The sad, rundown pub I worked in for six years was on Vancouver’s South West Marine Drive, just below the concrete bridge that takes you to Richmond. The view from the window behind the bar was a grey slab of concrete, which was a perfect example of the area and how I felt about living there. I recall thinking about why I was still working at a place I hate in a city that made me miserable. Well, there was a Staples and a Mr. Lube down the road… Thank God for that! Phew!! What would I do without!?!?!! That makes it SOOOO much better (ßInsert sarcasm here)!
So, I left a place that made me disconnected from others, extremely selfish and genuinely unhappy. Although I am not a native to this community, I used to visit in the summertime. I moved here and invested. I recall something a friend said to me once: “Sometimes you visit a place and a piece of you never leaves.” I chose to leave it all behind because I (like many others) prefer the slower pace, less traffic and less Bull$#**. Having every amenity available at my fingertips did not make me happier or my life better,and that is why I chose to live in a place where you can make a difference. This place — Revelstoke — is a community where I can connect with people, be the person my father raised me to be, unravel the persona my grandfather would be proud of and be free of the concrete that smothers our big cities.
In an article from the Municipal World: Build a Community, Not just an Economy Doug Griffiths makes some notable points on how although economic success helps our communities grow and become stronger, a community needs to understand itself. “Once you understand who and what you are, you will see how your community can become better, and you’ll have a better understanding of where its opportunities lie.” That’s not to say Revelstoke doesn’t know who it is, but I have learned there is a split in the road, a line in the sand if you will. From old school to new school between the folks that built this town from the ground, raised their families, worked the railyard or mill and feel they have lost some of the community they helped make prosperous in the past.
“If you don’t know who you are — what makes you strong, what makes you weak, and what you want your community to become — then it makes it pretty difficult to market yourself”. This what Griffith states about identifying your brand. We have a brand. See Revelstoke, and a great brand it is.
In my early morning online digging, I came across a wonderfully made and edited high definition promotional video about our town. It was truly amazing. Great quality. It showcased crazy snowboarding flips and twist, turns and scenery high in the mountains that would make anyone swoon. (Do people swoon still? Or just say “Dooooope” or “I’m Stoooooked”… ugh.) I saw this video on a very prominent social website. I was astonished by this promotional video. What a great way to showcase to the adventure seekers, the thrill riders, the dare devils, a fun place to play, spend your money… and leave. It said nothing about investing in Revelstoke.
With all the amazing outdoor amenities we have, there are folks (still living here and in other markets) that quite frankly, don’t care about skiing, snowboarding, going downhill really fast or doing 4 backflips in the air and landing in snow. I am one of them. To me, Snow is just frozen crappy weather. Knowing that, someone might well ask: “Well why would you live here then?” Let’s say Fort St. John was known for juggling (I assure you it is not) and I moved there, does that mean I would have to become a juggler? Hell no. I don’t need to be a skier or snowboarder because I live in Revelstoke. Many families have lived here their whole lives and never set foot on the hill. I am no different. I came here to live the small town life, to spend time with people in the community, have a family and be involved. Perhaps I am on the side of old school. However If I have a child that loves skiing, I will do what many parents do, join in to support them in their endeavours.
At any rate, my first thought was the video although amazing, I would not have thought Revelstoke was a place to raise my family as we do not promote it that way. Not to say there are zero amounts showcasing other aspects, there were snippets of it, but nothing truly promoting the heart of Revelstoke. Just the pulse was promoted.
Imagine TWO creative styles of branding:
SEE Revelstoke, PLAY Revelstoke & LIVE Revelstoke, RAISE Revelstoke
A website and promotional video showcasing, our community gardens, Streetfest, our arts community (which is phenomenal) dog walking on the Greenbelt, our education system (which I understand is phenomenal), the Figure Skating Club, Minor Hockey, The Junior B Grizzlies, The Saddle Club, Dance club, Revy Stomp, Rod & Gun Club and Our fundraisers. Yes! Fundraisers mean events are being put on for the betterment of our community and events for the kids to have a safe, healthy and environment! Showcase that to a family in Vancouver that is looking for a healthy, happy place to raise a family, that don’t participate in extreme sports. Grow Revelstoke one family at a time. Invest in Revelstoke by investing in our existing local community.
Shaun Aquiline is Revelstoke’s on-air host with FM 106 EZ Rock. He is also on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and the Revelstoke Arts Council