Interview with Robert Mercure | A space to Reinvent Yourself
The Palais des congrès de Montréal is revitalizing its brand.
Robert Mercure, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal
BB: You took the reins of the Palais in September 2018. Why undertake the revitalization of your brand identity at this time?
In the past two years, a veritable wind of change has swept over the Palais des congrès de Montréal. We adopted a new vision—to become a vector of Montreal’s brand of creativity—and expanded our offer with a host of innovative new services. We began the process of revitalizing our brand identity in the fall of 2019 because we felt our identity should reflect this evolution.
BB: What sets the Palais apart from other large convention centres in the world?
The Palais is more than a conference centre: it’s a solutions centre. Be it because of our event lab or our new television and radio studios, we are the ideal space for self-reinvention.
It is also worth remembering that Montreal is a choice destination. The Palais is located in the heart of a city that hosts the most international events in North America, according to the 2019 ranking of the Union of International Associations. The synergy between the various players of the tourism industry as well as the joie de vivre for which this provincial capital is famous also contribute much to our success.
BB: How do you see your role as a promoter of Montreal and Quebec City’s image?
When international tourists or convention attendees converge at the Palais, we want to deliver unforgettable experiences with an authentically Montreal flavour. While they are within the walls of the Palais, we want them to appreciate the singular identity of Montreal, a North American city with European charm.
Moreover, when our business delegates attend industry trade shows in a bid to attract major international convention events to Montreal, what they are promoting, above all, is a destination. And that works to our advantage, because Montreal enjoys an enviable reputation.
BB: BrandBourg had the privilege of guiding you through the updating of the Palais’ identity. What was important to you and your team in this project? What were your goals?
It was important to us that the revitalization process be conducted in accordance with good practices and that all stakeholders be consulted. A series of workshops allowed employees, tourism sector partners and members of the business and arts communities to have their say, and culminated in a result that united all parties.
BB: How will your new identity help you better position the Palais for the future?
Our new identity has been designed for motion and to come alive on digital platforms and reflect the effervescence of the Palais. The logo has different versions to adapt to specific contexts of use, emphasizing different attributes and thus enabling more targeted positioning of our brand promise.
BB: COVID-19 is having a decisive impact on organizations such as yours. What is your outlook for the next few years?
Although the process of revitalizing our identity was begun before COVID-19 hit, we had to take into account the expected effects of the pandemic on our industry once the process was underway.
A destination’s safety is a factor that will loom large in the decisions of event planners both here and abroad. Destinations able to innovate and to be proactive in order to meet the new challenges faced by organizations will distinguish themselves. The Palais has what it takes to succeed and to help events reinvent themselves, while ensuring safe, positive experiences.
BB: Finally, what keywords would you like people to recall when they think of the Palais des congrès de Montréal?
In its industry, the Palais is a solutions centre! It is innovative and helps events reinvent themselves by providing them with creative and affordable solutions.