Re-Branding the Canadian Planning Profession
Saini, Navpreet Kaur
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The purpose of this study was to determine if branding strategies could enhance the position and influence of the Canadian planning profession within a multi-stakeholder environment. To address this research question, the following objectives were developed and examined: (1) to gauge the perceptions of planning within different stakeholder groups in Canada; (2) to gauge the perceptions of the CIP within different stakeholder groups; (3) to develop a set of best practices in strategic planning and marketing; (4) to develop a set of best practices adopted by international professional planning NGOs; (5) to determine how to better market the profession and the CIP. A mixed-method approach grounded in branding and strategic planning theory was used. This included content analysis, a web-based survey, and key informant interviews. The content analysis compared the practices of Canadian planning organizations with those of international organizations, in addition to examining best practices in marketing and branding. The findings derived from this phase served to develop a list of best practices that can be used as a tool for improvement within the Canadian planning context. The web-based survey, while not statistically significant, served to draw out themes, and identify potential issues and areas for further investigation. The key informant interviews elaborated on and clarified survey findings, providing rich data for analysis. Findings indicated that the Canadian planning profession lacks unity within the planning community, a clear role and identity, position and influence, as well as general awareness, and fleshed out a variety of reasons as to why this is the case, while investigating areas for improvement. An analysis of the combined findings from the three research phases determined that branding strategies and strategic planning can indeed serve to enhance the position and influence of the Canadian planning profession within a multi-stakeholder environment. Recommendations focused on clarifying the profession's role and identity; building awareness; nurturing relationships between planning, politics and other related professions; advancing planning education; improving the CIP's leadership role; and re-examining the relationship between the CIP and its affiliates.