Mayor and council reviewed a brand package for the city at Tuesday’s committee of the whole. One of the slides demonstrated ways to market Williams Lake and the region using the brand (lower right corner) and slogan 'Republic of Life.' Taiji Brand Group has worked with city manager of economic development Alan Madrigga to design the branding package.

Mayor and council reviewed a brand package for the city at Tuesday’s committee of the whole. One of the slides demonstrated ways to market Williams Lake and the region using the brand (lower right corner) and slogan 'Republic of Life.' Taiji Brand Group has worked with city manager of economic development Alan Madrigga to design the branding package.

Rebranding ideas proposed for lakecity

There were mixed reactions to a proposed branding package for Williams Lake at council’s committee of the whole meeting Tuesday.

There were mixed reactions to a proposed branding package for Williams Lake at council’s committee of the whole meeting Tuesday.

The brand includes a logo that resembles a belt buckle in shape. Its main colour is blue to reflect Williams Lake, with western style yellow lettering, and an accompanying slogan “Republic of Life.”

Words traditionally used to reflect cowboy life are juxtaposed with mountain biking, fishing and snowmobiling.

Mayor Kerry Cook said it would take her some time to warm up to the “Republic of Life” slogan, however, she likes everything else and thinks it will build on the strengths of the community.

“It will personally take me some time to percolate around the republic of life,” Cook said.

Coun. Danica Hughes said many aspects of life in Williams Lake are captured but wanted to see honouring of First Nations in any branding.

“They are our past and our future and we have a great working relationship with our neighbouring communities and for people who might move here, it’s important for them to understand that.”

Responding to Hughes’ comment, Taiji Brand Group’s Carol Taiji said one of the ideas they visualized was First Nations as historians of the area.

“We can work those concepts in,” she said.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor applauded the “excellent” work done on developing the brand, but also insisted the region’s forestry, mining, agriculture and fishing industries be reflected.

“Those three things are missing,” he said. “If you can add those and First Nations, you’ve got my support.”

Initially Coun. Sue Zacharias tried inserting other words for “republic” but in the end said she decided none of the words worked.

“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s unique, catchy and adventurous.  My stodgy brain was thinking we should stay with what’s tried and true but now I think we need to break out with something that’s fun.”

Coun. Geoff Bourdon participated on the branding advisory committee and said he liked the brand’s “balance of the two sides of the community.”

“We know from everything we go to we distinctively see opposing sides. To me the brand balances the best of both and leaves the worst of both.”

Coun. Laurie Walters also participated in the branding process, and agreed republic is a “tricky word.”

“But having gone through the process, I can say I have faith in the process. We came back and said we needed to get other opinions and the input from other people was good. Change is not an easy thing to go through and there will be resistance moving forward.”

Taiji was not surprised by council’s reaction, and some of the negative reaction to the branding voiced by some of the community so far.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing that people want to discuss it and have an opinion,” she told council. “You don’t brand what is, you brand a goal. It’s about being futuristic and creating a shift in perception.”

During her 10 years of branding experience, Taiji has realized the true target of a place brand isn’t the community itself, but at the same time the community has to embrace it and “feel” like it’s their brand.

“We tried to make it as inclusive as we could,” she said.

A lofty goal was set out at the beginning to help position “Williams Lake as one of Western Canada’s most desirable small cities to live and raise a family.”

Through interviews Taiji Group determined that resiliency of the community comes from people who are living here by choice.

Part of the process involved creating a fictitious family the brand could target. A family wanting to relocate because they could afford to buy a home, be close to the outdoors, add more adventure to their lives, remain close enough to family living in the lower mainland, live a lifestyle that allows for family life being most important, or even explore their “inner cowboy.”

“It’s interesting how the cowboy heritage is polarizing. When we surveyed people there were no vague opinions,” Taiji said.

Cowboy spirit is a definable thing, so it made complete sense to carry on that heritage, morph it into something more contemporary and make it relevant, she added.

“Legendary and ancient, but completely relevant in modern day, the cowboy spirit is appealing to people who are packed in a subdivision in the city, spending half their life in a car.”

Explaining the “Republic of Life” slogan, she said when it comes to competing with other communities, the friendly community, access to outdoors, and amenities are in all other communities too.

“You can offer through the lens of the cowboy spirit a laid back living way of life. It’s not going to make a ton of sense to people that have lived here for a long time, but it’s not a literal concept.”

The slogan is intended to be a fun-spirited way of talking about a lifestyle that is unique as opposed to saying, “come live here with the cowboy spirit.”

It’s meant to be a way to engage people, to tell the story of what it means to live in Williams Lake, she added.

Literally a republic is a “body of people freely engaged in the pursuit of a common passion.”

The real idea behind the brand is that unique lifestyle that you can interest people in, the republic is packaging the idea.

The city has never had an official brand in place, manager of economic development Alan Madrigga said, adding a brand can’t be everything to everybody.

“A brand needs to be unique with local buy in and in doing that we wanted something that was unique, something that was going to stay in people’s heads.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Highway 97 two-vehicle crash near 150 Mile House claims one life

The collision closed the highway at 150 Mile House

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty chairs an opioid crisis working group pushing for policies to stop the flow of illicit drugs in Canada. (Victoria Police Department photo)
‘The opioid crisis impacts all of us’: Cariboo Prince Geroge MP Todd Doherty

Todd Doherty is co-chair of Conservative Party caucus opioid crisis working group

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

Most Read