By CASSANDRA SHOFAR
MEDINA â€” The city and Savvy Marketing International LLC want the rest of the world to know Medina is far greater than just its historic district and quaint Public Square.
The Medina-based company is undertaking a branding campaign aimed to give the city a bigger and better identity and presence, not only in the state, but the country as well, said Nancy van Alphen, who, along with her husband Eric, owns Savvy Marketing, which has worked with clients such as Apple Computer, Stop-N-Shop and Bank One.
â€œ(We) want to attach an image to the city to put out there for the rest of the world to see,â€ van Alphen said. â€œThe goal (of) putting an image behind our identity is to tell the rest of the world who we are and invite them in to see us, to consider us as their home or as their new place of business.â€
The idea of branding the city had been discussed by the cityâ€™s previous Economic Development Director Mike Baach and when current Director Tom Krueger came on board, he decided it was time to pursue it, especially after it was suggested in the cityâ€™s 2007 efficiency study.
â€œWe need to develop something that captures what the city is all about, not only the quaint, small-town nature â€¦ but also the progressive nature with the businesses and the school system,â€ Krueger said.
So, the economic development department issued a request for proposals, or RFPs, from local marketing companies, which city council then approved.
Savvy Marketing was chosen in late 2007 and the campaign kicked off Monday with beginning the process to create a city logo and tagline based on business ownersâ€™ and community membersâ€™ input.
A logo is usually a picture, sometimes coupled with a few words such as â€œthe City of Medinaâ€ and is able to stand on its own, van Alphen said.
A tagline is usually a phrase, sometimes very short, that is supplementary to the logo, such as â€œCleveland Rocks,â€ she explained.
Developing the logo and tagline are just the first steps in the branding campaign, van Alphen said, and this portion costs the city $2,600.
Costs for the other two portions, which include a strategic plan and new Web site, have not been determined because the RFPs for those portions are still in the works, Krueger said.
â€œIâ€™m sure itâ€™s going to be an investment into our future,â€ he said. â€œWe really want to develop a Web site that looks good â€¦ very easy to navigate for potential residents and businesses.â€
He added he wants people to have a deja vu experience when they come to the city, where they feel like theyâ€™ve been here before, but it was through the Web site that they visited.
â€œWeâ€™re in competition with the world â€¦ weâ€™re out there every day. Every day itâ€™s about selling our city,â€ Krueger said.
The development of the city logo and tagline are key steps in incorporating residents and businesses in the process, van Alphen said.
The company passed out fliers during the recent Ice Festival and others around the town to advertise the campaign and ask for community input, van Alphen said.
She said the question people need to answer is: â€œWhat do you love about Medina?â€
Answers can be e-mailed to Ilovemedina@savvym.com. The deadline is March 14, van Alphen said.
â€œItâ€™s kind of a challenge, because as it stands right now, the current image of Medina is a quaint charming city â€¦ people think of the square,â€ she said. â€œWe donâ€™t want to lose that, but we want to capture the idea that we are a dynamic, progressive and evolving city.â€
Van Alphen said parents with children in school may say they like the community recreation center or sports programs and the students may say they like the new Medina County University Center in Lafayette Township.
â€œWe want the residents and our businesses, the principles of the city to be involved,â€ she said. â€œTo know this is going on and in some way, shape or form have a say in the process.â€
Mayor Jane Leaver said as with any other successful marketing campaign, getting people to recognize your product is half the battle of selling it.
â€œThe company (Savvy Marketing) is looking for a simple visual picture that all forms of marketing will associate with the city of Medina,â€ she said, adding there are many more intriguing facets of the city than just the square and gazebo.
Van Alphen said everyoneâ€™s input will go into the creation of the logo, and in exchange for peopleâ€™s feedback, Savvy Marketing will send people a gift certificate or discounts from local vendors that are participating.
Then, once her company has narrowed the logo options down to three, residents will have a chance to vote on their favorite one, she said, adding the voting locations are yet to be decided but most likely will be at the public library and on the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerceâ€™s Web site at www.medinaohchamber.com.
Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or firstname.lastname@example.org.