The public reaction to the proposed “A little Different” branding was so negative that Decatur City Council members agreed Monday they want something totally different.

Councilman Chuck Ard proposed at the work session that the council hold a 3:30 p.m. Aug. 29 work session with Big Communications, the author of the unpopular proposal, to discuss new options in branding the city.

Ard said he wants anyone, including the public, to attend the work session and make suggestions on how they want the city to proceed or if they have suggestions for a new branding.

“If you like — and don’t want us to lose — the fact that Decatur is the River City, then come tell us,” Ard said.

A committee of leaders from multiple city government and private groups unanimously selected “A little Different.” However, city leaders said most of the reaction from city residents has been negative.

Councilwoman Kristi Hill served on that committee and she said Monday the group thought it had something “modern and edgy” that would promote the city.

“We got excited because it was unanimous but, if the public doesn’t like it, there’s not going to be any civic pride in it,” Hill said. “There’s never going to be 100% support but we would like for most people to like it.”

Hill said “A little Different” is a lot like Austin, Texas’ branding, "Keep Austin Weird."

“Decatur is not Austin, Texas, and I’m not sure if we're ready for something that edgy,” Hill said.

Councilman Charles Kirby said he likes the Big leadership and believes it’s a good company, but the public just didn’t like the slogan and it doesn’t fit Decatur.

“I don’t have a bad feeling about these guys,” Kirby said. “I’m OK with giving them another chance.”

Ard said he had a lengthy conversation with John Montgomery, CEO and founder of the Birmingham company, and he said Montgomery is willing to try again.

“I’ve asked Big to discuss a framework of what they are going to do and they’ve agreed to start from scratch,” Ard said. “They want the business and they have a lot invested in us. We have a lot invested in them.”

Ard said Big’s additional work will cost the city more, “but we need to give it one more try.”

Council President Paige Bibbee said the firm has billed the city for $119,000. The city’s contract calls for paying Big up to $269,000, but that amount included managing the brand after it became official.

“Their bills have been kind of vague,” Bibbee said. “They need to know we want an itemized bill.”

Ard said all of Big’s work won’t be wasted because much of their research can be used in the new brand.

Bibbee said Big had already purchased promotional items for the unapproved campaign, so there will need to be some discussion on payment for these items.

Mayor Tab Bowling took responsibility for Big feeling it could buy the items because he pushed for the company to allow him to roll out the branding campaign at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “State of the City” breakfast in March.

bayne.hughes@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.

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(10) comments

jack winton

Decatur,We have clowns running our town.There,fixed it...

Charlie Specoli

Mayor Tab Bowling took responsibility for Big feeling it could buy the items because he pushed for the company to allow him to roll out the branding campaign at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “State of the City” breakfast in March.



A huge fumble by the mayor. Making a purchase such as this without the slogan even being approved. Oh how easy it is to spend taxpayers money! The City of Decatur's government cannot function without consultants. Got a problem? Hire a consultant. What streets need to be paved? Hire a consultant. I would hope that this experience and it is the experience of wasting taxpayer dollars will make the council reconsider hiring consultants, but don't hold your breath We did after all hire the council and mayor with our votes to make their own decisions, but we are voting for consultants decisions apparently in Decatur. The city could have held a contest for citizens to come up with a new slogan, but no we have to pay and pay dearly for a consultant. Just like coming up with a list of streets to pave, hire and sped money on a consultant. So, the council couldn't spend the day together riding in a city van to see which streets needed paving? Apparently not. I'll give them a slogan, Decatur has a little bit of everything, and a great place to call home. There you are , and it is free.

Frances Elam

I'm a generational native of Hartselle and really feel for the truly good people of Decatur, I've spent a lot of my life in and out of Decatur and have made great friends through the years. It really baffles me how a city that had great leadership through the years and a lot of opportunity, up until about 20 years ago till the present time, has turned into a place to where the families that are able to, move out of the city to surrounding areas that are now beginning to thrive. I cannot understand why Decatur wants to pay a lot of money for a nonsense "motto" when it already has the perfect fit. Decatur has lost what the city was built on and the progress their past "great leadership of decades ago" had established. From an outsider looking in I cannot see progression in the future unless those that are capable, and Decatur has those people in their community, that will run for office and regain what used to be there.

Michael Borden

This council is out of touch with the people of the city (with exception of Billy Jackson.) We are the River City just as much as Huntsville is the Rocket City but to pay a company more than a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars for a slogan with negative connotations if asinine. The council should be angry about the amateur nature of the slogan. I personally don't want to hear another slogan from this company much less pay for one.

Clinton Herbert

Why must we pay for such a thing? Is it really difficult to for the council to work on this project alone? We have to keep our vision simple yet defined. We dont have to be the River City, in fact we should try to steer away from the polluted mess.



Decatur: Forward Thinking for Citizen Wellbeing

Richard Crow

Approving purchase of promotional items before the campaign has even been shared with the public... priceless!

JP Bama

Taxpayers money down a rat hole.

Pamela Blakely

It’s just insane the amount of money the city flushed down the toilet with this campaign. The suggestions made in past comments alone have been far ahead of this company and the city could have gotten those free.

J. T.

Concur

JERRY MITCHELL

[thumbup]

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