A Brand for Galashiels – Brand Development

Debbie Paterson and Douglas Watt


Build a Better Gala is a Scottish Government funded, community-based project, aimed at improving economic impact within the town of Galashiels. The project incorporates numerous actions and initiatives – one of which is the development of a brand identity for the town.


As a result of the major development project in Galashiels, local stakeholders identified a need to develop and launch a ‘place brand’ for the town.

The successful development and implementation of a place brand for Galashiels would significantly increase the competitive advantage of the town.


We used a 4-stage approach to develop both the brand and a brand toolkit for the town of Galashiels.

First, through engaging with a broad cross-section of local influencers, we tested a variety of strapline options to be used with the name of the town, without creating any visuals. We asked for the influencers’ thoughts on pros and cons of eight different options in total. The most useful aspect of this element was the influencers’ identified any potential negative feedback to the straplines before any visuals were even started.

We then took the two most popular options and created eight visual concepts. We market tested the these by holding drop in feedback sessions at the local university campus and in the town’s library – guaranteeing us exposure to all segments of the population and covering every group within the protected characteristics. For the sessions, we had a variety of props produced, showing the brand, including branded mugs and t shirts, and visual boards with how the graphics could look on a website, street banners, leaflets and posters.

After the sessions, we carried out a with a two-cycle coded analysis on the feedback gathered to ensure we identified themes of commonality. The analysis was used to make a final recommendation on which strapline and visual to adopt for the town.

Following the creation of the graphic element, we also produced a bank of written copy, music soundbites and photography, ensuring the town had a comprehensive brand asset toolkit to use to build brand awareness.


The new brand launched in early 2020, to overwhelming public support, with numerous positive comments on social media and multiple requests from local businesses and organisation to use the brand.


“McGowan Marketing’s friendly and enthusiastic approach made them really enjoyable to work with.  They listened carefully to what we wanted to create for the town and really engaged with the community to get it right. Thank you!” – Debbie Paterson, Chair of Marketing Committee, Build a Better Gala