Nitehawk Recreation Area in Grande Prairie approached nine10 with the challenge of re-branding the organization.
Nitehawk, which originally started as a ski hill, has been a staple of the region since 1960. Originally, Nitehawk provided a ski hill for beginners to learn and more advanced skiers to train. Over the years Nitehawk has added more services and activities like biking, adventure races, a water ramp, ski hill, snowshoeing, a luge track, snowboarding, and an RV park.
With the addition of these services, it became clear that the organization needed to let the public know that they’re not just the same old ski hill.
- Change people’s perception of what Nitehawk is:
- It’s not just a ski hill
- It’s open year-round – not just in the winter
- Has activities for the entire family
- Appeal to a new generation of families and millennial thrill-seekers
- Evaluate if a name change is required to meet these goals
- Redesign the logo
- Redesign the signage & marketing materials
- Provide a complete set of templates
- Document everything in a brand standards guide
Part of the assignment was to research & recommend whether a change of name is needed to accomplish the goals. After gathering input from stakeholders and the public, we determined that changing the “Nitehawk” name was not in the best interests of the organization. There was too much recognition already present in the name, and it’s a great name.
What we decided to change, however, was the descriptor after the name. For much of Nitehawk’s life, Nitehawk was referred to as a “Nitehawk Ski Hill.” A few years ago, this was changed to “Nitehawk Recreation Area”, but people still thought of it as a ski-hill and that it was only open in winter.
Clearly, this told us that we needed to be more direct and leave no room for interpretation. Otherwise, people would fall into old habits again. So we presented the idea of changing “Recreation Area” to “Year-Round Adventure Park”. This was a very direct, non-metaphorical approach to attacking the problem, and we felt the clear and obvious route was the best way to go. We felt the new descriptor achieved the following things:
- “Year-Round” clearly states there’s things to do there all year.
- “Adventure Park” broadens the scope of what they do to many more activities, and speaks more to the experience rather than what the facility is (get people away from the idea of “Ski Hill”)
This descriptor is also designed to be shortened in the future. The words “Year Round” can be dropped to make it simply “Nitehawk Adventure Park”. This can happen once Nitehawk is confident the default position of the community is that Nitehawk operates year-round.
Below you can see the original logo and the new logo. Slide the bar to the left to reveal the new logo, and to the right to see the original.
Brand Standards Guide
We created an accompanying brand standards guide to document how the new brand will be used. This guide included a redesign of key marketing materials, such as stationery, ski lift passes, and signage. This will provide Nitehawk with the tools & knowledge they need to maintain the new brand standard moving forward into the future.