Almaguin Community Economic Development to unveil brand strategy at upcoming gala

When participants gather at the Rural Economic Development (RED) Gala in Sundridge on Nov. 28, they won't only be hearing about the success stories in the Almaguin Highlands.

Dave Gray, the director of Almaguin Community Economic Development (ACED), says the gala is also where ACED will be unveiling and implementing the brand strategy it's been developing for the region.

Gray says the brand strategy was one of the action items recommended in the Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan in 2018.

The strategy involves marketing the whole of Almaguin outside the local borders.

Gray says part of the branding strategy will be accomplished through the North Bay photography company Patrick Gilbert Productions.

“Patrick will be helping us produce good video content over the next year,” Gray said.

“We'll get content on the great things that are happening in the area. That includes interviewing local businesses and people who are part of the Almaguin fabric. We'll also have good video capture and photography of our natural landscapes and activities.”

The brand strategy also examines how Almaguin is currently promoted and Gray adds it then looks at how “we can promote ourselves better.”

“Also who can we partner with further to amplify our voices even more,” Gray said.

Gray says prior to the current strategy, there was never a unified approach to branding efforts in Almaguin.

“We had individual communities promoting different things they were doing,” he said.

He adds that started to change when people began talking about having all the aspects of marketing and promotions under one roof.

Not coincidentally, a new logo that's being put out incorporates the roof top idea which Gray says has a double meaning.

Karen Jones Consulting of North Bay designed the logo which features two peaks, several trees and a swirling blue line.

The word “Almaguin” is splashed across the logo with the phrase “embrace our nature.”

Gray says the two peaks not only represent the rolling hills of Almaguin, they also represent roof tops with several initiatives falling under them that are unique to the Almaguin communities.

As for the tagline “embrace our nature,” Gray says “we have that wilderness to offer and that small town social nature.”

He says there is a sense of community throughout the Almaguin towns but they are also able to maintain their own distinct identities.

“Almaguin is a collection of unique villages, each with its own offerings and elements of history who work together to further their own prosperity,” Gray said.

Gray adds an added bonus is the area is nowhere as busy as the hustle and bustle of other regions.

The swirling blue line that runs across the logo symbolizes the waterways that connect the region.

Gray says ACED has soft launched the logo and it's also now on the agency's website.

Gray says the individual municipalities will continue to keep their respective logos and adds the new logo “is a visual connector that people can use to show unification throughout the region.”

Gray says although the logo is part of the gala, ACED is not shining a light on it.

Rather the emphasis will be on the “implementation of the branding strategy.”

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget