Aurora aims to hire firm to brand city
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org August 27, 2013 5:56PM
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:49AM
AURORA — Aurora officials aim to hire a Nashville municipal branding firm to head up the city’s branding efforts.
Under a proposal, Aurora plans to hire Tennessee-based North Star Destination Strategies Inc. for $138,000.
Six branding firms submitted proposals to the city and four firms were deemed qualified, City Director of Communications Clayton Muhammad said at a Finance Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The goal on the branding campaign is to help identify and highlight the best experiences in Aurora, Muhammad said.
The city budgeted $150,000 in gaming tax and tax increment financing funds to kick toward the project, according to City Finance Director Brian Caputo. North Star’s original bid was $123,000, and the city negotiated additional branding services to be included in the branding package, resulting in a $138,000 bid.
The four firms deemed qualified were: North Star; Michigan-based The Image Group; Chicago-based Point B Communications; and St. Louis based Avant Marketing.
Five branding committee members and 22 residents “representing a cross section of Aurora” evaluated the branding proposals, Muhammad said.
North Star Destination Strategies will be responsible for researching existing attitudes and perceptions of the city, developing a brand positioning statement, concept, logo and style guide, according to a city memo. The consultant will also develop a recommended marketing strategy for the city.
City Chief of Staff Carie Anne Ergo said North Star had the most in-depth research component of the proposals.
“They”ll be doing online surveys to reach out to the community to get broad community feedback, they’ll be doing stakeholder focus groups, they’re doing one-on-one interviews,” Ergo said.
North Star, a 13-year-old company, has completed branding campaigns for more than 170 destinations, including downtown New Orleans, La., Glendale, Calif., and Providence, R.I.
Alderman Rick Mervine, 8th Ward, confirmed Tuesday that he was a member of the committee that evaluated the proposals, but said that he was not financially tied to any of the bidding firms and would be discussing and voting on the matter going forward.
Mervine, who operates Strategy Mentor, a consulting firm, said he would have bid on the city’s branding campaign if he were not an alderman.
Aldermen will discuss the proposal at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place. Ahead of that discussion, Alderman Bob O’Connor, At-large, asked that city staff find out how much comparable municipalities paid North Star for similar rebranding efforts.