White Rock, BC – Canny For The Bairns

White Rock is not just a pretty place.

White Rock is looking for a new identity as Pete McMartin tells us in the Vancouver Sun this morning. Perhaps the City of White Rock could do more to sell its charm but the reality is beloved by many already.

White Rock Beach is famous for its 1,500 ft. long pier, its 2.5km long beach promenade and of course the large white rock which weighs in at 486 tons and is a glacial deposit from the coastal range.

White Rock BC

In some ways it reminds me of a place close to my birthplace. That was Seaton Carew on the North-East coast of England.

A splendid promenade connects the Marina with one of the Victorian’s favourite North-East resorts. Seaton Carew with its miles of broad golden sands and safe sheltered bathing is still the perfect venue for a traditional family day out at the seaside. Enjoy good flat beaches to fly kites and build castles, rock pools to hunt shrimps and amusement arcades that flicker and sing.

In those days marketing was all about getting the right slogan or tagline. Seaton Carew proudly proclaimed that it was Canny For The Bairns. For those unaccustomed to the lingo, that translates as ‘the kids will love it’. Seaton Carew seems to have lost the slogan on the Web according to a Google search for the phrase, since the bairns now seek more excitement, to be found only at Flamingoland, Yorkshire in the UK.

The standard Vekoma corkscrew coaster. Dated, and dull, the ride is notoriously rough on necks. It is nevertheless a classic, worth a ride.

Certainly White Rock does not want to appear in any way dated or dull.

Buy Me

This whole business of new identities is really about marketing. How can White Rock get a new brand? That is what Montreal has been struggling with in recent years. How can you rebrand something as complex as the city of Montreal? What is really needed is a reason for people to buy – what the experts call a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

David Taylor of the brandgym works with some great brands like T-Mobile, Hellmann’s, Bertolli, Top Gear, Peroni and Mars and he today is suggesting a brand should communicate a RTB. That’s Reason To BUY, not Reason to Believe. It all sounds like USP by another name.

Hear the Buzz

White Rock now has a re-branding report funded by a $70,000 grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities. It was prepared for them by Whisper who are Brand Strategy Consultants. Perhaps the report will help them define a new Reason To BUY. However it may be that Whisper has more to offer than just a new RTB. Perhaps White Rock needs a whisper campaign.

As it says on the Whisper Home Page:

Brand strategy boils down to eliminating the need for advertising and PR. By establishing an engaging brand that consumers are drawn to, you can stop chasing them.

Creating that level of engagement requires that you change and take ownership of the conversation in your industry. Own the conversation. It’s the only brand strategy you need to focus on.

It is what people are calling Buzz marketing now. Find ways of getting into the news. Spread the word. Use the social media. When people on Facebook or in their blogs are telling their friends about White Rock BC, then the City Council will know that $70,000 has been well spent.

Related: Unique Selling Proposition or Point (USP)

2 thoughts on “White Rock, BC – Canny For The Bairns”

  1. Greetings from the Island of White Rock! Who knew that a small strip of land firmly fixed to the mainland could sever its connections and become an island for a mere $70,000. For a few dollars more we could surely have become a brand new continent.

    If Whisper’s objective was to put White Rock in the limelight it has certainly succeeded – but does becoming a laughing stock count as positive branding. Perhaps Whisper didn’t notice that the City of White Rock overlooks a stunning vista of – wait for it- islands. Big ones, little ones, near ones, far ones, all visible from White Rock Beach. That would explain why we so often refer to ourselves as living on the Lower Mainland -just to emphasize that we are, in fact, not one of the plethora of islands in the vicinity.

    Whisper’s other brilliant branding idea is to name White Rocks beach area as the Silver Sands. This is an outrageous example of contravening the Truth in Advertising laws. White Rock is situated on the shores of Mud Bay and the beach reflects that in its composition. There is no fear of filling the car with sand from the children’s shoes after a day playing on this beach – just a need for the kids to be well scrubbed in hot soapy water to remove the mud stains. It is great fun to dig in and makes awesome sand (mud)castles but as someone who has walked on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world I can assure you that Silver Sands it ain’t.

    What Whisper and White Rock City Council have established beyond doubt is the veracity of two well known axioms – that fools and their money are soon parted and that as Whisper well knows – there’s one born every minute.

  2. Excellent sentiments, Pauline. Thanks for bringing a little reality to the debate. If the product doesn’t match up to the hype, then spreading the word may do more harm than good. However White Rock is a great place to visit, so we’ve just got to capture what really makes it so.

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