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Dispatch 14: The call of the great outdoors

August 2021

2021 is already halfway behind us. With the entire province declared a green zone and restrictions for gatherings loosening, things are gradually returning to normal. And these warm summer days call for entertaining at home and exploring the beautiful regions of Québec. But the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape our daily lives and alter social, political, and cultural landscapes around the world. At the shop, we’re keeping our heads high and continuing to do what we do best: understanding Québec. And being there for our partners. Once again this month, we’re back to keep you in the loop and share a snapshot of what’s happening here, based on the news stories that have piqued our interest. From advertising to communications and human-interest stories, here’s what’s worth mentioning (in our humble opinion).

Demand for outdoor activities is booming

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic (and Instagram) has revived an appreciation for the great outdoors, sparking a resurgence in the popularity of the good old-fashioned canoe. Since Quebecers can’t travel abroad as easily as they used to, they’re exploring their own backyard. And that’s good news for outdoor sports organizations, as well as bike stores, where sales jumped 77% during the pandemic. The same is true for pool sales, which increased 432% from January to March 2021, compared to the same period last year. And let's not forget the campgrounds, which were flooded with reservations as soon as bookings opened for the summer season. In short, with all that Québec has to offer, it’s unlikely that this renewed enthusiasm for the great outdoors will fade any time soon.

Source | La Presse

Quebecers are "social drinkers"

According to a survey conducted by CROP on behalf of Éduc'alcool, 70% of Quebec consumers polled did not exceed recommended consumption limits during the pandemic. In fact, the survey revealed that among Quebecers, alcohol consumption went down during the pandemic. The reason? Most respondents consider themselves "social drinkers" who reserve consumption for outings with friends and at restaurants and bars (which were closed during lockdown). But it’s not bars that Quebecers are most eager to return to after the pandemic: Only 4% are looking forward to their reopening. Instead, 40% of Quebecers favour spending time with their families. Maybe it was the long lines outside of the SAQ, but most likely, it was the pandemic that changed how Quebecers consume alcohol. Should brands focus more on consumption of their products in restaurants and bars? With drinking viewed as a more "social" activity in Quebec, this may be worth reconsidering. Quebecers have grown accustomed to gathering outdoors, in parks and backyards...which explains why iconic seltzers and drinks in ready-to-go cans are flying off the shelves!

Source | Journal Métro

Back to work: rethinking office spaces

With the vaccination campaign well underway, the entire province has been declared a green zone. For workers, the return to the office looms on the horizon. To adapt to the new reality for employees, some Montreal agencies are rethinking their workplaces to accommodate teleworking. The pandemic has redefined workplace realities for many companies, and the reconfiguration of offices is intended to equip workspaces for all states of mind. The idea behind many of these redesigns is to prioritize spaces for meeting and collaboration. Say goodbye to personal desks and hello to open plans and individual rooms. For those who want to enjoy nature while teleworking, some agencies have downsized urban office space in favour of opening outposts in the countryside. Considering Quebecers' growing love of the outdoors, this is a very smart move. Of course, we can't predict what the new work reality will look like, but we find the subject very interesting! To be continued.

Source | La Presse

Québec pride shines in the public spotlight

In Québec, pride is a familiar sentiment. According to economist Jean-Marc Léger, 80% of Quebecers polled in a recent survey say they are proud to be Quebecois. In the same poll, 80% of Quebecers said they are proud to be Canadian. You could say we are proud to be proud! To amplify this feeling, the Legault government plans to strengthen Québec pride with "Espaces bleues" ("blue spaces"), a network of museums devoted to local history that will showcase the "heroes" of each administrative region. What a great opportunity to celebrate Québec’s heritage.

Source | La Presse

In response to the pandemic, consumers are reassessing their values

Nearly half of Canadians say the pandemic has forced them to re-evaluate what’s important in life, finds a global survey of 25,000 consumers in 22 countries conducted by Accenture between December 2020 and February 2021. This has also led consumers to rethink the brands and services they are willing to support. In the consumer goods and service industry, trust and reputation are of utmost importance, since consumers say they’re willing to pay more or switch brands to buy from companies that have a positive social impact. The same is true in Québec. To gain consumer trust, brands must invest in corporate social responsibility and put forward their vision. One need only think of the Montreal Canadiens, which recently shocked Quebecers by drafting young Logan Mailloux. The franchise continues to face heavy criticism for being "out of touch" and ignoring the strides made in recent years. The message is clear: It is no longer sufficient for brands to advertise and sell. Companies must also demonstrate their values and uphold their commitments with transparency and sincerity.

Source | Strategy Online

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