Visual identity design is influenced by inter-relationships with an area First Nations population that is equivalent to the Town of Fort Frances. An expressed collaborative strategic goal of the Community Development Roadmap that lies within the Brand Strategy is to work with Northwest Bay and Rainy River First Nations on economic development and investment initiatives.
Take a generational pulp mill town and throw it in the spin of globalization, paper-replacing technology, and economics and you have a community facing a key intersection in determining its future. A pulp mill that once employed 1,700 in a community of 8,000 people now stands idle.
The status quo would involve spending all one’s resources trying to restore a mill to former glory. A “hard truths” path would involve recognition that the past is not the future, that external forces (mill economics) can’t be controlled, and that Fort Frances could control its destiny by coming together around common vision that builds off local skills, nurtures an entrepreneurial spirit, collaborates with other organizations and communities in new ways, and pursues economic diversification. And if a mill re-opens in any capacity…a bonus – but only one egg in an economic basket.
The Town of Fort Frances, located on the American-Canadian border in the forests of Northwestern Ontario, chose the latter path in its brand development process in 2013.
An aggressive new brand pulls a message together for the community itself to believe in and work on, and the outside world to consider in investment and tourism trip decisions: we are northwest Ontario’s entrepreneurial heartland. We are industrious. We will actively diversify into mining supply and services, and value-added forest products, strengthen a service centre role for retail, education, healthcare and housing for all ages, and pursue our role as a tourism gateway to northwest Ontario. We will forge a future filled with boundless opportunity together – if we work together….and if we challenge ourselves to stretch our minds around new possibilities.
And to break through a world of marketing noise, Fort Frances exudes personality about being the place Canada was “made” – at the heart and soul of what it has meant to be Canadian in a geographic vastness of “land of the silver birch, home of the beaver.” Fort Frances is where Canadians can get back to their roots…loud and proud.
Boundless – where human nature and “life in the making” represents exportable manufacturing and production against a backdrop of “nature in the raw,” expresses new purpose and a new future to be shaped.