According to its residents, Kimberley is a desirable place to live, work and play; with beautiful natural surroundings, good community spirit, and significant opportunity ahead of it. However, it is also in a state of flux, and needs to take advantage of emerging opportunities, and take action to ensure sustainability.
These are some of the thoughts and perceptions gathered in the first phase of Kimberley’s branding process, which involved a period of engagement late last fall which included online surveys for both resident and visitors, public meetings, open houses and one on one interviews, and feedback sessions with organizations, groups and high school students.
“We had an exceptional response from the community,” said Kevin Wilson, Economic Development Officer for the City of Kimberley.
“We wanted to hear perceptions and perspectives and the community has spoken.
“There is an unquestionable fondness and affection associated with Kimberley. People are, for the most part, pleased and proud to live here and want to ensure Kimberley retains its positive small town attributes like health, safety and familiarity. That said, like any community, Kimberley has noted a number of areas perceived to need clarification, action and improvement.”
While the range of feedback was broad, Wilson says there were two notable issues — there is some feeling that the Bavarian theme has lost its vibrancy and resonance, and that significant opportunity exists to improve communication within Kimberley.
“While it’s uncomfortable to have challenges pointed out, it is great to have them identified so we can work to improve them,” said Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae. “What we heard reinforces the need to continue working together towards the community we want, rather than simply waiting for something to happen. A healthy community is a community that demonstrates it cares about itself.”
Other notable perceptions and themes concerning Kimberley, according to Wilson, centred around the Platzl, Economic Development, customer service, the environment, young families, entrepreneurs, arts and culture, differing expectations between old and new residents, RCR, trails, and challenges concerning Kimberley’s experiences and culture.
Having gathered all this information, the branding process now moves to Phase II — approved by Council on Monday evening. Phase II moves into to developing a marketing and communications strategy, as well as the visual aspects of the brand.
The communications and marketing strategy that is a part of that contract will address both internal and external communications – including the communications challenges within the City and communicating the brand to the community and the world, Wilson says.
McRae said that the City is planning to continue to increase opportunities for community communication.
“The tools we will now be developing to communicate, such as a website and branded materials, will be much more effective if the community is actively continuing to talk and listen to each other about their goals, aspirations and visions and taking action to seize opportunity and reduce challenges. Community is communication. Kimberley’s demonstrated that we need to be better prepared and equipped to continually discuss who we are and what we’re doing together with each other. It’s encouraging to see a desire for greater responsibility and accountability. We’re pleased to be moving forward.”
The entire contract with Story & Co. has a budget of $76,160, but each phase will be approved by Council. the first phase, now successfully completed was $19,040. the second phase is budgeted for $31,360 and the third phase which involves website review and renewal has a budget of $25,760.