Dunedin proposes hiring PR firm to promote new brand to tourists
Months after launching a new city logo and slogan, Dunedin city staffers are looking into the cost of hiring an advertising or public relations firm to help promote the new brand.
The proposal will be presented to the City Commission Thursday, along with a briefing on the final marketing plan crafted by Wilesmith Advertising and Design (which designed the new brand).
Under the first phase of the brand rollout, Dunedin installed street banners featuring the new image and magnetic decals for city vehicles, among other things. For phase two, Wilesmith is recommending that the city wraps funds into its 2014 budget for billboard or airport advertisements, as well as embark on agressive social media and mobile marketing campaigns.
In a memo to commissioners, economic development director Bob Ironsmith has suggested that the city also gather cost estimates on firms that could help the city get the word out.
“A secondary strategy that emphasizes out-of-the-region marketing is being explored in order to attract more visitors and tourists to the city,” Ironsmith wrote. “The goal of enticing people to sample what Dunedin has to offer and promote the campaign developed by Wilesmith, “Dunedin, Dun Our Way,” could be accomplished more readily by retaining an advertising or public relations firm.”
City leaders launched the branding initiative in 2011, hoping to bump up revenues citywide by spreading the word about Dunedin's assets to potential tourists, businesses and residents around the world.
The campaign stoked months of debate among residents and pushback from detractors. Opponents included former City Commissioner David Carson, who thought the money was better spent on city expenses like employee raises, and dozens of residents, who said multiple proposed versions of the logo and slogan - including the final pick - didn't adequately reflect Dunedin's heritage and diverse charms.
Wilesmith Advertising and Design, the South Florida company that created the brand under a $73,150 contract, noted that the image's bright colors and slogan are intended to highlight Dunedin's whimsicality, beaches and unique state park - features available to visitors year-round.
"The purpose of this is not for us as residents to represent what we already know," local marketing expert and citizen Branding Selection Committee member Dan Zucker said during a February 2012 brainstorming meeting. "The purpose is to go outside and get people intrigued about Dunedin and what we are and Google it and come here."