By Vanessa Broadbent
Why do people live in Oliver? The Town wants to know.
The Town of Oliver is currently on the second phase of its Branding Blueprint and Usage Guide project: community engagement.
At a town hall meeting on Thursday, community members had the opportunity to share their ideas and feedback on the Town’s current branding and design, and what they’d like to see it look like.
The meeting was hosted by Tony Munday of Munday Media & Design, the contract holder for the project.
The project started with a brand audit, conducted at a committee meeting in early January.
Munday told town hall attendees that the most mentioned issue at this meeting was that Oliver’s heritage, history and culture was not present in its branding.
“It is not prevalent right now; it’s not pushed forward as much as everyone wanted to talk about,” he said.
The project involves four steps, out of which community engagement is the second. This step includes a survey that was launched at the beginning of February and will be open for another two weeks.
Munday said the responses were mixed but the most common message participants shared was their sense of pride in the community and appreciation for Oliver’s “small town feel.”
He also said everyone loves the postal code, referred to as the “Valley of Heaven in the Okanagan.”
“It was filled out time and time again for the slogan.”
However, Munday said that Oliver’s current slogan, “Wine Capital of Canada,” isn’t going anywhere.
But part of the rebranding process will include educating people on why Oliver has earned this title.
Munday told the meeting’s attendees that there are multiple reasons: Oliver has 35 wineries and its vineyards produce almost half of all wine grapes in B.C.; at 12 million bottles annually, more wine is bottled in Oliver than anywhere else in Canada; and to top it off, there’s a royal proclamation from Queen Elizabeth declaring it Canada’s wine capital.
But he noted that none of these facts are apparent in the town itself.
“Wine is very prevalent in regional district Area C; you see vineyards and multi-million properties. But you get to those signs that say ‘Wine Capital of Canada,’ and the wine disappears.”
The slogan is staying, but along with educating the community of what makes Oliver the wine capital, Munday addressed the project’s focus on creating a secondary tagline highlighting other reasons that people are drawn to Oliver, such as outdoor recreation, cultural diversity, farming or the area’s attractive climate.
Part of the rebranding process will also include updating the Town’s logo, disfavour for which was expressed at the meeting.
“The colours are too bland, it just gets lost in nothingness,” one attendee said, noting that the icons used, specifically the peach, are vague.
Munday accredited this to a lack of community engagement at the time.
“I think part of the reason why no one really has love for it is that it was rolled out however many years ago and was just there,” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to get that community engagement, to get people to tell us what they like and don’t like.”
After the survey closes and the community engagement stage ends, the project will move to its third stage: using the feedback to create a new brand, followed by a brand launch, which will also be accompanied with another town hall meeting.
The launch will include updating signage in town, as well as the Town’s website.
Munday hopes that the new branding will make Oliver more attractive not only to tourists, but those looking for a new place to call home.
“We’re doing the best we can with the project in front of us and hopefully building something that can give all the organizations within the community the ability to send out the right kind of messaging for the tourists and for business and entrepreneurs to come set up shop and spend their money here in Oliver.”