The proposed rebranding of Williams Lake is a $40,000 bite in the butt of city taxpayers.
As a marketing student at BCIT one of the things I learned about re-branding is that re-branding your product does not always guarantee absolute marketing success.
In fact the cost of re-branding can far outweigh perceived benefits. Would McDonalds or Walmart re-brand? Would you change your name?
Williams Lake has a widely recognized history of western heritage.
Without a string of initials behind my name I am presumed not qualified to give advice, nor does it really matter to me if the name, Canada’s Capital of Western Heritage, be the accepted brand name for the City of Williams Lake. It is a name, however, I would have freely donated to the city.
There are times when rebranding is absolutely necessary — an enterprise’s name or reputation may have been sullied, as happens in long court battles — or when your product falls out of favour with stakeholders.
However, more often than not, rebranding is more a simplification of what is already known.
The name change from Resources In Motion, to Blackberry is one very recent example.
Rebranding the City of Williams Lake could end up costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, not just in the initial re-branding process but, as well in the conflicting re-marketing of the new brand.
The $40,000 that has been spent on the rebranding study, would have been better spent on a marketing study.
The City needs to learn how to market the established known facts about the city and its environs.
The city needs to market Williams Lake as a destination; I put forward these thoughts four mayors ago.
Williams Lake, with its airport and central highway location, can attract tourists from around the world — not just for events within the confines of the city — rippling out for events happening as far away as Barkerville, 100 Mile House, Redstone, Horsefly, Likely, Nemiah, Sugar Cane, or Soda Creek.
Encouraging private investment in destination quality hotels and resources, such as we saw Walmart do, has uniquely done with its façade of using log works that truly reflect Williams Lake’s western heritage.
Regrettably, for city taxpayers, the appearance and façade of the New Best Western Hotel should never have been accepted by a more marketing, savvy city council.