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Sterling begins process of creating a community brand

STERLING – The city wants to improve the way the rest of the world sees it – to revamp its community branding.

Doing so will help the community take more pride in itself, Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard said.

Hadley Skeffington-Vos, Shumard’s assistant, gave a presentation on the topic at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not around,” she said. “Branding is what you do about it, how you manage your reputation.”

City branding can help Sterling bring in new customers, residents or businesses, she said.

Branding is not just marketing; it also sparks emotions, Skeffington-Vos added.

The city’s logo, which appears on business cards and council agendas, is “Sterling: Shining brightly ... Leading the way” along with a star. But the slogan is not everywhere. For example, it is not on the Welcome to Sterling signs.

In the past, Sterling was known as the Hardware Capital of the World, a title it no longer can claim.

“Going forward, is that something we want to be known as?” Skeffington-Vos asked. “We don’t have an image or a color scheme; there’s not really any community buy-in to this logo that we have right now.”

A successful brand incorporates history, attraction, culture, geography, society and art, she said – “whatever makes Sterling unique.”

Developing a community brand may seem a small thing, but it’s something the city needs to do, Shumard said.

“If we can take our image and take that brand, take that logo, and it’s on the website; it’s on the welcome banner; it’s on the welcome signs; it’s in our parks, it’s integrated in the community ... people are going to be a lot more proud of what it stands for,” he said.

The next step is for the council to put together committees and come up with a list of stakeholders that could benefit from developing a brand, Shumard said. He and Skeffington-Vos will research how other communities worked through the branding and identifying process.

“The biggest part is going to be staff homework, too, by trying to save money and not go through a high-paid outside consultant, we’re going to have to do extra homework on our end,” he said.

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