Liberty Hill defining its identity
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Knowing something is different than defining it, and while those who live and work in Liberty Hill may know why it was the place for them, defining that for those on the outside looking in is a different challenge.
The City and Liberty Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) want to solve that problem by developing a new brand for the community.
Both entities agreed to hire Freach Design to work through the steps of defining and discovering what that message and brand should be, then develop it through logos and design elements to keep the brand cohesive and clear.
The cost of the project is $32,000, split evenly between the City and EDC, and it begins with a blank slate.
“We don’t have a message right now,” said EDC Director Lance Dean, who added that it was important to coordinate the City’s and EDC’s messaging. “What I didn’t want to have happen is for the EDC to go off and create a marketing plan and define who Liberty Hill is and then not be in line with the City’s vision.
“I worked with Greg (Boatright) and the Mayor (Connie Fuller) – we wanted to help drive this, we were happy to do the legwork as far as finding out who we should use – but for the initial portion of it, we wanted to do it together and all start from the same place.”
The process is set up by Freach in two phases, the first being a discovery phase of research on Liberty Hill and area markets.
“What they’re doing now is they’re going out and talking to other economic development directors, asking what they think of Liberty Hill, talking to companies, asking what attracts them to different cities, then they will start to form the picture of who we are and what makes us a little different from other cities,” Dean said.
Freach was chosen because it offered more depth in the process than many agencies Dean met with.
“I talked to a bunch of companies and so many of them were ready to make us a logo,” he said. “So much of the stuff we are working on right now is just foundation.”
He said the process was open with no preconceived ideas and Freach has already begun gathering information in the community through interviews and research on other communities.
“We’ve already had our initial kickoff meeting with Freach Design,” Dean said. “It was about four hours, and that meeting included city staff, EDC people, a representative from the school district, a local business person, and we all sat around a table and they asked us questions. That was their initial data gathering.”
City Administrator Boatright agreed that Freach was a good fit for the situation with Liberty Hill starting from the beginning in its branding effort.
“That’s the reason we brought them in, so they can help us gain that identity and move forward with it,” he said.
Finding a balance between the message for the community and promoting development is what Boatright wants to see.
“Most importantly, we want it to be something that represents our community as a whole, but just as importantly, we want EDC to feel very comfortable with it because they are the ones who will be utilizing that tool the most in going out and selling our community,” he said.
Phase one is expected to take six to 10 weeks, and will result in a presentation on the findings and provide Liberty Hill with tools such as target audience refinement, marketing strategies and tactics, brand voice and tagline options.
Phase two begins the work of visually defining the brand with items including logos, color palettes, typography, photography and brand guidelines and templates.
“We want to make the right impression with the people we are marketing ourselves to, so having a professional appearance and presenting that to where people understand what we’re about is important,” Boatright said.