What is guaranteed rugged?

Lillooet's new brand

In October, the District of Lillooet officially adopted Twist Marketing's branding strategy for the town under the tagline of "guaranteed rugged".

Twist Marketing submitted a report completed in late September on Lillooet and its target markets.

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Last June, consultants anonymously surveyed locals about the area. They also interviewed a branding committee made up of volunteer residents appointed by the district.

From the anonymous interviews and the committee's input, including speculative taglines and lists of Lillooet's strengths and weaknesses, the consultants created a draft branding strategy.

After another review by the committee, the tagline was changed from "officially rugged" to "guaranteed rugged".

Twist Marketing stressed the value of targeting the demographics most likely to find Lillooet an appealing place to move to or visit in its report.

The report stated that although communities tend to advertise to the broadest segment of the population as possible, the result is a lack of interest from anyone. Especially in the case of B.C., it noted that almost any area of the province can boast water, mountains, and trees.

Referring to the District of Lillooet website's "brand experience", the report read, "It tries to provide something for everyone without being grounded in a narrower set of activity Lillooet provides either uniquely, or better than other locations in terms of quality of experience."

It also stated, "It promotes 'things to do' in the absence of promoting a distinctive 'experience' that can be had. In other words, it says 'we've got stuff, come see things' without describing a set of emotions that living in or visiting the community/backcountry creates.

"Brand these days is all about generation of emotional experience that attaches a target market to the community in terms of interest in visiting, investing in, and/or moving to."

Twist indicated that Lillooet could not attract a large market because it was too far from a major city. Also, it could not compete with other communities, especially Whistler, in terms of attractions and amenities with broad appeal.

However, the report noted that Lillooet's remote geography and location could entice a type it referred to as the "Active Adventurer."

The report described the Active Adventurer as "an independent free spirit who hates the urban jungle. They distain the latte mountain communities that have attracted pseudo?adventurers who drive Hummers."

Twist believes the area can attract this group because "The Active Adventurer is a match with Lillooet's biggest selling feature: the ability to get away from almost everything... to be more untamed and unrefined."

The report included sample advertising, merchandise, and stationery that reflected the "guaranteed rugged" theme.

Merchandise included a coffee mug with part of the lip seemingly bitten away.

Stationery and ads were both printed to appear crumpled.

One sample ad showed a white-haired man and a woman riding a motorcycle.

The copy read, "You may look a little ragged around the edges in later life, but you're not one to sit around until you push up daisies. Lillooet is nature's little blue pill for the soula place for the active retiree who wants to exploreto live wilder and more free."

The report stated such advertising might be off-putting to some, but would appeal to the target consumer.

Look for ongoing coverage on Lillooet's new brand and plans to roll it out in an upcoming issue of the News.

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