Our Brand Story
Just off the coast of Vancouver is a place where everything’s… well… a little different. When you take the 20-minute ferry ride, it feels as though you’ve crossed over to another world, a special place where life is a little simpler, a little less stressful. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the people – all fill you with a calmness and an awareness; making you feel a little different. There’s no hustle, no bustle, and certainly no rat race. The sense of community is so strong you can almost feel the hugs. In a modern world where everything’s always moving faster and faster, it feels really, really good to hit pause. To reflect. To exhale. To take stock. To stop and smell the ocean. To connect with what really matters. Bowen Islanders are fiercely proud of their island, and more than a little protective. Sometimes they’re tempted to keep it to themselves. But if you’re looking for a way to redefine play, work or life, this might be your place, too. You’ll leave your ordinary self at the dock along with all your mainland baggage. Bowen will change you…for the better.
Our Brand Attributes
Community, nature and crossing over water.
Our Brand Essence
Connected with what matters most.
Our Brand Promise
You’ll be better for being here.
Our Brand Voice
Casual, conversational, friendly, quirky, frank, open, honest, proud yet humble, and sometimes ever so slightly defiant.
Our Brand Mark
The brand mark will be consistent on all communications, with versions for the Municipality, its departments and the community.
Our Community Mascots
These characters help connect people to the brand and represent the diversity of our community.
Our Brand Taglines
These will be used on T-shirts, bumper stickers and more, and will change from year to year.
What’s a brand and why do we need one?
A community brand is the emotional connection people have with a place, expressed through words and visuals.
Bowen Island Municipality and Tourism Bowen Island currently use many different logos for various initiatives. A new brand, over time, will bring consistency to these efforts. A consistent brand can help reinforce our already strong sense of community. And it can also support Bowen businesses by attracting more visitors, especially during the less busy shoulder seasons and winter months.
What’s been the process so far?
The Municipality’s Economic Development Committee has been working on the brand for almost three years.
The EDC is made up primarily of volunteers representing every part of the community, from residents, to business owners, to municipal representatives.
This group conducted over 600 interviews with visitors, residents and business owners before starting any work. Many options were explored before a presentation of rough concepts to Council in June. Since then, that work has been refined based on community feedback.
Is this costing a lot of taxpayer dollars?
All of the work completed so far has been done pro bono. Even the buttons and T-shirts available as giveaways this summer were paid for with donations.
Where will I see the new brand?
The municipal component of the brand will be phased in over the next few months as signage, websites, stationery and other communications tools are updated.
Tourism Bowen Island will reflect the new brand on its website. Local businesses will soon be free to use brand elements, too.
Where can I order a T-shirt?
The Municipality will be adopting a licensing policy to allow local entrepreneurs to create branded merchandise, including T-shirts.
Will the brand grow and change over time?
Yes! Certain core elements of the brand will remain constant, like the fonts and colours used, and the brand mascots. Taglines will change over time, to remain fresh and relevant. Community members will have a chance to participate in creating new taglines and brand content.
Further questions, comments or suggestions?
Contact Sophie Idsinga, Communications Coordinator, Bowen Island Municipality, at email@example.com or (604) 947-4255.
Download a PDF of the Community Brand Fact Sheet.
We have developed guidelines for the use of the brand mark, mascots and other images.
Download the Bowen Island Community Brand Guidelines (8 MB PDF)
The Community Brand Mark and related Brand Assets are protected under the copyright laws of Canada and owned by Bowen Island Municipality. In accordance with Bowen Island Municipality Brand Assets Policy # 16-023, use of the Bowen Island Brand Assets (excluding the Municipal Brand Mark) is permitted in various contexts.
In commercial, for-profit use, a licensing agreement with the Municipality is required in branded merchandise (e.g. T-shirts, cups, buttons). Applications are considered on a case-by case basis. Fees for use are determined by the Chief Administrative Officer. Unauthorized, for-profit use of the Brand Assets is strictly prohibited.
All funds remitted to Bowen Island Municipality for licensing of Brand Assets will be allocated to the Community Grants Budget. A new application must be submitted if additional stock is to be produced.
To apply to license the Bowen Island Community Brand assets, please contact Sophie Idsinga, Communications Coordinator at 604-947-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This brand is your brand
August 19, 2016 – After almost three years in the making, on June 27, the Economic Development Committee (EDC) presented its Community Brand concepts to Council which gave unanimous endorsement.
The initiative has been developed by 100% Bowen Island volunteers and businesses. StoryTellings Consulting, a Bowen based international research firm, conducted surveys on visitors, residents and businesses. Rethink Canada, an award winning national organization whose founder lives on Bowen Island, took the research and developed the creative portion. Both of these organizations provided their services pro-bono.
It is worth noting that the brand concepts presented to Council in June were always intended as a starting point, and a work in progress. Nonetheless, this unfinished work generated a lot of interest in our community and in the media. Even in its rough form, the work helped generate an estimated two hundred thousand dollars of free publicity for our Island and helped boost traffic to the Tourism Bowen website by upwards of 70 percent.
It also generated many spirited discussions in our community. Many loved the approach, but there were also some concerns raised about some of the pieces and wording in the rough presentation. Have no fear: We have been listening!
The brand is intended to be a communication vehicle for all organizations and residents on Bowen Island to speak with the same voice….with pride.
The first building block for the brand is the Brand Mark itself. It is simply the words “Bowen Island” in a hand-drawn font with two stylized fir trees. In addition to the brand mark, there are fonts and colors that reflect the spirit of our Island. All of these elements will remain consistent over time.
To give the brand personality, we’ve created four mascots: a deer, a slug, a seal and an eagle. Each of these mascots reflect a different side of our community and a different strength of our Island. The mascots each have their own personality and their own tagline. These taglines will be updated over time to stay fresh and relevant. We’re confident everyone in the community will find “their Bowen” reflected in at least one of these colorful characters and taglines.
On August 27, drop by the EDC tent at Bowfest. There will be a spin and win, giveaways, information regarding the brand and an opportunity to purchase your choice of mascot t-shirts. Come by and give your suggestions for future taglines for each of the mascots.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Economic Development Committee
Bowen Island Municipality
August 16, 2016 – Rethink Communications presented the Bowen Island Community Brand at the first Annual General Meeting of Tourism Bowen Island. View the PDF presentation HERE.
Council approves “proudly defiant” new Bowen Community Brand Identity
June 28, 2016 – “Tell your friends it’s awful here” is the tongue-in-cheek rallying cry of a new community brand identity for Bowen Island, unanimously approved by Municipal Council at a meeting on Monday, June 27, 2016. Watch the recording of the meeting or view the revised PowerPoint Presentation.
The identity includes the tagline aimed at potential visitors, as well as new design elements for communications from the Municipality as well as Tourism Bowen and local businesses.
The project is the result of nearly two years of work by the volunteer-run Municipal Economic Development Committee and was based on extensive research with residents and visitors.
“The last thing anyone wanted was a traditional marketing campaign,” says Gordon Ganong, EDC Chair. “It was clear from our research that visitors and residents all think Bowen is a very special place, mixing community with nature in a unique way. Residents and business owners are very proud of this place and more than a little protective. They wanted a community brand that welcomed people, but it a very quirky, slightly defiant way.”
The research effort involved almost 600 interviews, and were conducted by residents Edward Wachtman and Sheree Johnson, founders of Storytellings, an international pre-branding consulting firm.
Five key themes emerged from the research, said Wachtman, including obvious candidates like a strong sense of community and a connection with nature. “There was also a sense that our 20-minute ferry ride provided a sense of ‘crossing over’ to a less hectic world, one were you could be your best self and connect with what matters most,” he said.
Once the research was completed, the EDC reached out to Bowen resident Chris Staples, founder of Vancouver-based branding agency Rethink. The agency, like Storytellings, provided their services on a pro bono basis.
“Anyone who lives here has a love-hate relationship with visitors,” he says. “We love to show off our island, but we don’t want it to be overrun with tourists. We don’t want to become Squamish. We want visitors, but only if they really ‘get’ what makes Bowen special.”
Staples says the EDC took inspiration from Portland’s grassroots “Keep Portland Weird” campaign. “There’s a confidence there that we all liked,” he says. “They’re not for everyone, and they’re fine with that.”
The brand identity includes three distinct “voices,” each aimed at different audiences, including the Municipality, visitors and residents. “Don’t worry—you won’t see ‘Tell your friends it’s awful here’ on your next tax assessment,” says Mayor Murray Skeels. “It will only be used where appropriate.”
All of the materials include quirky, hand-drawn type, and colours and mascots based on the natural environment. The lead mascot is a hand-drawn buck deer. (“We all know the deer really own this island and we’re just guests,” says Staples). Other mascots include a seal (representing diving in and trying new things), and eagle (representing vigilance for protecting nature) and a slug (representing Island Time and slowing down to enjoy life).
The mascots will be used on postcards and in on-line videos and social media. You can see the video prototypes by visiting the Bowen Island Municipality Channel on Youtube, Staples says. Islanders will be involved in naming and providing voiceovers for the final versions.
Ganong estimates that the total value of the pro bono work donated is in excess of $150,000. As well, over 25 businesses and individuals made cash donations towards the initiative.
He says a launch plan is being developed, including a sensitive approach to creating t-shirts and bumper-stickers. “You’ll start to see some of the elements launch in and around Bowfest,” he says. “Everything will be very grassroots and cheap and cheerful. There will be no huge advertising campaign; it’s really about leveraging the communications vehicles we already have in a better way.”
As part of municipal policies for transparency, we post presentations made to Council. This included a series of poster mock-ups to demonstrate branding possibilities. It has come to our attention that some photos of people have been reposted and disseminated more widely than intended. We apologize to those individuals whose photos have been posted without their permission. The presentation has now been revised.