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Branding's best outcome 

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I'd like to thank the people of Colorado Springs for their continued engagement with the regional branding project. On Monday, we unveiled the revised community logo along with sample ads and decals created by Fixer Creative Co., under the direction of the Curator Team.

It's been a rewarding process that's taught all of us about the power of collaboration and keeping an open mind.

After the brand launch in mid-November, I and other members of the Community Branding Task Force received an abundance of feedback, both positive and negative. Most of the criticism was posted on various online forums, including the Facebook page titled "Rebrand the Springs." Even the Independent joined in with an open logo contest. It immediately became clear that there is a feeling of ownership here, and passion in the community for what Colorado Springs stands for.

As we continued to monitor and listen, we began to understand the public's specific concerns with the logo and the tagline. But it was the meeting with local designers and copywriters that was instrumental in guiding us to redesign the logo. We received a series of professional critiques that helped us understand the opportunities for improvement. In the spirit of transparency and openness, the task force tapped into our local creative community through an open process requesting design proposals.

The time and effort that went into the year-long brand strategy to encapsulate our city's identity was extensive. I was proud to co-chair the project along with Dave White of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. This has always been a collaborative and transparent community process. From the kickoff to the launch, the process included more than 500 diverse people and organizations. Stone Mantel, a Colorado Springs-based brand experience firm, synthesized all of the information to articulate a strong and cohesive brand strategy.

Through our work with Stone Mantel, our city and region were revealed as being vibrant, rugged, exceptional and alive. The brand strategy was enthusiastically received by the local creative community; the concern remained with how the strategy was communicated through the visual component.

Working with the creative community has taken the project to an even higher level. The Curator Team, created by the task force and led by Chris and Jenny Schell of Design Rangers, provided valuable marketing and design expertise for the redesign, and the ability to partner with the talented local firm chosen for this new logo execution, Fixer Creative Co., owned by Troy and Sara DeRose. Funding for the logo redesign process came entirely from private donations.

It was encouraging to see 27 local entities submit proposals. Four firms were chosen to create up to three logo concepts each and then present them. The Curator Team was aware of the public's desire to stay informed and be part of the process. Through various discussions, it was decided that logo concepts would be posted for public comment only if each was a concept that the team could stand behind as a final logo. After the first round, none of the concepts were ready for public viewing. Instead, Fixer Creative Co. was retained to integrate Curator Team feedback to create the final logo.

The task force chose to keep "Live it up" as a creative asset because it captures the essence of the brand strategy. However, based on public comment and recommendations from the Curator Team, adjustments have been made. While the phrase will still be used in various ways, it has been recast as an element of the current campaign rather than a permanent tagline.

The Community Branding Task Force, Curator Team and Fixer Creative Co. will continue the dialogue with the community and facilitate adoption of the new logo and brand strategy. An online toolkit is available at liveitupcs.co, and regional seminars will introduce the brand and help organizations work it into their communication efforts.

To start, three decals have been created to celebrate the new identity and are available for free (while supplies last) at the following locations: CVB Visitor Center, the Blue Star, Nosh, La'au's Taco Shop, the CSK Group and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

Thank you for your time and your interest.

Doug Price is president and CEO of Experience Colorado Springs, the city's convention and visitors bureau.

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