One company that does this well and has been a key part of Canada’s identity and economy for 40 years is the iconic brand Roots.
The apparel and accessories company was established in 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green, who are both originally from Detroit. Having attended Canada’s Camp Tamakwa – Budman starting in 1956 and Green in 1964 – they both fell in love with Algonquin Park, located north of Toronto, for its wilderness and sport.
After their camp years, Budman moved to Toronto in 1969. Green followed in 1972, and they launched Roots the next year.
The night’s discussion topic revolved around how the young professionals in attendance could incorporate Roots’ relevancy strategy into our own personal and professional lives.
Once we had defined what the word “relevant” meant to us, Sarner then gave his own take on how he has come to understand it.
He said that in his nine years with the company, Budman and Green have conducted themselves and the business according to the following 15 guidelines, resulting in a prosperous and enduring brand:
- Have a sense of place and be proud of it (a purpose for being in the industry sector you or your product is in).
- Keep tradition to a degree (do not be rigid – constantly evolve, while carrying over best practices).
- Stand for something more than your product (give back to the community and the individuals you serve).
- Nurture an aspirational product (how it is perceived, the way it is marketed).
- Treat your customer equally and with high regard.
- Don’t embrace technological innovation and trends blindly; be sure you use it correctly or not at all.
- Communicate or suffocate (be seen and heard doing it)
- Have standards.
- Be real.
- Stay true to quality and integrity.
- Demonstrate that your word is a promise.
- Nurture talent positively.
- Be accountable.
- Attract celebrity awareness in what you do.
- Listen, be plugged in, invite dialogue.