Friday, January 28, 2011

Re-branding Medicine Hat

Finlay Bridge
It recently came to my attention that the Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta has hired a Calgary marketing company to "re-brand" Medicine Hat. (Thanks Jen!)  When I told Mike about this he said, "Isn't Medicine Hat already known as 'the place for old people'?"  And I replied, "I think that may be the problem."

The Medicine Hat News reported:  "Catherine Proulx, managing director of Twist Marketing, says the new brand is meant to be something all tourism operators can use to promote the region and is not an attempt to do away with Medicine Hat's traditional slogan.  'The Medicine Hat brand for the city will remain as it is — it's still 'Medicine Hat, the Gas City,' 'Proulx says. 'This is going to be a tourism-related brand.'"

The Marketing company has a website where you are welcome to post your comments in answer to various questions being used to collect people's thoughts on Medicine Hat.

I'm all about promoting Medicine Hat, especially since that was a motivating factor in starting this blog.  But I don't know that a new slogan is going to draw more tourists. Medicine Hat is a fantastic place to live and raise a family, but I don't think that it is much of a tourist destination, unless you have family that live here or are driving through on your way to somewhere with bigger attractions.  I'm not trying to say that there aren't wonderful things to see and do here, but it doesn't have the Calgary Stampede and West Edmonton Mall style attractions.  What's truly sad is that there are so many amazing things in Medicine Hat that local residents don't even know about or utilize.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church
When we got married, one of my co-workers from Calgary drove down to Medicine Hat for the wedding.  After I returned to work she raved to me about how beautiful and clean Medicine Hat was, and what a pleasure it had been driving around seeing the sites.  But she closed with, "It's too bad it wasn't by the mountains, if it was, I would move there for sure."  How can we compete with the Rockies for a vacation destination?  I'm sure that we draw a lot of people from southwest Saskatchewan and rural southeastern Alberta for shopping, sports games and concerts, especially now that we have the Esplanade to host such diverse events. Perhaps a new Events Centre would draw in more day-trippers?  But I think our community serves it's residents better than it's visitors.
Saamis Tepee
My slogan?: Medicine Hat has just enough of everything you need, and not so many of anything, that it requires a ridiculous amount of driving to get anywhere. (I know it's a little long!)
All photos are courtesy of Gerrit Dykstra

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