I know I said this blog was ending, but I am a novelist in my spare time. That is, a semi-professional liar.
Some people have, quite rightly, worried aloud that it smells like a traditional city branding campaign. As I have written here, those don’t work. I have heard so many definitions of brand it only confuses me more, every time I hear it. If there is a definition I like, which goes way beyond the word’s historic roots, it’s “whatever I think about a thing.”
Other than that, for most people brand has become “a very expensive way to justify a new logo and tagline every two years, often using clichés and jargon.” City branding is a race to say “world class” in a new way.
This is precisely not what Make Something Edmonton is about.
What we want is a story Edmontonians can tell, and anecdotes that prove it. We want Edmontonians to make something, to build something, and we want to celebrate it when they do. In my interviews, some people who were proud of PCL and Waiward Steel didn’t know about Bioware or Startup Edmonton. People who thought of the Fringe Festival as the most Edmonton thing there is didn’t know about Jet Label. Few of us understand the origins of this place, a crossing that has been a centre of commerce and culture for 8,000 years.
For now, let’s not think about marketing or branding. That idea you’ve been talking about for years? This spring and summer, take it from pints around a table to reality. You want to make the city more fun, more beautiful, more ridiculous in some small or big way? That’s the most Edmonton thing you can do. Go.