City will pay $40,000 for 450th branding

Branding, the marketing term used to describe placement of an iconic logo or symbol, unmistakably tied to your program, in front of potential consumers, was the latest topic in the 450th Commemoration saga offered for discussion by City staff at Monday night’s commission meeting.

The commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the 1565 settlement of St Augustine by Pedro Menendez may go down in history as the “celebration of 450 false starts”.

In a classic example of which came first — the chicken or the egg — City Manager John Regan made his case to allocate another $40,000 for various expenses associated with establishing and promoting a 450th Commemoration brand.

Regan was aided with the presentation of a branding study from Jennifer Zuberer, 450th Communications and Resources Manager and dedicated staff consultant, Charlie Seraphin, who has been hired specifically to generate what has proven to be elusive revenue to recoup the seemingly endless flow of red ink associated with the 450th celebration.

Start with a study. The first step of a four-phase-plan to spend over $40,000 begins with a $13,800 expenditure for a research-based study to create a cleaner logo and secondary merchandising logo. The question on some reader’s minds has been, “How many logos do we need?”

The second step gets the City over-the-halfway-hump. Another $11,100 will be spent to retool the city’s 450th Commemoration website. This will be the fourth makeover after the original city site, a First America Foundation site, and a second city website after First America dissolved. It is not clear why an $11,100 allocation is being made as opposed to another $11,000 allocation — the extra $100 may relate to the cost of branding “Version 4.0” on all the webpages, but that is just conjecture.

The single largest appropriation, by category, is step three — social media marketing. Regan told commissioners, “This is the number one marketing tool today”. The City will spend $14,500 for that purpose, so, be sure to “tweet” the yet to be determined 450th brand on your twitter feed and “invite” all your Farmville friends to “like” the next-generation facebook page.

Step four-of-four is a $1,600 budget for the development of unspecified commemoration merchandise. It was suggested that this could include t-shirts and baseball caps, but may include other trinkets such as gold doubloons.

By the way, how many gold doubloons can you get for $1,600?

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