Downtown Williams Lake

  • Branding
Not unique to Williams Lake, BIAs can suffer greatly from a lack of partnership and communication between the different groups that operate downtown. Even though many of them may be doing interesting things, they often operate in isolation. Sound familiar?

Our goal was to make Downtown Williams Lake the place where connections and relationships between the various players form and create the kind of “melting pot” that produces a healthy community. This new brand would be part of the effort to unify and galvanize the BIA, and will effectively position and represent Downtown Williams Lake as the centre of commerce and culture for the Cariboo region, contributing to its economic and social prosperity.

BIA’s can suffer greatly from a lack of partnership and communication between the different groups that operate a downtown. Even though many of them may be doing interesting things, they often operate in isolation. Sound familiar? Our goal was to make Downtown Williams Lake the place where connections and relationships between the various players form, and create the kind of “melting pot” that produces a healthy community. This new brand would be part of the effort to unify and galvanize the BIA, and will effectively position and represent Downtown Williams Lake as the centre of commerce and culture for the Cariboo region, contributing to its economic and social prosperity.

Research

As visitors to Williams Lake in October of 2016, our first impression of the physical downtown was of a number of disconnected areas. It felt quiet. Shop keepers we met were very friendly. It was fairly early in the day and many shops were not yet open. The number of empty retail spaces were obvious, underscored by the Boitano Mall with a number of empty shops, and it felt a little abandoned.

There were a number of stores with quite a bit of character that sparks curiosity and invites a visitor in from the street. The Potato House attracts attention with its quaint look and vibrant garden. The murals found through the downtown area are interesting, many of them expertly done, but seemed random in placement and subject matter. We asked ourselves, is there a story behind them? Could it be told?

There are 11 official BIAs in interior BC. While none of them stand out as having particularly outstanding brands or brand implementation, the Williams Lake BIA was far behind its competition in terms of logo design, web presence, information services, public engagement, programs and general accessibility.

Our research included data and reports provided by the Downtown Williams Lake BIA, who had worked hard to collect relevant and transparent information, and we provided several active stakeholder engagement sessions.

store

museum

mural

Brand Story

With a history steeped in the Cariboo Gold Rush and a diverse First Nations heritage, it is a downtown full of art & creativity.

Strategy

Our stakeholder engagement sessions revealed that all participants wanted to see a densified, active downtown that is alive well into the evening with year-round events, both large and small, as well as restaurants and stores open into the evening. Participants wanted to see more people living and working downtown.

All of the participants wanted to see a more inclusive downtown, that embraced other cultures, particularly around arts and food. Because of the large First Nations population in Williams Lake and because the town is considered a hub for Shuswap, Chilcotin and Carrier people, particular attention was paid to how the BIAs work might promote a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship here.

“Most people in the community would say that we still want to be a small town, but we want city living. But we don’t want to be too crazy, too big.”

The approach we took with this brand was to generate excitement among stakeholders, build cohesion within the membership and spark interest for shoppers and visitors. A key part of maintaining interest over time and extending the usability in an enduring way was to build an easy to apply and adaptable system with creative latitude.

Through our strategic process we refined the brand goal to read “The Downtown Williams Lake brand promotes pride in the distinct Cariboo heritage, arts and food culture that exemplifies our vibrant downtown.” This set the tone to align several key objectives, with standouts being: to Bring residents and tourists into the downtown core to create a vitality that supports and grows local stores, services and restaurants, with a brand that reflects an inclusive, multicultural neighbourhood; and to build on existing infrastructure and add new amenities and wayfinding to draw people into and through the downtown.

Business Cards

Letterhead

Banners

Print Materials Brochure

Social Media

Web Skin

Result

The simplified name of “Downtown Williams Lake,” with its new colourful and eclectic word mark, reflects the multicultural and grassroots appeal of the downtown core. With the patterned treatments and illustrative elements, the skill, artistry and variety of the shops, from professional services to hospitality and boutique shops, is reflected.

Grounded by the Brand Essence words (Proud, Welcoming, Creative, Pioneering, Unified), the new brand is set to both promote the city while serving to unify its members, welcoming to tourists and locals alike. The new tagline is a simple expression of three drivers of the new brand, working together for a better Downtown that supports the region: “Colourful Cariboo Culture.”

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