Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 5:28PM
Branding goes 110 mph
By Russ Pulley
Lee’s Summit’s branding effort is racing ahead with groups joining forces to tell residents and visitors how great a place the city is to live, work and raise a family.
The “Yours Truly” tagline is showing up on email signatures across town.
It’s being seen on digital billboards in the city, thanks to a cooperative agreement those sign companies have with the city. It can be seen on display advertisements across Kansas City, broadcast spots aired on Entercom radio stations and on the city’s public access channel on cable television.
Future plans calls for advertisements on other cable shows.
Prominent groups in the campaign, each have links on a new landing page yourstrulyls.com.
Randy Dickey, the city’s chief technology officer said Lee’s Summit is in the transitioning its website to the new brand sometime this spring or summer.
‘This will include the replacement of the old logo with the new logo on portal pages as well as refreshing the home page,’’ Dickey said. “In the meantime, the new ‘Yours Truly’ landing page is a great way for the city, the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. to connect with the new brand messaging.”
Visitors to the page are greeted pathways to each group’s website and this message:
“For individuals and businesses looking for the serenity and security of a small town, Lee’s Summit is the place where history converges with vision and energy to create a smart, friendly business environment... that energizes relationships and holds the promise of community where anything is possible.”
The brand will be a prominent part of individual websites as they are updated, said James McKenna, brand manager and Gina Seibel, director of communications for the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s exciting to have a consistent look that links us all together,” Seibel said. “People are coming up and saying we want to use the brand.”
The next steps will include adding links for area businesses and other groups.
Seibel said there are so many inquiries about the brand, the challenge has been having time for schedule meetings, rather than begging for its use.
“There’s tremendous momentum, everybody has gotten on board,” McKenna said.
The brand concept was created by a committee of Lee’s Summit 360 and consulting firm North Star Destination Strategies hired by the city. McKenna is a retired advertising executive with experience working with nationally-know brands and tourist states.
McKenna and Seibel have combined their talents, she principally on graphics and his copywriting and research, to create advertisements, the landing page and a marketing plan. They’ve also met with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the city’s three hospitals and John Knox Village.
McKenna said the plan is to position Lee’s Summit as a community with “world-class” health care available.
Corrine Everson, vice-president of business development and marketing for Lee’s Summit Medical Center, said the branding effort gives the hospitals, although competitors, opportunity to cooperate with getting out community health messages.
McKenna and Seibel also are working creating package trips to be promoted in outlying Missouri and neighboring states.
McKenna said his market research shows Lee’s Summit could be attractive for grandparents traveling with children and grandchildren, who want a several day trip.
It also has appeal to retiring Baby Boomers, with satellite campuses of universities and colleges in town. Many of them want to continue education for careers or enrichment, McKenna said.
Targets are current residents, “the people who live here are our ambassadors and then extend the circle, to cities like Springfield, Missouri and others in adjacent states.”
Another campaign being designed would use a “Voice of Lee’s Summit” a recognizable talent who’d be the distinctive and exclusive on-air voice for the city.
That person would appear on television and radio spots representing the city, McKenna said, but it depends on the next budget for the brand.
Targets are current residents “the people who live here are our ambassadors and then extend the circle, to outlying Missouri cities and adjacent states.
“Lee’s Summit has the neighborhood values we’ve all grown to cherish,” McKenna said. “You feel like something bigger. This is a place that nourishes friendships, it offers the best life has to offer.”
Jon Ellis, chairman of the Lee’s Summit 360 committee that worked on branding, said from his perspective the effort was generally going well.
He said he’d noticed the brand being used on billboards. He said it’s faithful to concepts and across the media.
“That’s what makes it powerful,” Ellis said. From a perspective as owner of Paradise Park, he said, there are several ways he’ll be able to include the branding in his own advertising, when the initiative reaches smaller businesses. For example, he could include the tagline in one corner of television advertisements.
Immediately, McKenna and Seibel have concentrated on bigger institutions and mass media, Ellis said.
He said that emphasis was important to be ready for the next budget cycle of the city when discussion by the City Council will determine money the city might allocate for branding.
“They really want to have a good story and summary of accomplishments when they request more money,” Ellis said.
Ellis said McKenna and Seibel are going 110 miles per hour.
“They are getting a lot done in a short amount of time.”