Up until now, Winnipeg has had slogans, names or labels others have given it. It's time to have a story created on our own terms that we can tell to the world to attract more talent, investment and visitors to our city. Enter a place brand.
What is a place brand?
A place brand can help get to the heart of who we are as a city captured in every story and experience we share with each other and the world. It starts with putting into words the very genuine and positive things we feel and know about ourselves as a community.
"Whether you live in Winnipeg or just come for a visit—the things you see, the people you meet, the experiences you have— we make impressions that last and connections that matter. It's a powerful story that should be shared," says Dayna Spiring, President & CEO, Economic Development Winnipeg.
Economic Development Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba worked with McKim.Sherpa to develop the creative for this brand. We collaborated with community partners including the City of Winnipeg and used information from research, surveys, workshops and focus groups with Winnipeggers to create a brand that would truly resonate with the community.
A story for Winnipeg, written by Winnipeggers
Our city is the latest community to develop a place brand in partnership with Travel Manitoba's Place Branding program. It's meant to foster pride of place and give communities a consistent message to share with others. That's why it's important to have a story for Winnipeg, written by Winnipeggers.
Probe Research Inc. was engaged to speak with Winnipeggers from various backgrounds and experiences as well as one-on-one sessions across business, tourism and community organizations.
When we asked people about what words come to mind when they think of our city, the following words kept coming up: Authentic/Real, strong, warm, diverse , innovative, industrious, independent, creative, connected and centred .
Out of the feedback and research, Winnipeg: Made from what's real was developed.
"When we took the brand back to the people through focus testing here and in other Canadian cities, it resonated because it felt right. We don't pretend to be something we're not. We embrace who we are," says Colin Ferguson, President and CEO of Travel Manitoba.
What we know to be true about our city
Here are some truths Winnipeggers collectively agree on:
Winnipeg is authentic to the core. Genuine experiences, connections and ideas abound here. We don't sugarcoat; we problem-solve. We connect on all levels and explore bold solutions. It's second nature and we thrive on it.
We're creative, diverse and world-class. Every activity here bursts with options for phenomenal experiences. From family parks that double for outdoor theatres, indoor biomes, arctic safari, art exploration and culinary adventures to an art gallery that bridges the North with the South, while confronting the past to creatively carve a new path to reconciliation.
We're innovative and industrious. We make things go like electric buses, motor coaches and plane parts. We make discoveries in microbiology labs, polar bear conservation centres and top research universities. We improve everything from video game player experiences to payroll processing and mobile food delivery. We make noise and an outsized impact on the music and film world.
We're taking our place on the global stage. Whether we're named the world's Most Intelligent Community or one of TIME's Greatest Places in the world, others see that Winnipeg is offering something special. We not only deserve the accolades; we've worked hard to earn them.
We know a brand is not a city, but it can be a symbol of the people and places that make a city amazing. We're excited to partner with local makers and businesses that are a perfect reflection of this city and this brand.
Far From Ordinary's Co-Founder, Nick Welch, developed a Winnipeg: Made from what's real clothing line, while Coal and Canary specifically created a scented candle for this brand.
"It's a really beautiful combination that is inspired by the different seasons of Winnipeg," says Amanda Buhse, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Coal and Canary.
"I really think our company wouldn't be where it is today, if we were in any other city in the world. It's really an amazing city of people who cheerlead for you and are just really excited to have a product that comes from Winnipeg."
We also had to have a quintessential Winnipeg beer and partnered with Kilter Brewing Co. on a Winnipeg: Made from what's real Prairie Lager. Decadence Chocolates created some delicious morsels with the brand logo and Fresh Emblem, a success story running out of North Forge's Fabrication Lab, developed scented car art with our new logo.
Sharing the #RealWinnipeg story
In economic development and tourism, selling and developing Winnipeg is at the heart of everything we do. A Winnipeg story we can all agree on showcases our best characteristics and it will only help to encourage more people to move here to live, invest, work and visit our city. We believe this brand is a fantastic way to show the world the real Winnipeg and we are looking for ambassadors to spread the word—we hope you're one of them!
Learn more about what inspired the brand and find merchandise by local collaborators at realwinnipeg.com.