PotashCorp merger sparks massive renaming campaign in Saskatchewan
How creation of Nutrien Ltd. will impact corporate branding in the province
The PotashCorp name is everywhere in Saskatchewan, from the sides of corporate offices to playgrounds and museums.
But, as of Tuesday, that iconic name and logo are no more.
The merger of two of Canada's biggest fertilizer names — PotashCorp and Agrium — became official this week, as shares in Nutrien Ltd. commenced trading on the TSX.
That means there will be name changes for some the dozens of corporate events in Saskatchewan that are sponsored by PotashCorp.
"It's not just PotashCorp; it's also Agrium. Everything will change over as part of the re-branding of the new company, and that'll go on over time here," said Richard Downey, vice-president investor and corporate relations, with the newly minted Nutrien.
Events or spaces with title sponsorship from PotashCorp will have to be renamed in the coming days and weeks. In Saskatoon, for example, the PotashCorp Playland at Kinsmen Park will have to be re-branded and new signs will need to be put up. But the overall agreement for the naming rights to that playground will stay in place until 2040.
It's a big undertaking, but given the size of the merger and other priorities it will be one of the more manageable and pleasant things to do.- David Williams, marketing professor
David Williams, a marketing professor with the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan, says sorting all of that out will take time, but it's likely not the most pressing topic facing executives at the new mega agriculture company.
"It's a big undertaking, but given the size of the merger and other priorities it will be one of the more manageable and pleasant things to do," Williams said.
Upcoming festivals likely to see name change
Nowshad Ali's company runs Saskatoon's Wintershines and the Fireworks Festival. PotashCorp was a title sponsor for both events.
"We have been working with them for it to be PotashCorp Wintershines Festival or the possibility of it being Nutrien Wintershines festival," he said.
Ali's company has radio, print and television advertising ready to go with the new name and is awaiting word from Nutrien's head office.
New company looking for new branding
Williams says that while PotashCorp — and, to an extent, Agrium — did have brand recognition here in Saskatchewan, the new company is likely looking to leave that behind.
He says it's about a creating a new brand, not loyalty to the old one.
"They want to move forward. This has been the whole process of the name, the emphasis and the design," he said.
"(PotashCorp) was the past and it was a solid past with growth — but now they want to emphasize the synergistic future and the savings and the way forward."
PotashCorp was one of the world's leading suppliers of potash and a major producer of other fertilizing minerals. Agrium, meanwhile, was a leader in other commodities and had an extensive network of retail operations.
The new company will employ nearly 20,000 people and have operations in 14 countries.
The headquarters will stay in Saskatoon, but there will be corporate offices in Calgary.