by Julie Ann Madden
After exhausting her personal design abilities and not getting Akron councilors to agree on one new logo and slogan for the town, City Clerk Nicolle DeRocher requested the council hire a marketing firm.
At their April 23 meeting, that’s just what the councilors did.
“(Hiring someone to help us with our logo design and slogan creation) is basically a pre-step to our niche marketing plan that I’ve been working on since I started (in this position),” said DeRocher. “In order for us to move forward with any sort of marketing and really get Akron in everyone’s wheelhouses in terms of residential relocation and commercial relocation to our community, we have to put a face out there.”
“This is basically putting a new face to Akron so it would be a logo design and slogan development,” she said. “Then we’d implement those on to the new city signage that we’ve been kind of discussing off and on. It would get implemented on our city website, letterhead, so on and so forth.”
Councilor Barbara Johnson questioned the need of spending between $800 and $900 on a slogan selection but Akron Mayor Harold Higman Jr. suggested letting DeRocher form a committee with two councilors plus invite the Akron Area Chamber of Commerce President Rodney Anderson and a member of the Akron Development Corporation.
It was clear the council and mayor had reached an impasse. Higman said he preferred a “moving slogan” whereby the slogan would be changed every so often instead of the town having just one slogan as it does now — “all trails lead to the peaceful valley of opportunity.” Johnson disagreed, wanting one slogan for the town. She also preferred referencing the Loess Hills in the slogan but Higman didn’t.
DeRocher said those were things a professional marketing firm could advise city officials on.
“What’s nice is we are dealing with (marketing) professionals,” said Akron Public Works Director Gary Horton. “This is what they do.”
Johnson made the motion to hire the firm of J.D. Gordon Advertising of Sioux City for $2,600. Although their bid was higher than the other bid, DeRocher pointed out this company had more experience and handled Sioux City’s marketing.
Councilor Denise Loutsch-Beitelspacher seconded it, and the vote was unanimous, 3-0, with Councilors Sharon Frerichs and Chad Ericson absent.
The city’s Niche Marketing Plan includes rebranding with a new logo and slogan development, creating entrance signage throughout the town and setting goals for implementation.