LAKE OF BAYS – The branding of anything from a business to a township plays a key role in how that entity is received by the public.
With that in mind Lake of Bays staff was directed in the summer to investigate the cost of re-branding the township and reported those figures during a council meeting on Oct. 9.
With a range of $15,000 to $103,000, the figures were a little steep for some councillors to swallow without knowing exactly what it is the township would be branding.
“The cost involved in this, I think is premature,” said Coun. Nancy Tapley. “Branding is extremely expensive and until you know what it is you are branding, I think we would be further ahead to be spending money to develop things that would bring people here in the first place.”
Tapley suggested the township should partner with Explorers’ Edge, a Regional Tourism Organization (RTO 12) and the local Chamber of Commerce.
Coun. Terry Glover and Coun. Ginny Burgess brought the re-branding idea forward in the summer.
Coun. Glover agreed in part with Coun. Tapley.
“I still feel very strongly that we have to look at some form of this report and there are a number of different options,” he said. “It’s extremely important we look at this in some small form, over a series of years. We have to face the facts, if we don’t start to become competitive we will be lost.”
Coun. Ruth Ross agreed with him.
“We need to start doing something to put ourselves out there,” she said. “It’s a lot of money to look at in one chunk, but we have to do something. We are dying a slow, ugly death,” she said.
Mayor Bob Young wanted to see the discussion become part of the budget process as that would allow council full control over the numbers and the ability to choose what to go forward with.
Township planner Stefan Szczerbak agreed the cost was high but was hopeful funding could be found to help offset some of the costs.
In order to do that though, discussions with organizations like FedNor revealed going ahead with a larger scale project, instead of four or five smaller projects, would help secure funding.
He agreed with Coun. Tapley that the township does need to understand what it’s about in order to know what the township will be branding and thought discussing it during budget deliberations would be a good idea as well.
“I think we can find our niche,” said Coun. Glover. “I think it’s really important to unite our small villages here, we’re stronger branding ourselves as a team than we are individually.”