The Canadian Manufacturer’s Vulnerable Spot

W. L. Edmonds September 1 1910

The Canadian Manufacturer’s Vulnerable Spot

W. L. Edmonds September 1 1910

The Canadian Manufacturer’s Vulnerable Spot

W. L. Edmonds

NO one now doubts the greatness of Canada’s possibilities among the industrial nations of the world. Dissipated are whatever doubts that may have previously existed. Evidence of the vastness and richness of her natural resources are cropping up continually.

Expansion is the characteristic of our industrial life in all its phases. The grain crops of last year are officially valued at over half a billion dollars. And yet it is but the fringe of the enormous acreage of the Northwest that has so far come under cultivation.

The mines of the country last year yielded the handsome sum of $90,000,000. But large as this sum is no one conversant with the facts believes that it is anything but a small part of what it ultimately will be. No le^s an authority than Prof. Miller, geologist for the Province of Ontario, says, “we have the greatest undeveloped mining territory in the world, offering the greatest opportunity to capitalists and prospectors.”

Nature has provided everything essential to the up-building of a great and prosperous nation. That the world is recognizing this is amply proved both by the teeming thousands, who are rushing to our shores and by the money which is being in-

vested in mercantile and financial ventures in this country by British and foreign capitalists. Probably a billion dollars has been invested in this way. But whatever the actual amount may be, it is undoubtedly large enough to prove that both British and foreign capitalists believe in the future of Canada.

How are we in Canada showing the faith that is in us? We all hold high opinions of its natural advantages and its great possibilities, but do we show in a practical way the faith that is in us? Are we expecting that the Creator, who gave us so richly of these natural resources is in some mystical manner going to work out for us our commercial salvation ? Some of us seem to act as if we were traveling on that assumption. We don't want to do anything more than we can possibly help doing for ourselves.

We take the raw material with which nature has endowed us and we manufacture it into finished products —iron, steel, furniture, boots and shoes, clothing and household furnishings of various kinds. But where are our aggressive and up-to-date selling methods? Where is our advertising? Ah, there's the rub !

The manufacturers of Canada have, with few exceptions, not yet learned the importance of national advertising.

It is not necessary for one to specify, but let anyone sit down five minutes and put on paper the names of the firms who are engaged in the chief manufacturing industries of the country. This done, take cognizance of those who are doing any national advertising or advertising of any sort beyond what is on their business stationery. You will not require any additional fingers and thumbs than you already have on which to do the counting. It is deplorable. These things ought not to be.

If there is any time when the manufacturers of this country should adopt an aggressive advertising campaign it is now.

As this country develops and the population increases, the desire of the manufacturers of Great Britain, the United States, and other countries to come up and possess its trade will become stronger and stronger. Already it is pretty strong. In the United States it has already become so strong that it has persuaded the administration at Washington to turn right about face in its attitude towards Canada, and sue for reciprocal trade relations.

But the manufacturers of the United States interested in the Canadian market are not sitting quietly by pending the outcome of the necessarily slow and protracted negotiations. They are getting after the business. Where the tariff or transportation difficulties stand in the way, many of them have established branch factories on this side of the border. A statement given out from Washington the other day estimated that over a quarter of a billion of American dollars were invested in Canadian financial and industrial ventures. And the end is not yet. Canadians traveling in the manufacturing centres of the United States have this fact repeatedly impressed upon them. The average manufacturer across the border recognizes a good thing when he sees it, and he certainly sees a good thing in Canada, to which so many of his fellow

countrymen are migrating. “We are looking into the Canadian market and are thinking of starting a branch factory there,” or, “We have decided to start a factory there,” are expressions frequently heard.

They are welcome. To. every one of them is extended the right hand of fellowship. Every factory they put up adds to the wealth-producing possibilities of this country. But while they produce wealth, it is to be hoped that they will also act as a stimulus to our own native manufacturers, who are not yet alive to their opportunities.

A tariff “as high as Haman’s gallows” might keep out imported goods, but it won’t keep out the enterprising foreign manufacturer who desires to establish a branch factory in Canada. It hasn’t in the past, and it certainly will not in the future. The inducements are too alluring to be ignored by the enterprising manufacturers and capitalists of Great Britain, the United States and other countries.

Nothing that outside influences can do will, permanently, at any rate, protect the Canadian-established1 manufacturer from the competition of his foreign confreres. If the tariff or distance handicaps them they will, as they are doing, start branch factories here. The only thing that will “save his face” is the employment of up-todate selling methods. And in this must be included an aggressive advertising campaign. There are already some Canadian manufacturers who are doing this, but they are, as I have already pointed out, few and far between.

Competition, either home or foreign, cannot permanently be eliminated. That is a fact which every manufacturer in Canada should clearly understand. The most effective permanent modifier of foreign or any other competition is advertising plus a good selling organization. And the better the advertising the greater its effectiveness.

Well-advertised goods bring better prices because the demand keeps the supply mdving. It is the goods that are comatose or dead that lie on the shelves or in the warehouse or factory. Advertising not only moves goods; it imparts stability to values. Advertising, like fuel under the boiler, gets up steam. And the better the fuel, the better the results.

Advertising imparts value to the good will of a business. Advertising may, in fact, be said to be the creator of the good will. Reputation is the concomitant of the good will. If the reputation is bad the good will certainly cannot possess value. Quality is the chief foundation of reputation, but as long as quality is hid under a bushel it may just as well not have an existence.

Lift off the bushel and turn on the light of publicity. Then comes reputation and good will; and the better the light, and the more continuously its rays are focused on the firm and its products the more will reputation be enhanced and the value of the good will appreciated.

It is only the man who wants to “gold brick” the public who can afford to do fraudulent advertising. He who is in business for to-morrow and the next day and the next, cannot afford to endanger his reputation by fraudulent practices, and especially when he trade marks his goods. A trade

mark, therefore, whether a design or a name, is a guarantee of merit. It is only he who is an imbecile who would trade mark an article that had not merit; and the average business man is by no means an imbecile.

Tariff protection is a good thing. Without it the manufacturing indus-

tries of Canada would not be where they are to-day. But protection alone will not carry an industry very far. Its fathers never intended it should. Their purpose was that it should be a shelter which would shield the young and growing industries of the country against the biting north wind o: foreign competition and aid them in reaching maturity. It was never intended, as some seem to think it was, as a ‘substitute for modern and progressive business building methods.

Protection plus publicity imparts life to trade and makes it strong, healthy and stable. The manufacturing industry that puts its trust in tariff favors alone and ignores advertising is a lame bird. It is traveling with one wing, and a wing, too, that a hostile Government might clip or even lop off at any time. The advertising wing, however, is not subject to the whim of government or any other adverse outside influence. Its usefulness and permanency is determined bj the enterprise, aggressiveness and ability of the advertiser himself.

The old Government tax on advertising is dead, and no power on earth will ever be able to raise it. The only tax on advertising to-day is the ignorance and unbelief of the non-advertising business man.

Naturally, manufacturers who have not developed the publicity wing are in a partially pertrubed state of mind over a possible lower tariff on the products of United States and German factories.

Let them by all means, if they so desire, try to save their protectionist wing from being clipped, but in their concern for the one, it is to be hoped they will not continue to overlook the other.

The truth is that a man’s life in his family, with his wife, with his children, with his mother, with his neighbors, is not made up of grandstand plays and all that sort of thing. It

is made up by a series of little acts, and those little acts and those little self-restraints are what go to make up the same character.—President Taft at Salt Lake City.