Revelstoke is about to be “rebranded”


By David F. Rooney

The face our community presents to the world is going to begin changing early next month as Revelstoke is, to use a marketing term, “rebranded.”

That’s when the Revelstoke Accommodation Association and its partners unveil a series of graphic designs for tourism and hotel marketing that, says RAA Marketing Manager Thom Tischik, “will be the foundation for a whole new look.”

The rebranding process began a year ago when Calgary-based Grit Communications ( was hired to study local marketing needs. It recommended Revelstoke rebrand itself and RAA, which has bags of cash, put out a call for tenders, which was won by Driven Media ( of Kimberley. Driven Media’s designs will be at the heart of RAA’s announcement in early December.

Until now there has not been a unified brand for Revelstoke’s tourism agencies, companies, hotels and other organizations. The City and the Chamber of Commerce both use somewhat clunky looking nods to local history with bears and trains, but individual hotels all have very different looks, both in terms of graphic design and their use of colour.

Elements of the rebranding package were recently shown to an advisory committee composed of representatives from Glacier House Resort, The Regent Inn, the Swiss Chalet Motel, Courthouse Inn, Hillcrest Hotel, the Sandman, the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Revelstoke, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the Snowmobile Revelstoke Society, the Visual Arts Centre and the Golf Course.

Tischik would not say what the graphics look like but he did say they have “a somewhat retro look to them that will be familiar to Baby Boomers yet appealing to younger people, too.” The recommended design colours are hues of blue, green and burgundy. Despite Tischik’s reticence you can get a sense of how those design elements and colours will be used by looking at what the Swiss Chalet Motel has done with them (see the images below) both on their website and in their printed marketing materials.

Rebranding goes beyond just graphic design and the use of colours, of course. It calls, to a certain extent, for a new way of describing the community’s many stories.

Click here — — to see what what Driven Media had to say in a document entitled Image/Brand Direction for Revelstoke Tourism.

Tischik suggested that rebranding will ultimately be good for the entire community as it will present a new and somewhat unified appearance to the world beyond — especially that portion of it that might like to spend time and money here — but many individuals and businesses will undoubtedly wait to see what it might cost them. And some, like RMR, which recently redesigned its website and which has its own sense of branding, may not climb on board at all.

RAA spent $25,000 to create the designs, etc., that will be unveiled in December but exactly who is going to climb on the rebranding wagon remains to be seen. You don’t just say “Hey, let’s change everything this afternoon.” No. There are significant costs associated with rebranding. Changing a website alone can costs hundreds of even thousands of dollars. And then there are the costs associated with redesigning reprinting new collateral materials such brochures, business cards, posters and so on.

Alan Mason, the City’s director for Community Economic Development, said the municipal government is eager to see the new designs but that was as far as he would go. While a firm decision on whether to join the rebranding campaign will be a matter for Council to make, this could not come at a more opportune time. As anyone who cruises local websites knows, the City’s website is, to be charitable, sadly lacking. It was useful and efficient by the standards of mid-1990s web design, but it’s horridly, even laughably, out of date. Everyone in town knows it. Everyone in city government knows it. But while Council has regularly appropriated the money to redesign and rebuild it, they have never followed through. If the City is serious about fixing its website this is the best time to do it.

The Chamber of Commerce has had a history of friction with RAA over the direction that tourism marketing in Revelstoke should take dating back to about 2006. However, Chamber Executive Director John Devitt welcomes the rebranding saying, “Revelstoke Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce are ecstatic that we can start using it (elements of the rebranding designs).”

“It’s great that RAA has financed this project for the community to use,” Devitt said. “I look forward to seeing what’s presented so we can update our website, tourism guides and everything else we do.

This is what rebranding can look like on a website, in this case the Swiss Chalet Motel website. Screenshot by David F. Rooney
This is what rebranding can look like on a website, in this case the Swiss Chalet Motel website. The top half of this screen shot shows the original — and now vanished — design for the website. The bottom half shows the new look, which incorporates a completely different sense of design and colour. Screenshots by David F. Rooney
You can see how rebranding affects printed collateral materials by looking at the differences in these brochures for the Swiss Chalet. Materials courtesy of the Swiss Chalet
You can see how rebranding affects printed collateral materials by looking at the differences in these brochures for the Swiss Chalet. A brochure incorporating the old designs is on the left; the new design is on the right. Materials courtesy of the Swiss Chalet Motel