Sign of the times: New look for Chamber

Community Featured

The Pictou County Chamber of Commerce is getting a facelift, thanks to the creative minds of Advocate Creative Group.

As the dynamics and demographics of Pictou County have changed, the Chamber has worked to re-brand and re-invent itself, in order to put Pictou County’s best foot forward.

Mike Cugno, ACG’s art director said, “We wanted the Chamber of have more of a broad appeal to the diversity that now exists within the region. So we wanted to come up with a look, feel and identity that is engaging, welcoming, approachable to everyone — regardless of background, size of business, etc. A little less rigid or traditional approach to the Chamber of Commerce.”

He noted, “We’ve even dropped the “of Commerce” from the logo and it’ll just be The Pictou County Chamber.”

Jack Kyte, Chamber executive director, is thrilled with the new branding. “Our previous logo, which has been great for us, really represented where the Chamber was located: Pictou County, represented by the thistle. And the new logo represents more of what we do.”

The original logo was created a number of years ago and, over the years, there had been a number of different variations of it. This year, the Chamber membership felt it was time to make a change and freshen it up.

Kyte explained the new logo represents the evolution of the county and the Chamber’s desire to change with the times. “It speaks to us of the growth of the Chamber, our efforts to help the economy grow, the fact that we’re not one-dimensional, and in recent years we’ve been an entity that brings people with a common interest together,” he said. “I think the best example is our effort to create shared space workplace — the Chamber Hub — so we’re seeing some younger members come in to the Chamber to use that facility. The shared space is used now for business meetings, community meetings to some extent, and for training. These are things we were not able to offer in the past and we wanted our logo to reflect that kind of change.”

Cugno said, “I think the look the Chamber had was appropriate for the time. But as time has changed and the county has become more diverse — for example, women are becoming more empowered to start up their own business — we needed something that was a little more approachable, more all-encompassing. The previous logo worked very well, but it was time for something fresh.”

The new logo is a departure from the previous one, but some of its colour has been maintained – the familiar green and purple are still there but with fresher hues. While the predominate thistle has been removed, “the purple part in the new logo harkens back to that. It’s the coming together of a few diverse entities to form one unit,” Cugno said.

Jamie Playfair, ACG’s creative director agreed. “It’s really emulating the progressive strategy going forward for the Chamber and was based on the Chamber’s insight for its strategic plan.”

Kyte, who has been ED of the Chamber for about six years, said members indicated they would like to have something that shows where the Chamber is now and where it would like to go in the future.

“The Chamber is the voice of business and has been seen as more of an advocacy group for business, or as a liaison between business and government. Now, we do a lot more than that. We’re working with some partners in our community that traditionally the Chamber may not have worked with – for example, the deCoste Performing Arts Centre, Pulse Pictou County – and we’ve become involved with the non-profit sector to some extent. So, we’re broadening our view on what it means to be a chamber of commerce and trying to make a closer link between the business community and the community at large because business and community have to work together, in many areas, such as the recruitment and retention of employees. Employees look at the job they may be coming to but they also look at the community that is here for them, and thankfully we have a diverse and excellent community. So it’s those kinds of ideas that we now think about, versus how can we complain to government when taxes are too high. So it’s a process of being more relevant.”

Kyte said the Chamber reached out to Advocate Creative Group to make it all happen.

“We wanted to tap into their experience around branding of organizations and the associated communications that go with that. We are fortunate to have ACG in our community; it has been a great experience for us and a great result that is a brand and a logo that really describes better who we are and where we would like to go in terms of our leadership as an organization in the community.”

Playfair noted, “That really comes together through the supporting statement we developed. The idea of Connect. Thrive. Lead. Those words really encapsulate the directives of the Chamber and its initiatives presently and going forward.”

The project was in the making for several months. Chamber members created a strategic plan last summer and one of the objectives that came from this strategic thinking was to re-examine its brand.

“One of the things we hope will come out of this is a higher profile for the Chamber — not for the sake of the Chamber necessarily but to make people aware we are there to help, we do have our shared space that we want people to use; in fact, we created a new logo not only for our overall Chamber operation but also one specifically for the shared space Chamber Hub to promote that activity,” Kyte explained.

Playfair noted, “It’s really focusing on people and the people of the Chamber. The Chamber is really more than a couple of people; it’s a complete Pictou County business community and we want to be able to celebrate that.”

It’s to put a new face forward even for businesses outside the county as well as inside, Cugno said. “As Jack mentioned, it’s to bring a better profile to the forefront throughout, not just to this region but outside, and the business owners become the face of the Chamber. They are the Chamber.”

The Chamber has been involved with helping the new initiative to recruit doctors. Kyte said, “And that initiative is putting Pictou County’s best foot forward. And we want to support that in whatever way we can. And we hope this (Chamber re-branding) adds to the image of Pictou County we are trying to portray as we encourage more physicians to consider Pictou County. So that is one of the things that encouraged us to move forward with this initiative.”

Currently, the new branding is in the soft launch stage.

Mike Cugno, left, and Jamie Playfair, right, Advocate Creative Group, with Jack Kyte, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, pose with the Chamber’s new logo. The Chamber is being re-branded, thanks to Advocate Creative Group. (Jardine photo)