Ever wonder if the $50,000 Branding Study has gone away? Despite the tepid to downright comical response to the meaningless logo presented to City Council in January 2018, there’s been no word from the City that the contract with the firm engaged to provide the study, Principle, has been terminated.
Back on January 17, 2018, Cheryl Bright, now working in the City Manager’s office, issued a Brand_Identity_Memo in tandem with the Principle report. A quick review of Ms. Bright’s memo revealed that 25+ Stakeholders and 12 members of a focus group were involved in the Study.
A natural conclusion is that most of these folks would be Bellaire residents, since this is a quest for Bellaire’s identity. Thanks to a recent Request for Public Information here’s the list of Stakeholders, interviewed on May 2 and May 3, 2017:
9-9:45 am Byron Holloway, Police Chief
10-10:45 am City Branding Team: Paul, Diane, Cheryl, Michelle, and Raquel
11-11:45 am Yolanda Howze, HR Director
1-1:45 pm Terry Leavitt-Chavez, Bellaire Cultural Arts Board
4-4:45 pm City of Bellaire Directors: Karl Miller, Tracy Dutton, Michael Leech, Terrence Terrence Beaman, Patrice Baltuskonis, Darryl Anderson
11-11:45 am Branding Tour – Cheryl Bright (listed twice)
1-1:45 pm Randy McKinney, Bellaire Historical Society
2-2:45 pm Joan Gee, Citizens for A Beautiful Bellaire
3-3:45 pm John McDonald, Development Services Director
4-4:45 pm Mary Cohrs, Library Director
So only 17 stakeholders were interviewed, 14 of them are or were City employees, and only 2 of the 3 remaining are Bellaire residents. You’ve got to wonder if the City employees felt any pressure to agree with the opinion of the City Manager who is promoting this Study, right?
A request for the names of the 12 members of the focus group including the 8 present at the final meeting was not provided. The response from the City is that Principle did not provide this information. Principle was paid $7,250 for focus group studies, but since no information regarding participants is provided there’s no proof that any focus study was performed.
Compared to the $12.8 million going out to Siemens, $50,000 doesn’t seem like much, but it’s symbolic of the careless way City funds are spent. We do have some cloying verbal descriptions – leafy legacy, a safe place – and a font that might be found in Word or on any free font website. But we had to pay someone for this.
Cities across the country take pride In their ‘retro’ historical logos, from Provincetown to St. Louis, from Salt Lake City to San Diego. Our City is a little younger and our logo is mid-century, a popular era that speaks to our reputation of a solid community with a lot to offer. By now one would hope this whole waste of time and money might just go away, but apparently that’s not what the City Manager wants.
Rumor has it that he has ruled that that the current multi-colored logo is no longer to be ordered, the design will be displayed in the bright green from the discarded identity logo, and that the current logo will never be installed on the new City Hall! Guess the truth will out when the new municipal buildings open.
Email the Mayor and City Council via our City Clerk, Tracy Dutton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask her to forward your email to the Council.