The Town of Cochrane endorsed a development direction through a Sustainability Plan that would guide the content of all other municipal planning documents. This Plan contained the following vision relevant to development of brand direction: “Our Cochrane. Our future….. Innovative, bold, and dynamic, Cochrane is a community that creates its destiny by building on our proud heritage. We are people of vision in environmental stewardship and economic vitality that was passed down to us through our strong and rich Western Canadian foundation. At the heart of Cochrane we value our small town atmosphere, distinctive big hills, escarpments, waterways, and unique opportunities. We are a community forged by relationships supportive of our common desire to live long, fulfilling lives. As pioneers of sustainability, we build on the legacy of our pioneering past. We honour our heritage. We celebrate our strong relationships. We respect the land.”
Cochrane’s brand is about motivation and aspiration, built from values and driven by vision. Living is better in Cochrane and as such the brand needed to focus on lifestyle with a twist – life rooted in land, tradition, and an active, advanced lifestyle.
However, Cochrane’s western heritage architectural guidelines were a source of contention in the community. While those in favour appreciated the visual distinctiveness it created for the commercial portion of the community, those not in favour viewed the guidelines as restrictive and limiting to commercial activity. Some were concerned the community would feel like a false-fronted “theme park”, and that the regulations were not even an authentic reflection of early architecture in Cochrane or the region. Ultimately it was points of contention such as this – and the lack of clear community vision – that not only divided the community, but hindered adoption of the rebrand concept as a whole.