality of what generally emanates from Canadian manufacturing sites”, believes Darveau.

Ultimately, a project that is certainly ambitious, but feasible and above all deemed necessary, consists of developing a web series, or even televised, putting two teams in competition where each builds a property, and, where the winner is the team with the highest usage rate of “Well Made Here” accredited products and the best value for the money. Such a series, produced with duplication to satisfy both linguistic markets, would mainly aim to demonstrate that any build can be completed from nearly cellar to attic with domestically sourced products and persons. As a secondary objective, we would like to prove with facts to support the premise that a building designed and built with quality products and talented persons may cost a little more at the start, but that its value over 25 years is far superior than another build which would have banked on lower-end quality.

Up to manufacturers to increase self-promotion

The program has also been reaching out to the 110 manufacturers who subscribe to “Well Made Here” to increase their efforts to promote the program and presence of the logo on accredited products.  

At the request of some manufacturers, a list of the best practices to adopt has been devised. Aiming to facilitate self-promotion of their participant status, to attract attention to accredited products and to generate awareness of the program’s mission among as many people as possible, a checklist was sent to the participating manufacturers.

On joining, each participant receives the information, material and support necessary to leverage and benefit from the “Well Made Here” visual identity. It is up to them to use it so that buyers of the banners, retail network staff and by extension consumers and home professionals can locate accredited products.

Indeed, few people browse the Energy Star website, but those who shop for a window or an electric baseboard look for program’s logo.

“Well Made Here”, still a “start-up”, like Energy Star was almost thirty years ago, is aligned with the same logic: we are pleased when people visit the ici-here.ca site, but the goal is to find the label on accredited products and that, over time, its visual presence convince the buyer shopping in a banner’s point of sale, the hardware store owner, the building contractor and the residential owner come to prefer one accredited product rather than another that isn’t.

“As they say, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Our collective success depends on the commitment of EACH manufacturer to link the program’s branding with its business, to integrate the “Well Made Here” logo to its accredited products, to draw attention to the program in traditional media and social media, and, to share information on their progress with the “Well Made Here” team, reminds Célie Cournoyer, director of operations for the organization.

We note that the brand image remains underused and that the number of identified products found in stores remains low. Whether it is due to inventory turnover or the speed with which packaging can be converted, Ms. Cournoyer is confident that those who take action will have the best results when an advertising campaign takes place.

Venmar: exemplary multichannel promotion

One such example is Venmar Ventilation, who set itself the goal of promoting the news that the company is a proud program participant of the “Well Made Here” program and its qualified Broan, NuTone and Venmar product lines.

Ventilation product manufacturer Venmar’s team took quality time to lay out a detailed plan which leveraged all the means at its disposal in order to integrate the “Well Made Here” logo into its packaging, to present its accredited products in store and online, and ultimately, to communicate its participation in the program to its various audiences using all possible forums.

For more than 40 years, Venmar Ventilation has designed and manufactured a variety of products at its factories in Drummondville, Quebec. According to Jean Deslandes, Senior Channel Marketing and Communications Manager, “Well Made Here’s mission reflects many of our company’s values by ensuring that consumers can make informed purchase decisions and have full confidence in Canadian-made products, while also supporting local economies and manufacturing jobs.”

Venmar’s assertion resonates as a firm commitment. It is repeated in the press release announcing the company’s participation in the program, in an employee marketing update bulletin, in a letter sent to targeted suppliers and one sent to buyers of the program’s partner banners.

“This is not, of course, the only manufacturer to display and convey information and then ensure that the branding is properly integrated,” notes Jasmine Sylvère, Senior Advisor of Promotion and Advertising, at Well Made Here. “That said, Venmar Ventilation’s initiative stands out for its completeness,” she adds.

The “Well Made Here” team, would like to highlight the efforts, for example, of the following manufacturers who actively promote their accredited lines of product and their status as participants.

Richard Tools, Finitec, Techniseal, Dural, EAB, Laurentide Paint, Adfast, Bélanger Laminates, Cobra Anchors, PolarMade Products, Sika, Global Dec-K-ing, Amherst Mouldings, Giant, Cameron Structures de Bâtiment, Duststop Air Filters , Formica, Super Remover, Dimplex, Juniper BBQ Scraper, Cold Dragon, Korhani, E-Zee Strip and WeldBond.

Manufacturers are invited to contact Célie Cournoyer, Director of Operations at celie@ici-here.ca to receive the necessary support, free of charge, and take full advantage of the program’s brand image.

You can receive the latest news on the Well Made Here program by signing up for the free newsletter and/or visiting the website: https://www.ici-here.ca/en/home/