Branding White Rock BC

The White Rock Re-Branding survey raised some serious concerns for Pauline Mott, which she expressed in a comment on our post on White Rock identity (Canny for the Bairns).

Her comments have now also appeared as a Letter to the Editor in this morning’s Vancouver Sun. She is far from alone in her views. Lance Peverley has expressed similar reservations in an article entitled Slogans are more than just words. This re-branding urge is fine but you have got to do it right.

What Is A Brand?

By coincidence, Terry O’Reilly on CBC Radio this morning in the Season Finale of The Art Of Persuasion was discussing Six Remarkable Brands.

The images below illustrate these six examples. Most people will instantly recognize the six ‘brands’ he was talking about.

The Beatles
polar bear
Las Vegas
Mohamed Ali, Boxer

It is a question of instant recognition and knowing exactly what that brand stands for. The brand is not some slick marketing packaging. It reflects reality.

The Magic Is In The Product

That heading is a quotation from William Bernbach, one of the founders of DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach), one of the major US advertising agencies. It was said more than 50 years ago but it is still true.

I’ve got a great gimmick .Let’s tell the truth.

No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist. And if you do it’s just a gimmick, it’s going to fall apart anyway.

Developing A Credible Brand For White Rock

There are many millions of people who know and love White Rock. How do they think of it? How can you capture their perceptions in a brand? One approach is just to ask people what word do they think of when they think of White Rock. There is even a website, brand tags, that tries to combine such word choices. By now it covers many major brands although the results are not very impressive.

The Whisper Branding Strategy Consultants were a little more elaborate in their study for White Rock. Among other things they asked a series of questions, If the City of White Rock were a motor vehicle what would it be? and on through … a food, … a song, … a famous person, … or a colour. Unfortunately from first impressions it would appear that those who know White Rock do not relate to this new brand.

Pauline Mott wrote to me and said that for her White Rock is:

A walk on the beach, a stroll down the pier, fish and chips with an ice cream cone chaser – that’s the great White Rock experience. This is what makes it special – making happy memories for generations of families.

If many of White Rock’s fans see it that way, then the brand must encompass that. Perhaps Canny For The Bairns if translated from the original Scottish might just work.

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