Atlas Advertising Gathers Impressions Of Los Alamos

Council Chair Kristin Henderson discusses branding and tag lines as Atlas Director of Strategic Accounts Guillermo Mazier and his staff from Denver listen during Tuesday’s public meeting in Fuller Lodge. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Atlas Director of Strategic Accounts Guillermo Mazier asks audience members what they think makes Los Alamos special. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Physicist Andy Fraser expresses his opinion on branding Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Los Alamos Daily Post

A team from Atlas Advertising is in Los Alamos this week to learn about the town and speak with residents.

Atlas has been hired by Los Alamos County to create a marketing plan for Los Alamos. They met with community members Tuesday evening at Fuller Lodge. County Council Chair Kristen Henderson facilitated the meeting.

After the uproar over the tag line “Live Exponentially” developed by another firm, North Star, Atlas was retained to develop, not just another tag line, but a marketing plan.

“We need to look at the big picture to know how we grow our town,” Henderson said. “The second piece is, how do we evolve what our town is thought of outside our town?”

“We specialize in niche marketing of communities,” Atlas Director of Strategic Accounts Guillermo Mazier said, adding that Atlas has worked with more than 150 communities to discover what is special about them and present them to outsiders in the best possible way.

In the case of Los Alamos, “we need to find ways of honoring the deep history that’s here,” he said. “What’s going to make this an interesting place?”

Altas has been charged to take two taglines from those developed by North Star and develop two new ones. “’Live Exponentially’ is off the table,” Mazier said. “Once we have four, we’ll put them out to the community.” The firm expects to have the ideas out to the community within the next few weeks, he said.

“If we make it just about a slogan, we’re going to fail,” Mazier said. “We need to ask, how do we get where we want to go? We need to celebrate the things that make this place special.”

During their visit, the marketing team took the Atomic City Tour and visited such places as the Co+op market and Bathtub Row Brewing, as well as scenic places such as Overlook Park, and businesses like Smith’s Marketplace. This was an opportunity to work with the County Council and learn about the town, Mazier said. The team will be back within a month.

Mazier asked the audience “what makes Los Alamos special?”

Along with many audience members, historian Nancy Bartlit likes the former County slogan, “Where discoveries are made.”

“Our story is how we saved the world,” she said.

Caterer Peggy Pendergast said Los Alamos is a “rocking” town. “Los Alamos is a vibrant, happy town,” she said.

Physicist Andy Fraser said he came to town “for the people that live here.” “Los Alamos is a place you can grow.” He pointed to the exciting, intellectually stimulating atmosphere.

Many people said the beautiful natural environment and outdoor recreation opportunities made the town specials. Others said a special feature was the sense of community and volunteerism in Los Alamos. They pointed to the 200 clubs and 34 churches in Los Alamos.

The tri-cultural community of Anglos, Hispanics and Native Americans is one of the things that make the town interesting, one audience member said. Another pointed to the international community attracted by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

When the audience was asked where they would like the town to be in 50 years, former County Councilor Fran Berting said we need to fix down downtown and provide more opportunities jobs.

Several audience members worried that LANL no longer attracts the best quality scientists. Ideas on why this might be ranged from loss of its university atmosphere, to bureaucracy at the lab.

Henderson pointed to changing lifestyles that may make Los Alamos less desirable to families.

“Both spouses need to be happy here. There have to be job prospects for both spouses.” She pointed to the lack of restaurants and night life, which are important to young people.

With one-third of the lab workforce nearing retirement within five years, and many of the retirees staying in town, several audience members pointed to the need for housing for young families and seniors alike. Several mentioned marketing Los Alamos as a place to retire.

When questioned about the need for branding, Mazier said, “If you don’t tell your story, somebody else will. You already have a brand, you just don’t know it.”

Several people pointed out that Los Alamos will never be attractive to those who want an urban environment.

Targeting the marketing efforts is important, Mazier said. “We need to think beyond telling our story, we need to be telling it to the right people. We need to know who we need to target.” Targeting people with similar values to those held by townspeople may be key, he said.

Watch for the four new taglines for Los Alamos to roll out soon in the Los Alamos Daily Post. Atlas will be soliciting feedback, not only on the slogans, but on what makes Los Alamos special and how to get that story out beyond the Hill.

Former Councilor Fran Berting discusses Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Waynie Hardie talks about the poor influence he thinks LANS has on attracting the best and brightest minds to the lab, saying he believes LANS management looks at Los Alamos as being a podunk community and that their opinion permeates through the Lab. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos historian Nancy Bartlit talks about Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Photo by KayLinda Crawford/

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