"There's nothing to do in Fort McMurray except work." Not true, the town, famous for the oil sands development, is a hub of activity and situated in a region of Alberta synonymous with the Northern Lights, the Boreal forest and the great canadian frontier.
At a Board strategic planning retreat in 2010 facilitated by Stormy Lake, it was determined that Fort McMurray Tourism needed to establish a more finely focused brand and update its visual identity.
As a membership-based organization, it was critical to secure the support of the tourism industry and to recognize the unique aspects of the market with a “shadow population” of 30,000 visitors who traveled to Fort McMurray for employment but did not consider it as a leisure destination.
We conducted a Dialogic Research Session with 23 participants from the tourism industry, community and general public, as well in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.
The belief that there was nothing to do was held so passionately that one participant painstakingly cut out letters individually from magazines to make her point. However this was juxtaposed by a community that was as active and passionate about their lives as any that we've ever met.
With a “git ‘er done” attitude and a profound love of the community, the brand positioning was a challenge to all audiences – community, worker, business traveler and leisure visitor – a challenge to “get the most out of Fort McMurray”.
The resulting learnings report was used to engage the rest of the tourism industry to the branding strategy and led to the development of the new brand identity above, developed by Karo Group.