Recent History – 2002-2003
September 10, 2002
By Jamie Dirom, Daily News Staff
Developing a brand strategy for the Peace River region is expected to get underway as early as late this month and will cost nearly $1.5 million in its first five years, with more than $800,000 in external funding required.
That was the bottom line in a draft business plan for the “Branding the Peace” project unveiled Monday at the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre.
Confirming the initial membership and installing a board of directors for the project, among the first steps in the implementation plan.
While more than $800,000 will be required in the first five years, consultant Leslie Lax said he projects the program would be self sufficient by its sixth year.
The marketing program will focus on two key areas, both of which are major industries in the region: agri-food and tourism.
Through the planning stages, the program has generated a lot of interest in the region, and Lax is forecasting about 100 members in the first year, growing to 350 by the fifth.
While it’s difficult to gauge how significant the program’s impact will be, it is expected to have a positive impact on local businesses.
“I’m quite excited about the project,” Lax said. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity.”
The brand, it’s hoped, will give consumers a sense of added quality. Lax pointed to many of the region’s agricultural benefits, such as robust, high quality produce grown in long daylight hours in a relatively pest-free environment.
Much of the detail in the plan was pulled together from information and input gathered in meetings with stakeholders in the agriculture and tourism industries.
Lax also looked at other regional branding strategies in developing the plan, such as “Fresh From the Island,” a Vancouver Island branding project and “Select! Sonoma County,” a similar project in California. The programs he looked at have proven successful for their regions, he said.
What’s different about the Branding the Peace project is that it will encompass an area that spans two provinces.
“I think what’s exciting about this is it’s encompassing parts of both provinces,” Lax said.
Monday’s presentation is not the final step for the business plan, which will undergo some fine tuning before it’s finalized. Some concerns were expressed over projected membership numbers included in the plan, but Lax said he feels they’re fairly conservative.
“I think the projections are feasible,” he said.
Once the business plan is put into action, things will start to unfold fairly quickly for the project. Work will get underway for securing a brand manager and establishment of an office, with the goal of having both in place within three months.
The development of a brand logo and the subsequent marketing of the brand would commence shortly thereafter.