Dozens of people came out to the branding focus group meetings in the Burns Lake council chambers on Sept. 17-18.
The meetings were part of the larger branding project by the village, which aims to draw new people to the area through a more specified image, or brand.
The sessions were conducted by Lorie Watson, Economic Development Officer and representatives from eSolutions Group, an Ontario-based marketing company that works with public sector organizations.
Attendees of the focus groups were chosen for their status in the community as stakeholders, though not all stakeholders were able to attend.
The demographics of the groups were wide, and ranged from Lakes District Secondary School students to senior citizens.
Group members were asked to share their thoughts on the character of Burns Lake and how the community should develop itself in the future.
“The meetings were an opportunity of discovery of who we are as a community,” as Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer told Lakes District News.
“By discussing our past, our feelings of who were are as a community and where we want to go in the future we are able to uncover what is our community’s story which will develop into our ‘Brand Story.’”
The next step in the branding initiative is for the village to conduct one-on-one meetings and phone interviews with the stakeholders who couldn’t attend the sessions.
“eSolutions Group will then go over all source material, including the online and paper surveys, that have been provided to them and they will be able to uncover the details of our community’s brand story. The brand story will then be communicated to the public and we will receive feedback from the community,” Worthing said.
The branding project contract with eSolutions is worth $77,000 and will be funded through grants from the Rural Dividend Fund and Northern Development Initiative Trust.
The project will involve eSolutions conducting visitation analyses of Burns Lake, as Watson explained to the council in July.
“They’ll look at when people come here what do they do? What can we do to attract them? It’s not just a new logo it will be a whole plan. A strategy on how to attract people to stop in Burns Lake and not just drive through. At the end you’ll have a logo and you’ll have a whole strategy to market Burns Lake. You can use that strategy in your advertising, social media campaigns, templates.”
The first phase of the project finishes in October and the second phase will run from mid-October to early January.