Regional Council has approved the brand strategy for the Halifax region, giving staff the green light to start implementing the strategy and to encourage people to live and promote the brand promise to “Be Bold.”
“The goal of this branding project was to articulate a single rallying cry that will help us put our best foot forward and show the world what a great place our region is to live, work, visit and invest,” Mayor Mike Savage said. “We now have a brand that is both current and aspirational, and I’m excited for Halifax to share its new face with the world.”
The proposed brand strategy was first presented to the Executive Standing Committee on March 24. The strategy received unanimous endorsement and the Committee recommended that Regional Council approve it and direct staff to develop a visual identity for the municipality, based on that strategy.
The visual identity was revealed to Council at the end of today’s presentation. It can be viewed online at www.HalifaxDefined.com.
The brand promise within the strategy reflects a very clear and common sentiment amongst residents – that Halifax must be dynamic, optimistic and, ultimately, bold in its approach to welcoming visitors, newcomers and business investment to Halifax.
“Be Bold” is the brand promise – not a tagline or slogan. In fact, a tagline or slogan was not proposed as part of the recommended brand strategy for the municipality. The brand promise is the driving force behind all branding efforts. It’s what inspires the visual identity – including the logo and creative treatments – and guides all future marketing initiatives.
Revolve Branding Inc. was hired last fall to head up the branding project, which included the most comprehensive public engagement exercise in Halifax’s history. The initiative reached more than 20,000 citizens over a three-month period, garnering extensive feedback on what it means to them to live and work in the Halifax region.
Residents were engaged through a variety of ways, including face-to-face discussions at community events, focus groups, telephone and online surveys, various social media channels and the www.DefineHalifaxRegion.com website. In total, the brand project team visited all 16 districts of the municipality and attended 39 community events to gather public input.
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts on what the Halifax region means to them,” said Mayor Savage. “Your participation ensures that the direction we’re taking and the image we present to the world is authentic and accurately reflects the attitudes and values of the people of this region.”
Extensive research and community engagement was compiled and analysed to articulate the brand strategy. In addition to the brand promise, the strategy also identifies key characteristics of the region, including values (community-minded, creative, smart and balanced) and personality (friendly, pioneering, capable, resourceful, genuine and cooperative).
The strategy approved today recommends branding the region simply as “Halifax,” although the legal name of the municipality will not change and individual communities will retain their respective names. Research concluded that for branding purposes, Halifax is the preferred name for the region. The majority of those surveyed describe themselves as being from Halifax, when visiting other cities, and at least six in 10 agree that the name “Halifax” is a better name than “Halifax Regional Municipality.”
Staff members are currently assessing priorities and finalizing an implementation strategy to roll out the brand. A phased-in approach to the implementation will include both short-term (business cards, presentation templates, etc.) and long-term (fleet, facility signage, etc.) tactics.
In the meantime, the brand will be showcased online via the www.HalifaxDefined.com microsite and, over the coming weeks and months, through a variety of marketing tools ranging from presentation templates to a refreshed www.halifax.ca website.
Moving forward, collaboration and input from partners such as the Greater Halifax Partnership, Destination Halifax and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce will be critical to the success of the Halifax brand.
For more details regarding the brand strategy, including the brand promise and visual identity, visit www.HalifaxDefined.com.