Business leaders meet to brainstorm new brand

A group of Colorado Springs business leaders and residents will meet today and Tuesday to brainstorm the city’s brand strategy.

Called a charrette, the two-day meeting is the last step in the information gathering process led by Stone Mantel, a Colorado Springs-based brand and strategy firm.

The interactive exercise will call upon the 100 participants to discuss Colorado Springs, what it means to live in Colorado Springs and what they believe is a desired brand for the city, said Dave Norton, Stone Mantel’s principal and lead strategist.

The six-member team at Stone Mantel was hired in May to help develop the long-awaited and much talked about brand for Colorado Springs. The firm was awarded an $80,000 contract from the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of the Colorado Springs Mayor’s Branding Task Force. Their mission is to formulate a branding platform that could be used for marketing and advertising campaigns that both define and hype the city.

So far, Stone Mantel has completed one-on-one interviews, made home visits, conducted interviews with area historians and completed man-on-the street interviews throughout Colorado Springs for its research.

Norton said the firm, in coming up with a branding strategy for the city, is trying to address three audiences: residents, visitors and businesses that Colorado Springs is trying to keep or attract.

Following this week’s charrette, the firm will present three different branding strategies to the task force, Norton said. The task force includes the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, El Pomar Foundation and Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs.

“The task force will have the opportunity to review the recommendations, refine and test them,” Norton said.

The end result could be a city or regional slogan like Anchorage, Alaska’s “Big Wild Life” – which Stone Mantel helped create — or it could be a series of strategies that describes Colorado Springs as a city on the economic rebound – or both.

Charrettes – a collaborative session typically used by architects and designers — is a unique part of Stone Mantel’s research, said Kara Whitney, Stone Mantel’s marketing director. The idea, she said, is for the community to work together on its own brand.

“It’s such an effective interactive research tool in putting together the overall brand strategy,” she said. “It should be an exciting process.”