Brianne Labute DSC_0363 Farm Pond with flooded trees and bales

Attracting Immigrants: Promising Practices from Rural Areas (PART TWO)

BRIANE LABUTE IMG_6624 (1)Today’s guest blog post comes from The Rural Immigration Project directed by Dr. Wayne Caldwell, a 3-year project housed at the University of Guelph that is exploring different approaches rural communities are using to attract and retain immigrants.

Author Brianne Labute and colleague Bakhtawar Khan spoke to immigrants, policy-makers, and service providers in four Ontario case study areas to uncover promising practices that may be applicable to other rural regions.

Immigration Attraction Initiatives

Today’s post will discuss another component of immigrant attraction efforts: a multi-purpose community branding strategy.

Community Branding Strategy

TimminsColourCircle-290x300Before a community can be marketed to prospective newcomers, consider creating a community brand. To develop a community brand, community members and leaders need to envision how they want to be portrayed. Depending on resources available, a participatory approach can be used to develop a logo, name, and/or slogan. To take the brand further, the creation of videos and photos can aid in telling the community’s story. The brand should be universal enough to be used by both the public and private sectors to showcase the entirety of the region (including tourism attractions, industry, and lifestyle) in a consistent fashion. To leverage resources and avoid duplication, consider a partnership between the economic development agency and tourism agency to create a multi-purpose brand that can attract both visitors and residents.

Promising Practice: Timmins, “I’m In.” Community Brand

Tourism Timmins and the Timmins Economic Development Corporation led the development of a free marketing tool to promote the City of Timmins to visitors and prospective new residents. Approximately 1000 people were involved in the creation of the brand through surveys, interviews, and workshops. The brand encompasses a brand story, logo, tagline, videos, and photos. To govern the use of the brand, the brand website offers conditions of use and provides examples. The creators of the brand maintain the right to revoke its use if they feel it does not comply with the standards outlined. The “I’m in” branding has been used widely by individuals, local businesses, and community groups.

The next blog post will discuss marketing and promotion. Stay tuned!                      Timmins

Funding for this research project is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) New Directions Program.

For more information please contact Brianne Labute ( blabute@uoguelph.ca )

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