Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Council set to select branding consultant

The Fremont City Council is expected to award a contract Tuesday to a consultant for the Community Branding and Marketing Initiative.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Municipal Building, preceded by a 6:45 p.m. study session.

The council will also meet as the Community Development Agency to authorize the issuance of bonds for the South Broad Street development project.

Council members will consider the Community Branding Committee's recommendation of Chandler Thinks as consultant for the project to research and develop a community marketing brand that can be used in promotions and economic development.

The Hendersonville, Tenn., firm was unanimously selected by the committee from 16 proposals submitted, Planning and Building Director Jeff Ray said.

The committee whittled the proposals down to six and interviewed the top four, Ray said.

Bids ranged from around $50,000 up to about $112,000, and Chandler Thinks came in on the low end, he said. The firm's bid was $45,000 plus travel, estimated in the $6,000 range.

Chandler Thinks is only six months old, Ray said, but the president of the company, Steve Chandler, is the former president of the firm that was the committee's second choice and recently branched out to start his own firm, Ray pointed out.

"He has a long history of dealing with community branding," Ray said.

The city pledged $25,000 a year for two years toward the project, which has a total of $122,000 in commitments from various community agencies.

Funding not used in the first phase, which includes research, will be rolled over into the second phase of implementation. The third phase is actually marketing the logos and tag lines.

Ray said other communities have been successful in hiring community branding consultants to market themselves

"They come in and they do a significant amount of research up front to determine what the flavor of the community is, what is your true strength, and determine what uniqueness you can capitalize on," Ray said.

Ultimately, the goal is to present a united front with matching logos and tag lines that tie together all economic development and promotion efforts, Ray explained.

"This is broader than the city, it's the whole region," he pointed out. "The city's taking a lead but it's a Fremont area project, we're not focusing on just inside the city limits."

City Administrator Bob Hartwig told the Developments and Improvements Committee last week the branding project has been an ongoing priority for three years, and was made a top priority earlier this year during a council retreat.

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