Former San Marcos Councilmember Pam Couch, chair of the city’s branding task force, asked the council to approve a new branding concept on first look Tuesday night. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The message San Marcos soon will voice to the world is, “We’d love your company.”
That’s the brand unanimously accepted by the San Marcos City Council Tuesday night. This summer, the city’s branding task force withdrew an earlier candidate (Pretty. Near. Perfect.) after citizens ridiculed the concept.
The new branding concept will not take effect until at least Sept. 21, when the council could open it up to citizen comment. The new logo had not been presented to the public before it was unveiled to the city council Tuesday night. Councilmember John Thomaides offered the amendment to delay the brand’s effective date so residents could see the logo and provide comment.
“Frankly I feel kind of pressured to support something that I just saw,” said Thomaides said, explaining why he advocated a two-week comment period.
Thomaides’ suggestion passed with a 6-1 vote. Councilmember Fred Terry voted in opposition.
“It needs to be brought forth, and launch it, and launch it now,” Terry said.
Responded Councilmember Kim Porterfield, “It’s nothing personal. I just don’t see the problem with delaying it to get citizen feedback.”
Councilmember Chris Jones echoed Porterfield and said it was “awkward” to demand that the council vote yes or no on its first viewing, though Jones went on to say, “I love it. I really do like it.”
Though Porterfield and Jones supported the two-week comment period, they also told the branding task force, chaired by former Councilmember Pam Couch, that they would not open discussion on the branding logo at the Sept. 21 council meeting.
Said Couch to the council, “I come to you, and I’m going to have to stick my neck out and say that all of us in this (branding) task force are really expecting to present you a concept tonight, a created concept, and we would very much appreciate for you guys to take a vote on this, which we have been charged to do over the 10 month period. And Mr. Thomaides I do understand you wanting the input from the public. We get that.”
Couch said all the money allocated for developing a brand had been spent and that the new brand was the end product of research and public input from the last logo, which was rejected. Therefore, said Couch, the public already had its say and the council should accept the task force’s recommendation.
Aside from Councilmembers Porterfield, Jones, and Mayor Susan Narvaiz, all three of whom served on the branding task force, nobody had seen the branding logo before Tuesday night, including city staff, councilmembers, and the public. Councilmembers were expected to vote on the product Tuesday night on first viewing.
City spokesperson Melissa Millecam said the brand logo was kept secret because of legal constraints and protection of trademark.
Thomaides said that if the council wanted a vote Tuesday, night he would be willing to vote for it, as he has learned to “pick my battles.”
Narvaiz quickly responded by saying that the vote wasn’t a battle and that the measure did need everybody’s support.
“We all love San Marcos,” Narvaiz said. “And we want more people to love it. That’s why the tagline (We’d love your company) is so perfect.”
Said Porterfield, “I understand we need to accept this and move on, but I don’t see a problem with taking feedback.”
Rebecca Ramirez, director of the city’s convention and visitor bureau, and Amy Madison, the city’s economic development director, both expressed contentment with the product and supported immediate implementation.
“We presented the very best product for San Marcos,” Couch said. “I love it. I love it more tonight then the last time I saw it.”
The product cost the city $164,900. The money was generated through several years from the city’s hotel occupancy tax revenues.
The new logo features the San Marcos name in a customized font in red, gradient blue and green letters. A shape of the state of Texas is included in the center of the “O.” The “M” is shaped like a waterfall, depicting Rio Vista Falls on the San Marcos River.
The branding task force worked with consultants Hahn Texas and KGB Texas on the project, which included research about San Marcos and cities from across the nation with similar attributes. The work also included an analysis of media and social media coverage, demographic and stakeholder research, an online survey, in-depth interviews and input from key community stakeholders and the public. The task force said the research influenced creative development of the logo and tagline.
The public can provide comment on the brand logo in the city’s website, www.sanmarcostx.gov
The consultants also will provide a launch plan, a marketing and communications plan, and a brand standards guide for print, web, broadcast and signage. The city has allocated $140,000 for its roll out, $90,000 coming from the water fund, and $50,000 from the electric fund.
Serving on the branding task force were Couch, Narvaiz, Porterfield, Jones, Hays County Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe (D-San Marcos), San Marcos Daily Record Publisher Stan Woody, former economic development council chair Donna Hill, San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Joel Williams, Main Street Program Manager Kelly Franks, and Texas State Associated Student Government President Melani Ferrari. All were appointed in November 2009.
Members of the city’s branding task force pose with the new concept approved by the San Marcos City Council Tuesday night. City of San Marcos photo.Email | Print