Passing of an iconic marketer


The IMC class  participates in an internal discussion forum where they can write about what they are learning in the program. They are encouraged to connect the dots between the courses they study or to reflect on what they are learning. The following guest post comes from that discussion forum.

This submission was written by Heather Hood, IMC 2014 candidate.

Dave Nichol, the man behind the President’s Choice® (PC) and no name® brand of Loblaw Ltd, sadly passed away on Thursday, September 26, 2013.  Mr. Nichol was a savvy marketer who, I, as an IMC student fascinated by marketing and trends, aspire to be like.  As IMC students, we should look to Dave Nichol’s creativity and business plan to hone our own skills in marketing.

Dave Nichol was the president of Loblaw Supermarkets and head of product development brands.  His creativity in developing the PC brand set the stage for it to become the number one consumer brand in Canada.  This year the very popular cookie that Dave Nichol created, The Decadent® Chocolate Chip Cookie, celebrates its 25th anniversary.  With this milestone and Dave Nichol’s untimely death, the PC brand may gain an even stronger foothold in the cookie consumer market.

Thus far in our IMC classes we have learned the importance of knowing your audience, your target market, and of holding consumer needs and wants at the forefront of our minds when completing our assignments.  These are all things Dave Nichol did and because he grasped these concepts, he helped position Loblaw and its brands as a top competitor in the food business.  Dave Nichol was a storyteller who always listened to the customer and as he liked to say, ‘Marketing is the art of meaningful, sustainable differentiation.’ (‘Loblaw Marketing Genius Dave Nichol Dies at 73’, ­Maclean’s. September 26, 2013).

The IMC class had the opportunity to visit a Zehrs store (owned by Loblaw Ltd) in Cambridge, Ontario on September 27, 2013 to complete a branding exercise.  What we all noticed was the prevalence of the PC name on the walls of the store and on the products it sells.  What I learned from this field trip was the importance of branding, consumer research and consumer experience in marketing.  What we can take away from this experience, something that resonates with me, is that we as IMC students, experienced a Canadian success story in branding and marketing.

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