DUNEDIN — Elected leaders tonight will embark on the final phase of a controversial branding campaign that they hope will help pad city coffers.
Commissioners will discuss which methods to use to advertise a new city logo and slogan, consider emblazoning city vehicles or other items with the image, and decide on wording of the application that businesses will use when applying for permission to use the items on their own marketing materials.
"It's just the beginning for the chamber (of commerce), Visit Dunedin and the city to implement different avenues to get the brand out there," said economic development director Bob Ironsmith said.
The city logo, approved in July, features "DUNEDIN" spelled in blue, orange, red and green capital letters with the "E" formed by three wavy blue lines. Under that is the phrase "Home of Honeymoon Island."
City leaders launched the $73,150 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, 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 brainstorming meeting. "The purpose is to go outside and get people intrigued about Dunedin and what we are and Google it and come here."
Merchants last year submitted letters expressing interest in partnering on the initiative. Local tourism group Visit Dunedin chipped in $16,000 toward image design costs.
Agenda documents for tonight's City Commission meeting said the tourism group, chamber and branding committee members have since voiced support for the merchant application and Wilesmith's final marketing plan, which recommends that the city:
• Hand over a new web domain, dunedinfl.com, to the chamber, which already acts as the visitor site for businesses and tourists. Donating the website, valued at $1,500, would help the chamber increase web traffic to the city and other groups by simplifying the agency's URL name.
• Erect a $3,500 standing map directory at the marina to help guide visitors toward downtown stores, restaurants and points of interest. The directory, city officials say, would fit into Dunedin's larger plan to link that district to the waterfront.
• Mimic the chamber in providing free Internet access to downtown visitors, who would be greeted on their devices by a welcome screen featuring the new logo. Cost of the service, to be split with Visit Dunedin, would run the city roughly $950 a year.
• Assist the city's ongoing social media efforts by advertising the logo on the Jolley Trolley at a cost of $2,400 a year. In the future, staffers say, commissioners should consider additional exposure on billboards or in the baggage areas at the Tampa International or St. Petersburg-Clearwater airports.
• Hang street banners, estimated at $3,000, downtown and also attach magnetic decals to all city vehicles. In the future, Wilesmith recommends putting the logo on city buildings, trolley stops, waste receptacles, clothing and other retail or promotional merchandise.
Expenses for all these measures would come out of the Community Redevelopment Agency budget or reserves.
Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.