Idea: Proud Edmonton Tech Company badge

Edmonton SkylineThings have definitely improved in the last couple of years, but Edmonton still has a reputation as something of a dead zone for innovation. Or perhaps more accurately, we don’t really have a reputation – we’re not on the radar in most cases. It’s not true of course, there are plenty of interesting and innovative projects, companies, and people in Edmonton. The challenge is making others aware of them.

There are a variety of ways to do that. One is through the media, both traditional and new. Such mentions tend to be fleeting, however. Another way is through events such as DemoCamp, though those typically benefit only the locals. These are important, and we should keep doing them, but we need something else as well.

As I thought more about the problem, it occurred to me that we could learn something from other industries. There are two organizations in particular that do a good job of boosting local companies – Original Fare and Keep Edmonton Original. You can find their logos at independent restaurants and retailers around the city, and I think seeing them reinforces the notion that we have more than just big box stores and chains. What if we had something similar for technology companies?

For tech companies, the web is important. It’s often the first point of interaction. As such, it’s always been a pet peeve of mine that so many local tech companies seem afraid to mention on their website that they are based in Edmonton:

I’m not trying to suggest that any of these companies have intentionally left Edmonton out, but I do think there is room for improvement.

So here’s the idea: what if every local tech company put a badge on their website that says “Proud Edmonton Tech Company”? What kind of an impact would that have? I think it would definitely help with awareness.

For most companies, placing the badge on the front page probably doesn’t make sense. Nexopia, for instance, has a very large external audience that probably doesn’t care that the company is located in Edmonton. Others will simply want the front page to look a certain way. Nearly every company has an about page however, and it’s on that page that I think such a badge would be featured (and maybe on the contact page too). Where would the badge link to? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure it has to link anywhere.

What do you think?

20 thoughts on “Idea: Proud Edmonton Tech Company badge

  1. One of my pet peeves on some websites is not being able to find out where they’re based. That being said, more visitors are trying to gauge the approximate size and focus of a company based on the about page. If you’ve got a single office, the location is relevant enough to fit on the page. If you’re multinational, less so (“contact us” would probably be a better place for headquarters info).

    A badge would be be cool and could probably be re-used in materials other than just the about page (brochures for local conferences, etc)

  2. Love the idea Mack. There are a lot of great companies here and people inside and outside of Edmonton need to know that.

    This is very similar to what Reg Cheramy and Sean Wise tried to start a little while ago called Canadian Tech Mob – http://canadiantechmob.com/

  3. That’s something dub5 has always mentioned in proposals, but not on our site (which we’re in the process of re-developing anyway). I think this is a cool idea. Would be even better if tech companies in edmonton just, you know, owned up to it. 😉

  4. I think it’s more difficult for tech companies because, due to the nature of the business, they will often do business globally or at least have a few more remote customers. Even at the company for which I currently work, where our client list is almost entirely made up of municipal and provincial government departments or Alberta-based industry, I doubt we could really put up such a badge as we have a satellite office in Winnipeg and do some work out there too. There’s a situation where we’re clearly currently Edmonton-focused and probably always will be, at a ratio of probably 30:1, but that other stuff kind of undermines us advertising ourselves as “proudly Edmonton-based” or that kind of thing.
    I do think it’s a great idea to have that kind of campaign, just not sure who would get on board with it.

  5. Grant – I’m not sure that would be something that would undermine you. Most companies in Silicon Valley are happy that people know they are there, to doesn’t mean that they are just focused there though. Edmonton-based doesn’t mean that you only do business here, it’s a way of supporting the tech community which makes it better for everyone in the tech industry here.

  6. Good idea Mack, and thanks for understanding our position. In social networking, if we put a label for Edmonton front and center, most traffic would assume that the site was only for people in Edmonton, which is obviously not the case. Glad you did catch the mentions of Edmonton a little deeper in though. We also have our address on the footer of all outgoing emails, which amounts to thousands a day.

    I have to admit that whenever we deal with other companies in the East or the United States, people are interested when they hear where we are located. Doesn’t necessarily gain us an advantage, but I think it makes us a little more unique and memorable.

  7. Yeah, I personally agree, and if it were up to me I would have us sport such a logo… but I’m essentially the lowest rung on the totem pole there and I am speaking as much from how I know the idea would be received by those who are higher on it than me as I am anything else.
    (rungs on totem poles… mixed metaphor? Neither lowest rung on the ladder and lowest on the totem pole sound as nice so I’m posting it as written)

  8. Kevin: Definitely makes you unique and memorable, I think! It must be refreshing for people to learn about a social networking site based somewhere other than the Valley.

  9. Hi Mack,

    We’ve never intentionally hidden the fact that we are Edmonton based, we simply didn’t create an About page for our launch. I think the idea is a good one though, and would add it to our site if someone creates it.

    It would be great to have the badge point to a site that lists all of the companies that are using the badge to help promote the tech scene in the city.

  10. I like the idea, but I do believe it would make more sense for most tech companies to put up something that was a ‘Edmonton Headquartered’ instead of ‘Edmonton Based’. The change in words makes the meaning a little more clear and would probably have more a little more impact. As for the ThinkTel website, the new drafts have that we’re based in Edmonton, as does the boilerplate on all the press releases we have done.

    As for where it should link to, I believe ENTS wouldn’t mind :>

  11. Great intentions but would be bad for most web-application companies that are providing any B2B service component. We have a hurde to get over with many larger US based organizations already as a Canadian company let alone being from a City that many have not heard from.

    We have lost deal opportunities from being a Canadian company.

  12. That’s a shame Chris. It’s precisely that issue that we’d hopefully overcome with something like this.

    “You’re part of the Edmonton tech scene? Nice, I’ve heard great things.”

    That’s the goal!

  13. Why would the site want to pigeon hole themselves to a specific city. Theres nothing wrong with saying they are a Canadian company, some people have $ signs in their eyes and not YEG pride.

  14. Mack.

    Indeed…Edmonton deserves a bit more love for its tech scene. I’m with you. However, I’m not so sure its a bad thing that we don’t shout our geography from the rooftops.

    You were right in suggesting that we havn’t intentionally left out “Edmonton”. Instead, we’ve intentionally kept any address from the spotlight. Why? Our thinking is that its simply not relevant or important for our visitors. And…they come first.

    If someone really wants to find out where we live they can – we don’t hide it. But for the 99% who could care less, we’d rather focus their attention on the stuff that helps solves their real problems.

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