You could feel it in the air; you could see it in the room.

As the Cochrane Tourism Association (CTA) revealed the central message of their branding as "Cochrane: It's a Feeling" many were nodding in agreement at the Mar. 6 open house.

Unveiled were large cubes featuring words--genuine, unexpected, welcoming, inspiring and naturally beautiful--in large print. A description of how each tied in with that Cochrane feeling was on the side and read by some members of the branding group.

CTA says “The feeling” speaks to the indescribable, multi-sensory experience that people repeatedly feel when they set eyes on our cozy town, nestled in a valley, surrounded by one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world.

The brand was developed through public consultation. Throughout 2018, the CTA conducted a public survey, which received over 500 responses, and gathered a group of volunteers to participate in a brand development working group.

“From the start of this process, we kept hearing people not able to find the words to describe what they love about Cochrane. They would simply say ‘there’s a feeling,’” says CTA executive director Jo-Anne Oucharek. “It’s the one thing that arose as the most consistent comment in all of our research.”

Jag Thind, of the award-winning Mehtab East Indian Cuisine, was among those who have been captured by that Cochrane feeling and believes it sums up why people should come to visit and stay longer.

He says people who come here quickly understand the warmth of the community. And when you live here it's like having a large extended family.

"We have a daughter who is now two months old and you're not going to believe how many people who came to the restaurant to bring her small gifts and blessings. I don't think we can find that anywhere else. That's the feeling. That's why I love that word."

He believes Cochrane Tourism is on the right track and found the open house had a positive buzz.

"They know what the vision is. It's going to take time, of course, but they know what they're doing it, that's the main thing."

Central to the marketing thrust will be telling the stories of Cochrane through publications, videos, media and a much-enhanced website. 

CTA president John Thomson says if current synergies are any indication, the whole industry is about content and storytelling and getting out the details on the various aspects of the community.

"There are so many facets to Cochrane. We're not labeled a mountain town, we're not labeled a Prairie town, there are many different facets that encompass Cochrane and there are so many different things to promote."

The open house brought together a number of partners. There are ongoing relationships with Alberta Tourism, Economic Development and the visitor centre, but the open house also showcased new ones, like the recently formed Bike Cochrane and the Cochrane Culinary and Producers Collective. 

An ambassador training program is being launched by the Visitor Information Centre to help residents learn more about Cochrane and what there is to do here. It will also be offering a new service to help plan itineraries for visiting friends and family.

A two-day Explore Cochrane event is being held on June 8-9 to give Cochranites a chance to play in their own backyard, another partnership involving Cochrane Economic Development and the Cochrane Chamber of Commerce.

Thomson believes there's a growing realization that tourism is an important economic driver and it was reflected by the interest in the open house.

"I think it's partially because of the steps that we've made in tourism but it's also because of an awareness factor of how important it is to Cochrane and how many businesses are affected by tourism."

The brand has already been launched on the CTA website and will be included in all of their marketing endeavours.

This was a different room than a year ago when the blueprint was laid out for 2018-2023 Cochrane Tourism Strategy. The pieces are clearly starting to fall into place from the carefully constructed five-year strategy.

More Local News

FCP's Matthew Morrisey Doorknocking Here Saturday

Yesterday, Freedom Conservative Party (FCP) candidate Matthew Morrisey officially filed his nomination paper. Today he's at the FCP campaign kickoff in Calgary and this Saturday he's in Cochrane…

Fire Services Monitors Storm Pond After Low Hydrogen Sulfide Reading

Cochrane Fire Services was drilling holes into the ice covering the stormwater pond by Bow Valley High School this afternoon (March 20). Inspector Jeff Avery with Cochrane Fire, says they were…

Work Progressing on Schedule for New Bridge

The most important thing to Cochranites about the new Bow River bridge is the town's report that it's on schedule to open in the fall of 2020. Town councils and local media got a glimpse of the…

Budget Does Nothing for Albertans, says Richards

By Leah Murray Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards believes yesterday's federal budget is designed to serve as a distraction from current Ottawa scandals and believes it does absolutely nothing for…

A Few Things You Need to Know About the Election

With the Alberta election set for Apr. 16, Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler has outlined some of the things you may want to know about the upcoming vote. Resler says this election…

NDPer Steve Durrell Ramping Up His Campaign

Yesterday, NDP candidate Steve Durrell planted his election sign in front of his parent's house in the Riverview neighbourhood, a place he called home until he turned 18. He didn't stop long, though;…

Cochrane doctor exhausts appeals; practice permit revoked

Cochrane family physician Dr. Habeeb Tunde Ali's practice permit in Alberta has been revoked by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) due to his failure to pay outstanding fees…

Hair Of the Dog Fundraiser Celebrates Five Years

How could you not have a great time at an event named 'Hair of the Dog'?! While the expression may come back to bite you the next morning, the annual fundraiser is once again hoping to be a complete…

Here We Go! Albertans Going to Polls Apr. 16

The speculation has ended and the race is on. Albertans will be going to the polls on Apr. 16 it was announced this morning by Premier Rachel Notley at the National Music Centre in Calgary.…

Unbelievable Generosity and Support for Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre Gala

An annual fundraiser held last Friday evening (March 15) can only be described sweetly. Close to 150 people attended the Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre Gala at the Cochrane Alliance Church and the… is Cochrane's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide