REGINA — Regina has a brand new brand in the form of a stylized letter R and a new slogan — "infinite horizons" — to convey the city's boundless opportunities and enviable quality of life.
Mayor Pat Fiacco unveiled the city's new brand at his annual State of the City address at the Queensbury Convention Centre at Evraz Place on Monday.
"Opportunity abounds. Our potential is unlimited. Our future is as open as the infinite horizons that surround us,'' Fiacco told the luncheon crowd.
Fiacco said the new brand, developed over 18 months for $320,000 by Winnipeg advertising firm McKim Cringan George, will help promote the city, both inside and outside the province.
"This is how we will tell the world what a great place Regina is to live, to work, to play, to invest, and to visit.''
The stylized R incorporates design "flourishes,'' which can be used with different colours in different combinations, symbolizing the city's endless horizons and opportunities.
The official launch of the brand will be at Saskatchewan Pavilion at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with Saturday being "Regina Day'' at the pavilion.
Fiacco thanked the branding committee, including Regina Regional Opportunities Commission, Regina Downtown, Regina Warehouse District, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce and the City of Regina, for their work.
The new brand will be rolled out gradually, with signage and letterhead changing to adopt the new logo and slogan over the next number of months. The old logo, the downtown skyline with Regina written in script, was developed in 2001.
Fiacco added that the city's signature slogan, I Love Regina, will "not go away," but it will be "taken to the next level." I Love Regina will become an internal marketing tool, he said.
Following his address, Fiacco said spending close to $400,000 in developing a brand should more than pay for itself in population growth and job creation. "It's the cost of doing business. Cities who do nothing, get nothing.''
In fact, Fiacco said every new citizen adds $40,000 in per capita GDP to the local economy. "So if we get 10 new people, this pretty much pays for itself over the course of time.''
Larry Hiles, president and CEO of RROC and chair of the community branding committee, said the committee was formed in 2006 to develop a new brand for the city.
The old logo was nearly 10 years old and was not part of overall branding strategy. "It wasn't a full branding exercise. I was a logo exercise,'' Hiles said.
Hiles added that awareness of the province was growing due to the economic boom, but the city's image wasn't keeping pace with the province's rising profile.
"The new Saskatchewan was really driving and moving forward, but there was no linkage of the success of the province with what was happening in Regina."
In fact, polling of 1,200 Canadians and focus groups conducted in five Canadian cities, including Calgary, Winnipeg and Windsor, indicated Regina didn't have a negative image; it had no image.
"Once you got out of the province, there was no equity in our brand . . . There just wasn't any impression, positive or negative, about Regina.''
Hiles said companies spend billions of dollars building brands that help them compete for customers and market share. "Communities are now competing for residents, so we need to start thinking about what is our brand as a community."
From the public opinion research, two recurring themes emerged: "a sense of opportunity in our Regina region, whether it was opportunity for jobs or investments or careers, and the other one was quality of life.
"So we took those two things forward as being very important in our branding,'' Hiles said.
Asked why the city chose an out-of-province advertising firm, Fiacco said the McKim Cringan George agency was one of four firms short-listed for the request for proposal, three of them from Regina.
"We're not a closed shop," Fiacco said "It's an open competition. They were the successful bidders. Good for them.''