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City works to create 'brand'

Marketing image of new civic centre will likely incorporate modern and traditional elements

A process is underway to determine how to "brand" the City of New Westminster's future civic centre.

A staff report states that the civic facility will be a driving force in the city's economic development, so it's important to develop a strong brand identity and parking plan for the facility. The process will identify the civic facility's main characteristics and strengths and help use those to create a distinct brand for the facility.

Following a request for proposals, the city hired Hyphen Communications to work on the branding process and prepare a marketing strategy. Its efforts will include evaluating target markets where the city should focus its marketing and economic development activities and preparing a marketing strategy.

The consultant has held two working session with community stakeholders and key city staff. At the workshops, attendees spoke about the city's attributes of today (traditional, family-focused, friendly, genuine) and tomorrow (leader, involved, urban, ambitious, mischievous, cosmopolitan).

Acting Mayor Lorrie Williams said the process is just getting underway. While council wasn't invited to the two workshops, she said councillors have expressed a desire to be included at all stages of the process regarding the civic centre, including the branding.

During a recent presentation to city council, Hyphen Communications spoke of the need to create an integrated brand identity for the facility.

The consultant's presentation to council touched on the need to transform New Westminster. Examples included moving from pioneer to contemporary, commercial to cultural, passive to active, Queen Victoria to Will and Kate, exclusive to inclusive, crown to tiara and anvils to IPods.

"You are going to give people the whole scope. I think our branding will stay very traditional with a few spikes of modernism thrown in," Williams said. "It's fun to talk about this stuff, about going from here to there."