Strategic Plan spawns more plans, strategies and proposals

Image on cover page of latest five-year Strategic Plan

The vote was four Sackville councillors in favour with four against, but when Mayor John Higham broke the tie in favour of adopting a $26,000, five-year strategic plan in February 2017, it meant the town was committing itself to developing several more plans and strategies.

And so in August 2017, town council approved spending $15,000 + HST to hire consultants to draft a business development strategy that had been recommended in the strategic plan.

In April 2019, council approved a five-year recreation master plan developed by town staff that was also called for in the strategic plan.

And on September 9, 2019, council is scheduled to vote on whether to adopt a $15,000 proposal for a marketing plan from a Moncton firm called Portfolio Marketing — which, again, would fulfill one of the strategic plan’s main recommendations. Confidentiality of the proposal is protected under provincial procurement legislation.

Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects who is recommending adoption of the Portfolio proposal, sent Warktimes a copy of the document the town issued when it requested proposals from marketing firms.

The document, called a Request for Proposals (RFP), outlines the town’s goals in professional marketing terms such as “positioning” and “branding” aimed at making Sackville a desirable place to live, work, invest and visit.

“The goal of this project is to identify the Town’s positioning, and provide guidance for marketing initiatives and other public facing communication activities, including tourism promotion, events, corporate branding, etc.,” the RFP says.

“Furthermore, this project will be expected to determine whether the current branding material is appropriate or not, and if necessary, to establish what the Town’s new branding should be,” the RFP adds.

(The Oxford Dictionary of English defines brand in this sense as “a particular identity or image regarded as an asset.”)Among other things, the town’s RFP says the marketing plan’s objectives include determining whether new branding is necessary and if so, what it should be; confirming or creating a universal logo and various target market tag-lines for the town; creating marketing and advertising materials for target markets and consulting with the community.

According to the RFP, the consultants will be required to produce a “realistic and achievable” marketing plan within four months. (Sometime in the future, town staff will develop a separate communications plan, although it’s not clear how it would differ from the marketing one.)

When the Portfolio marketing proposal first came up for approval in August, councillors voted to defer their decision until their Regular Meeting on September 9th to give them more time to study it. (Regular Meetings are generally held on the second Monday of each month, with Special Meetings on the first one.)

Meantime, for a look at how Portfolio Marketing says it was able to fix the Town of Riverview’s “lack of identity,” click here.

Coming soon

At their next Special Meeting on September 3rd, a public briefing from the RCMP is at the top of council’s agenda at 6:30 p.m. RCMP briefings are usually conducted behind closed doors.

The change suggests council is heeding criticism that the public hears little about what the RCMP are doing even though the town is spending nearly $1.9 million on policing this year.

Councillors will also be discussing their own procedures.

At their last meeting, I called on them to provide printed background information to members of the public who attend Special Meetings so the audience can follow their discussions more easily. Others have called for members of the public to be allowed to ask questions before and after Special Council meetings.

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