Editorial: Branding Chatham-Kent – Becoming New… Again
It has been said that the best things in life are free. The same could be said of branding. A brand is not paid for. Nor is it built. It is the sum of experience and reputation, not research and analysis. A brand is defined by identity, but is not bound by it.
The diversity and richness of Chatham-Kent communities make it almost impossible to develop a common, binding brand. To this end, we would be well-served pursuing regional economic development efforts that package and promote marketable commonalities which exist throughout Chatham-Kent. This approach would allow the whole to be marketed by the sum of its parts, while engaging residents along the way.
Unfortunately, choosing any specific element of what CK has to offer in terms of geography, history or culture as a single brand risks being even more divisive to a Community which can ill afford any further missteps. If we are committed and intent on pursing such an exercise, branding Chatham-Kent cannot not be specific to people, place or time.
Rather, branding CK should entail a singular, common mindset and be based on a galvanizing vision, one which will encourage our Community to grow and succeed. Branding must indicate how we intend to harness our strengths, while prescribing an approach to the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead. It should reflect how we see the world, and how we wish to be seen.
Sustainability. Entrepreneurship. Youth Retention. Immigration. Retirement. Green Energy. Agriculture. Manufacturing. Amalgamation. These are the concepts and environmental forces which are so often bandied about among municipal officials and local media, so much so that they have begun to lose meaning or relevance to those of us who are listening.
Upon further review however, the convergence of these issues and dynamics provides some direction as to what our brand just may be. The ongoing challenges and growing pains stemming from municipal amalgamation. Innovation brought about by entrepreneurship and new technologies. A needed influx of new residents, with new ideas. Meeting career development needs for both young and old. The transition away from traditional manufacturing. The cyclical nature of our agricultural base.
Our brand is Renewal – And it’s free of charge.