MIND Partnership

  • Branding
  • Web Design
  • Video
How do you create a brand to attract professionals and academics to one of the most beautiful cities on earth? There’s more to it than meets the eye.

Ion was engaged to redefine the brand identity for the Be a Host Program for Tourism Vancouver. Working through a strategic process, it was determined the brand needed to enable potential and current Vancouver Conference hosts to feel inspired, supported and recognized through the quality and tone of the new program.
 

The Challenge

The program prospects industry leaders for potential bid opportunities Canada wide. Vancouver competes directly with other Canadian cities, including Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The business goal was for Vancouver to be the North American city of choice for international associations, with the objective of being the North American leader in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) annual rankings. 

Ion was engaged to redefine the brand identity for the Be a Host Program for Tourism Vancouver. Working through a strategic process, it was determined the brand needed to enable potential and current Vancouver Conference hosts to feel inspired, supported and recognized through the quality and tone of the new program. Through an extensive and iterative naming process, the client selected a new name to move forward with: MIND Partnership (Meeting and Innovation Network of Distinction). Key messages and tactics were developed to support communications, promoting Vancouver as the North American city of choice for international associations, as well as the North American leader in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) annual rankings. As a “group of thought leaders sharing knowledge and influence, promoting innovation, and sharing compelling stories for global meetings in Vancouver” it was critical for the design program to reflect the distinct properties of a forward thinking organization, unencumbered by competitors and the status quo. The project design team and client alike, with a view to making the MIND Partnership the centrepiece of business development for Tourism Vancouver, embraced “thinking differently” resulting in a unique and effective brand embraced by stakeholders.

Brand Story

A group of thought leaders sharing knowledge and influence, promoting innovation, and sharing compelling stories for global meetings in Vancouver.

Research

The ‘Be a Host’ program brand had not been seriously reviewed since it first launched in 1996. While BAH was a leading-edge program of its kind it had some challenges, particularly with brand awareness. The brand was often confused with other hosting programs (Superhost, AirBnB host, visitor-servicing host). Other challenges included overall recruitment of local hosts, especially within other Canadian cities, eliciting high-level government support and curating high-profile recognition events.

One of the biggest challenges for Tourism Vancouver’s conference leader/ambassador program was the disconnect between the name, Be a Host, and the prestige attendant with hosting a large congress. The word “host” has been co-opted by a number of more street-level or retail tourism initiatives. There needed to be better alignment.

Review of the Tourism Vancouver’s international survey data revealed that Vancouver’s primary competitors appear to be San Francisco and Toronto, while its secondary competitors seem to be Seattle and Montreal. This top positioning of San Francisco is further evidenced in the triads, where San Francisco emerged as the strongest direct challenge to Vancouver in terms of attracting prospective visitors.

Strategy

Once the provided research documentation was evaluated and primary research was done, Ion completed a SWOT analysis from which an overarching brand goal evolved: Potential and current Vancouver Conference hosts feel inspired, supported and recognized through the quality and tone of the new program brand.

Added to the list of strategic objectives, aside from making Vancouver the North American city of choice, was to have: Vancouver hosts feel immense pride in representing the City for Conferences and to make the program the centrepiece of business development for Tourism Vancouver.

The Results

Underpinning the brand, a set of “brand essence” words were developed to ensure the creative, strategic marketing work and communications would stay on task. From the strategy and guiding principles emerged the new program name: MIND Partnership. The acronym (for Meeting and Innovation Network of Distinction) that drives the visual identity, evolved through an iterative process between Ion and the Tourism Vancouver team who ultimately proposed the name.

The leadership of the MIND Partnership is about connections, ideas and leadership rather than about Vancouver’s natural attractions. The MIND identity is as much about what isn’t there as what is there. It plays with the “idea” of ideas and leaves the rest to the imagination. 

A brand guideline, website and collateral materials rounded out the programme, with a brand launch event that made a clear statement about Vancouver’s intention to take another bold step towards recognition on the world stage.

When “doing your job” requires that you regularly follow up with a client because you enjoy working with them, and that you "go the extra mile" because you love working on their project and they appreciate and respect what you do, then its pretty easy to get up in the morning and get to work. Tourism Vancouver gave us a shot at developing an unconventional sub-brand for an unconventional organization: thank YOU.

A huge thank you to your entire team for your work on bring MIND to life. Your patience and guidance were so appreciated and we love the final result.

–MIND Partnership Team

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