Getting Lansdale businesses on board to help promote the new brand initiative will be challenging, said Lansdale Business Association President Doug DiPasquale during last week's joint Economic Development Committee and Communication Commission meeting.
The main challenge: Having business owners understand the use of the brand is not a borough-sanctioned thing.
DiPasquale, who sits on the Economic Development Committee as liaison to the LBA, said the issue came up during a recent discussion of its murals project.
"We talked about having a name for (the murals project): 'Murals in Motion.' 'Murals in Motion' is in keeping with the theme of the borough, but it's not a borough project," he said. "The education still needs to be there. In keeping 'Murals in Motion,' it does say we are working with the borough. It doesn't mean we have to be run by the borough."
He said some business owners "still don't get it."
"If I put 'Murals in Motion' with the LBA, they think the borough has control," said DiPasquale. "Because I'm president of the LBA, doesn't mean I'm running it; it's your organization. This borough brand is the residents', and I think that's the hardest thing we find."
DiPasquale said it won't be easy "hitting that on the head."
"I think they get it, they understand it. But as soon as one person said, 'That sounds like it's run by the borough,' the other half is saying, 'I guess so,'" he said.
Borough Manager Timi Kirchner said DiPasquale made a good point.
"The brand now is viewed as the borough's. The borough has put the investment into doing that. It wasn't as if we had our own chamber (of commerce) that came up with this and it's dedicated simply to Lansdale," she said. "We do need to reach out with the brand, so that people are not saying 'That's the borough's brand,' meaning municipal government. It is the borough's brand and you're a business in the borough, so it belongs to all of us."
The Economic Development Committee and the Communication Commission continue to work jointly on the activation, reinforcement and utilization of the brand narrative throughout Lansdale Borough via 40 branding touchpoints.
As reported in a prior article, the committees have broken down the touchpoints into ease of implementation: easy, moderate and difficult.
While the management and implementation of brands within the administration of Lansdale Borough will take time, both committees want to begin the implementation of touchpoints outside of borough administration and into the community. Some touchpoints like trade shows, gifts and promotions may fall to businesses to help spread the word about town.
Thus, the committees have begun looking to the Lansdale Business Association and PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce to help them in the process.
"How can we get the message out to local businesses and say, 'We'd love to talk to you about how you might partner with us to integrate this in the community?'" said Communication Commission Chairman Denton Burnell.
Kirchner said the committees must be setting major goals, and going after such goals and monitor the brand narrative every step of the way.
"If there are particular things businesses themselves are thinking about, that's certainly something they should be putting on the table and bringing to the borough," Kirchner said.
Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller, who also sits on borough council, said her committee could help promote the brand to businesses in town.
"We have several business owners that we can solicit their help to pass the word," Fuller said.
DiPasquale said the LBA is "a small, but mighty, group" that continues to need the support of the borough. He said the LBA would love to support the brand initiative.
"There is that connection. We work well together. Let's try to grow it," he said.
Other nonprofits and organizations are planning on implementing the borough brand in their own ways. For instance, Trinity Lutheran Church wants to take a "Faith in Motion" theme. Lansdale Library, under direction of Tom Meyer, has been promoting a "Minds in Motion" theme.
"As far as the business community, be it nonprofit or religious, all are trying," DiPasquale said. "All are saying, 'How can we make it happen in the borough?'"
Kirchner said the only thing the borough would be controlling is the proper use of certain graphics and fonts.
"Other than that, it does belong to all," she said.
Kirchner suggested the LBA or PennSuburban take the lead and host a presentation on the brand for businesses in Lansdale "as oppose to (Communications Coordinator) Tracy Flynn and any of us standing up front." DiPasquale suggested an invitational meeting.
"If the LBA and PennSuburban sponsor a night where, say, all business can see this presentation, and then have a discussion on how to roll it out in the business community."
Communication Commission Vice Chairwoman Darlene Kleinschmidt suggested the borough, LBA and PennSuburban include businesses outside of Lansdale in the discussion. She suggested setting up talks with certain businesses during the day to talk about the brand and get people interested in the initiative.
"A lot of businesses are not involved in the Chamber, and are not involved in the LBA. There is a whole section of small business owners not involved. We need to figure out a way to get them on board," she said.
So, what could be an efficient way to get the word out in the meantime?
DiPasquale suggested using mailing lists to get information out correctly and accurately.
Community Development Director John Ernst said spring and summer usher in new events and opportunities for Lansdale.
"Seize every opportunity to set up a booth or table to get out there, whether it's the LBA or the Chamber with a booth to talk about the brand," Ernst said.
DiPasquale said booths would be effective at events like First Friday and the Under the Lights Car Show, for instance.
"These are things that are big in town, where tens of thousands can see it," he said.
Fuller said joint meetings with the LBA and Chamber will capture a large portion of member businesses. Those businesses will then spead the word to other businesses who are not members.
DiPasquale mentioned how Trinity Lutheran Church hands out "hug coupons" for congregants to share with somebody else, thus spreading joy and love.
"You could make cards that told the story, and as someone gives it to you, you give it to someone else, and it trickles throughout the community," he said. "As all are talking, you can say pass this along so it spreads like wildfire."
Econmic Development Committee Vice Chairman Richard Strahm built on that idea, adding that emails could be placed on such items. When the cards find their way back, everyone's email is entered in a contest as an incentive. In the end, what has really happened is a mailing list has formed to help push the brand to businesses.