Barry Delaney, on behalf of the Salmon Arm branding project, presents to city council the new community brand, Salmon Arm – Small city, Big ideas. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm – ‘Small city, big ideas’ brand approved

Marketing to target young families, millennials who value quality of life

Salmon Arm: Small City, Big Ideas.

These are the words that will serve as the community’s brand, as agreed upon by a dozen community groups and now city council.

The brand, and how it was arrived at, were part of a presentation to council Monday by Barry Delaney on behalf of the brand leadership team. Delaney explained the brand, and related marketing strategy and action plan, were developed over the past year through community groups who agreed to partner for the endeavour. In doing so, Delaney said, the groups agreed to fund the exercise (with a $14,500 contribution from the city) and, “be open to using the output in their marketing material, in their businesses and their organizations when we’re done, and we got 100 per cent agreement from the community to do that.”

With the branding project, which involved the hiring of a consultant to do research and gather data about the community, the goal, Delaney continued, was to learn, “who we are as a community, how are we going to tell the Salmon Arm story to the outside world, how do we find something unique about us other communities don’t have and how do we do that in a way that’s interesting and exciting?”

Related: Choose a brand for Salmon Arm

Delaney noted a beautiful location does not make Salmon Arm unique.

To help answer those questions, the consultant conducted surveys and workshops to help gather the research that would be used to develop an identity and, based on that identity, a marketing plan.

Branding concepts were narrowed down to three that were introduced to city residents in March. The winning option was “Small city, big ideas,” with the following business statement:

“Salmon Arm is a small town with big ideas whose combination of beauty and forward thinking attracts young explorers, entrepreneurs and families of all ages. They’re seeking a welcoming place that’s open to innovative ways to build a life where they can do more, live more and make more of a difference. A spectacular setting ideally situated on a key transportation crossroads, Salmon Arm offers a close-knit community, varied activity, real prosperity and true opportunity.”

Delaney added that the brand offers that juxtaposition of small city and big lifestyle and prosperity that we offer, “and that is what we want to articulate to people who don’t live here so when we start advertising and go digital and start presenting ourselves, whether it’s in conferences or trade booths, this idea of small and big, this idea, you can have the lifestyle, you can have a career because there’s prosperity here.”

Prospective targets of the marketing plan, who we want to tell our story to, include families with children, young people who lived in the community who could be attracted back, millennials who value quality of life and tourists.

“We get so many tourists in this community, we need to tell them a story that’s compelling, that it’s not just a place to visit and enjoy, but it’s a place to come, live and start a business or bring your business,” said Delaney.

Part of the data gathered included a series of prosperity indicators comparing what Salmon Arm has to offer compared to other communities.

The results, explained Delaney, were educational for everyone involved, telling a story about Salmon Arm that maybe the community isn’t aware of.

Related: Salmon Arm Economic Development Society to spearhead project

“We have learned that people who live here think things about this community that are not true,” said Delaney. “For example, there are people in our community who think there are not jobs here that are high paying and that are good careers, and yet that’s not the case. We have this high-tech sector with more than 80 businesses in our community, we have an industrial park with more than 700 people living there. There are great, well-paying jobs available in our community. It’s just interesting to us that we need to tell a better story to ourselves as we tell a story to the outside world.”

The indicators showed Salmon Arm ranking high for its high-tech manufacturing sector and being a safe community to live in. It dropped somewhat in terms of affordable housing. For nightlife, Salmon Arm ranked at the bottom.

Salmon Arm council voted unanimously in support of the brand and marketing strategy/action plan, appreciative of all the groups involved in developing the concept presented, as well as the data from which it was formed. While Delaney only asked for the city’s support, Coun. Kevin Flynn noted that at some point, there will be a cost involved for the city.


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