Define HFX team goes through outreach results

The feedback is in for Define HFX, a public branding project for the region, and the results will be announced in a matter of weeks.

By Ashley Corbett

Point Pleasant Park
Strolling through Point Pleasant Park. (Ashley Corbett/Peninsula News)

The team behind the Halifax Regional Municipality’s most expensive public engagement initiative, Define HFX, is sorting through its findings.

The surveying phase of the project ended the first week of March.

Breton Murphy, manager of public affairs for HRM, said those involved with the project are working on articulating the brand so that they may present it to regional council.

“What we’ve done now is we’ve collected the feedback from people, and from that information we will distill the key attributes of the brand,” he said.

Getting the facts

Define HFX is a project which has reached out to residents to gain and articulate a collective sense of identity.

“It’s about asking, ‘What is the essence of this place we call home?'” said Murphy.

In November, regional council asked its staff to look at a brand initiative. It had been 20 years since amalgamation of Halifax and its surrounding municipalities.

Revolve Brand Inc. is the name of the local brand agency that was awarded the project at a cost of $217,000.

Dynamic outreach

In December, Revolve launched a website for Define HFX that would serve as a means for people to find information about the project, but would also provide a centralized hub to collect comments posted in social media channels.

The sunrise over Citadel Hill
The sunrise over Citadel Hill. (Ashley Corbett/Peninsula News)

The team behind the brand also began its outreach late last year, seeking residents, as well as people outside of the region, to get their feedback about the identity of the HRM.

Murphy says more than 20, 000 individuals have been involved with the project in some way. Revolve sought feedback through online surveying, and also a streeter approach.

Responses

“It is clear from council and from residents that there isn’t a mutually exclusivity between having pride in your community, whether that be Bedford, or Dartmouth, or Sackville, or Halifax, and having an affinity, a connection, and a pride in the region as a whole. We’ve found that one supports the other,” said Murphy.

Murphy says the brand is about “putting our best foot forward,” but it has to be authentic.

“We are asking, ‘What is about it that makes it special? What gives people to call it home? What can attract others? What helps us compete internationally?’ Getting to this essence is about our best attributes,” said Murphy.

However, Murphy recognizes that in going through this exercise some people will express the shortcomings of the region.

“It’s not only about positivity in terms of the research,” said Murphy. “It’s about understanding where that gap is. We have aspirations, say to be at X but currently we’re at Y. Part of it is about understanding how we can strive effectively.”

The future of the project

No statistics or information gathered is currently available to the public, but they will be once the brand has been proposed to regional council. This will be a matter of weeks, rather than months, said Murphy.

Pending council approval, the next stage of the project is implementation of the brand.

The investment associated with implementation has not yet been determined.