-by Anne Farries
Consultants were in Whycocomagh last week, talking about branding for the community.
When the village gets a new roundabout on the Trans-Canada Highway, it will be an ideal time to develop streetscapes and building facades that identify the unique character of the community, said Melanie Beaton, special projects facilitator for Inverness County, at two public meetings October 29th.
“Volunteers (with Whycocomagh Development) have seen some of the work that happened in other communities in terms of streetscape and façade programs and the community-planning that goes with all of that,” Beaton said. “They wanted to attract some of that to their community.”
After the group applied for funding, the county hired Vibe Creative Group, which hosted the public consultation last week as the first step in developing the theme.
“We’re going to talk about partnerships and synergies, and what makes Whycocomagh ‘you’– what is your pin on the map,” said Vibe’s Tracy Boutilier.
Neil Gascoyne, creative director, told the 50 people who attended the meetings, “We want to hear your vision for the project, your vision for the community.”
“Once you’ve got an idea what you want people to think about you, then we have tools to communicate that. Those tools start with a logo. Then we’ve got things like photography, style of writing, colour palettes. It could be videos. Anything visual that can say a message – that is a tool that we’ll use to communicate your brand.”
Brands work “really well when they’re defined really well,” Gascoyne said. “A lot of times, we’ll ask someone, ‘what do you want to say with your brand?’ They say, ‘we’d like a bit of everything’.”
“That does sound like a good idea, because you feel like you’re getting value for money. But in reality, it doesn’t work. You just get noise.”
“The best brands know who they are, and they know how to say it, and they say it consistently. So, they’re saying the same message over and over. That’s how brands become powerful.”
Before designing the logo, Gascoyne said he wanted “to get a feeling about what Whycocomagh means to (the people living there).”
“Usually when we do these sessions, we ask a whole bunch of questions, and we get a lot of different viewpoints and ideas, but we usually find a few of those ideas tend to rise to the top,” he said. “They’re usually the themes that we go with when we recommend a logo.”
People at the evening meeting described Whycocomagh as picturesque, close-knit, self-sufficient, friendly, and “the nice part of the Bras d’Or Lakes.”
They pointed to the walking trails that connect the village to Waycobah and Baddeck, and the year-round tourism available for boating and snowmobiling.
Beaton said the county has asked the provincial transportation department to see the pre-design documents for the round-about, so that the logo and future streetscape and building facades will complement that part of the project.
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