After a lengthy presentation from Travis Anderson, Project Manager of FutureSSM and Katie Elliott, FutureSSM Communications Coordinator and praises from Algoma U, Sault College, and the Indian Friendship Centre, City Council decided during Tuesday evening’s meeting to go ahead with the new plan to rebrand the city of Sault Ste. Marie.
This rebranding – which FSSM has been working on for the past two years, getting input from community members and consultants – involves changing the city’s current logo (pictured right) as well as the tag line. The new slogan will read:
Work. Life. Balance. Where you belong. Biindigen (Welcome).
Accompanied by the new logo (shown in the image at the top of this article), Future SSM is hoping this rebrand will both attract and retain newcomers – especially youth.
“The purpose (of this rebrand) is to capture energy of people living here,” Elliot said. “It’s more than just a logo.”
Elliot went on to explain two reasons behind the rebrand:
- To build up community pride and lift people up; and
- To make the city stand out in a competitive environment – “The way we tell our story really matters,” she said.
Algoma University President Asima Vezina said the University team is excited for this “tremendous” opportunity to work with this logo, while also acknowledging that “change isn’t always easy for a community.”
“We (Algoma U) can work with this,” she said. “We can tie our marketing campaign in with what the city is trying to do.”
While most of the Councillors questioned the meaning behind the logo (“How can i tell the story if I don’t understand the circle?” said Coun. Bruni) and why more people in the community weren’t involved (it was advised against by consultants as too much of a focus group wouldn’t help narrow it down, said Deputy CAO Tom Vair), most of them were on-board for the branding strategy and trying to attract and keep young people here in the Sault.
Despite efforts from Coun. Shoemaker and Coun. Scott to defer the decision to a later date to allow for the chance to update the current logo and make it a contender, Council voted 6-2 in favour of the new rebranding strategy. Councillors Shoemaker and Scott voted in opposition, while Councillors Hollingsworth and Vezeau-Allen weren’t in attendance.
“No doubt it will take some time for myself and others to get accustomed to the new logo,” said Coun. Niro. “This is not just about a logo it’s about a community telling our story and the platform around it and trying to attract others.”
“The logo doesn’t have broad community support and not my support,” said Coun. Shoemaker. “It doesn’t represent Sault Ste. Marie like the old one does. We should be updating the naturally gifted logo.”
“This is taking a big risk, putting ourselves out there, being proud and telling our story,” said Coun. Hilsinger. “It’s not about logos; it’s about telling a story – telling people work life balance is important, the three languages are to be proud of.”
“We have to do things differently; we are not growing,” she stated.
Mayor Provenzano mirrored Hilsinger’s sentiment, saying “we cant keep doing things the way we’re doing things. We need to develop the community and that means change.”