Ponoka wants to rebrand and change perceptions

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  • Oct. 5, 2011 12:00 p.m.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka council sees an opportunity to change people’s idea of the town.

Most people would say there are two things they know about Ponoka: the Ponoka Stampede and the Centennial Centre.

The town will invest $30,000 of its advertising budget and invite proposals to develop a plan. The biggest expense of the project will be to work with the public in a series of engagement sessions to find out how they want the town to look like in 10 years.

Economic development Officer Sarah Kraft said working with a document defining the goals for the town would also shape how Ponoka presents itself to the public, “I think we will be more effective in the long run and we will be spending money in the right place.”

A brand strategy is pivotal to moving forward, it can position the town as different than others by targeting its strengths. “The question is how we want to be perceived and once we know what we want we will be able to find a lot of growth,” Kraft said.

“If you don’t have a brand or a plan, you are given one by default, or it is inferred,” she explained.

Coun. Loanna Gulka was in favor of the initiative. Living here has changed her initial perception of Ponoka, which consisted of the Centennial Centre and the Stampede.

Gulka said this is going to move the community forward.

Kraft pointed out how promoting a world-class brain injury centre changes what people think, as opposed to saying we have a mental hospital. “We need solid consistent marketing.”

CAO Brad Watson said the town received a quote for $125,000 from another company to brand Ponoka.

Kraft responded saying there is a lot of discrepancy in costs, but by doing much of the legwork of organizing the public meetings, the cost can stay within the $30,000 budget.

The town also approved the adoption of the Battle River Horse logo as the official logo of Ponoka.