Council hears Sidney branding plans

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The city of Sidney is undergoing a re-branding of its image with a new logo and branding narrative.

An “ad-hoc committee” was formed in early 2019 to look at Sidney’s brand and to work on developing a new logo and brand narrative, City Manager Mark Cundiff told Sidney City Council at the Monday evening meeting during a presentation of the project. The previous logo was adopted by City Council in 1975. He explained three consultants were interviewed, and the committee picked the Columbus advertising agency Fahlgren Mortine to work with.

Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Raible then took over and led the rest of the presentation.

“Building a community and destination brand for Sidney and Shelby County,” is the “branding strategy and expression,” he noted.

Raible acknowledged the team comprised of local stakeholders, with expertise in marketing, communications, business and economic development, who are working to create a “sense of place” for the new brand.

He outlined the process used to discover, define and design the new brand. The team interviewed over 20 residents, business leaders and public officials, as part of the discovery process. It facilitated a workshop to define the positioning and identify key themes for the community’s brand story, logo and tag line. For the design, the brand committee explored, reviewed and refined multiple directions.

“Sidney certainly isn’t immune to the demands of a modern society, but its size, values, places and people call residents back to an alternative respite. To slow down. To sing-along. Stroll about. Take it in,” Raible said.

His presentation including the following four pillars on which the brand was developed:: hard-working, humility, determination and generosity. Raible then shared the “Sidney is a Spirit” brand story and the campaign to help roll-out the new brand.

“If you’re looking for “easy street,” you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a laurel to rest on – you won’t find it here. Because Sidney is a spirit you won’t find anywhere else,” Raible explained of the brand story.

Several council members thanked Raible and his team for their work to develop the new brand. They noted that with the ongoing downtown revitalization, the timing of the new logo was appropriate.

Mayor Mike Barhorst said he felt the brand story was spot-on, but was still not sold on the logo itself.

Cundiff said subtle changes have taken place on the logo since it was rolled-out to the visioning committee about a month ago. Just as council adopted the previous logo, he would be looking to council for direction about officially adopting the new brand and logo.

Raible said the new brand would be extremely effective for use within the Sidney Visitors Bureau.

Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership Executive Jim Hill praised the new brand story and logo during the call for public comments at the end of the presentation.

In other business, City Council continued a brief discussion on the proposed 2021-2025 five year financial plan. Cundiff asked council members if anyone had any further concerns about various issues discussed about the plan during the September workshop meeting. No one had any further comments or questions.

Legislation on the five-year plan will be introduced for consideration at the Sept. 28 meeting.

At the end of the meeting during council comments, Jenny VanMatre praised Code Enforcement Officer Arthur Franklin for the work he is doing in the community. She noted his efforts have made a positive impact.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.