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Elizabethtown opens online voting for new brand, logo

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One idea voted off each week to find favorite

By Ben Sheroan

Elizabethtown is looking for a new identity and you will be able to influence the selection.

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Through a weekly online vote akin to “American Idol,” the final four concepts will be trimmed weekly until one idea remains.

New West, a Louisville-based public relations firm working with the city and three other local organizations, used a similar approach when it helped state government settle on the Unbridled Spirit campaign more than a decade ago.

The www.brandetown.com voting site is available now and the four choices await your attention. The process involves clicking on a favorite before midnight Thursday. The idea with the least support will be removed from the list and the remaining group begin a new round of voting the following Sunday with a clean slate.

“We like the fact it reaches out to the citizens of the community and they get to vote,” said Sherry Murphy, director of the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau. “They get some buy-in.”

City government, tourism, the Elizabethtown Industrial Foundation and the Heritage Council all have been involved in developing a new Elizabethtown brand since last fall, Murphy said. Creating a common “umbrella” image will unite all marketing messages.

“We really are concerned what image we portray to people who don’t know E’town,” Murphy said.

Initially, New West developed 28 ideas for consideration plus an assortment of variations with alternate colors, fonts or other tweaks.

The company built its ideas based on research which began by interviewing community leaders, groups and individuals. It then created and promoted an online opportunity to collect public comments “about the positive assets that should be promoted,” said Tom Kokai, chief operating officer.

Local input cut the choices to 12 and additional conversations finally resulted in agreement of this final four, known by their accompanying slogans as Welcome World, The Best of E-thing, Bring Your Dreams and Small City, Big Surprises.

Heath Seymour of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Heritage Council sees the voting process as an appropriate way to conclude this search for a brand identity.

“It’s a good way to get a lot of feedback from a lot of different people,” he said.

Murphy said organization members see value in each idea and are ready to accept the community’s verdict, which will be announced in mid-August.

The final round of voting ends Aug. 8.

Unlike “Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars,” stuffing the ballot box will not be allowed. Kokai said www.brandetown.com will accept only one vote per IP address each week.

Like the Unbridled Spirit campaign or slogans and logos developed for corporate giants such as Coca-Cola, General Motors or Nabisco, organizers hope Elizabethtown’s selection will prove timeless and become more effective over time through repetitive use.

“The hope was we’d provide a range of things and see what resonates with folks in the community,” Kokai said.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.