Research Community Engagement Storytelling Brand Identity
We defined a tourism destination’s brand narrative to help generate a sustainable, local visitor economy.
Frontenac County is one of the wildest and quirkiest corners of Eastern Ontario. This diverse, rugged region of lakes, forests and trails is scattered across the Canadian Shield. It is home to farmers, artists, tradespeople, entrepreneurs, professionals, cottagers, and retirees who all contribute to a vibrant community, just a drive away from major urban centres.
Setting a foundational pillar for Frontenac’s Destination Development Plan.
In the pursuit of sustainable tourism development, Frontenac wanted to define their brand identity in a way that authentically represented its residents, their stories, businesses, history, and landscapes. As part of their 5-year Destination Development Plan, they emphasized the importance of collaboration to create a storytelling-driven brand narrative that would resonate with the people of Frontenac and potential visitors alike, in order to boost tourism and support the local economy.
Understanding what makes Frontenac, Frontenac.
In collaboration with tante consulting inc., we kicked off this project with a research and community engagement phase. During secondary research, we analyzed five successful tourism brands and how they portrayed their destinations and reviewed Frontenac’s background documents. To enhance our local understanding, we travelled to East Ontario to visit the region, gathering insights through various community engagement initiatives. We reached out to all those who call Frontenac home. We wanted to hear from them, along with the municipal staff and visitors, by asking, “What does the County represent from a tourism perspective, and how do we tell our story?”.
We ran a mix of engaging and creative community sessions, both online and on-site, which included interviews, a creative workshop, and a paint night to capture the essence of what makes Frontenac unique.
Defining the County’s brand narrative.
Through conversations with stakeholders, we discovered that storytelling was the missing piece in Frontenac’s existing brand identity. So, for the county to attract new visitors, they needed to know how to tell their story and who to tell it to. By capturing who Frontenac’s community was, as welcoming hosts, their voice, values, and brand story, we highlighted what they should be known for and the experiences they have to offer. To further connect their brand narrative and promise with their target audience, we established their brand persona as well as their ideal visitors’ personas. Through the power of honest, authentic storytelling, Frontenac’s diverse communities have come together to embrace the remoteness, raw natural beauty, and community spirit of the region.
Taking ownership of a tourism brand story.
We developed AODA-approved, accessible tourism brand guidelines as a straight-forward tool for everyone in the community — especially small business owners — to use as a reference and to take ownership of their brand story. The guide encompasses everything from Frontenac’s brand identity to their ideal visitors and how to communicate with them. It also included photography and accessibility guidelines. With in-depth explanations and illustrative examples, we made it easy for the community to apply these guidelines whenever creating new content and become Frontenac’s very own storytellers.
- Research and community engagement sessions.
- Development of foundational intangible brand elements (brand story, brand positioning, brand values, brand persona, brand attributes, brand tone and voice, brand promise, visitor personas, photography guidelines, and social media sample messages).
- AODA-approved, accessible brand guidelines.
- Brand toolkit.