Wednesday, Aug. 22 2012 4:38PM
City Council endorses branding proposal
Council Budget Committee asked to find $260,000 to finance campaign
Lee’s Summit’s City Council was impressed with the theme of a new branding effort proposed by Lee’s Summit 360.
Now the council plans to figure out how to pay for getting the message put in use throughout the community.
Lee’s Summit 360 is a grassroots strategic planning effort sponsored by the city, which appointed a Branding Committee to work on that project. After seeing a slide presentation and hearing the “brand narrative” read by Gina Seibel, director of communications for the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, the council at its Aug. 16 meeting broadly agreed with Councilmember David Mosby’s reaction.
“Outstanding,” Mosby said. “I think this is great.”
Mosby remarked that recently he had traveled through Nebraska for work and saw every small town, from 200 to 20,000, making some kind of branding effort.
He said it’s time that Lee’s Summit put forward its own identity.
“This is the glue that will bind us together as a community,” Councilmember Allan Gray said.
“The narrative reminded me why I moved back to Lee’s Summit,” said Councilmember Rob Binney. He said the brand was fresh, vibrant but not over the top.
The council agreed to send a $260,000 funding request from LS 360 to the council’s Budget Committee for putting the branding effort in motion.
The Branding Committee proposes to get the effort underway this year by hiring a branding manager who would explain and promote the brand, encourage its use throughout the community by helping other groups plan advertising or signage that is consistent with the brand.
The $260,000 would cover hiring the brand manager and some promotion, but not the city’s internal expenses for changing its website or other expenses related to the branding. Nor would it pay for monument signs.
The initial campaign is expected to take 20 months and then be evaluated.
While the city would finance the campaign, it would be administered by the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce.
Geoff Hill, committee member, said that after careful consideration the committee suggested the Chamber of Commerce because it already worked well with the city on promoting tourism, plus it has well-establish partnerships with other major groups.
The brand manager would be hired by a four-person committee with representative from the city, the chamber, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.
“If implementation was in the city itself, it would be perceived as only a city effort instead of community wide,” Hill said.
Councilmember Kathy Hofmann, council member liaison to the Branding Committee, said an earlier effort at branding “dropped like a rock because it was never implemented.”
Branding Committee members emphasized that the effort to create a brand, or image, for the city is more than the logo and the “strapline” of “Yours Truly” which was chosen by the committee, and now endorsed by the City Council.
“Nobody went to a community or moved a business there because of a strapline or a logo,” said Machelle Riffe, a committee member.
The group showed the council a series of advertisements and images tied together by the common logo and strapline, as an example of how branding could help promote an image for Lee’s Summit.
The campaign also encourage volunteer groups to form “Yours Truly Crews” for litter clean-up or other worthwhile endeavors, as part of a multifaceted branding effort.
The logo is simply a square field with an LS, with the words Lee’s Summit Missouri, with or without the strapline “Yours Truly.”
Brad Cox, on the creative committee, said the graphic’s simplicity will keep it from becoming dated and give it versatility for wide use by businesses and community groups.
Cox said choosing a logo is very subjective. The committee picked it, in short, “Because we liked it.”
The strapline “Yours Truly” was picked because it’s a common signature phrase that is inclusive and invokes the qualities of Lee’s Summit,Cox said, with the message “You’re part of it, you’re one of us.”