Returning the love: How can brands build "public relationships" with fans?

Study shows Canada's banks lead, while sports teams lag in reciprocating our love

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - While Valentine's Day is all about personal relationships, a study shows that almost three quarters of Canadians want relationships with the brands they buy – but this love is often unrequited. And when it comes to relationship-building with the public, Canada's banks are doing better than airlines, insurance companies, communications providers and sports teams.

A national Leger Research survey for Argyle Public Relationships shows that 73 per cent of respondents are interested in having relationships with the brands they buy and the service providers with which they do business. 82 per cent say they are more likely to do business with a brand that builds a relationship with them, and the same number say they are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends.

The Leger/Argyle study also compared five types of brands to explore which were most successful at building "public relationships" with their fans, looking at six key dimensions of relationships that academic research has found between brands and their publics: trust, satisfaction, commitment, caring for customers, concern for people, and the public's ability to influence the brand. The Argyle Public Relationships Index™ averages public ratings of how the brand they know best in each sector performs on the six dimensions.


Public Relationship Index™ for
Sector (out of 100)

Strongest relationship-builders

Bank or credit card company


Big banks: RBC (70)

Other banks: Tangerine (75)



Porter (74), WestJet (74) (tie)

Insurance companies


CAA (66), Intact (66)

Communications providers
(telephone, cable, internet)


Videotron (73)

Pro sports teams


Toronto Raptors (52)


Canada's banks edged out airlines for the top public relationships score in these five key sectors. But the greatest surprise is that despite Canadians' passion for sports, they do not feel the nation's professional franchises are returning this love by building strong relationships with their fans.

"Argyle's research shows that while Canadians want to love their brands, we often feel the love affair is one-sided," said Daniel Tisch, president and CEO of Argyle Public Relationships. "The results show that banks and airlines are making progress, while Canadians feel their pro sports teams take us for granted. Given the strong correlation between relationships, sales and recommendations, brands need to do better at building 'public relationships' across the board."

For a detailed review on these findings, please visit

"Leger's research has long shown the growing role of relationships in the health of brands, and this correlation is stronger than ever in these days of information overload and quick transactions," said Lisa Covens, Leger's Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. "That is why smart brands are paying close attention to their relationships with their publics — in all dimensions."

About the study

The Argyle Public Relationships Index™ is based on a survey of more than 1,500 Canadians completed online in two waves — the first in May 2016, and the second in January 2017. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger's online panel has approximately 475,000 members nationally – with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month, and has a retention rate of 90%.

Argyle expresses its appreciation to Dr. Alex Sevigny of McMaster University for his counsel in the development of the study.

About Argyle Public Relationships™ (

Argyle helps major brands and respected organizations build and strengthen their relationships with the stakeholders who drive their reputations, brands and business success – across Canada and beyond. For more than 35 years, Argyle has been chosen by some of the world's biggest brands, put big ideas onto the public agenda, and become one of Canada's largest independent communications firms.

Argyle is a Canadian leader in awards for consumer marketing, corporate communications, health communications, public affairs, digital communications, branding and design. In both 2015 and 2016, Argyle was named by PROFIT 500 as one of Canada's fastest growing companies. Argyle has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, and affiliates across the country and around the world.

About Leger (

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned polling, research, and strategic marketing firm with 600 employees in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. Leger is part of the WIN network partners in more than 100 countries, making Leger not only the largest Canadian-owned company in its sector, but also an internationally recognized brand.

Leger provides its clients with unique expertise in market research and information technology, in addition to business consulting and strategies in the fields of customer satisfaction, positioning, brand management, communication efficiency, corporate reputation, social acceptability, crisis management and customer experience.

SOURCE Argyle Public Relationships

For further information: Mary Zajac, Argyle Public Relationships, (416) 968-7311 ext 260,


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