Marketing on Ice: Jason Little studies Canadian Inuit businesses

 

September 13, 2018 

 

Dr. Jason Little, Professor of Marketing in the College of Business at Franklin Pierce University, reports in from his sabbatical trip this summer to Baffin Island in the Nunavut Territory, Canada. Little spent the month of July 2018 in Iqaluit, the tiny capital of Nunavut and the remote hamlet of Pond Inlet on Baffin Bay well above the Arctic Circle, where he continued his work mentoring young business entrepreneurs and sharing marketing practices among Inuit-owned businesses there.

Little made his first connections to the Nunavut Territory on a 600-mile canoe trip on the Kazan River during the summer of 2008.  “I was blown away with the landscape, animals including caribou, muskox, lake trout, the cultural sites, and the Inuit people I met on the river,” he said. In addition to my love of canoe tripping, I’ve always had a profound interest in Native Americans, as well as the Inuit culture.”

Through networking, Little connected with a group of young entrepreneurs who meet monthly at the local library in Pond Inlet. Over the past 18 months, he has met with a core group of mentees via videoconferencing to work on sustainable business practices, mission statements, quality product design, website development and inventory management. These issues take on special challenges in a location where ice conditions dictate accessibility and drive business cycles.

This summer, Little was able to dig deep with one of his mentees, a partner in the emerging business High Arctic Apparel Company. They met regularly to work on leadership best practices, setting goals, business planning, budgeting, and accountability.

Another goal of Little’s trip to Nunavut was marketing research. During the Spring 2018 semester, Little worked with six undergraduate business students at Franklin Pierce to study marketing practices in this remote region. The student team is part of the Franklin Pierce University Small Business Advisory Group (SBA), with a charter to help organizations and start-up businesses develop business initiatives. Little’s team investigated the visibility of Inuit-owned businesses in a Google search, the use of websites and social media platforms, and the use of branding and key marketing messages.

Their work is part of Little’s larger study: A Research Study to Determine Effective Marketing Communication Strategies for Businesses Located in Nunavut, Canada. During his trip, he interviewed business leaders about their use of market communications and the potential for improvement. He expects to share his research with his Nunavut contacts by the end of the year and hopes to present his findings at the Iqaluit Trade Show and Northern Lights Conference in 2019 and 2020. In the meantime, he is excited to share his annotated slide show about his trip.

To see more of Dr. Little's sabbatical trip and read his commentary, view the slide show.

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