MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners on Tuesday approved contributing up to $2,500 toward a $100,000 community branding effort, a key messaging and development idea found in the Mansfield Rising plan.
The decision came as commissioners met with Jodie Perry, president & CEO of Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, and Lee Tasseff, president of Destination Mansfield-Richland County.
Perry and Tasseff said they are leading the negotiations with Cubic Creative, a company based in Tulsa, Okla., to work on the branding effort. Those involved in the branding effort selected Cubic from among 10 companies which submitted proposals for the work.
According to the company's website, Cubic Creative is a "full-service creative company that transforms communities and companies through strategic creativity. While our services range from brand research and strategy through creative development and media implementation, our real strength is in building your brand with imagination and resourcefulness."
The bulk of the funds for the county-wide branding effort will come from private donations, according to Perry, including a pending grant request from the Richland County Foundation, the driving force behind the Mansfield Rising plan.
She said a final decision on that grant may come next week.
Both Perry and Tasseff said Cubic will conduct thorough research on Mansfield and Richland County, necessary to create an "authentic brand."
"Research drives it all. There are going to be focus groups. There is going to be a quantitative study. It's about perceptions, so you have got to dig underneath that," Tasseff said.
"If your research is solid, it drives what you do, because then the message becomes clear. It has to be authentic. What you put out there has to match what somebody finds here. You can't position yourself to be something you're not," Tasseff said.
Perry said organizers are focused countywide, including county commissioners, all of the mayors and others.
"We are intentionally doing this inclusively with the whole county," she said. "What will the brand say? We won't know until we do the research."
Perry said Cubic representatives will be back in the county in March and the plan is to have the branding selected by next fall.