CLEARWATER — Clearwater is getting ready to put on a new, fresh face to the world.
The city unveiled a rebranding campaign this week anchored by a new logo that will go on everything from business cards to the entryway monument on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
The first rebranding effort in 15 years was backed by four months of market research conducted by hired consultants who polled at least 1,800 people to get a better sense of the city's identity and direction.
The result is an updated, modernized logo that represents natural beauty of the area under the tagline, "Bright and Beautiful, Bay to Beach."
"It's kind of a refresher, it's kind of a new grounding point," said Joelle Castelli, public communications director. "We've got all this research that says who we are, it says what we do, it says what's so different about us and what makes us bright and beautiful."
The city began its rebranding campaign in early 2014, but Castelli said the process took off later that year after consultants with the Urban Land Institute included rebranding in a slew of recommendations to boost the city.
Consultants with North Star Destination Strategies began market research last year by polling residents, visitors, Church of Scientology members, businesses and others on their reflections of the city.
They found perceptions varied between residents and outsiders. When asked to pick two phrases they thought best described Clearwater, residents chose "white sand beaches" and "home of the Church of Scientology." Residents thought those two qualities also represented how "outsiders" viewed the city.
In reality, state and regional pollsters best described Clearwater by its beaches, natural setting and walkable community — Scientology did not show up on their list at all.
Castelli said consultants used this information to blend the beaches, recreation and natural environment — Clearwater's best assets according to the research — into 33 potential logos that were whittled down to one.
She described the new logo as an iconic image that invokes interpretation from the viewer — the blue hues in the circular design represent water and sky while the tan strip can be a sandy beach or a nature trail.
The changes will be implemented in public beginning in January and will change the way Clearwater is presented to the world by being posted on official documents, signs and other materials, Castelli said.
"It kind of solidifies things that we feel but we don't necessarily know how to verbalize," she said.
Contact Tracey McManus at email@example.com or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.