Not long ago I came across a social media posting by an entrepreneur who had recently moved her business to St. Boniface. New to the community, she was saluting Tourisme Riel’s collaborative efforts in developing a “nouvelle image de marque pour Saint-Boniface.”
As I was reflecting on the appealing design and its effectiveness, I was reminded how challenging it can be to appropriately capture the essence of an idea, a place, or a business via the tools that collectively constitute “the brand.” Especially for logos and word marks, there are such narrow parameters within which the elements must merge; font, size, and colour restrictions, image and spatial integrity constraints, and the very real challenge of visually articulating the unique qualities that define an enterprise.
I was genuinely impressed with the finished product – one that will easily become a recognizable identifier for St. Boniface – a beautiful marriage of the guitar, the spire, and traditional colours interpreted in a modern context. Matt Allard, the CEO at Chambre de Commerce Francophone de Saint-Boniface explains: “The image represents the old and the new St. Boniface integrating the Esplanade Riel, the ceinture fléchée (sash), and the music and culture which are always evolving.”
Fast-forward to a Centre-hosted networking breakfast where guest speaker Silvia de Sousa gave an informative and inspiring session titled “Don’t Be Afraid to Ask.” A partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, Silvia had much to share on the topics of the “fraud/imposter” syndrome, the lack of confidence, and poor negotiation skills that many professional and entrepreneurial women continue to have. I couldn’t help but think we do it to ourselves and we need to stop (I include myself in that bold statement, by the way). Silvia’s recommendation to tackle head on the fear of asking for what we want, need, and deserve really resonated with me. More women need to claim credit for a job well done and own their aspirations for something better!
After breakfast, a client I hadn’t seen in a while came up to me and shared how well things were going. I mentioned that I loved what she’d done to her car(a traveling billboard for her company, Éditique Limitée) and she remarked how valuable she’d found Silvia’s session. She’d just completed a big project and she realized that it was possible that her work might not being acknowledged publically; she hadn’t thought to include specific terms about recognition in her contract negotiation. She said that it felt a bit like bragging…but it was an important project and she was proud of her contribution. Sylvia’s talk resolved her position; satisfied clients would be asked to publicly recognize my client’s role in the creative development.
Coincidentally, a press release issued by Tourisme Riel that afternoon noted my client’s contribution to the creative and expressed their pride in the new brand. It’s to be celebrated that a Franco-Manitoban Métis woman was central to the creation of the community’s new image. As for my client’s stated approach to future contracts, I couldn’t agree with her more; if you don’t ask, you won’t get!
– Alanna Keefe