What is a brand?

A brand is what people think about when they hear a name. Coca-Cola is more than a fizzy soft drink. You say Coca-Cola and people automatically think of the iconic Coke red and maybe polar bears. Disney’s brand is far more than a set of mouse ears, it’s the joy of children and an American institution. A logo and motto should be representative of the city brand. A brand can be visionary in nature (i.e. “What do we want to become?”), but it should also be realistic.

Why is the City undertaking a branding process?

Norwalk was established in 1957, it has a City seal and a logo but no official City motto and no brand statement. The current logo, created in the 80’s, has been identified as “dated” by members of the community and City Staff. Last year the City executed a holistic communications assessment that identified the lack of a City brand and embraced identity as an area that needed work. Additionally, the City has been on the hunt to create a strong external identity to drive economic development and bring development to the community. Before marketing to potential developers and businesses, it is important to coalesce around a common value proposition for the City to speak with a unified voice about the community and its brand. Norwalk is home to more than 100,000 residents and has a strong sense of community pride. The Norwalk City Council has aspirations to capitalize on the City’s unique geographical position and bring economic development opportunities to the City. A modernized logo and an aspirational motto will help to reinforce that Norwalk is a forward-thinking town and a great place to invest.

What is involved in the branding process?

The branding process is more than designing a new logo. Remember that a brand must above all else be real and true. Branding a city whose main industry is industrial coal manufacturing as “Green City, USA” might sound great, but is not likely to be embraced because it is not true. The branding process is a collaborative one and significant public outreach must be conducted to ensure all distinct communities are heard. The City has engaged a consultant team to conduct community meetings with a variety of community members including youth, seniors and the Spanish-speaking community. Online feedback will be gathered from those who cannot physically participate in the public meetings. Once this is done, a committee made up of community stakeholders will review the community input and provide advice as the consultant team moves through the creative process. In the end, a new logo, motto and brand statement will be adopted that will embody the City as it currently exists today and as it hopes to exist in twenty years.

Is the City seal going to change?

The City seal will not change through this process. The City seal is registered with the State of California and was adopted in 1964. It is different from the current City logo and will continue to serve the City.

How will this new logo be used?

The new City logo will be incorporated throughout the City. Beyond City letterhead and business cards, the logo will be used on City collateral materials such as the Recreation Brochure, on City signage and to promote City events. One of the goals of this process is to develop a uniform look to City communications so that information coming from the City is easily recognized as official.