The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday was brought up to speed on the city’s ongoing place branding initiative with a visual presentation of the preliminary work conducted over the past eight months to develop a new city of Spring Hill brand.
A Spring Hill narrative, taglin, and related creative visuals were presented by Steve Chandler, owner of Chandlerthinks, the Franklin-based branding consultant hired by the city to conduct research and work with the Spring Hill Economic Development Commission (EDC) — the branding committee — to create a new city brand.
While the project is approaching its final phase, it’s not complete. The public update Monday night was intended to allow the board to begin to see what has been accomplished and to “set the pace” for reviewing the branding materials to ultimately determine how they would like to move forward, and what the final branding elements should look like, Chandler said.
The firm presented what was learned through project research about Spring Hill as a community; examples of potential advertising messages; a brand positioning statement; concepts of how the proposed city logo could be used on city vehicles, pole banners, signage, promotional items, business cards and other municipal elements; and the suggested city tagline, “Feel the Welcome.”
The reason for the rebranding was, according to the EDC, because the growing suburban commuter town “has a bit of an identity crisis.” That often brings up the question as to how residents or non-residents might summarize Spring Hill, if asked by an outsider or prospective business owner to describe why it’s a desirable place to live or locate a business.
Because it has proven to be such a difficult question to answer, it was one of the more obvious signals that Spring Hill did not possess a clear brand story and needed to establish one, much like many surrounding Middle Tennessee suburban cities.
“If we want to attract corporate office space, desirable businesses and top talent to Spring Hill, we first have to know who we are as a city in order to tell our city’s story to prospects,” said Spring Hill Economic Development Coordinator Kayce Williams. “Cities compete for premium commerce, and having a strong brand is essential to the economic development process. By establishing our brand identity, we will better position ourselves to pursue more prosperous economic development projects in a more targeted fashion.”
While the brand story is the primary purpose of a place branding initiative, the process also results in creating a new logo to visually represent that story and help promote the city, though Chandler frequently reminds his audiences that “the logo is the least important part of branding. It’s your story that’s important.”
The logo is intended as more of a visual symbol of a city’s narrative. Having a new logo will help to update the city’s image by aesthetically improving things like signage, way-finding, promotional materials and creating a greater level of visual consistency in all that the city does. The EDC has recommended maintaining the existing official city colors and incorporating them into the new logo.
The initial brand elements presented by Chandler in the status update to the board came with the support of the EDC. Chandler thinks they will submit the final branding elements and recommendations within the next few weeks for the EDC to review and make a recommendation to the BOMA, which is currently set to vote on approving a new city brand at its Oct. 21 regular meeting.
However, Mayor Rick Graham noted the BOMA does not have to make a decision this month and can take as long as it needs to consider the branding materials. The “full reveal” of the place-branding project will come after its final approval by the BOMA.
To read the proposed Spring Hill brand story, view a sample of the logo and read the full branding update (including sample ads), visit www.springhilltn.org/Key-Proposals.