Los Alamos County Extends Branding Contract

North Star Community Brand Supervisor Adam Winstead, standing, solicits input from local business people in March. File photo

STAFF REPORT

Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess told the Los Alamos Daily Post in an email Thursday that the County has granted a one-year extension on the contract for a branding initiative study for Los Alamos.

The extension does not include an increase in compensation for consultant North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. of Nashville, Tenn. The $50,000 contract for brand development is a part of the County’s Economic Development Division’s FY13 marketing and advertising budget that was approved by Council in November 2012.

Council intended to hear North Star’s survey results at its Nov. 5 meeting and is now scheduled to hear the consultant’s complete proposal for branding, including survey results at its Jan. 28 meeting. Once Council has approved the general direction the consultant is taking to brand Los Alamos, North Star will complete the project and return to Council with its final presentation.

The process to brand Los Alamos began in October 2012 when the County’s Economic Development Division issued a Request For Proposal for a Los Alamos Brand Development Survey and Recommendations. The County received five responses from local and national agencies, all specializing in brand development and marketing campaigns targeting potential tourists, relocation site selectors and residents.

Last Jan. 29, the County’s Economic Development Division announced that it had selected North Star, stating it demonstrated experience in conducting solid research and developing brands that can be easily adapted for different community priorities, as well as sensitivity to the public and political process required by a government agency. For more information about the company, visit North Star Destination Strategies.

The project kicked-off in February with a Research and Planning phase, collecting and assessing existing data, including research, plans, communication and media. North Star conducted research through an online community survey, a resident profile and a competitive positioning review, as well as both qualitative and quantitative perception studies.

In March, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce invited business people to take part in a session at the Community Building to assist North Star in gathering input on the County’s branding initiative. The data collected is being used to create a strategic brand platform or storyline that defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference (what makes Los Alamos unique) and benefit (to the prospective audience.)

The strategic brand platform will be vetted with the public and County Council prior to development of the creative interpretation of the brand. Brand creation will include a logo, taglines, targeted marketing messages and advertising, digital design and content recommendations (web portal, social media), collateral materials, stationery and a color palette. North Star also will recommend evaluation techniques to test and track the implementation of the new brand. All assessments, designs and creative will be included in the final report.

For updates on the County’s branding initiative or other economic development projects, visit www.losalamosnm.us/ecodev.

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