Chamber looks to rebrand region

Ashley Thompson
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New slogan, Avon, the Land of Plenty, slowly catching on

West Hants Chamber of Commerce executive members Scott Geddes, Jennifer Daniels and Andrew Bauchman were ready to show the municipal councils of Hantsport, West Hants and Windsor what the revamped chamber has been up to in the last year.

Welcome to Avon, the Land of Plenty.

If members of the West Hants Chamber of Commerce have it their way, residents and merchants of Windsor, West Hants and Hantsport will soon know what that means.

With guidance from the Revolve marketing firm in Bedford, the recently revitalized chamber is working on a regional branding strategy that aims to create a sense of unity and pride within the communities they do business.

Chamber president Scott Geddes, the owner of Cocoa Pesto Bistro, says the idea behind the regional branding plan is to muster up some enthusiasm about the geographical gem located between the Halifax Regional Municipality and Wolfville.

“There is very minimal knowledge of what happens here. People have a fairly good knowledge of what happens in Wolfville… but they drive by here,” Geddes said.

“We’re trying to create a definable identity so that when people drive by, they know they’re driving through the Avon region.”

“The Land of Plenty” tagline alludes to the vast array of possibilities available to entrepreneurs, tourists and citizens in the region, Geddes said.

A brand story drafted to promote the Avon paints a picture of a bountiful, chic, and almost mystical, rural community just outside the city limits.

“Avonites are generally city folk looking for a better way. They work in Metro, but want to live in a culturally interesting and stimulating environment that doesn’t say ‘suburb.’ In the Avon they enjoy a close-knit, vibrant lifestyle that offers boutique shopping, a strong ‘buy local’ culture, a cool arts scene, old-world architecture, and massive value for their real estate dollar,” the story of the Avon reads.

Geddes says the chamber’s main goal for the time being is to encourage locals to embrace the “Avon, the Land of Plenty” concept, and self identify as “Avonites.”

If the community buys into the brand, and future marketing campaigns attract newcomers, he says the home of the “Avonites” may become the “Napa Valley of the North” within the next five years.

“In the world of marketing, ideally you pick one thing and you stand by that. The challenge we had in this community is that it is so incredibly diverse,” he said.

What were trying to do… is create a cohesiveness throughout, something that everybody can identify with.”

At a May 31 joint council meeting in West Hants, Geddes asked councils in Hantsport, Windsor and West Hants to consider chipping in $8,000 each to help the chamber pay for marketing initiatives that will raise the Avon region’s profile.

The request must be discussed at meetings of the individual councils before the chamber learns if funding will be awarded.

In the mean time, Geddes says the chamber plans to launch the Avon, Land of Plenty story and logo on Facebook in the near future.

“With every plan, community input can alter the way things are going and the wonderful thing about launching it through a Facebook site is people can say what they want,” he said.

“Hopefully, through the Facebook site, they will write their little story of why they’re here.”

Organizations: West Hants Chamber of Commerce, Halifax Regional Municipality

Geographic location: West Hants, Windsor, Hantsport Wolfville Bedford Napa Valley

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