Port Moody needs to broaden ‘City of the Arts ‘ brand to highlight its creative people, says local marketer

·3 min read

Does the City of the Arts need to broaden its brand? One local marketing professional thinks so.

Port Moody resident Mike Arseneault, of RecreateNow Marketing, presented a delegation to city council on March 14, stating there is a disconnect between the city’s brand, and the relationship between its residents and local artists and artisans.

“The City of the Arts is a very enviable (brand), and I think we need to protect it, I think we need to embrace it, and we really need to tell the stories of the people who are defining it,” Arseneault said.

“Most people cannot relate to the slogan … because they don’t relate to the current limited definition.”

Arseneault, who moved to the city in 2020, said he’s had close to 50 meetings with different stakeholders to receive input on the issue.

He said the city’s definition of arts is too narrow, and should more broadly capture the various creative activities and business ventures within Port Moody.

“Arts is everywhere here, from the beer makers on brewers’ row, to the chefs and latte artists, to fine arts, street arts, film, literary artists … and all of the performing arts,” Arseneault said.

He said the Port Moody needs to diversify what it means by “arts,” and pitched a variety of promotional ideas on how to better amplify local artisans and artists.

The city should be promoting local artists and activities on its website, pitching stories to local media outlets for features, producing print and other promotional materials to share at city and commercial events like Golden Spike Days and Ribfest, according to Arseneault.

He suggested these new promotional materials could be a tool for the city’s economic development and tourism staff, as a way to attract people and industry to the city.

One branding concept pitched by Arseneault, dubbed “Port Moody Art(s) Is:” would add a secondary tag to the city’s brand to highlight a local creative activity or person operating in the city.

“It’s just collecting the stories and then sharing the stories. And I think you’d be quite surprised to see how that can change people’s perceptions,” Arseneault said. “This is not a big ask, but it’s an ask that can make a big difference.”

He added that he would be happy to consult with the city’s marketing and communications staff, or alternatively, he offered his services as an independent contractor.

Coun. Diana Dilworth and Mayor Meghan Lahti both praised the presentation, and agreed with many of Arseneault’s points regarding the city’s brand.

Dilworth was impressed with how he had connected with so many artists within the community, and said local artists often ask how they connect with the city.

“What I’ve taken away from this, is the connection of arts to tourism, economic development, our culture,” she said.

At the end of the delegation, Mayor Meghan Lahti announced she was forming an arts and businesses coalition task force, and offered Arseneault a seat at the table.

She said different representatives from the art and businesses sectors will work to identify opportunities to strengthen the city’s branding.

Aresenault is also the founder of the Ioco Players community theatre group.

Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tri-Cities Dispatch