Only a fraction of Comox Valley Airport marketing budget used for branding

The Comox Valley Airport Commission disclosed this week that it spent $96,500 on researching, developing and implementing its new brand model.

The Comox Valley Airport Commission disclosed this week that it spent $96,500 on researching, developing and implementing its new brand model.While a $180,000 increase in the Comox Valley Airport Commission (CVAC)’s marketing budget for 2010 is being attributed to the branding initiative — which was unveiled last month during CVAC’s Annual Public Meeting —  CVAC actually allocated 2.8 per cent of its operational budget toward the research, development and design of the new brand, and this amounts to $96,500, explained Shirley de Silva, CEO of the Comox Valley Airport.”We believe, like a lot of other progressive organizations, that a brand is an organization’s strongest asset, and it’s a very worthwhile endeavour,” she said. “It is difficult to understand criticism about our decision to invest just 2.8 per cent of our operational budget into developing our new brand. The fact is that we are in strong financial position, with a surplus of almost $300,000 after all expenses, including our branding, are taken into account.”That $96,500 covers a range of costs associated with the entire process of creating the new brand.”We want to be really clear that YQQ’s new brand is much more than just the logo,” said de Silva.The money went toward a comprehensive research report, which included the development of questionnaires and the gathering and analysis of input from 68 stakeholder and airline interviews, two passenger focus groups and facilitated input sessions for airport volunteers, staff, board members and management.  Based on these findings, a detailed brand model was developed, including a new logo, tagline and visual language.An implementation plan and graphics standards manual were also produced, including a detailed colour palette, design templates for employee uniforms, brochures, reports, letterhead, business cards, advertisements and other marketing materials.The manual ensures the appropriate use of the new logo and provides consistency for all marketing materials to ensure a successful implementation of the new brand model, explained de Silva.”We did a lot of background work because we wanted to make sure all the stakeholders had a chance to voice an opinion on what they thought the airport’s brand was and what they expected from the airport so we could move forward with accurate information,” she said. “(Cossette has) developed a thorough and meaningful product that we think will be relevant for years to come, and our community partners agree.”The branding initiative is part of CVAC’s strategic goal to improve communications.”Just like we review and update our strategic goals, we feel we need to review and upgrade our brand periodically to make sure we’re moving forward,” said de Silva. “It’s standard industry practice. … Given that the board approved the new strategic plan in October 2010, we felt the timing was right to ensure we had a strong and well-defined brand identity and visual language to support our efforts to secure new air service.”The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce is voicing its support for CVAC following the annual public meeting.   The City of Courtenay is also a nominating entity for CVAC, and Mayor Greg Phelps supports the airport’s direction.”Certainly, branding and imaging is a part of any organization,” he said. “You have to have a focus of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. They’ve been an incredible success story to date and exceeded every expectation; they’re a Comox Valley success story.”How do you get to the next level? How do you put the candles on the cake? I think this could take them to that next level.”Phelps feels that concerns about the new logo are taking away from the airport’s efforts to move forward in attracting new airlines and more passengers.”One of my concerns is the airport is such a success story for the Comox Valley, but if you Google it now, you get stories about concern about the branding,” he said. “To me, that sends out the wrong message to the world. I think we need to keep our mind on the ball and keep encouraging the airport people to keep their product moving forward.”


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