After three years of study, Pasco County has unveiled a new logo with a new tagline — “Open Spaces. Vibrant Places.” – that Melanie Kendrick, the county’s acting program administrator for economic growth, says ties the county’s story together, presents the area with a sense of place and provides a cohesive sales pitch to tourists.
“I think we needed to tell the Pasco story in a holistic way,’’ said Kendrick, a member of the county’s Branding Team, comprised of leaders from multiple departments.
“We don’t have that one thing to sell in Pasco. If you ask 20 people about what makes Pasco, you’ll get 20 different answers. We thought this was a way to unify the county.”
Pasco County Commissioners approved the new branding effort last month by a 4-1 vote, with only District 5 Commissioner Jack Mariano dissenting.
In today’s fast-moving world and an ever-growing social media universe, branding is everything, especially when it comes to attracting tourism, says Ed Caum, manager of the Pasco County Office of Tourism Development, who also was the featured speaker at the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce’s October Business Breakfast.
The logo, with carefully chosen orange, yellow and gray colors, a rising sun (as the letter “O” in Pasco) and a sandhill crane flying in front of it, was designed by Jennifer Lachtara, the marketing coordinator for Pasco’s Economic Development Council (EDC). A variation of the logo was in the “MyPasco” app that the county released in the Google Play and ITunes stores in June.
Caum and Lachtara, along with Pasco County public information officer Doug Tobin, were key members of the Branding Team, though Caum stressed it was a county-wide effort involving many.
Caum also says there was talk of outsourcing the re-branding effort, but by doing it in-house, the re-branding committee saved taxpayers roughly $80-120,000. He explains that Hernando County rebranded itself as the “Adventure Coast” in September and that effort cost roughly $85,000.
It was time for the re-branding, Kendrick says. She recalls doing an interview with some USF students about 3-½ years ago, and she asked them what they thought about Pasco County. Some didn’t know where Pasco was, even though they acknowledged hanging out at The Shops at Wiregrass mall.
The county has basically used its seal as a primary logo, with various unofficial logos and catchphrases popping up here and there. “Open Spaces. Vibrant Places.” replaces “Room To Grow” and others like “It’s Only Natural.”
“A seal really isn’t a logo and a seal is not a brand,’’ said Caum, adding that the seal will still be used on official documents. But new county cars will bear the new logo, as will buses, stationary, business cards and shirts of county employees when it is rolled out, which Caum says should be by 2017.
More important, Caum says, is that the plan is to recognize those vibrant places in Pasco County with the new logo, which is already on the county’s website. It will effectively serve as a stamp of approval.
Caum says there will be criteria for those applying to be deemed a vibrant place or an open space. When those criteria are determined, they will be listed on an application for interested parties.
Signs will be positioned throughout the county in areas that are accepted as part of the program, like parks, cities, downtowns or green spaces. Shopping districts and neighborhood associations also can apply to be part of the new “story” the county hopes to tell to visitors, tourists and residents.
“We just need to make sure we maintain a brand standard,’’ Caum says.