Last night at council, city staff approved an initiative being taken on by the FutureSSM project to “assess, improve and develop the community’s current visual identity and promotional efforts.”
The vote passed 9-3.
This comes from recommendations penned in the community adjustment committee report that state a better branding would improve morale, attract students, residents and visitors and attract business to the community.
Council awarded a contract, valued at $58,900, to Scott Thornley and Company Inc after receiving twelve Requests for Proposal from other companies. Vair said the goal is to instill local pride while also promoting the community across North America.
This project comes in addition to a previously funded Corbin Design wayfinding strategy, and Roger Brooks downtown consulting.
The firm will work on visual identity and branding for the city, which may or may not contain marketing components and images used in the past. Councillor Myers took issues with this, primarily that new marketing images were just approved a little over a year ago.
Councillor Hollingsworth expressed disappointment that no local company was selected to do the marketing, believing it is “more important to keep the money in the local economy.” Councillor Butland agreed.
Councillor Fata bluntly stated, “I’ve heard it a hundred times. We are doing too many studies in Sault Ste. Marie.” Mayor Provenzano clarified that this is not a study, as it will entail the actual design of graphic logos, campaign, imagery.
Vair explained that “This project is the second phase of work previously done by a company called Trajectory (a design company based in Toronto). They conducted a number of exercises to look at what the brand story would be to promote our community. It was conducted with a lot of community consultation. This will take those recommendations with further community consultation, assess whats there, make suggestions, and roll out a marketing strategy.”
Butland asked, what is our visual identity now? What are we trying achieve?
Are we celebrating steel, or naturally gifted? Or energy? What is the trajectory?
Provenzano highlighted the importance of bringing together our mixed messages to create a unified voice.
Final branding options will come before city council for approval.
Those who voted in favour of approving bylaw 2018-202 were Mayor Provenzano and councillors Christian, Hollingsworth, Hupponen, Niro, Turco, Bruni, Grandinetti and Krmpotich. Those against were councillors Butland, Myers and Fata.