Grande Prairie Branding Exercise

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    Grande Prairie Branding Exercise
             Final Brand Recommendation
                          January 13, 2010
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                     2

Table of Contents

Letter to the City of Grande Prairie                           3

Introduction                                                   4

What is a Community Brand?                                     5

Why is a Grande Prairie Brand Important?                       6

How the Brand Exercise was Conducted                           7

Recommendation Development Process                             9

Additional Key Findings from the Branding Exercise            15

Formation of the Recommended Brand                            17

The Grande Prairie Brand                                      18

Brand Benefits for Specific Target Audiences                  19

Examples of the Brand in Action                               22

Brand Credentials                                             23

The Grande Prairie Brand Differentiation                      25

Bringing the Brand to Life                                    27

Brand Leadership                                              28

Brand Adoption                                                29

Brand Touchpoints                                             30

Specific Projects                                             31

                                                     Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                                  3

Letter to the City of Grande Prairie

Great Destination Strategies, LLC is pleased to present its findings and recommendations for a
unified community brand strategy for the City of Grande Prairie. The goal of this branding
exercise is to identify and present the distinctive and attractive characteristics of the
community to internal and external audiences. A strong, unified and proactive image will add
pride to Grande Prairie’s residents, and will assist in attracting new investors, visitors and

GDS completed months of research, analysis and consultation with Grande Prairie residents,
stakeholders, government and community leaders. Two branding workshops were held, two
public polls were conducted, and personal interviews were completed. City and regional
documents were reviewed, and current media was followed during the course of this exercise.
A draft of this report was presented to the City Council in November 2009.

We would like to thank Mayor Logan, the City Council and City Manager Greg Scerbak for
their time and consideration of us during the course of our work. We would also like to thank
all the city government employees we spoke with and contacted for information. Our special
thanks goes to David Olinger, Marketing Communications Manager, for his special efforts to
facilitate our work.

We would like to thank the Grande Prairie residents and stakeholders who took the time to
meet with us personally and share their stories, opinions and visions for the community. And
finally we would like to thank and acknowledge the scores of residents who completed the
poll questions available online during the course of this branding exercise.

Branding Grande Prairie will be a community-wide effort if it is to be successful. We
encourage everyone to consider joining under the unifying theme recommended herein, and
through one loud voice, proclaim the uniqueness and special nature of Grande Prairie to the
world, for the social and economic benefit of its residents.

John Kelsh                                        Mary Klugherz
Principal                                         Principal

                                                                  Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                           4

On August 18, 2009, the City of Grande Prairie entered into a contract with Great
Destination Strategies, LLC for assistance in carrying out a Branding Exercise. The
City’s purpose is to establish a brand for the community. While Grande Prairie has a
City Crest – last updated in the 1990’s, and a slogan – “The Greatest Place To Be,” the
city lacks a widely held identity or brand. The City expressed the desire that any
potential brand reflect the community’s feelings and resonates with residents,
employees and key stakeholders.

A community brand is a widely held perception consumers have about a place.
Taking the initiative to guide and manage Grande Prairie’s brand can benefit the
community and makes the community proactive in its identity. A brand is a strong
asset in community communications.

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                           5

What is a Community Brand?
All places have a brand whether they like it or not. Brands are simply what others
think of you and what you may think of your own city. Successful community brands
begin with the community residents, how they see their own city and their vision of
what they want it to be. In some cases, new development may be needed to create
the city’s vision, but in all cases future development should support the selected
vision. Logos and slogans are not brands; they only represent the brand and what it

Branding Concepts
1. Brands are not marketing campaigns, which are media communications to target
   audiences. Brands are what the target audiences think and say about you, based
   first on what they hear from others and then from their own personal experiences
   in the community.

2. Brands are the fabric of the community – the sum total of what you deliver and
   how you deliver it. For this reason, brands are a promise to the target audiences
   that they will receive a certain experience. Delivering that expected experience or
   better is what successful branding is all about.

3.    Branding a community is not a quick fix. Because brands are more about what
     others think of you than what you say you are, brand building takes time.

Community branding becomes most successful when everyone in the community
assists, even in small ways, in exhibiting the brand experience and helping to deliver
on the promise.

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                              6

Why is a Grande Prairie Brand Important?
A Grande Prairie brand is important to the community for the following reasons:

    o Provides the community with a fresh point of reference for identifying itself in
      the marketplace.

    o Reflects the feelings of residents, businesses and stakeholders about their

    o Enables the municipality to formalize its corporate identity within the context
      of a brand.

    o Provides the municipality with a clear corporate vision and messaging it can
      convey to residents, visitors, potential businesses and investors.

    o Provides a unifying, distinctive, focused and consistent brand promise that
      attracts new talent and resources to Grande Prairie:

            !   Business needs to attract skilled labour and investment dollars.

            !   Residents want to tell the world their love and pride of home.

            !   Potential residents want to feel satisfied with their community choice.

            !   Tourists need to know why Grande Prairie is unique and worth the trip.

    o Brand familiarity is linked to favorability.

    o Brand strength is linked to increased consumption.

    o Brand knowledge reduces consumer risk.

The most important criteria for a successful community brand is to consistently deliver
on the brand promise. Communities that provide what their brand implies are
successful because the brand is perceived as truthful. Brands are what your audiences
think of you, not what you say you are. The closer the consumer’s personal
experience of Grande Prairie is to what your brand message states, the stronger the

                                                              Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                            7

How the Brand Exercise Was Conducted
This Grande Prairie branding exercise conducted by GDS is the first of several steps
the City might take in the development and execution of a complete branding effort.
This first step is to identify and make recommendations about specific branding
concepts that could be used by the entire community of Grande Prairie. Visual
identities or taglines and slogans used to represent the community brand would be
developed after the brand has been adopted. This contract began in August 2009 and
is to be completed by January 2010. We performed the following activities:

GDS provided an overview to the City Council on the nature of community branding,
what constitutes a good community brand, how a brand benefits the community, and
the necessary steps that must be taken to develop a community brand. GDS also
conducted an educational workshop for the City and one for the general public in
Grande Prairie during the week of September 14, 2009. These workshops provided a
context in which Grande Prairie officials and residents could deliberate and offer their
opinions, comments, suggestions and visions.

Community Participation
GDS and the City Communications Manager facilitated additional communication with
residents about the branding effort. This was accomplished with public
announcements, press releases and press interviews about the branding exercise. The
City and GDS created a Branding Exercise Page on the municipal website that
provided details about the project and presented a gateway to the public polls that
were offered.

Another important component of the project was to provide residents and other
stakeholders the opportunity to comment on and provide input to the branding effort.
This was accomplished through discussion at the public workshop, through two
public polls provided online at the branding webpage, through formal face-to-face
interviews with key stakeholders conducted in Grande Prairie by GDS principals, and
by other email and telephone inquiries by GDS with residents and stakeholders

GDS reviewed existing documents that reflected prior branding and marketing efforts
of the City and region, or were relevant to the development of a new brand for the
City. These included the socio- and demographic landscape of Grande Prairie and its
geographical sphere of influence, city, county and provincial economic plans,
governmental and organizational websites, and tourism collateral materials.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                           8

Field Reconnaissance
GDS carried out an extensive site reconnaissance of Grande Prairie over the course of
five days. We drove from Edmonton to Grande Prairie to get a feeling for the territory
and the distances involved. We walked the downtown district, drove throughout the
entire city, and visited the main public sites, all with a “visitor point-of-view.” We
looked for natural or man-made physical features or structures that might lend
themselves to a brand identity or as a brand icon.

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                            9

Recommendation Development Process
Target Audiences for the Brand
Brand development begins with a designation of the audiences, or target markets for
the brand. Successful brands offer each audience a tangible or emotional benefit.
Understanding the needs of each audience is critical to developing a brand that
resonates with them.

The Grande Prairie Branding process considers several target audiences:

        1. The first and most important audience is the residents of Grande Prairie
           themselves. They should feel pride in their community, and see observable
           demonstrations of the brand promise.
        2. The second most important audience is investors in the community. This
           includes financial investors and those who invest their time in building
           careers in Grande Prairie. They should find a sense of opportunity in the
        3. The third important audience is potential new residents of Grande Prairie.
           They will be looking for a community that provides good role models for
           their children as well as good family experiences.
        4. The brand should also provide a lure to potential visitors, that offers
           something unique and special that makes a visit worthwhile.

Our search for a brand considers each of the above audience’s needs and desires.

Resources Evaluation
With an understanding of the brand’s audiences, we evaluated the community’s
strengths and character, seeking elements that could be incorporated into a distinctive

We considered the accessibility of natural and manmade resources of the city and its
environs such as the oil & mining industry, the timber industry, agriculture, the
personal services provided to the Peace Country, as well as the surrounding prairie,
mountains, lakes and streams. We considered city infrastructure, architecture, services,
iconic structures, the arts, neighborhood diversity and ambience. We reviewed the
history of the city. And, we considered the human resources of Grande Prairie – the
composition and character of its citizens.

The First Citizen Poll
We were assisted greatly in our evaluation by the responses we received from 111
Grande Prairie citizens who participated in the First Branding Poll. They answered the
following questions:

1. If you lived several hours from Grande Prairie, is there anything that would attract
you to visit the city? 103 Responses

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                           10

2. During your leisure time, what special places in Grande Prairie do you go? 106

3. When friends or family from out of town visit, where in Grande Prairie do you take
them? 103 Responses

4. If an investor was looking at Grande Prairie to relocate his business here, 1. What
reasons would you give them to do so? 2. What issues would you caution them to
consider? 101 Responses

5. If a family were considering moving to Grande Prairie, 1. What reasons would you
give them to do so? 2. What would you caution them about? 105 Responses

6. How do you think most people in Alberta perceive Grande Prairie? 1. What do you
think is the most positive image you think they have of Grande Prairie? 2. What is the
most negative image you think they have? 104 Responses

7. If you have additional comments you want to share with us, please do so here. 67

Most of the respondents commented positively about the new amenities brought to
Grande Prairie by the rapid growth of jobs and population. The addition of new
shopping and services were particularly noted because it made it unnecessary to
travel south to Edmonton to make necessary purchases.

Also noted were the additional entertainment and recreational facilities that came with
new population and increased taxes. The library, art gallery and multiplex, and
Muskoseepi Park were mentioned frequently. It was felt by many respondents that
Grande Prairie had now achieved real “city” status, and provided the critical mass of
diversions and amenities that made it more comfortable, and less necessary to leave
the city. On the negative side, there were comments about the growing pains that
come with rapid development. Traffic, construction delays, the lack of landscaping,
and a tight labour force for example. These responses dealt with the physical
characteristics of Grande Prairie.

Responders also weighed in on the intangible characteristics of the city. The high
percentage of young people was a frequent response as were high incomes and high
taxes. Notably, the city was characterized as young, vibrant, with an entrepreneurial
spirit, and innovative thinking. Residents see Grande Prairie as a city of opportunities.

Stakeholder Interviews
GDS conducted sixteen formal stakeholder interviews face-to-face. The interviews
lasted between forty-five and ninety minutes, allowing us to gather detailed
information about Grande Prairie’s past history, current situation, and future visions.
We interviewed a cross-section of government officials, community leaders, private
entrepreneurs, social workers, and seasoned citizens.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                           11

The most compelling theme that came out of our interviews was about the character if
Grande Prairie’s citizens. Because of the city’s remoteness, and its taming of the land,
capture of its natural resources, and need for self-sufficiency, the predominant profile
that we recorded from our interviews was one of a people with a positive attitude,
adept at solving problems through new ideas and innovation, and a willingness to
work together for the good of all. We heard similar words and phrases repeated again
and again, such as “volunteerism,” “can-do attitude,” “willingness to learn,” and
“working together.”

Several pieces of research and media review corroborated our findings with the First
Poll and the stakeholder interviews. For example,

    1. Grande Prairie finished second overall in Canada, behind only Saskatoon and
       well ahead of Canada’s large centres such as Calgary and Edmonton on
       Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities list. Compiled by the Canadian Federation
       of Independent Business (CFIB), Grande Prairie finished second among 98
       urban centres across the country.

    2. The Business Development Bank of Canada is recording an increase in
       entrepreneurial loans and training programs for self-employment, particularly
       in the 25-35 year old age category. These activities are also supported by the
       Centre for Research & Innovation, Community Futures, the BDC, and the Peace
       Region Economic Development Alliance.

    3. With five percent of the population, the Peace Country accounts for 40% of the
       Province’s patents. Bob Clark, chairman of the board for the Rural Alberta
       Development Fund was quoted saying that the rest of the Province can learn
       from Grande Prairie in terms of cultivating innovation and entrepreneurial
       culture, “…this is one of the real innovative hubs of Alberta, here in the Peace
       River region.”

The Second Citizen Poll
The purpose of the second poll was to obtain citizen thinking on the themes that we
discovered in our interviews and the first poll. We followed up with questions about
the themes that surfaced and that were positive and might lend themselves to a city
brand. The second poll measured two things:

    1. The level of importance to citizens that Grande Prairie be known for specific
       character attributes that were mentioned as part of the fabric of the community.

    2. Secondly, citizen perceptions that each of these character attributes are evident
       in the behavior of Grande Prairie’s community-at-large, and, in the municipal
       government’s actions.

Seventy-two citizens responded to the Poll.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                        12

The purpose of asking these questions in an importance/performance format is based
on the requirement that any identity or brand theme assigned to Grande Prairie must
be truthful. There must be some basis in fact to the promise the brand makes. We
learned from our interviews, and First Poll results, as well as other evidence, that
Grande Prairie citizens possessed these characteristics. We wanted to know how
important they were to Grande Prairie residents, and if they perceived that these
characteristics were well exhibited.

Respondents were asked to “strongly agree,” “somewhat agree,” “somewhat disagree”
or “strongly disagree” with each statement about performance. They were then asked
to rate the importance of each characteristic with a response of “very important,”
“somewhat important,” “somewhat unimportant, “ or “not at all important.” In both
cases, the answers were weighted from minus “2” to plus “2”. The highest score any
given question could get was a +2.

                                                         Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                                                                       13

The characteristic considered the                                              !"#$%&'()*+         ,*%-$%"'()*+
most important by the 72
respondents to the Second Poll is
“an openness to new ideas and
willingness to try new things”.
Respondents felt that Grande
Prairie government did a better
job of exhibiting this than the
                                                        Grande Prairie Government is open to       The Grande Prairie Community-at-large is
                                                       new ideas and willing to try new things.     open to new ideas and willing to try new

The second most important                                                      !"#$%&'()*+         ,*%-$%"'()*+
characteristic is “a demonstration            ("&!#
of a high level of innovation and             ("%!#

creativity.” Performance did not              ("$!#

meet the importance of this                   ("!!#

characteristic in the eyes of the             !"'!#

respondents, but the community-               !"&!#

at-large faired better than the city          !"%!#

government.                                   !"$!#

                                                      Grande Prairie Government demonstrates        The Grande Prairie Community-at-large
                                                       a high level of innovation and creativity    demonstrates a high level of innovation
                                                                                                               and creativity.

Third in importance was “a strong
                                                                               !"#$%&'()*+         ,*%-$%"'()*+
“can-do” attitude, and ability to get         ("%!#
things done.” The community-at-
large was perceived as doing
pretty well relative to its



                                                        The Grande Prairie City Government          The Grande Prairie Community-at-large
                                                       exhibits a strong "can-do" attitude, and     exhibits a strong "can-do" attitude, and
                                                                   gets things done.                            gets things done.

                                                                                     Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                                                                     14

                                                                                      !"#$%&'()*+       ,*%-$%"'()*+
We asked respondents how well the                                ("'!#
community-at-large exhibited working                             ("&!#
together to accomplish things, and how                           ("%!#
important that was. This was deemed very                         ("$!#

important.                                                       ("!!#
                                                                           The Grande Prairie Community-at-large is exceptional at
                                                                                  working together to accomplish things.

                                                                                      !"#$%&'()*+       ,*%-$%"'()*+
Finally, we asked how important it was that
Grande Prairie be perceived as a place
where it is easier to build a career than in                       ("$!#
other Alberta communities. This was                                ("!!#
considered very important, likely because of                       !"'!#
the labour shortage, and the need for                              !"&!#

additional businesses and employees.                               !"%!#
                                                                            Building a career in Grande Prairie is easier than in other
                                                                                        communities in Alberta Province

                                              How long have you lived in the greater Grande
                                                     Prairie area? (72 responses)
The respondents were self-
selected. The length of                   782+#-./0#$%#1+/2,#
residency of respondents is
skewed to represent long-             3+-4++0#6#/05#$%#1+/2,#

term residents of Grande               3+-4++0#'#/05#6#1+/2,#



                                                                 !"#       $!"#       %!"#       &!"#      '!"#       (!"#      )!"#

                                                                                      Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                              15

Additional Key Findings from the Branding Exercise
    1. Tourism plays a relatively minor role in the economic mix driven by timber,
       agriculture, oil & gas, retail services and regional health care.

    2. Grande Prairie services an area-wide population of 250,000.

    3. Grande Prairie is comprised of younger than average citizens. The average age
       is 29 compared to the Provincial average of 36 years of age.

    4. Many residents arriving for one- or two-year stints of contract work decide to

    5. Economic growth in the near future is likely to be slower than in the past, with
       new oil & gas discoveries in neighboring provinces.

    6. Although the timber industry is currently depressed, Grande Prairie is home to
       some of the most innovative improvements in logging techniques and
       machinery in the world.

    7. Regional farmers exhibit an innovative nature and are among the first to try
       new farming techniques in North America.

    8. Grande Prairie Regional College is home to the Centre for Research &
       Innovation, whose goal is to make the Peace Region the best place in Canada
       to innovate.

    9. Grande Prairie residents feel that few people to the south know much about
       the city or are even aware of it.

    10. Grande Prairie residents generally feel their quality of life is high.

    11. Long time Grande Prairie residents have strong emotional ties to the
        community. Both old and new residents feel Grande Prairie is generally a good
        place to raise a family.

    12. Many in Grande Prairie characterize its residents as having a “can-do” spirit.
        Entrepreneurism is widely acknowledged. They consider themselves as
        inquisitive, many self-taught, and able to apply their knowledge to practical

    13. Grande Prairie has many social and community organizations devoted to the
        general welfare. Volunteerism is prevalent.

    14. Chamber of Commerce participation in Grande Prairie is exceptionally high.

                                                               Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                              16

    15. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is considered a vital resource to the region
        because of its isolation. There is a general feeling that it requires additional
        facilities and staff to make it current with health care resources elsewhere.

    16. AquaTera, the local water board, is perceived as innovative in its infrastructure
        and operations.

    17. About fifty percent of visitors to Grande Prairie come from within Alberta,
        another 29% from the rest of Canada, and only 21% from the U. S. and

    18. Downtown Grande Prairie retains a high inventory of viable retail space in
        spite of the introduction of big box stores on the edge of the city. Most
        downtown stores are of a specialty nature.

    19. Grande Prairie has built the foundation of a vibrant arts community that will
        grow over time. The City has plans for an arts neighborhood downtown.

    20. A regional branding project has been initiated by the Peace Region Economic
        Development Alliance (PREDA). The current focus is on regional research
        capabilities and the promotion of regional products that are unique or special.

    21. A planned River of Death & Discovery Dinosaur Centre will be designed to
        draw additional visitors to the area.

    22. The Province of Alberta Finance and Enterprise – Regional Development plans
        a Peace Region branding exercise in 2010. Consideration will be given to the
        new provincial Alberta Brand and any local community brands.

    23. In addition to the continuation of traditional industries, the local region has
        opportunities for the development of alternative energy, including wind energy,
        river-power generators, solar energy and bio-fuels.

    24. The Centre for Research & Innovation estimates that 40% of patents originating
        in the province come from the Grande Prairie region.

                                                               Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                              17

Formation of the Recommended Brand
A review of the findings we catalogued from community reconnaissance, research,
interviews, and polls pointed to the main strengths of Grande Prairie as coming from
the people of the community rather than from the physical attributes of the area.
Specifically, their characteristics of high energy, hard work, creativity - particularly
innovation, a spirit of “can-do”, and a willingness to learn and apply new ideas.

The general physical attributes of Grande Prairie, either natural or man-made, offer a
large inventory of recreational opportunities, extraction of natural resources, cultural,
civic and retail amenities, however many of these are unexceptional compared to
other destinations with which Grande Prairie competes. They are important in that
they contribute to the well being of the residents, potential investors and potential
new residents, and they are necessary for Grande Prairie to meet the standards of a

The strongest tangible benefits of Grande Prairie are those that support the resident’s
“can-do” spirit, openness to new ideas and innovative behavior The diversified and
vibrant industries, high access to jobs and careers and specialized education for
innovation are among strong assets of Grande Prairie.

Even the intangible benefits of Grande Prairie support the personality of Grande
Prairie residents – the social networking opportunities, volunteerism, and the
exuberance that comes with a young population.

It became clear that while Grande Prairie may not be distinctive in terms of the critical
mass of a large city, or its icons, architecture, or tourist attractions, it exhibits a clear
distinctiveness in its approach to problem-solving, and open-mindedness.

These human characteristics can form a community brand that is accessible and
relevant to each of the Grande Prairie target audiences.

                                                               Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                             18

The Grande Prairie Brand
Our recommended Grande Prairie Brand can be summarized in the Brand
Essence statement:
                           “Opportunities through innovation.”
This is not a slogan or a tag line, but rather the Grande Prairie Brand DNA.

The Brand Promise is a statement of the experience the brand will deliver to its
audiences. The Grande Prairie Brand Promise is:

        “In Grande Prairie, you will have opportunities to achieve your dream.
        In Grande Prairie there is a willingness to try new things. Your creativity
        and ingenuity will be received with an open mind. We offer an
        environment that nurtures your innovative spirit, and a friendly nature to
        help you achieve your goals.”

The Brand Values are the basic principles Grande Prairie believes in and
represents. They are:

Personal Initiative                  Positive Thinking           Cooperative

Entrepreneurial                      Tenacity, perseverance      Synergy

Hard Work                            Independence                Teamwork

Innovation & Creativity              Ambition

The Brand Personality is the characteristics and traits of Grande Prairie if it
were a person.

        “Grande Prairie is young, smart, open-minded, clever, positive, and
        possesses a desire to achieve and to help others achieve.”

The Emotional Benefits inherent in the brand include:

    o Confidence in one’s own abilities

    o Satisfaction through achievement

    o Connectedness to the community through teamwork and shared vision

    o Tranquility from a sense of purpose

    o Delight through curiosity and learning

                                                              Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                Page      19!

Brand Benefits for Specific Target Audiences
The overall Grande Prairie Brand is specific and directed, but is flexible enough to
meet the needs of the four primary target audiences it is meant to address.

Grande Prairie Residents
The recommended Grande Prairie Brand offers existing residents both tangible and
emotional benefits. The specific audiences of the Grande Prairie Residents Market

   o   Businesses
   o   Community Organizations (Profit / Non-profit)
   o   Opinion Leaders
   o   The Media
   o   Government Agencies
   o   Residents

   Tangible Benefits
   o Opportunities for employment (a high number of business start-ups, a large
      number of businesses per capita.)

   o Opportunities to be entrepreneurial (a high degree of self-employment.)

   o Economic Stability (a diversity of industries at the economic base of Grande

   o An environment that appreciates creativity and innovation.

   o Available assistance in career development (Centre for Research & Innovation,
     Community Futures, The Business Development Council, the Peace Region
     Economic Development Alliance.)

   Emotional Benefits
   o Pride in the city’s openness to new ideas, creativity and innovation,
     volunteerism, teamwork and strong growth.

   o Allegiance and loyalty to something larger than themselves.

   o Enthusiasm to be part of a successful community.

   o Peace of mind from personal attainment.

Investors in Grande Prairie
Potential investors look for communities that have a strong sense of who they are and
where they are going. They look for communities that demonstrate these
characteristics through how they conduct themselves. Branding provides a clear and
unique presentation of a community and helps give investors confidence in the

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                 Page      20!

steadiness of the community’s vision and future behavior. It reduces the investor’s
cost of information about the community and reduces their perception of risk.

The Grande Prairie Brand would provide potential investors with these benefits.

   Tangible Benefits
   o A business, social and cultural environment that welcomes and nurtures new
      and innovative ways of doing things.

   o Access to a motivated and creative workforce.

   o A place of friendly competition.

   o Opportunities for the sharing of ideas and teamwork.

   o Room for growth and expansion.

   Emotional Benefits
   o A sense of reduced risk.

   o Enthusiasm to be part of a successful community.

Potential New Residents
Potential new residents are frequently vague or unaware of Grande Prairie, according
to the opinions of current residents in the First Poll results. A branded Grande Prairie
will help to elevate the awareness of the community as well as take a pro-active role
in defining it. Many new residents have come because of the employment
opportunities in the past. Whether these job opportunities return or not, the city will
benefit from attracting the highly motivated and self-directed individuals that will be
attracted by the brand. The recommended brand offers these potential residents
several specific benefits.

   Tangible Benefits
   o Opportunities for employment (a high number of business start-ups, a large
      number of businesses per capita.)

   o A supportive environment to be entrepreneurial.

   o Economic growth to sustain new business start-ups.

   o A business community that appreciates creativity and innovation.

   o Available assistance in career development (Centre for Research & Innovation,
     Community Futures, The Business Development Council, the Peace Region
     Economic Development Alliance.)

   Emotional Benefits
   o Pride in the city’s openness to new ideas, creativity and innovation,
     volunteerism, teamwork and strong growth.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                 Page      21!

   o Comfort from a supportive business community.

   o Security from a growing regional economy.

   o Peace of mind from personal attainment.

Potential visitors, and particularly tourists will slowly learn about the Grande Prairie
brand and be intrigued by it. In order to attract them, they will need to see tangible
evidence of the brand in action or be able to have some personal experience of it.
This would mean seeing innovation in local architecture (design, or visible
green/sustainable applications), perhaps street or neighborhood features that are
unique or novel, or a ubiquitous new form of transportation that they can experience.
It might mean something new in the arts that has not been done before, or a unique
event. Currently, most visitors are traveling through Grande Prairie to or from
somewhere else. Having something for them to see or do related to the brand might
encourage them to stay a bit longer and spend more in the local economy. An iconic
feature related to the brand would also be a possible lure for visitors.

   Tangible Benefits
   o Viewing something unique that is not available closer to home.

   o Experiencing something innovative that is not available closer to home.

   o Participating in cultural, social, business or academic events related to the

   Emotional Benefits
   o The enjoyment of seeing or experiencing something new.

   o The satisfaction of collegial sharing of knowledge.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                               Page      22!

Examples of the Brand in Action
   o A focus on innovation in the arts, with incubators for young artists in new

   o New thinking in neighborhood development with green/sustainable features,
     new housing materials, multi-family living space configurations.

   o Streamlined processes for municipal planning, development, permitting and

   o Supportive tax structures for new businesses.

   o Increased course curricula at the Centre for Research & Innovation. Extended
     apprentice programs and invention laboratories.

   o New applications for chemical-free high-yield food production in the
     agricultural sector.

   o Chamber of Commerce projects in support of entrepreneurial ventures. Annual
     recognition, awards and scholarships.

                                                          Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                 Page      23!

Brand Credentials
Grande Prairie has a legacy that provides credentials to brand itself as a place of
“opportunity for entrepreneurial ingenuity”.

1. Ranking second in the CFIB survey of entrepreneurial cities.

2. The presence of the Centre for Research & Innovation.

                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                Page      24!

   3. A reputation for new start up businesses and innovation.

   4. The high percentage of Patents that originate from the Peace Country.

Grande Prairie has a solid foundation to build on its brand.

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                  Page      25!

The Grande Prairie Brand Differentiation
All branding strives to be unique within its marketplace. The brand is the factor that
sets products and places apart from the competition. It says, “We’re different from
what you can get elsewhere.” For Grande Prairie’s most important markets, the
recommended brand theme “Opportunity for Entrepreneurial Ingenuity” will be
unique. A survey of 96 communities within Alberta Province produced no
communities that are currently using this theme as a brand.

Granted, Calgary and Edmonton have strong elements of creativity, innovation and
entrepreneurism in the fabric of their communities, but they do not brand themselves
as such. Grande Prairie’s brand would be unique in the Province. In an Internet
search of other Canadian communities, we found only one place that is actively
pursuing a similar brand direction – Waterloo, Ontario, a city of 97,000 next to
Kitchener, Ontario. Waterloo’s slogan is “Intelligent Waterloo – Unconventional
Collaboration, Intentional Innovation.” Waterloo was named by the Intelligent
Community forum (ICF), a non-profit think tank, as the Top Intelligent Community of
2007. We do not believe that its location 3,900 kilometers from Grande Prairie has any
significant impact on the recommended brand.

The Alberta Provincial Brand
Alberta Province has a newly established brand that was carefully researched and is
being deployed and integrated by all aspects of the Provincial government. The
Provincial slogan, representing the brand is

                 “The freedom to create and the spirit to achieve.”
It is our opinion that the provincial brand is a strong one. We have been assured by
provincial brand officials that they intend to stay with this brand and strengthen it
over a long period of time – which is exactly the right thing to do in brand building.
We also believe that as the larger entity, the provincial brand is the right environment
for the more specifically defined Grande Prairie brand and both supports and
complements it.

“Freedom to create” works perfectly with the concepts of entrepreneurism,
opportunity and ingenuity. The “spirit to achieve” fits well with the youth, vitality and
creative thinking present in the Grande Prairie brand. There are opportunities for
Grande Prairie to leverage the Alberta Brand and its marketing resources as it
communicates and empowers its city brand.

We asked the residents of Grande Prairie how they felt about the Alberta Brand. A
wide majority felt the brand was a good one for the Province.

                                                             Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                              Page     26!

          Alberta Province has developed a new slogan as part
          of its new brand. The slogan is - "Freedom To Create.
          Spirit To Achieve" Do you think this is a good slogan
                               for Alberta?





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                                                                        Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                Page      27!

Bringing the Brand to Life
In order to become successful, the Grande Prairie brand must be communicated
clearly and consistently. Clearly, in the sense that while Grande Prairie has other
valuable attributes, the central identity of the community must clearly be conveyed as
THE place of opportunity for achievement through innovation. Consistently, in that
the support and collaboration of all community organizations, groups and individuals
will deliver the same overall brand theme, each in the way that the brand theme is
manifested in what they do.

Brand Leadership
Developing a brand is an ongoing and long-term process and will benefit from
leadership from the top and ownership at the grassroots of the community.
Leadership provides the strategic focus to keep the branding effort true and on
course. At the beginning it is critical that leadership provide a greater hands-on
management than in the later stages of the brand. This will require organization.

The Brand Development Committee
The brand needs a steering committee of individuals passionate about the branding
effort and committed to the long-term advocacy of the brand. These few individuals
will be the “champions” of the brand, speaking at local organizations and community
groups about the brand, helping to integrate the brand concepts into the fabric of the
community, keeping the brand “on track,” and true to its purpose, and ultimately,
managing the brand logo, tagline and other visual graphics that are used to
communicate the brand in the media.

Many of Grande Prairie’s entities have an important role to play in integrating the
brand into Grande Prairie’s business and social fabric, in communicating the brand to
target audiences, and in maintaining a positive forward development of the brand.
These would include but not be limited to:

   o The Grande Prairie City government and related agencies
   o The Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce
   o Community Futures – Grande Prairie & Region
   o Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association
   o Grande Prairie Rotary Club
   o Alberta Finance & Enterprise – Grande Prairie
   o Peace Region Economic Development Alliance
   o Centre for Research & Innovation
   o Grande Prairie Regional College
   o Centre for the Creative Arts

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                Page      28!

   o Daily Herald Tribune and other local media
   o The Oil & Gas industry
   o The Agricultural community
   o The Logging industry

Brand Leadership Checklist

   !    Organize. Create the brand leadership team to function as a cohesive unit with
        continuity over time. Acknowledge the team as the visible leadership
        organization of the brand.

   !    Plan. Develop a plan for introducing the brand with specific, measurable goals,
        assignments, and methodologies for accomplishing them. Use the community
        as a resource for achieving the goals.

   !    Educate. Develop workshops to educate key individuals within the community
        about branding. Develop other opportunities to demonstrate successful
        delivery of the brand experience to different target audiences.

   !    Adopt. Develop a strategy for brand adoption by key organizations and
        individuals so that they demonstrate their commitment to the brand.

   !    Generate. Develop ways in which the community can express the brand and
        demonstrate its living presence in business, culture, society and the

   !    Integrate. Determine how to integrate the brand into the fabric of the
        community and within each city government department. The brand promise
        should be reflected in departmental plans and goals, and visible through
        actions as well as words.

   !    Manage. Appoint a brand manager who has the time and resources to manage
        the branding detail on a daily basis.

   !    Support. Develop supporting communications and marketing materials needed
        to educate about the brand and broaden its awareness and understanding.

                                                           Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                  Page      29!

Brand Adoption

Brand adoption check list.

   !    Graphics. Develop visual graphics (logo, identity marks, etc.), and verbal
        communication tools (tagline, slogan) to represent the brand. Develop a Style
        Guide that defines how the graphics should be used.

   !    Communications. Develop a Brand Communications Action Plan for the
        municipal departments, the community and local media. Include a crisis
        response plan. Monitor and participate in social media regarding the brand.

   !    Marketing. Develop Brand Marketing Strategies directed toward investors,
        potential new residents, and visitors.

   !    Consistency. Conduct an audit of internal communication and marketing
        materials to see if they are consistent with the brand, including all electronic
        and printed materials.

   !    PR. Public relations should play a leading role in brand marketing.

   !    Spokespersons. Designate several individuals as the authoritative resources on
        topics related to the brand.

   !    Protection. Protect the brand, the brand visual graphics, the brand verbal
        identities, etc from misuse by community or third party sources. Protect your
        branding resources with use agreements, trademarks and copyrights.

   !    Delivery. Help different organizations determine how they can exhibit the
        brand concepts and deliver on the brand promise.

   !    Expertise. Select marketing agencies that have brand experience and will add
        to the community’s expertise and knowledge of brand development.

   !    Measure. Check in with the community periodically to measure brand
        acceptance, brand awareness and brand application. Review industrial,
        educational, cultural, social applications of the brand essence.

   !    Reward. Acknowledge and reward exemplary uses of the brand in government
        and throughout the community.

   !    Recruit. Seek out and welcome practitioners of the brand essence into the

   !    Support. Provide financial support for projects that further the brand or
        increase the community’s capability of delivering on the brand promise.

                                                             Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                  Page      30!

Brand Touchpoints
Grande Prairie’s target audiences should encounter evidence of the brand in as many
instances as possible in order for the community to become indentified with the
brand. Residents will have many more opportunities to “touch” the brand than will
investors, potential residents or tourists. These “touchpoints” may deliver awareness,
positive reinforcement or an actual experience of the brand promise or personality. In
some instances, only the brand visuals or verbal tag line may be delivered, such as
through websites, collateral, or other forms of mass communication. In other
instances, there will be a real demonstration of the brand. Here is a list of common
“touchpoints” that have the opportunity to connect with the target audiences.

Community Signage                    Community-at-large
! External building                  ! Incentive/award          Municipality
signs                                  programs                 !   Letterhead
! Information panels                 ! Cultural programs        !   Mailing labels
! Interpretative displays            ! Events                   !   Business cards
! Way-finding                        ! Tour guides              !   Bid documents
! Directional signs                  ! Storytelling             !   Contracts
! Gateways                           ! Street theatre           !   Email signatures
                                     ! Public art               !   Frontline employee
Community Marketing                  ! Banners                      knowledge
!   Recorded information             ! Speakers bureau          !   Phone greeting
!   Decals                           ! Editorial coverage       !   Annual report
!   Flags                            ! Guide books              !   Strategic plans
!   Logo apparel                     ! Architecture             !   Podium signs
!   Screensavers                                                !   Powerpoint
!   Municipal website                Businesses                     presentations
!   Social media                     ! Corporate
!   Destination website                communications
!   Collateral materials             ! Business cards
!   Press releases                   ! Operational manuals
!   Fact sheets                      ! Personnel service
!   Newsletters                      ! Business history
!   Advertising                      ! Training
!   Media kits                       ! Customer contact
!   Images                           ! Sales presentations
!   Kiosks                           ! Trade shows
                                     ! Point of sale
                                     ! Product positioning

                                                             Great Destination Strategies, LLC
Grande Prairie Branding Exercise – Final Report                                 Page      31!

Specific Projects
Grande Prairie has taken the first step toward developing an enduring and
representative community brand by identifying its core values and distinctiveness.
Next steps have been outlined for adoption by the community’s leadership. A few
specific products still need to be developed to advance the brand initiative. These are:

   1. A Grande Prairie logo and tag line. A Style Guide should be developed to
      manage how the graphics and verbal identity should be used.
   2. Marketing Strategies for positioning the brand.
   3. A brand education Powerpoint presentation.
   4. A plan for monitoring adoption of the brand, awareness of the brand, and
      effectiveness of the brand.


                                                            Great Destination Strategies, LLC