Families are the cornerstone

Brampton is a bedroom Community, no doubt about it. But “Bedroom” is a 7 letter word, not 4! So why do all the candidates for our civic leadership treat it like one?

One of the most important things I ever learned in my business travels is the concept of Branding; and there are two key tenants of branding that apply most to Brampton.

The first is that you don’t decide what your brand is: your customers do. The Market has spoken: Brampton is a bedroom community. Adults buy houses in Brampton to raise their children. They buy three and four bedroom houses here for that very purpose. Blade Condos learned that, even adjacent to the GO Station, people aren’t buying 600 sq ft studios in Brampton. That condo didn’t get built because it didn’t fit the Brampton brand. It’s failure to sell was no surprise.

The second tenant is a “secret to branding success” and eludes many business owners. It’s simple though, and you can see it in action with the reality tv talent shows: “Own Your Brand.” If you are a country singer, sing country songs. Your foray into Punk will have “Randy, Paula and Simon” showing you the door. Knowing your brand separates winners from losers.

Owning your brand means committing to be the best in your niche. The Sports bar succeeds by being the best sports bar, not by trying to be a “kid friendly resto with a play place” and hocking ultra low cost cheeseburgers. It’s why the Keg can sell burgers, even though McDonalds sells them cheaper. They exist in different markets.

To succeed, Brampton needs to own its brand. It needs to be the best damn Bedroom in Ontario.

Does it sound sexy? No. It’s not supposed to. Toronto is sexy and is only 30 minutes away, with plenty of sleek urban condos for sale. We are not Toronto, and if we try to be, we will fail.

Does it sound world class? Again: No. New York is world class and it is a short Porter flight away. The prices are high, but the value proposition is also high if you can’t live without Broadway shows. We are not New York, and if we try to be, we will fail.

Conversely: Toronto is No Brampton and neither is New York. Neither of those cities competes with our plentiful open space parks, large houses with front and back yards, plentiful sports programs for all members of the family, easy access to wide open country spaces, bike paths galore, proximity to the Airport, good schools and clean streets with little graffiti (don’t get me started on the graffiti in Paris).  To succeed, Brampton needs to embrace itself, to own our Brand and govern ourselves accordingly. Will that appeal everyone?  No. Of course not. And that’s the point. We can’t compete with Toronto at “being Toronto” and you, my reader, need to very careful about any candidate that is trying to terraform Brampton into Toronto Jr. like a bad remake of Single White Female.

What we need is leadership that understands and respects why it is people have bought homes here in the first place, and starts to build that Brand and this city into a market leader within that niche; to make Brampton the best Bedroom, the coolest Bedroom, the Bedroom you want to come home to after a hard day of work because it’s warm, safe, clean, fun and a great place to lay your burdens down.

Condos? Yes! 3 and 4 bedroom condos with amenities that cater to families. Concert halls and entertainment venues? Yes! With ample transit and taxi service to keep our streets safe.  More parks. More Rec. More after school programs. More family friendly events. More family friendly venues. Family rates for transit trips. Family rates for Parks and Rec memberships. This is what “family oriented development” is all about. And it’s what people who buy family homes in a bedroom community want and need.

We don’t need to rebrand. We need to embrace our brand. We are a Bedroom Community. It’s not a 4 letter word.

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