Squamish branding process moves to implementation phase 

Concern surfaces around the word 'epic' as a key-branding phase

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOHN FRENCH - Better Branding A new committee is being tasked with updating Squamish's branding to position the community as an outdoor adventure destination for people interested taking on the long list of outdoor activities that can all be done in Squamish.
  • Photo by John French
  • Better Branding A new committee is being tasked with updating Squamish's branding to position the community as an outdoor adventure destination for people interested taking on the long list of outdoor activities that can all be done in Squamish.

The talking phase of the brand development process in Squamish is over and it's now time to take the work that has been done and head into the action phase.

To achieve this a leadership team is now being pulled together to take the work done by a brand development group and breathe life into some new concepts for Squamish. The brand elements include an emphasis on Squamish as the place to visit for multi-sport outdoor adventures that include mountain biking, hiking, wind sports, climbing and other popular activities.

Consultant Roger Books started working with the District of Squamish in January to draft a brand development strategy. A Brand Development Committee was assembled, and that group of 14 people reached out to the community to determine what Squamish wanted to be known for.

The working verbiage for Squamish's brand promise is, "The world's most epic adventures can be found right here."

Another line to go with the brand promise positions Squamish as western Canada's best multi-sport destination.

"The whole notion of being a multi-sport or multi-outdoor adventure centre, I think, is right," said Jeff Cooke, one of the development committee members.

The product of the work done by the committee members was presented as an early draft on April 11.

Brooks believes a brand has to evoke emotion and that is more important than logos, tag lines and slogans.

"All successful brands are built on product, not marketing," Brooks said at the presentation of the draft brand materials.

"The ultimate goal of this effort is to differentiate Squamish from everyone else in British Columbia and the greater northwest."

With the brand development committee about to disband to allow the leadership team to implement the work of the development committee, Cooke said he'd like to see the word "epic" put through a test process before it is selected as one of the key words Squamish uses moving forward.

"I certainly think it's worth a little bit of investment in research to make sure this is the one before we go ahead," said Cooke.

He wants it tested with about 200 visitors.

"The brand idea is solid, to me it's just the word and how we articulate it," Cooke said.

Fellow brand development committee member Auli Parvianen is happy with the work so far.

"We have always been on the right track," said Parvianen.

"It's just a matter of how do you capture that into a dynamic, easy-to-communicate presence that really distinguishes and differentiates Squamish from other communities that might have those same characteristics."

That is a challenge for the implementation team. According to Brooks, the team members have to be 100 per cent behind the brand, they have to be doers willing to dedicate time to selling the brand and they need to be willing to take criticism about the brand materials.

"More than half should have a vested interest in the brand," Brooks said.

The team will implement an action plan to weave the fabric of the brand into the community.

Those interested in being on the brand leadership team have until the end of the day on Wednesday, April 30 to submit an application letter of 250 words or less to the Economic Development office of the District of Squamish.

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