Re-branding of the City of Williams Lake has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the residents of Williams Lake.
Somewhat similar to the 1987 Coca-Cola Company’s attempt to change the historic original formula of Coca-Cola with the introduction of what was called, New Coke.
A re-branding and marketing attempt that failed miserably costing the Coca-Cola Company untold millions leading to a reintroduction of Classic Coca-Cola.
If the city had done its homework, residents could have enjoyed coming up with all kinds of new focus branding, leaving the spending of the $40,000 to be spent on community infrastructure.
Recalling the words of Bella Coola author Cliff Kopas in his book, Bella Coola, as representative of the Bella Coola District Board of Trade attending the Highways and Tourist Bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade in the early 1950s, as he listened to many representatives complain about roads and potholes in their districts.
When it was Cliff’s turn to speak he suggested that because Bella Coola did not have a road, possibly, all the potholes could be sent to Bella Coola and they could build a road out of them.
For $40,000 all the potholes in Williams Lake should be gathered up and sent to the re-branding company for payment on account.
Re-branding should not be taken lightly, whether it be renaming Williams Lake’s high school from Columneetza, or the proposed re-branding the City of Williams Lake, care and attention to community roots should not simply be cast aside, whether a student or a politician, homework needs to be done.
The following are my words in a letter to city council I wrote, July 27, 2004.
My opinion, regarding creating an environment of economic development, I argued at that time, “I believe we can do this by declaring Williams Lake,” “Canada’s Capital of Western Heritage.”
Regarding Marketing, I borrowed the words of author Ray Kinsella. “If you build it they will come.”
Kimberley, B.C., calls itself the “Bavarian City of the Rockies,” in recognition of its European heritage.
Williams Lake could have a slogan such as “Where the West Begins” or, “Land of Untamed Horizons,” or “Gateway to Adventure” or “Destination of Challenge.”
What is required is good marketing, selling and recognizing what makes the city and its environs truly interesting and unique.