While going through a strategic planning process, Timmins heard from residents that it didn't do a great job of promoting itself.
Now it has a new brand – IM IN – and the city is ready to roll out a new message.
Despite the lack of an apostrophe for IM, the two words are taken directly from the word Timmins. But, finding the brand involved more than someone having a brainwave.
“We made sure that we had a lot of people involved in this,” said Glen Woo, managing principal of St. Clements Group. “About 500 people were involved in it one way or another and we conducted 80 interviews with people inside and outside the community.”
The $100,000 cost of the branding project, which is the first phase, was split 50 per cent between the city and other partners.
“From a big picture perspective, council was supportive of going through this branding process,” said Mayor Tom Laughren. “There were lots of opportunities for people to add their thoughts in it as well.”
Woo said the apostrophe was something that was discussed in length, but after different concepts were presented to six different local industry groups, it was agreed the logo looked cleaner without it.
“Someone from one of the school boards was not fussed about it because he said that is the way people write when texting and sending emails. Everyone just nodded in agreement and said to leave it without it,” said Woo.
The four-month project involved social media, workshops, public meetings and connecting with people through public events such as Welcome to Timmins night.
“IM IN talks about an attitude,” he said. “I'm in Timmins, I am committed, I am a Northerner, and proud of it.”
The branding team wanted to make sure it had a feel for what it wanted to say, but also what outsiders wanted to hear. There was a sense that people were not interested in talking about resources and they didn't want their children “working in the mines or chopping down trees.”
“They wanted their kids to be executives, managers, engineers, and scientists. They wanted a better life for their kids,” Woo said.
“Timmins is part of the knowledge sector and although its focus is in resources, it is a brainy place. It knows how to do big projects and it is a real art in managing the resources and the people.”
It was important to convey the message that Timmins “does those things better” than others.
The team also encountered many people who had originally come to Timmins for a job opportunity, but ended up staying for the lifestyle.
“They were only going to stay a year or two and once they got here, they realized it was the place they wanted to have a life and raise their kids,” he said.
The second phase, which will go to tender, will focus on implementing the brand.
“We are definitely going to bid on it because it would be terrific to run it,” Woo said. “That's when you learn about the great ways to use the logo and the stories that go along with that.”