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'A Small City with a Big Heart': Saint John unveils new brand for city

The City of Saint John has unveiled a new brand for themselves: “A Small City with a Big Heart.”

With a tagline shorted to “Small City, Big Heart,” the new slogan is short simple, and something Saint Johnners feel describes their home perfectly.

“Oh, absolutely,” says resident Kelly Anthony “We all have big hearts and you’re welcome to our city which is small, but it’s beautiful.”

“It’s absolutely perfect,” says Linda M. Cooke of the City Market. “I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love it.”

“I’d say that’s a pretty good slogan, I couldn’t improve on it,” Tim Kitchen agrees.

The new brand was unveiled Tuesday night at city council in a presentation by external relations director Lisa Caissie and communications manager Erin White. The new brand received thumbs up from around the table.

Caissie says the process on rebranding the city first began in early 2023 in a priority initiative from Saint John city council. The city had aid in the project from marketing agency HAWK Communications, Envision Saint John, and Narrative Research.

“This was based on the value proposition of Saint John,” Caissie says. “So what people told us they feel about living in Saint John, visiting Saint John, and just generally being in the city is that we are a very warm and welcoming community, very united and connected community, and care a significant amount not only about the environment and the space we are in but each other.”

“For staff to keep this a secret as long as they did that in itself is amazing,” says Deputy Mayor John MacKenzie, who notes Tuesday’s council meting was the first time anyone had heard the new brand. “It far exceed my expectations and it really speaks to what Saint John is all about.”

At the heart of the brand is a promise from the city to put their best foot forward in growing the community, while also maintaining all the great things Saint John has to offer.

What makes the tagline so unique according to Caissie is that it is very adaptable as well and will be used in a variety of ways.

“There are several ways you can play with the tagline just by simply changing heart,” Caissie says. “Small city big ideas, small city big opportunities, small city big parks, small city big beaches. There are several things we can do with that brand and it relates to everyone.”

The flexibility is something the deputy mayor greatly appreciates.

“There is a lot going on in Saint John,” MacKenzie says. “That’s what is so unique about it and that’s why I love it so much because it doesn’t just speak to Saint John Port City. Yes, we have a port, but we have so much more.”

In the weeks ahead, residents will begin to see the brand plastered all over town on city vehicles, bus shelters, as well as a few other surprises up the city’s sleeve that Caissie believes the community will be pleased with.

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