By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon
Just a few weeks into his role as Director of Economic Development for Del City, former councilmember Kyle Gandy presented his first major project proposal: a total rebranding and marketing plan for the city.
“The first thing a person sees when they go to investigate a city is the website of the municipality that they’re looking at, and we want that website to set us above,” Gandy said.
Gandy presented the plan at the Nov. 20 Del City council meeting, proposing a complete overhaul of the city’s marketing and public relations approach, encompassing everything from how the city responds in a crisis to how user-friendly the city’s websites are. For example, Gandy wants to streamline the utility billing process so that it’s integrated rather than requiring residents to go to a different site to make a payment. He also wants to make it easier for people to obtain city permits.
Gandy’s goal for the new branding and marketing strategy is to both attract and retain residents and businesses. Another crucial aspect of the plan, which Gandy said is something that would be new to the city, is to craft a crisis response plan to help inform city residents and ensure all city staff are sharing the same message.
“It just makes us all a more cohesive unit, makes sure that we’re putting out a positive message that reads no matter if you’re saying it out loud or reading it on a piece of paper,” Gandy said.
Gandy wants to enlist a consulting firm to oversee the project, while also soliciting input from the public about how to craft a new image. While the economic development office hasn’t selected a consultant yet, Gandy said they are considering three different firms. The exact cost is not yet known but Gandy said going “all in” on a rebranding plan would cost around $97,000 – an amount that
Mayor Floyd Eason said was a bit “out there.” Eason favored exploring other avenues before committing to hiring a consultant for the entire plan, citing one option as seeking input from the city’s residents. Eason also suggested consulting Halff and Associates, who has been helping the city with its new 20-year comprehensive plan, for guidance on a rebranding and marketing plan.
Ward 1 Councilperson Michael Dean pointed out that although the estimated cost may sound expensive, having a marketing strategy in place could be a solid investment for the city.
“We’ve been working on rebranding and trying to come up with new websites and different things for eight years, and we’ve spent a lot of money with different personnel at different times, and lots of wasted time and hours trying to do it ourselves,” Dean said.
In the end, the council and Gandy agreed to explore as many other avenues as possible before committing to the full estimated budget and to a company to handle the plan.