Decatur City Council members want to get broader input after receiving mostly negative reactions from a sampling of constituents to the proposed “A little Different” branding.
The City Council members agreed at Monday’s work session that they want to present the proposed branding options created by Big Communications to local civic clubs and other community groups to find out whether it enjoys local support. Council members Kristi Hill and Billy Jackson were absent.
The city paid $267,275 to hire Big, a Birmingham public relations firm, to create the branding. The firm presented three options to a committee of city leaders, and that committee was unanimous in its choice of “A little Different” as the campaign slogan.
However, Councilman Chuck Ard said he sent 60 emails to constituents seeking a reaction to the proposed branding and a majority were negative.
“My concern from the get-go is there wasn’t enough involvement from the people to know whether we’re getting a good option,” Ard said.
Ard said one problem with “A little Different” is an explanation is required for people to understand the concept.
“You shouldn’t need a video to explain a slogan,” Ard said.
Councilman Charles Kirby said he doesn’t like the “little” portion of “A little Different,” and most of the reaction he’s received has been negative.
“I don’t think ‘A little Different’ works when the other communities around us are being successful and we’re not,” Kirby said.
In his June presentation at a council work session, Big official Mark Ervin said the concept plays “on the idea that Decatur is small yet distinct. It’s the best of small-town Alabama with access to a major metropolitan job market.”
Ervin said he used “little” because a survey done by the company showed the size of a city is important in distinguishing it from other cities.
“A little Different” was option 3, and Ard said he doesn’t know enough about the first two options. Option 1 is “Decatur Dreams,” and the second option is “Better Not Bigger.”
Ervin said Option 1 plays up the optimism for the future and tries to create some civic pride. Option 2 distinguishes Decatur from its neighbors “by saying bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it’s simply a great place to live,” he said.
Ard said he would like for diverse groups to see a presentation on the three options and then seek feedback from them.
“The whole point is to get feedback as to whether the community will accept this or not,” Ard said.
The council discussed asking Big to make the presentations to the community groups, but Mayor Tab Bowling pointed out they would likely have to pay the company for each presentation.
Council President Paige Bibbee said after the meeting she isn’t sure Big would support more presentations since they were insistent they would come up with the branding campaign and then they expected to present it to the committee for approval.
Bibbee said she had to explain to Big officials several times that the City Council had final approval on any campaign. She invited Big officials to Monday’s meeting, but they did not attend.
Bibbee suggested that committee members or Hill, who served on the committee, could make the presentations.
“I could make the presentation if needed,” Bibbee said. “It doesn’t take much to turn on a PowerPoint presentation.”