20 Sep 2019

Time 5 minutes

GENS DU VIEUX: Today’s branding for the historic neighbourhood’s population

GENS DU VIEUX: Today’s branding for the historic neighbourhood’s population

Starting this autumn, the Old Montréal SDC launched a new phase in their Gens du Vieux campaign, the initiative based around the concept of promoting the community to people frequenting the Vieux that live or work there. Interested to know more about the advantages of being part of the Gens du Vieux? Here’s the program!

The identity of a collective, defined by their shared connection to the neighbourhood

The marketing director of the SDC, Fannie Pratte, has been mulling over what it means to ‘belong’ for a while now, and she has directed the content and actions of the SDC to focus progressively more on the goal of uniting the neighbourhood. “As simple as it might seem, the “Gens du Vieux” concept was born when searching for a term that, firstly, would serve to rally the people of the neighbourhood, and most importantly, would speak better to those who confuse Old Montréal and the Old Port of Montréal (because for many, they mean the same thing, but in reality, they are two different entities and distinct areas),” she clarifies, quite used to correcting this confusion regularly over the seven years she has been at this post. “The term “Le Vieux” and the historic Montréal neighbourhood are one and the same, it’s unmistakable! From there, a pilot version of this wonderful little campaign was born in the form of video clips in 2016, which then grew into several well-installed initiatives that were then elaborated on in 2018-2019.

All the content specifically created for the Gens du Vieux movement are identified by the hashtag #gensduvieux on Instagram in particular, and the community is encouraged to start using this hashtag too, as a way to effectively show off initiatives or great discoveries found in Old Montréal.

New tools to reinforce the SDC’s role as catalyst

A new website created this summer, the freshly-launched Facebook group that serves as a kind of bulletin board for members, and even items branded in the image of Old Montreal are just some of the tools that reinforce the existing initiatives that have proved to be popular – like the Gens du Vieux networking parties, the weekly newsletter, and the recently developed and distributed special offers. “For the past couple years, the Old Montréal SDC has fine-tuned its position as a determining factor in the local economic development of this historic neighbourhood. With this more precise alignment came the idea of improving our approach toward the consumer clientele of Old Montréal, be they residents or workers, or both,” Fannie Pratte explains, showing their proactivity during this step.

The ambassadors to this cultural, foodie, and lifestyle neighbourhood

When we talk about the Gens du Vieux, we are of course including another portion of clientele seen by the retailers and businesses of the Vieux: “Of course, the surplus of tourists that flow into this sector during the summer months does characterise the neighbourhood,” Fannie, who has seen nearly a decade of high and low seasons, recognises. “But there are still more than 40,000 workers and nearly 7,500 residents there on a regular basis. It’s a significant piece of quantitative data. What can we do to create traffic outside of the tourist season?” she asks again. It’s a pretty big challenge for the second most important SDC in the city, after all! But Fannie has been thinking over this problem, and comments that: “We’re trying to cultivate a loyalty to shopping local, and showing what this neighbourhood offers in any way we can think of, and, by doing so, develop a large pool of ambassadors.” Fannie continues, “I must mention that these questions and thoughts stem directly from a market study carried out by different clients of Old-Montréal, produced for the Old-Montréal SDC account, thanks to the City of Montréal’s ‘SDC Led Financial Support Program for the Improvement of Businesses’.

New content and offers crafted especially for the Gens du Vieux

Alongside the new tools (the container), expect to find new themes related to Old-Montréal (the content),” Fannie Pratte explains. “We’ll explore subjects relating to the “human” side of the neighbourhood, allowing to point out the neighbourly sentiment that so characterises the Vieux. We want to show more emphasis on unity between our businesses, our entrepreneurs, our people, and all those whose authenticity and uniqueness make all the difference,” the marketing director lists off. She is passionate about her city and unifying it, and even more proud to see its members offering discounts and advantages to the Gens du Vieux.

Among the beautiful stones, there is a bejeweled community of entrepreneurs, with original concepts and ideas that give this neighbourhood a unique and connected feeling within the metropolis – be it restaurants, speakeasies, boutiques, institutions, or offices. “Old-Montréal is a destination neighbourhood, certainly, but not just because of its stamp or its history; it also owes that distinction to its offerings and its people,” Fannie Platte likes to think. To advertise the initiatives and activities of the SDC and its members, the team has come up with a series of articles (Address books, Portraits, etc.…), in addition to special offers, fun contests, and engagement strategies to reinforce the feeling of belonging. You’ve been able to discover some this summer, and you’ll start to see more during the back-to-school season, so go forth and discover more about this neighbourhood!