Last fall, the City of Kimberley began a process of discovery to look at what residents want the rest of the world to know about Kimberley. Local company Story & Co. were contracted to define Kimberley’s story and throughout the process 400 residents participated in print and online surveys, 76 took part in community meetings and conversations, and 80 met together to learn more about the branding process. In addition there were over 35 one-to-one interviews; as well as information and feedback sessions with groups, organizations and high-school students; and there were also nearly 100 responses to visitor surveys. Further to the community engagement, studies and reports previously undertaken for the city were also reviewed.
Rising from that is a new look for marketing tools, and more importantly, a unified message that will tell the world that Kimberley is a good place to be.
It’s a simple phrase, but it can be used as a marketing element by all sorts of organizations and tourism partners to talk about what is good about Kimberley, from mountain biking to golfing to raising a family.
The City began to roll out the new look this week as the newly designed website went live — check it out at www.city.kimberley.ca
The Bulletin sat down with Mayor Ron McRae, CAO Scott Sommerville, Economic Development Director Kevin Wilson and Matt Thompson of Story & Co. to talk about it all means.
The concept and images, they explain, represent where Kimberley is now and where it’s going. It’s not a culmination so much as a transition in how we communicate. A good place to be is a tagline that is part of that communication.
“Our community’s brand is who we are, what we do, where we live, how we do things, and it’s also the thing’s that people say behind our backs,” McRae said. “It’s our community’s collective culture, stories, aspirations, visions, goals and objectives. Our brand is who we are today, and who we want to be in the future.
“Our brand is NOT our logo, photos, tagline or colours. Logo, photos, tagline, colours are elements of our brand — tools — tools that have been developed, as part of this initiative, to help share our story. On their own they are nothing. However, together and with time and consistency they begin to strengthen and tell our story.”
Residents will begin to see posters such as the ones on the front page in economic development marketing, and in marketing from Tourism Kimberley and the Chamber of Commerce. It’s a concept that can easily be adopted to market arts, culture, sports and more.
“The communication initiative and brand tools developed don’t even try to sum up all our story in one go,” Wilson said. “Instead, they’re tools for helping us tell many different parts of our story. The tools we’ve developed are by necessity, quite broad. They work in many circumstances. They have to work for our community and its organizations, for businesses, for golfers, skiers, families, hard-core adventurers, cultural enthusiasts and event-goers, guests and for businesses and folks looking to relocate to our community.”
Kimberley has been defined in the past as a Bavarian City, and was one of the first communities to consciously create a theme back in the 70s. That doesn’t have to change. But there is a difference between a theme and a brand. This new set of tools can reflect all the assets of Kimberley, from Bavarian to mountain bikes.
“We’ll always have mining and Bavaria as part of our story, it’s just that they may not receive the focus and attention they once had,” McRae said. “In the past we often led with these components of our story. Our story today is much more broad and diverse, and full of even greater opportunity. As such, our brand’s positioning — ‘a good place to be’ — serves as a broad foundation for the many different opportunities associated with our story.”
The tagline is just one of the tools. There is also a logo — a stylized ‘K’ in a broken circle above the name Kimberley — the circle being a symbol of togetherness, but not closed because Kimberley is not done. The goal is that all the tools become recognizable, that people begin to identify them with Kimberley.
It’s what can be done with the tools that’s important.
“Our brand tools help us see and share who we are today, but they also help us build the story and actions necessary for our community’s future,” McRaze said. “Our newly developed communication tools help us continue to become the community that we want to be.
“Themes that run through our community’s story and how we tell it include a focus on the future, friendliness, natural qualities, a commitment to better communication, and innovation. As in the past, Kimberley requires a refreshing attitude that focuses on realizing possibilities, not dwelling on problems.”
So why good and not great? First of all there is a certain amount of humbleness in Kimberley. It’s unpretentiousness is appealing. Good is a mood, a feeling. It’s also important in terms of under-promising and over-delivering, Wilson says.
Tourism Kimberley is updating ads and brochures for the fall marketing and trade show booths. The City will be using them in an Investors Guide. The website is already live with the new look. There will be a new billboard at the Civic Centre. As time goes on, other organizations and the community itself will begin incorporating brand themes into daily life.
It’s important that all these tools developed from talking with Kimberley residents — all this messaging means nothing to the outside world if it doesn’t resonate with those who live here.
Not everyone will like it, but it is hoped that people will recognize that the City is trying to establish something that works, something that is true to the people who live here, many of whom provided feedback as these tools were developed.
“There will be people who may not like the brand,” McRae said. “But that’s part of being a community. Some people like some solutions and others don’t. However, what we’ve developed is a communications solution that works for the broad community segments that we have as well as the broad and changing audiences we need to communicate with.”