The Decatur City Council on Monday decided the city could do a little better than "A little Different."
"A little Different" is a proposed brand for the city, selected by a local committee from among three options formulated by public relations firm Big Communications of Birmingham for the by no means small sum of $267,275.
If our reader response is representative, most Decatur residents think "A little Different" is the wrong message the city needs to send. Neighboring communities are growing, and Decatur is not. Right now what Decatur needs isn't different but the same, which means stressing there's no reason it shouldn't be sharing in the population growth happening elsewhere in the area.
City 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.
Not that we're thrilled by the other options Big has suggested: “Decatur Dreams” and “Better Not Bigger.” The former sounds like it's trying to distract from Decatur's reality, and the latter glosses over that getting bigger is exactly what Decatur is trying to do.
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, however, said 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.
So it looks like this is what Decatur has received in exchange for its $267,275 — two proposals that couldn't make it out of committee and a third the citizens of Decatur think is a dud.
Perhaps the solution here is to scrap them all, but there at least needs to be reconsideration of the suggestions. City Council members acted wisely in pushing back against a slogan that may fail to promote the city effectively.
The council should stand firm if Big resists the request the rethink the potential slogans. Taxpayers deserve to have their money spent on branding that can attract new residents and visitors.