New identity reveals authentic Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo
Online community toolkit provides resources to champion the region
The region is now able to use a united voice to showcase the beauty, community, diversity and opportunity with the formal launch of: Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo - the region’s place brand.
“For too long, our region has been defined by others, and that has led to a reputational challenge,” says Kevin Weidlich, President and CEO of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT), which has been stewarding the place brand development. “The place brand is about reclaiming our story and drawing on the collective strength and voices of those who call Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo home.”
Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is the region’s new identity and destination name - representing the unity and strength of the entire region. The place brand is built on the key assets and strengths of the region and is grounded in community-based engagement.
“We are grateful to our communities for the time they have invested in making the place brand real and true to us,” says Andrea Haley, Director of Brand & Corporate Services for FMWBEDT. “It is rooted in the passion and experiences of the people who live here.”
The place brand is extremely important for our region as it is our competitive identity – how we will compete with other places and market our region externally, adds Haley. It is a strategic approach to support the sustainable development and growth of our region over the next decade.
“This is more than a marketing campaign, it’s the first regional approach to formally define ourselves, and it’s built on a long-term strategy,” says Weidlich. “Our authentic place brand will help us build a compelling foundation on which to attract people and investment from across the country and around the world.”
Community members endorse the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo place brand
“We’ve needed this for a long time,” says Stu Wigle, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Earl’s Fort McMurray. “I’ve seen how much hard work has gone into this to reflect our true image and capture all of the nuances that are hard to put into words. As a resident and father, I am grateful to raise my children in a place that is so great for families and proud to be a local business owner in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.”
“I love meeting new people and learning how the beauty of our community and the magical views of the Northern Lights take their breath away — it is always the opposite of what we’ve been known for,” says Paige Cyr, real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray. “I love how the place brand speaks to who we are, not how others perceive us.”
“I was born in Fort Chipewyan, moved to Fort McMurray as a teenager and wouldn’t want to raise my family anywhere else,” says Mitch Mercredi, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Business Development Manager with Acden. “I’ve always believed that if you’re hardworking and innovative you can make opportunities happen here; my wife Crystal transformed her passion into a successful business this way. The place brand captures the unique combination of culture, innovation and opportunity that makes me proud to call Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo home.”
Online community toolkit
The place brand is accessible through an online community toolkit with videos, language and images, focused on providing every person and business with the tools to market the region themselves. The toolkit has a place to share stories and will continue to be developed over time.
“Our communities are our best marketing tool – each and every one of us has a role in changing our reputation by sharing what makes our place so incredible,” says Haley.
Introducing it locally first
We will use the place brand to market our region externally, but before we share it with the world, the first crucial step is sharing it locally. Currently in the region, a local advertising campaign is introducing Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo - the place we’re proud to call home.
“You may be surprised to see the place brand advertised locally, but it is very intentional,” says Weidlich. “We must engage our region first, as we need our communities championing this forward—breathing life into the place brand."
Watch your mailbox for a place brand photo frame - a ‘regional viewfinder’ - so you can share what makes this place home for you, adds Weidlich. Post your photo and use the hashtag #myFMWB. Learn how to use the regional viewfinder here.
How can you get involved and champion Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo?
1. Share your Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo story in the toolkit.
2. Share a picture of your favourite view using the regional viewfinder and #myFMWB.
3. Connect with us. If you’re passionate about our region we want to hear from you.