Thursday, 02 March 2017 08:00

Claresholm looks to improve its branding

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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The Town of Claresholm is going through an improved “definition” of the town. On Feb. 16, Town of Claresholm officials held branding sessions as a form of community consultation including development of a stakeholder-based steering committee for the ‘Claresholm; Defining a Promise’ project.

Justin Sweeney, economic development officer for the Town, says this project is focused on defining the Town’s promise on the Claresholm experience and shaping its brand to reflect that experience.
“It shouldn’t be considered a rebrand; it is an improved definition and effort to shape our existing brand,” says Sweeney. “The Claresholm brand exists in the minds of residents, businesses and visitors. We are simply trying to define that experience and look at how we can improve and build upon it moving forward.”
Sweeney says the responses from the branding sessions held Feb. 16 were overwhelmingly positive. There were 99 engaged stakeholders who attended and learned about what a brand is, before breaking out and providing their own inspired feedback.
“The sessions were an amazing success. Those that played a role of devil’s advocate ensured that facilitators and project leads looked at the endeavour from all angles,” adds Sweeney.
He says the majority of people in attendance eagerly provided feedback in an engaged and reasoned format. The information was invaluable and the turnout spoke volumes about the passion present in the community.
During the sessions, Sweeney says Travel Alberta representatives provided a detailed introduction to what a brand is and what it is not. Following the introduction, there were breakout groups and feedback based around what makes Claresholm and the surrounding area unique and what some of the cherished experiences are that one can have in the area.
This feedback was then compared with themes derived from the individual sessions and past consultations. This was used to create some unifying strength for the brand direction.
Following the branding sessions, the Claresholm economic development committee will continue to work with a partnered consultant, Tenato Strategy Inc. They’re working with guidance and support of the municipal mayor and council.
The feedback from the community sessions and individual stakeholder meetings and reviews of past consultations, community planning and needs assessments have all led to an overarching brand description.
“This description will be pared down over the coming weeks with the economic development committee, council and the group of engaged community stakeholders, each playing a role in vetting the developments,” he adds. “The brand will be supported by a three-year marketing plan, including tangible developments in the community as well as a new municipal website in 2017.”

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