Thoughts on Venture Kamloops Event on a Brand for Kamloops...
February 13, 2005
Last Thursday, I was invited to attend an afternoon workshop to give input on a new "brand" for Kamloops. Venture Kamloops , the City funded business attraction agency, put on the event. It was facilitated by a lady named Janey Cruise.
I have been to a couple of other workshops like this in the past and was very pleased to be able to engage in lots of productive discussion with other participants. Much of the Venture Kamloops workshop, however, took the form of a longish presentation from Janey Cruise on what makes a "brand". As she was talking, it seemed to me she lost a lot of people. Some folks at my table were, in fact, nodding off. She did not seem to keen to take a lot of questions or comments during her presentation either. I feel it would have been better to involve the participants right from the beginning of the workshop.
When we finally got an opportunity to do some brainstorming on a "brand" for Kamloops, the ideas came quickly and were expressed enthusiastically - at least in my breakout group. We were mainly working on the image of Kamloops that Venture Kamloops would market to businesses who wish to locate here. And as Janey said, it ain't just lifestyle, because every other smallish community in the world is talking about lifestyle advantages. We had to go deeper and further in figuring out what makes Kamloops special.
Despite Mayor Mel Rothenburger giving an enthusiastically positive report about Kamloops' current major brand as the "Tournament Capital of Canada", by far most participants in the workshop thought we were limiting ourselves. In fact, a lot of people actively disliked the Tournament Capital brand - one comment in fact calling it "a crock of shit".
I forcefully made the point that Venture Kamloops should consult with a much larger group than those in the workshop. And, if we were going beyond business attraction branding, and talking about overall branding of our community, an economic development agency is probably not best placed to lead the charge. We need to bring in more than just business for that. Social agencies, cultural groups, sports councils and in fact the whole range of community organizations need to be consulted as well.
Although I found the workshop lacking in certain ways, I absolutely appreciated the opportunity to attend and want to thank Michael Eibl and MJ Cousins from Venture Kamloops for inviting me.
I'd have to agree with that derogatory comment regarding our "Tournament Capital" branding. Although Mr. Rothenburger seems to be correct in the fact that the promotion IS having a positive effect on tourism and business, I've always felt it's a dishonest and limited vision of our city's potential. Tournament capital of BC, maybe even tournament capital of the west, but Canada is a big country...
Some things about Kamloops that I appreciate and that keep me here:
-- Kamloops seems to have a disproportionately large volume of great people. I find Kamloops generally very friendly.
-- Kamloops has a great mix of industry. We have some limited but good technology, great transportation, forestry and mining, tourism... the mix seems quite good. I'd sure like to see an explosion in tech though!
-- Kamloops seems to have a good arts community. For an example, the summer long "Music in the Park" is an excellent contribution to supporting local music.
-- Kamloops has great weather. No secret, we seem to have a lot of hot, not too much rain, and a moderate amount of snow.
-- We've got a great mix of city and town. Living in Juniper Ridge, it's like being in a little town of our own, but it's only 5-15 minutes from anything we need.
Heck, there's more to it than this, but I'd best get back to work. I hope that these Venture Kamloops initiatives keep things rolling and growing.
Posted by: Mike Maddison | February 16, 2005 at 11:00 AM
Kamloops should be marketed as "The Place" because Kamloops is the place to live, to work, and to play. The "Tournament Capital of BC" sounds limited at best. Kamloops is so much more. It's a way of living unmatched by any other place on earth.
Posted by: Jason Johnson | February 16, 2005 at 11:16 AM