Grand Forks seeks help to tell their story

By Contributor
October 29th, 2012

Grand Forks is strengthening its brand, and it needs help from the public. No, there’s no steer wrestling experience necessary. Gloves and jeans aren’t required. There’s no cattle or branding irons. All that’s needed is your thoughts about Grand Forks.

But first, what is a brand and why is it important?

What’s a brand?

Our brand is our story: it’s who we are, who we want to be, what we do and what we’ve done. It’s also what people say behind our backs. If you live in Grand Forks, your story is part of our story. 

It’s the story of Grand Forks and the people who live here, the activities we do, the way we live our lives and how we share our community with each other and visitors. Our brand is our story, and its how our story is told.

A brand strengthens our story, and provides tools to tell the story such as brochures and websites, as well as guidelines to ensure it’s told consistently and effectively. We want to ensure that our story is told best and in order to do that, we need you.

What’s not a brand? Brand myths

Myth 1. A brand is a logo. 

Nope. A logo is part of a brand, but it is not THE brand. A logo is a symbol that over time begins to be associated with a brand, but a logo is not a brand. A brand is a story, and it is told in different ways to different people. A logo’s job is to help make the story consistently recognizable to these different people over time. 

Myth 2. A brand means change.

Wrong. Strengthening our brand isn’t about changing our story, it’s merely improve how we share it with others. Changing our story to something that it isn’t is also known as lying. Stengthening our story is simply about expressing the story as we want it to be told. 

In the case of Grand Forks, that may mean expressing the pride of people who live in an incredible place. And it might mean discovering areas of our story that can be improved. 

Grand Forks’ branding initiative needs your thoughts and comments to ensure our story is authentic and reflects who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow. It doesn’t mean our story changes, as much as how we tell our story changes.

Myth 3. A brand doesn’t do much.

A brand is a story, and a story is a brand. A story won’t do anything unless it is told. Imagine this: there are two apple sellers. They have apple orchards situated right next to each other. They pick them at the same time. They water them and grow them the same way. They take them to market on the same day.

But when they get to market, they do things very differently. One seller dumps his apples on the ground and waits for people to come buy them. The other seller carefully places his apples in a display, and calls out to people in the market place, telling the story of where his apples came from, how they taste and how they improve their health.

At the end of the day, guess whose apples are being enjoyed by happy customers? Guess whose apple story is being told and retold. That’s right, the one who told their story best. Brands demonstrate pride, connect with people, give them a reason to experience a product, and differentiate it from their competition. Now, how ’bout them apples?

Why is a brand important?

Grand Forks is a great community, with exceptional people and stories. However, there are many other areas in British Columbia, Canada, and the world that also boast incredible people and stories.  A brand helps to identify and strengthen those things that we want to differentiate us from other places, and it helps us to express the attitude and spirit of our community.

A brand is an expression of who we are to the rest of the world. It’s what makes us distinct and what differentiates us from others. A solid brand offers compelling reasons to be proud of our region and to participate in the Grand Forks experience. A solid brand means our story is not just heard, but that it is remembered, retold, and most importantly, experienced.

How you can help…

As we begin to strengthen our brand, we’re looking for feedback from our story’s most important people, the people who live in Grand Forks; and that’s you!

There’s a survey online until Nov 9, at www.GrandForksSurvey.com The survey asks simple questions about what makes Grand Forks distinct, why you value it, and why you think other people would value it. Please take the time to fill it out, and encourage your family, friends and neighbours to fill it out too. It’s our story, let’s discover how we can tell it best, together.

For questions or more information on the Grand Forks Brand Project, please contact:

Bob Kendel, 250-443-4430 email: bkendel@grandforks.ca or 

Garry Smith,250-443-1256 email: gsmith@grandforks.ca

Fill out the survey at at www.GrandForksSurvey.com or pick up a paper survey at one of these locations:  City Hall, The Grand Forks Credit Union and the CIBC Bank with all to be dropped off at City Hall.

Categories: GeneralPolitics