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‘Discoveries that Matter:’ New brand to promote community

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Cathy Dobson

Rarely does a community choose a marketing logo and tagline that doesn’t contain its name but, then again, Sarnia-Lambton’s new branding choice is unique in a lot of ways, says the CEO of the Toronto marketing firm that conceived it.

“Normally, you’d have a geographic reference and usually a single entity about the community drives (the branding),” said Anya Codack of Yfactor Inc.

Codack attended the new logo launch with about 170 community leaders and business owners at the Lambton College Residence and Events Centre on Dec. 18.

Balloons fell from the ceiling and music swelled when two years of research and design work revealed the winner: a logo with 14 flags in blue, green and yellow representing the county’s 11 municipalities and three First Nations.

The new tagline: Discoveries That Matter.

“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not around,” said George Mallay, general manager of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP).

Mallay was one of about 10 committee members who worked with Yfactor and a Tennessee-based firm called North Star Destination Strategies to come up with the marketing tool.

Cost of the new brand was $70,000, money contributed by 14 groups including the local Chamber of Commerce, real estate board and Lambton County government.

“Our community’s image is getting much more positive than it was even a few years ago,” said Mallay.

More national and international media coverage about Sarnia-Lambton reflects leading edge research, the developing bio-energy industry and the quality of local beaches, he said.

Recent news story about toxic waste being trucked to St. Clair Township from the Love Canal was also national news, but just a small setback, Mallay said.

“Besides, that’s not happening now,” he added.

Committee members said a logo and tagline won’t immediately change the area’s image but is a long-term investment that will pay off over time.

In developing the brand, North Star did numerous surveys. One surprising conclusions was that people outside the region don’t have a negative impression – they don’t really know where Sarnia-Lambton is at all, said Don Anderson, general manager of the local Business Development Corporation.

He and Chamber president Rory Ring urged all local residents to shake off negative impressions they carry about where they live and start talking about the positive experiences waiting to be discovered in Sarnia-Lambton.

“It’s time to put those negative impressions behind us and … get aggressive” about being a community booster, Anderson said.

A community’s reputation can put it on the shortlist of potential investors, he added.

“I love the graphic and I love the message,” said newly-elected Lambton Warden Bev MacDougall. “I’m proud of it. It’s powerful.”

The brand is adaptable so all of the communities in Lambton County can place their name beneath the logo.

“I’m thrilled with it,” said Marlene Wood, general manager of Tourism Sarnia/Lambton. “It’s an umbrella brand to encompass all 14 of our unique communities.”

For more on the brand and logo visit www.discoveriesthatmatter.ca

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