Three Rivers Council will be patching up a communication breakdown with the towns’ former communities before attempting to launch its new identity.
Council debated the identity of Three Rivers during Monday’s meeting, with many councillors saying the support of residents isn’t quite there yet.
Insight Brand and Marketing was hired earlier this year for just over $10,000 for branding. Council heard a launch plan was also developed and set to be implemented during Canada Day celebrations in Cardigan and Lorne Valley.
However, several on council felt July 1 was too early and all were unaware of the exact details.
Coun. Cody Jenkins said council had previously agreed not to rush the launch until the former communities were all onboard.
“That’s my problem, it’s too early,” said Jenkins. “(Insight Marketing) told us on day one, if we’re the only ones saying ‘this our brand’ and we don’t have the community saying it, your brand has already failed.”
However, deputy mayor Debbie Johnston said there were no ideal launch events after summer. She also said the community needs some branding, such as on letterhead, to be operational.
“There comes a point where we have to decide if we’re amalgamated or not,” said Johnston.
“We are. But does the community feel that?” replied Jenkins.
Coun. Wayne Spin was also in favour of a July 1 rollout in order to be at the community’s major summer events.
“It’s a great idea if we can get out early,” said Spin. “Show that we’re one.”
“Community feeling and spirit is not letterhead. It’s a feeling, it’s atmosphere and I don’t feel we’ve captured that yet.” - Three Rivers Coun. Gerard Holland
However, Coun. Isaac MacIntyre and Coun. Gerard Holland disagreed when Spin said he had not heard “one bad word” from residents around communications with the town.
MacIntyre said the community has to improve its communications with the former communities before a launch.
“We’re just shoving it in their face,” said MacIntyre. “We have one opportunity to roll out a brand. First impressions, as everyone knows, are important, and I feel without a communications strategy we’re failing.”
Holland also said it didn’t appear the community was onboard, pointing to other recent divisive issues.
“That’s my biggest concern. I think we’ve got some work to do before we can pull off a promotion like this,” said Holland. “Community feeling and spirit is not letterhead. It’s a feeling, it’s atmosphere and I don’t feel we’ve captured that yet.”
Mayor Ed MacAulay appeared to agree, although he also felt there should be a town presence on Canada Day.
In addition, MacAulay stressed the importance of having a communications strategy in place, saying the town has struggled with that.
“Our rollout has to coincide with the feeling of the community, and I do get a sense, from what we’re hearing, that the feeling is not out there for Three Rivers and it’s going to take a while,” said MacAulay.
Council ultimately decided to move the issue forward to its next council meeting to vote on, meaning the launch will not be on July 1 but could be rolled out later in the month.