Amherstburg moving forward with branding strategy

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg, in conjunction with Cinnamon Toast New Media Inc., have hosted a pair of open houses with the aim of creating a new “brand” for the town.

The public meetings were held last Wednesday with 25 reportedly at an afternoon session and ten at an evening session.

Bronwyn Mondoux, owner and creative director with the Hamilton and Ottawa-based firm, said their hope is to have a new logo and other new branding materials to the town by December. She said they will be providing the town with multiple logos and concepts that the new council will be able to choose from.

Cinnamon Toast New Media creative director Bronwyn Mondoux makes a presentation to the public during an evening open house Aug. 29 at the Libro Centre regarding the town’s rebranding strategy.

Cinnamon Toast staff will take the information gathered through an online survey and the two public meetings and put forth a logo, tourism website and related branding information that “tells the story” about what residents feel the town looks like.

Mondoux said they received approximately 400 responses to their online survey, the most out of any town the company has been engaged by. Cinnamon Toast New Media has done work for five towns and two cities, she said.

A brand is a person’s “gut feeling about a product, service or company,” said Mondoux, and that branding provides a competitive advantage for municipalities, establishes a stable asset and creates trust, provides economic value, sets expectations and improves recognition, creates an experience, supports advertising initiatives and inspires residents to be “brand ambassadors.”

“A good brand looks towards the future,” said Mondoux.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo indicated that while the town is spending approximately $75,000 on the rebranding exercise, he said it’s more than just a logo. The tourism website will allow that information to be separated from the other information from the town’s main website.

“In the grand scheme of things, the town has got a lot of history and a lot of great attributes, but I’m not sure that we’ve really focused on how we brand the image of who we are,” he said.

By rebranding, it will enable the town to stand out better and allow people from outside the community to discover it and find out what Amherstburg has to offer.

Paul Hertel goes through one of the exercises at a rebranding open house last Wednesday.

Responding to critics who question the spending of $75,000 on the initiative, the mayor stated surrounding municipalities are already undertaking or have undertaken similar initiatives.

“The bottom line is, look around,” said DiCarlo. “I see a lot of municipalities that are very progressive and very active and have done what we are doing now. They’ve been very successful and they’ve brought people in. Not only have they brought them there, but that means that we are losing some of those people to them.”

There is “no denying” the town’s history, but Amherstburg will be able to further discover “what sets us apart from other municipalities,” he said.

DiCarlo added the exercise will help people discover “what Amherstburg has that makes me want to go there.” He said the survey and the meetings are key.

“It is important to consider all ideas on what sets us apart,” he said.

 

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