Council Responds to Branding Criticisms
Council President Matt West, Borough Manager Timi Kirchner, Communications Commission Chairman Denton Burnell and Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller respond to the harsh community response on the new branding package for Lansdale
Since North Star Destination Strategies' reviewed its $68,000 branding initiative with the Lansdale Borough Economic Development Committee and Communications Commission on Monday night, residents and non-residents alike have taken to Facebook and the water cooler to support or criticize the results.
On Wednesday night, councilmembers and the borough manager responded to many of the criticisms they have been facing since Monday.
"A few of you were there Monday night as the borough revealed our brand, and reading the articles, being there, reading many of the comments online, listening to folks around the neighborhood, I felt it necessary to talk about the brand tonight," said council President Matt West.
West said the top question he has heard: Is borough council going to be voting to approve the branding?
"No, we're not doing that," he said. "It's the beginning of a discussion of where do we go from here? How do we implement it? How do we use it? This is the first of many ongoing conversations continued through the borough, through our committee structure, through resident involvement, through borough staff and through elected officials."
Borough Manager Timi Kirchner said that ever since the borough embarked on the process, one of its Communications Commission members said the branding wasn't about a logo and a tagline, but about an overall brand.
She said North Star Destination Strategies Vice President Ed Barlow said a brand is about what people say about you when you're not in the room and how you craft the message going forward.
"We engaged a professional to work with this community. We went through months of research and met lots of folks involved in that research," Kirchner said. "One of results of that research is (a) brand narraitve. It is an exquisite description of what we are as a community."
That brand narrative was placed on every seat in the council meeting room Wednesday night, on new Lansdale stationery with the logo.
Kirchner said the borough would be receiving a 100-plus-page report which will outline the action on how to bring the brand alive in Lansdale and marketing the community.
"That report will contain all the research findings and insights to the creation of the brand platform, as well as some very high-impact custom ideas designed to raise the profile of the brand and put it to work in every corner of this community," Kirchner said.
"This is just the beginning," she said. "This beginning is backed by a lot of research and expertise."
The branding document will guide the Communications Commission and Economic Development Committee over the coming years to ensure that the brand gains traction and maintains momentum, Kirchner said.
As far as money spent, Kirchner said the contract was $68,000, plus $5,000 in expenses. The borough estimated the branding would cost at least $100,000.
She said the borough went through a very comprehensive Requests for Proposals process, with a committee that "brought in the full spectrum of full talent" for consideration.
Councilwoman and Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller and Councilman and Communications Commission Chairman Denton Burnell took turns reading from the aforementioned brand narrative.
Fuller said the narrative is "the springboard from which everything else will follow" and it "sets the tone" for what the borough will do moving forward with the brand.
Read the entire brand narrative below.
Burnell said council and Kirchner could not say it enough: The brand is the logo, the tagline, the research — everything.
"Mary and I, as chairs of the committees, will be getting together and start to think about the recommendations made by North Star and how we put this into action," Burnell said.
One of the major initiatives on the Communications Commission agenda in January: a desperate overhaul of the borough website.
"We received good thoughts and suggestions on how to do that and how it might look," Burnell said. "There are so many opportunities for us to start to sell and market this brand and make it real for everybody."
Burnell said the branding is a "work in progress."
"People are focusing on just the logo and making it about that. It's so much more than that," he said. "With any brand, you have to sell it. You have to market it. You have to get it out there. Am I satisfied with the work North Star did? Yes, but I think there’s more work to do."
Fuller asked the community to keep their minds open.
"Be receptive to events or promotions or whatever we do to roll this out," Fuller said. "Initially when you see it, if you don’t understand it in the full concept and perspective of what it should be, it may not look special or seem all that $68,000 worth, truly it is."
Fuller said in the branding's simplicity, it is flexible.
"They hit the nail on the head with the 'Life In Motion' tagline," she said. "You are going to see and develop this feel for life in motion, health in motion, work in motion, kids in motion. This is just the start of something great."
Lansdale Business Association President Doug DiPasquale, who also owns Minuteman Press in Lansdale, spoke with business owners over the new branding package.
"In speaking with business owners, they are going both ways: some are saying they don’t like it, some are saying they like it," DiPasquale said. "I like the clean, crispness of (the logo). We can't forget that its not what we are. I didn’t like my new logo, as a franchise, that came out, but you have to adapt it, move forward and make it fun."
DiPasquale said he is not thrilled with the logo, but he loves the tagline.
"We are a town that is in motion. How would you please everybody? On a day to day basis, not everybody likes what I do. Sometimes, I don’t like what they pick. It’s a little bit of both. We need to hit that middle ground. I think it will be good."
However, since LBA is not just Lansdale, the LBA logo and the Lansdale logo will need to be separate.
"I don’t think you’ll see Lansdale's logo inside or on anything with LBA’s logo," he said.
Lansdale's Brand Narrative:
We are in motion from the moment we're born. Our hands, our feet, our minds, our point of view, our hearts, our passions, our careers, our families. Always growing, learning, seeking and connecting. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a place where it's easy to find what moves you?
The Borough of Lansdale is just such a place. A community connected by caring ... designed specifically to help set your dreams in motion. Here all of life is at your feet.
In fact, in Lansdale people prefer to enjoy the safe neighborhoods and public green space on foot. Maybe that's because the centralized downtown and authentic main street hearken back to a time when people were connceted by more than public transportation. Stroll through one of the charming neighborhoods, and you'll feel the genuine warmth in the greetings. Just don't be surprised if strangers wave to you from the front porch! Walkable cities help citizens move closer to the things that matter, connecting with every step to health, friends and community.
Of course, if your travels take you a little farther, all access in Lansdale is quick and easy including taking the R5, SEPTA or the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Within minutes, you can be on your way to Philadelphia or other points north. And equally as easily, you can head back home to Lansdale.
Maybe what moves you is the opportunity for your kids, including great education and the chance to walk to school with friends. (Yep, they still do that around here!) Or affordable real estate that means your dream home can become your real home.
With professional jonbs in growth-oriented industries, Lansdale is also a great place to put your career in motion. The fact that there's good old-fashioned support for local businesses makes it a great place for entrepreneurs too. You'll find a local community ready to help cut red tape and share the resources needed for success.
Lansdale also sets in motion things that can't easily be measured like friends and family, support and genuine relationships. The truth is, no one stays a stranger very long in Lansdale. Easy to get around and easy to get to know your neighbors ... it brings a tight-knit community feel, and provides a sense of belonging that's missing in other "newer" suburban destinations.
It's these people, the local residents and businesses that keep Lansdale moving forward. They get involved in everything from PTAs to public events. They're the reason you'll find vibrant opportunities to engage in the social, cultural and civic groups. And they welcome you to do the same ... to feel a part of this place. To find the passion and purpose that moves you.
So whatever gets you going, whether it's a better life for your family or a better livelihood, in Lansdale you'll find everything you want ... life in motion.