Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 5:21PM
By Toriano Porter
Gina Seibel loves Lee’s Summit.
The communications director for the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce has lived in the city since age 5 and after a stint at Northwest Missouri State University, where she majored in broadcasting and held a minor in public relations, came back to the city and is now at the forefront of the ‘Yours Truly’ branding campaign the Chamber and the city of Lee’s Summit has ushered in, aiding Brand Manager James McKenna with her creative talents.
A fall 2005 graduate of NWMSU, Seibel has settled comfortably into her role at the Chamber and as a nearly life-long citizen of the city.
“I just think Lee’s Summit is a place where everybody can make their home,” Seibel said. “It doesn’t matter if you have been here for 20 years or five years. I think it’s easy for people to connect and feel like they belong here and if they want to get involved and make a difference they can.”
The branding campaign that has recently gotten underway in Lee’s Summit has challenged Seibel to a certain degree, but nothing she seems not to be able to handle. In fact, she has relished the opportunity to help brand the city as the place to be.
“It has been a complete whirlwind,” Seibel said. “Just because we have been waiting so long. The joke is that when we first started talking about community branding it was two years ago and I didn’t have any kids. Since then, I’ve been pregnant, had a child and now my child is getting ready to turn 2, so it’s sort of been a long time coming. We all know what a great place Lee’s Summit is, now we’re ready to tell everybody else how great and we have a uniform way to do that.”
Not one to grand stand or posture for the cameras or microphones, Seibel prefers the behind-the-scenes grunt work that entails her role of the Chamber-led campaign.
“It’s been fun to be a part of it,” Seibel said. “Obviously, the Chamber was set to implement it when we found Jim (McKenna). Jim comes in and has all the wonderful research and the background and all of that. He is the visionary and what I do to help him is that I create what he has in his head which kind of makes it come to life. So taking his words and adding pictures to it.”
Seibel has been with the Chamber for nearly four years. More recently she has spent a majority of her time bouncing ideas back and forth between herself and McKenna and the two have created a synergy that allows both to use their talents to bring home the message that Lee’s Summit is a great place to live, work and play – a previous theme of the city.
“I love the interaction I get to have with all of the people that make our community so great,” she said. “Being a part of the Chamber I get to work with (different people) and it’s fun to be around other people that cares about the community.”
For his part, McKenna said Seibel has been a joy to work with.
“We concept on all these things,” McKenna said. “Coming from an (ad) agency background and working with all these designers (and creative directors)…I think (Gina) is probably one of the best designers I’ve work with and I’ve worked at agencies for over 40 years. It was refreshing to be able have the short-end way of communicating and developing a campaign that we’re proud of.”
As for the branding campaign itself and some of its intricacies, Seibel said the Chamber wanted to connect with people through ‘personal’ moments. Ads for the campaign include features such as common inviting keywords and picture frames that’s reminiscent of memories you make at home with family.
“The ‘Yours Truly’ is something that has to be really personal, so we’ve identified words that we know are going to resonate with people,” Seibel said. “Each ad will always have a (keyword) in the headline whether it’s ‘Neighborhood,’ ‘Connect,’ or ‘Confidence.’ From there, we thought, ‘What else makes things personal?’ That comes down to the picture frames. We thought that the picture frames shows those (personal) moments.”
“Those are what we call ‘your’s truly’ moments,” McKenna said of the concept.
Added Seibel: “Before we even started concepting the ads, we pulled out ads from all the other communities around Lee’s Summit. We looked at Kansas City, Blue Springs and St. Louis to see what everyone else was doing. When you look at all the ads, although creative, everybody takes as much as the can and they slam it into the ad. It’s like words are everywhere and nothing stands out. We decided to keep ours clean and to the point…kind of what Lee’s Summit is.”