Friday, December 9, 2011

Branding the Springs, Take 2

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 5:18 PM

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Today, the Colorado Springs Branding Task Force announced the outcome of its conversations with members of the city's young creative class.

The verdict? Mixed.

According to the press release, the task force is resolved to stick with the logo tagline "Live it Up!," as it "reflects the results and strengths of the brand strategy," says Doug Price, president and CEO of Experience Colorado Springs (the convention and visitors bureau) and co-chair of the Branding Task Force. "It is important to connect our tagline directly to this strategy for a brand that is fully integrated and tells the true story of the destination."

However, where the task force has capitulated to the very vocal, very frustrated response to the proposed branding for the city is in scrapping the logo and opening up a request for proposals to area talent.

You can download the RFP here.

On the Rebrand the Springs Facebook page, the effort started by local designers Tucker Wannamaker and Marcus Haggard, organizers' response was positive:

We want to commend the Branding Task Force for leading the way in being responsive to the community and laying out a specific, collaborative, participatory path to developing a logo we can all get behind and be proud of. This is a powerful statement of the quality of our community and a solid step towards creating a more collaborative, engaged city. Way to go Colorado Springs, Rebrand the Springs participants, and the Branding Task Force!

From the task force press release:

After mixed community feedback following the Colorado Springs Brand Launch on November 15, the Branding Task Force announces a continuation of the collaborative process with the local community to create a new logo for the regional brand.

Upon assessing all of the community’s praise and criticism, the Branding Task Force held an open dialogue with members of the local design community on November 21. Amy Long, Vice President of Marketing & Membership for the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), presented the brand development process and brand strategy to the group. Those in attendance reacted positively to the foundation on which the brand assets were created. Many agreed that the strategy, brand character, truth and culture were accurate in capturing what the Colorado Springs region represents. The concepts of rugged, exceptional, vibrant and alive resonated with them, yet they felt these strong attributes weren’t reflected in the execution of the creative and were hoping to contribute their talent to an updated version.

“To date, more than 750 people have been involved in the process to develop the brand strategy and creative assets. This involvement has come in the form of participation in design workshops, interviews and quantitative research. Working with the local designers is a great continuation of this community collaboration. We appreciate the passion of the residents and design professionals. We’re excited to tap into the expertise our local design talent,” said Long.

At a Branding Task Force meeting, held Tuesday, December 6, it was decided that steps would be taken to begin a new logo design process. The Task Force also made the decision to move forward with “Live it up!” as the tagline.

“The Task Force decided that ‘Live it up!’ reflects the results and strengths of the brand strategy. It is important to connect our tagline directly to this strategy for a brand that is fully integrated and tells the true story of the destination. We know this is a long-term decision. There are many ideas out there and everyone has a catchy phrase or saying, but a tagline that reflects the brand strategy is an important element of the brand,” said Doug Price, CVB President & CEO and Co-Chair of the Branding Task Force.

Local designers collaborated to offer suggestions for a community-wide process. Their document, delivered by Tucker Wannamaker, founder of the “Rebrand the Springs” Facebook Page, suggested a modified Request for Proposal (RFP) process in which individuals, design firms and advertising agencies would have the opportunity to submit a proposal to design the new logo. A key component of the plan includes the creation of a “Curator Team”, consisting of marketing, branding, strategic planning, business development and graphic design experts throughout the region. Team members include John Pierce (U.S. Olympic Committee Managing Director of Partnership Marketing, New Media and Broadcast Services), Tom Hutton (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Executive Director of Media Relations & Internal Communication), Christopher Schell (Design Rangers Vice President), Sherri Newell (Colorado Springs Utilities Chief Public Affairs Officer), Mary Cukjati (Cukjati Designs Owner), Cheryl Farr (CSK Design Group CEO), Amanda Mountain (Rocky Mountain PBS Regional Director and General Manager), Dermot Coll (United States Air Force Academy Associate Athletic Director) and Arvid Wallen (Nav Press Creative Director and Corporate Brand Director). Members of the Curator Team are not eligible to submit an RFP for consideration.

After review of the proposals, three design firms will be selected by the Curator Team based on their logo portfolio, assessment of the brand strategy and a written statement about how their logo concept could accurately reflect and communicate the essence of the brand strategy. Each of the three chosen designers will be compensated $1,000 for submitting up to three concepts for consideration. The Curator Team will then review the logo concepts against the strategy and the top selections will be posted on LiveItUpCS.co. The community will be invited via various outlets, including social media, to comment on the logos through a survey link found on the site for a period of one week in January 2012.

As the final step, the Curator Team will review community input and make a final recommendation to the Branding Task Force who will then chose the final logo concept. Upon selection of a designer and the top concept, the Curator Team, in conjunction with the Branding Task Force, will oversee the process of finalizing the logo. The selected designer will be compensated $2,000 to finalize the logo and develop a logo usage guidelines document. The budget for the extension of this brand deliverable totals $5,000, funded by select Task Force Members excluding the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Colorado Springs.

“The task force made minor modifications and filled in details, but the designer-suggested model was essentially left intact,” said Long. “It’s a great plan that was very well thought out and should result in a lot of participation, collaboration and community feedback. In the end, I’m confident we’ll have a great logo.”

The RFP states that a candidate must reside in El Paso, Teller or Fremont Counties. Designer candidates must also have a logo portfolio and submit examples of work, have the software and technical skills to create vector-based designs and articulate their thoughts on the current logo and how their submission(s) would better represent the brand strategy.

The formal RFP has been made available to the public beginning today, Friday, December 9, 2012. Those who wish to submit an RFP can download the document at www.LiveItUpCS.co. The deadline for RFP submissions is 12pm/Noon Mountain Time, Friday, January 6, 2012. Proposals will be submitted electronically through the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) to Brand@VisitCOS.com. A detailed timeline for the process, expected to conclude in early March 2012, is included in the RFP.

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