Sterling closing in on branding rollout

November 15, 2018

STERLING – The city is close to seeing some tangible results from its rebranding work with urban planning firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates.

The city entered into an agreement with the Greenville, South Carolina-based business on May 7. The City Council agreed to a deal that will pay the firm $12,000 plus expenses not to exceed $2,300 to recreate the city’s image.

Tripp Muldrow, a partner at the firm, was back in town last week to report on the progress made since he served as as a facilitator for a public forum in July where about 20 residents discussed how to best sell the city.

Muldrow showed samples of logos, fonts and color schemes that would be used by the city and its partners such as Sterling Main Street, Greater Sterling Development Corp., CGH Medical Center and the public schools.

The firm, and city officials agreed, that the branding materials shouldn’t just adorn signage and letterhead. An effort will be made to involve the entire community in its marketing efforts.

“Community pride is an important aspect of this, and you can do hats, lapel pins, T-shirts and coffee mugs for residents,” Muldrow said.

Two central pieces of the city’s identity package are the development of a brand statement and tagline. The statement is a lengthy description of who you are as a community. It combines the best attributes of the city’s past, present and future.

A draft was presented at the last council meeting and input was collected.

“I think the descriptions are too general in places,” Alderman Jim Wise said. “For instance, instead of saying we have a band in the park, it should say that we listen to the Sterling Municipal Band in Grandon Park.”

Another alderman wanted to see the statement better reflect the makeup of the city.

“There’s nothing in here that speaks to the diversity we have in Sterling,” Alderman Joe Martin said. “We are 30 percent Latino and we have a council with three men and three women, which isn’t that common in a town this size.”

Nothing has been finalized, but the tagline – a variation on a slogan – also was presented. Used with a new logo, the tagline said “Industrious. Inspired. Innovative”.

The favorite logo that has emerged is architecture from the Coliseum. Muldrow noted that, for a city it’s size, Sterling has some of the largest representation of art deco architecture he has seen in his extensive business travels.

Variations in the tagline could be chosen for the city’s partner organizations.

“For instance, the tagline could possibly be changed to “Inspired. Involved.” for Sterling Main Street,” Muldrow said.

A consistent typeface and color scheme will be important marketing elements. The city is still studying fonts, but is leaning toward a medium-blue and gray color palette.

When the branding package is completed, the city would own the intellectual property that is developed and handle the licensing agreements.

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