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City of Prince George launching branding initiative

Phase one of the process will involve online surveys, community workshops and social media to engage the public, city council was told.
City of Prince George logo
The City of Prince George will be seeking public input on a branding initiative for the city.

The City of Prince George is looking to develop a brand to be used for the city’s website, communications, reports and more.

In a report to city council last week, city communications manager Julie Rogers said that a brand is much more than just a logo.

“Our logo is very good… (But) a logo is not a brand, it’s a piece of a brand,” Rogers said. “In a city brand, it’s ‘what do we want to be known for? What sets us apart from everyone else? What makes you want to visit here? What makes you want to live here?’”

The city has a brand standards manual, but the manual primarily just spells out the policies around use of the city logo, she added. In Squamish, the city’s logo “Squamish is hardwired for adventure” is reflected in that city’s street banners, park signs, the redesign of their visitor centre and many other ways, Rogers said.

A brand doesn’t just have to reflect what the city is now, but also what the city is striving to become, Rogers said.

“When Kamloops became ‘B.C.’s Tournament Capital,’ some of us went, ‘Really? You’re kind of stretching it,’” Rogers said. “But they decided they were B.C.’s Tournament Capital, and everything they do continues to reinforce that. They continue to invest in that brand.”

Phase one of the project will involve working with a local consultant to get public input on what Prince George residents think is best about the city. The city has also reached out to the Lheidli T’enneh to include them in the discussions.

The city will look to develop a survey, community workshops and hold polls and conversations on social media to gather input on what people love most about Prince George. The city has already begun by gathering information from community engagement with the city’s social media channels and branding used by Tourism Prince George and the city’s economic development staff.

Once the information is gathered, a report with a proposed “brand identity” will be presented to city council, Rogers said.

“I can’t say who we are. I don’t know that yet,” she said. “Phase one of this just reaching out and having more conversations with the community about who they think Prince George and what they love the most about their community.”

Phase one of the plan is being funded through the city’s current communications department budget, Rogers added.

Phase two, depending on city council’s direction will begin next year and could involve budgetary items like replacing signage, public benches or public artwork, and non-budgetary items like deciding which images are used on the city’s website, the template for the city’s annual report, etc.

“Now is not the time to spend a lot of money replacing things that don’t need to be replaced because it will look prettier with the new city brand,” Rogers said. “We’ll see what our citizens tell us in phase one. And if we decide that what we really need to do is replace all the park benches to match or brand or replace all the street banners, we can decide that then. That’s not this.”

‘THIS IS A GREAT COMMUNITY’

Coun. Brian Skakun said the city is facing some significant challenges at the moment.

“One of the things that people have said to me is, ‘Having a brand is not going to change those things,’” Skakun said. “We obviously have a lot of work to do, but I also think we need to promote a lot of our good things.”

Coun. Cori Ramsay said it’s always good to gather more information about the community.

“I’m looking forward to there being some assumption breaking, that… leads into and helps with our strategic priorities,” Ramsay said. “Which I think is common in these branding exercises.”

Mayor Lyn Hall said branding is important for the community.

“We do have challenges in our community, but this is a great community. And for me, that is what the brand is all about,” Hall said. “We all live here for a reason. And the brand for me, is really an opportunity for us to identify us as Prince George. What is our community all about?”

As of Monday, no timeline for the community consultation process had been released.