New Initiative Aiming To Change Region’s Brand, Outside Perception

A new initiative is aiming to improve the image people have of Fort McMurray.

The new brand ‘Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’ is being promoted by Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism in hopes of educating outside businesses and individuals about the entire RMWB.

Kevin Weidlich, President and CEO, tells Mix News too many people don’t understand the community is just one part of the region.

“Fort McMurray is the name that’s really well known throughout the country and indeed the world and Wood Buffalo is really what we have, most of the wealth of the region comes from the rural areas.”

The organization has been tasked with generating new economic opportunities. A big challenge has been getting people outside of the region to view the community as more than an oil town.

For more than a year, they’ve been meeting with members of the community to hear their thoughts. Many noted, besides the oilsands, Fort McMurray is only known for the Horse River wildfire.

“That’s a part of us and it is important to our history but that doesn’t define us, it belongs further down in the story,” added Andrea Haley, Director of Brand & Corporate Services.

Since June 2019, FMWBEDT has held multiple sit-downs with the public. Specifically, they’ve held 170 virtual engagement sessions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Haley, they’ve received a lot of support for the ‘Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’ brand.

“We’ve needed this for a long time,” said Stu Wigle, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Earl’s Fort McMurray.

“As a resident and father, I am grateful to raise my children in a place that is so great for families and proud to be a local business owner in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.”

Meanwhile, nothing is changing in the region.

Businesses aren’t being asked to update their names, the region’s governing body will still be called the RMWB, and residents don’t need to change any paperwork to update the name.

“Nothing is going to change in terms of the day-to-day impacts aside from the fact, perhaps, they’ll start to see a lot of positive response from friends and family and people they do business with outside of the region,” noted Weidlich.

Individuals and groups are only being encouraged to highlight the ‘Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’ brand in hopes of encouraging people to learn more about the RMWB.

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