The banner on the Town of Aurora’s YouTube channel features shiny happy people accompanied by the towns’ slogan:
Designed to give the feel-good impression that these are the kinds of people you find in Aurora, it is one that is likely accepted without a second glance.
There’s one small problem. The cheesy image that’s been selected is a schlock image from Seattle-based Getty Images:
Last November I caught the town doing the same thing when trying to promote the Aurora Seniors Centre. The bullshit excuse provided at that time was that they didn’t have anyone “willing to pose for pics”.
The town has 153 years of imagery from which to draw upon, surely there are Aurora-based images that could have been leveraged in place of the stock image that was phoned in above. And if not, then the $600,000 budget the Town spends on its Communications and Marketing should easily absorb the cost of taking a comparable photo.
So the question now is what is the thought process behind the click and stick stock photo practice?
It is no longer best practices observed by the Department of Canadian Heritage and it is not one endorsed by the FCM. In a 2015 learning module and toolkit that focused on community branding and marketing for the purposes of building capacity to assume a strategic and active role in local economic development we read on page 21:
A solid community brand identity is authentic, realistic and resonates for the citizens of your community and external target audiences.
It then goes on to ask some of the questions that a clear brand identity needs to address:
What makes your community unique?
What can it offer to potential investors, tourists and others that other communities cannot?
What are your citizens proud of in the place they call home?
If Aurorans are in “Good Company” then surely providing an “exceptional quality of life” would include evidence of it in their promotional and communication efforts.