Friday, November 20, 2009

CentrePort Canada - The Brand

I recently went on to Google to learn more about the CentrePort Canada project. Like any average web user I typed in a search term that I thought would quickly bring me the most releveant information. I typed in "centreport". I thought the first website listed would be for CentrePort Canada, but what I found instead were a host of other CentrePorts around the world.

I assumed that CentrePort Canada was unique in its name, considering the magnitude of the project. However, when you type in "centreport" on Google, you'll find that there is Centerport in New Zealand and one also in Fort Worth Texas. There was even a hotel listed in Nice, France that uses the name. Hmm... So then I thought I would try the term "inland port." This unveiled even more websites around the world from an inland port in Mexico to Kansas City's SmartPort to many others.

I wonder if CentrePort Canada Inc. realize the competition they have in building their brand on the web?

I'm sure I am not the only person around the globe that is seeking further information about the project. How about taxpayers in Manitoba trying to understand exactly where their money is going? Brands are built and broken on Google, whether you are selling widgets, a tourist destination or an inland port. What opportunities are they missing from interested parties searching for information from around the world?

It wasn't until I came to page 23 of Google, for the term "centreport" that I finally came across the official site for Centreport Canada. And page 46 for the term "inland port." I don't know about you, but normally I tend to look at the first page, and maybe....maybe the second page of search.

It doesn't take a degree in Marketing to determine that the team heading Winnipeg's inland port project put little value in what the internet can do to build a brand and drive investor interest. Hopefully the recent addition to their team, Riva Harrison, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, will see there is life beyond Brandon.

It's your turn Winnipeg.