EDC steps into second stage of branding effort

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

Last Spring, the Liberty Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) teamed up with the City to develop and fund a branding campaign for Liberty Hill.

A tagline – “Freedom to grow” – and logo were adopted, but as the EDC moved into its strategic planning discussions and budget process during the summer, an emphasis was placed on taking the next step in developing marketing materials to promote economic development.

“This is phase two of the marketing program that we began last year, and that was to get the logo, tagline, colors, fonts and all that good stuff so we’d be starting off with the same foundation as the City,” said EDC Executive Director Lance Dean. “Phase two of that is more focused on EDC-specific initiatives in terms of going after particular industries, literature that’s more business-focused for recruiting as opposed to community focused.”

The EDC voted unanimously to move forward with an agreement with Hot Dog Marketing of Austin, pending City Council approval.

Dean got proposals from Freach Design, which did the logo and tagline last year, as well as Hot Dog Marketing.

“The reason I talked to Hot Dog Marketing is they are doing the marketing and branding campaign for Williamson County Economic Development Partnership, which we are a part of,” Dean said. “I’m counting on some economies of scale there, hoping that a lot of the information they are gathering to be used county-wide can also be used for us.”

The contract for $7,385 includes development of a marketing booklet, and four different one-page front and back flyers that will be specific to different industries. A slide deck for Powerpoint presentations would also be developed.

The EDC will get 250 copies of the 20-page booklet and 100 of each of the four flyers, as well as the PDF files to have more printed later.

Dean said the quote from Freach was significantly higher. The previous work done by Freach was $32,000, split evenly between the City and EDC.

A subcommittee of Board Members Johnny Johnston and Bill Chapman, along with Dean will work with Hot Dog Marketing through the process.
Grant expansion

Pending City Council approval, the EDC has opened up new opportunities for local businesses to participate in the facade grant program.

The Board unanimously approved the expansion of the program beyond the previous downtown district limits to include street-facing facades along SH 29 from the high school in the west to Ronald Reagan Blvd. In the east, along RR 1869 from SH 29 north to US 183 and south from SH 29 to Mourning Dove.

The program also stipulates that other properties can be considered on a case by case basis.

This tighter definition comes after Board members expressed concern at the Jan. 31 meeting over not having specific boundaries for the program.

“I think this looks good and it accomplished what we were trying to set up,” said Board Member Eric Bailey. “It gives a little guidance for the program.”

The program would allow business applicants to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost of the improvements up to $5,000 upon completion of an approved facade renovation project. The current program covers only the designated downtown area and has assisted 11 businesses through the grant program.

The issue in January was whether the EDC might want to limit the program to major arterials and roadways to maximize visibility. Some on the board said grant approval could be determined on a case-by-case basis, but others wanted to see more specific guidelines for uniformity and fairness.

“My main concern is it is nice to have the freedom, but it could create potential problems if you do it for one then not do it for another,” said Board member Chad Pirtle.

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