Riverside’s logo — the outline of the historic water tower springing from the tree tops with the word “Riverside” in all caps, marked by a looping R and a swooping S — is so familiar to residents that it’d seem strange to see it go away.
But by mid-2016, that’s exactly what’s going to happen as the village seeks to rebrand itself in an effort to ramp up marketing efforts for economic development and tourism and create a consistent look for village signage.
On Dec. 3, Riverside village trustees voted 5 to 0 to approve a $25,500 contract with Chicago-based Point B Communications to develop a brand strategy that includes a “positioning statement” and a new logo and style guide.
In addition, the contract calls for the development of wayfinding signage for the downtown business district. Installation of the signage, whose design will follow the new style and branding guidelines, is in the village’s 2016 operating budget and should be installed in conjunction with the East Burlington Street streetscape project.
“We’re hoping to have [the branding] done before summertime and incorporate those [guidelines] as much as we can,” said Sonya Abt, the village of Riverside’s director of community development.
Point B’s bid for the work was the lowest of three submitted to the village’s Economic Development Commission in November. The proposals submitted in November were the second pass for the village, which originally sought a greater scope of services.
Initially, the commission sought for the firms to provide, in addition to the branding elements, pricing for a marketing strategy and a plan for implementing that strategy. But proposals from four firms, including Point B ranged between $49,600 and $117,000.
Because the village’s board of trustees had budgeted just $20,000 for the entire package, officials scaled back the scope of services for 2016 to the creative branding elements and wayfinding signage design.
Abt confirmed that the Economic Development Commission will be seeking the balance of the funding for the marketing strategy and implementation plan in the village’s 2017 operating budget.
That additional work will end up costing the village an additional $20,000 to $30,000, based on Point B’s initial bid of $58,400 for the entire project. Despite the additional expense, Abt said getting the strategy and implementation plan completed is crucial.
“The Economic Development Commission and I feel it’s pretty important, with us having limited staff and resources, to have a strategy in place to direct staff in efforts to market the village,” Abt said. “That information is pretty vital.”
According to the proposal Point B Communications submitted in November, it will take about six weeks for the firm to develop both the branding elements and six weeks to complete the wayfinding signage design.
The brand positioning statement will result from information gathered by the firm from “key stakeholders” and will “establish an overarching guide for initiatives and communications when conveying the village’s image.”
“The brand positioning statement will encompass findings and represent what is best about the village of Riverside as a place to live, work and visit,” the proposal states.
Abt said that the branding elements would be incorporated into a new village website, which could be completed by the end of 2016. The village board has set aside $45,000 for website development in the 2016 budget and requests for proposals to develop a new website will be sent out early next year, Abt said.
Wayfinding signage, said Abt, would include directional signage, business directory signs at gateway locations such as the train station and green parking lot on East Burlington Street, as well signs directing motorists to municipal parking lots in the downtown area.