Stockbridge seeks new identity with professional help

Stockbridge stakeholders recently helped the city take a step toward a new image in the New Year.

“The city of Stockbridge is currently working with Rhyme and Reason Design, an Atlanta-based marketing company, on a large-scale community brand identity project,” Stockbridge Main Street Program Manager Kira D. Harris-Braggs said in a statement. “Along with providing important communications tools and resources, this branding initiative will include the creation of a new tagline and logo for the Stockbridge community.”

Harris-Braggs said city leaders want the project to be “a very inclusive” effort.

“Thus, they greatly value the opinions of our residents, small business owners, community leaders and elected officials,” she said.

The company, also known as R&R, hosted focus groups recently at city hall, culled from community members “who have an interest in Stockbridge’s overall well-being,” Harris-Braggs said.

Harris-Braggs said the company is a customer-oriented, full-service boutique agency specializing in strategy, branding, websites and integrated campaigns.

“We are very excited about this project,” she said.

The Stockbridge City Council approved the project earlier this year, funding it out of $70,000 set aside in the fiscal 2017 budget from tourism allocations and hotel/motel tax revenue.

Michael Harris, the city manager at the time, said the results will be more than just a picture or a slogan.

“The goal (is) to come up with a brand for the city,” he said at the Jan. 31 city council work session. “Often, people think of a brand as simply to include a new symbol or a new logo, but it’s far more than that.”

Harris said the effort includes “a lot of marketing, a lot of research that goes into it.”

He said 14 companies vied for the job from across the country.

“We had a very robust selection of firms to choose from,” Harris said, saying the choice was narrowed down to three of the most qualified and cost-effective candidates.

R&R won the gig on March 13.

Its cultural anthropologist, Shannon Banks, ran an Active Seniors focus group July 25.

In her description of the project, she said Stockbridge needs a brand.

“We’re ready to grow and be bigger, attract more development, attract more residents,” Banks said.

Key to that growth is having a unified, positive message about the city’s essence, she said.

But there is a pitfall, Banks said.

“If we make it something that doesn’t resonate as true,” she said, “it won’t work.”

Harris-Braggs said after the focus group that the city hopes to roll out its new brand in six to eight months, in January or February, depending on the research portion.

That can take up to eight weeks, she said, and will include from 100 to 150 participants in 12 to 15 different focus groups, comprising what she described as “a good cross-section” of the community.

The city will launch a micro-website during the process and hand out surveys at events to capture more opinions, Harris-Braggs said.

The company’s clients include the city of Conyers in neighboring Rockdale County.

It announced its new logo and tagline, “Celebration of Community,” in March at its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Information: www.rhymeandreasondesign.com

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