Friday, December 12, 2014
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Unified organization to be called Logan County Alliance
Hake offers city first service under the new organization

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[December 12, 2014]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday evening, Andi Hake discussed the new unified organization with the Lincoln City Council during their workshop. She told the group that a new name has been selected for the organization. It will be called the Logan County Alliance.

The LCA will be an umbrella organization under which the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Logan County Tourism Bureau, and Main Street Lincoln will operate. In addition, the LCA will add an economic development component separate from the recently re-organized Logan County Economic Development Partnership.

Included in Hake’s discussion was a request for monthly financial support from the city and a one-time request for approximately $30,000 to develop a brand specifically for the city of Lincoln.

Hake said that the branding was an important aspect of moving the city forward economically. She said it would create a unique identity for the city and would relay to business and industry looking to come to Lincoln a message of “who we are.”

She said that she would like to hire DCC Marketing of Decatur to do a study similar to what was done for the tourism bureau and from that study, create a new image for the city.

The new image would include a logo. She commented that the city currently uses an Abraham Lincoln bust or head shot as its logo, but there are a variety of versions being used so as a logo it logo lacks consistency.

Hake said that one reason for using DCC Marketing was because they already knew a great deal about this community after having conducted studies and creating a marketing plan for the Tourism Bureau. She added that the branding message and logo for the city should be something that complements what has been done for tourism and DCC can do that.

In addition to discussing the branding for the city and the new LCA, Hake offered a brief comment on changes coming to the chamber. She said the question had come up on how the Chamber was going to serve local businesses that are not Chamber members. She explained that while the final decisions have not been made on the exact structure, the Chamber will be changing its format to include a free membership that will include all the businesses in Lincoln and Logan County.

During discussion, Mayor Keith Snyder commented that the monthly support request was within the amount set aside in the city budget for support of community and economic development. He also noted that the contract in draft form that Hake was presenting, spells out what the LCA will do for the city. He said the city would then have a measuring tool to determine whether or not the LCA is performing as expected.
Marty Neitzel asked for clarification on the differences between what the LCA wants to hire DCC Marketing to do for the city of Lincoln versus what the city has already hired Retail Strategies to do.

Hake said that Retail Strategies has one specific goal, to bring new retail business into the city. She said that DCC Marketing would create an image for the city that would include a logo, and a tagline that delivers a message. She said what DCC Marketing comes up with could be used by Retail Strategies. She added that the LCA would work with companies like Retail Strategies to help them achieve their goals.

Talking about the $30,000 request, Hake said the money that was a one-time only request would cover the cost of the marketing firm, plus it would cover the execution of some of the plans. She noted that the money would be used for marketing materials and also for some signage.

She said it often comes up that travelers coming off of the interstate don’t know how to get to the downtown area. The signage she was referring to would help lead the way into the city.

Melody Anderson asked if there would be an accounting given to the city on how its money was being used by the LCA. Hake said that could easily be done. Anderson also wondered if the county was going to be contributing to the LCA.

Hake said at this time, she doesn’t believe the county, as in the Logan County Board, will be involved. The county has chosen to reorganize what was the Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership into the Logan County Economic Development Partnership, which will serve all points of the county except the city of Lincoln.

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The LCA is being designed to serve all of Logan County. Hake said that other communities would have the opportunity to be a part of the LCA. And they would eventually be offered the branding program that is now being offered to the city.

She noted that the LCA wanted to do these branding studies one at a time and that Lincoln, as the largest city in the county would be the first. She said she anticipated that the city would be the focus for the first year. Then later, the LCA would branch out and include other communities, offering the branding program to those areas as well.

Michelle Bauer asked about some of the language in the draft agreement Hake was presenting. In the agreement, it mentioned a CEO and president for the LCA. Hake said that the language should be changed to reflect there will be an executive director.

The LCA would be overseen by a seven-member board of directors, with Hake service as the Executive Director. She would then be the overseer of the chamber, tourism bureau, and the Main Street Lincoln components and would be held accountable for these agencies to the LCA Board of directors.

There was some confusion amongst the aldermen on how the LCA was going to serve Lincoln, as well as the rest of the county. One question came up as to whether or not the city’s monetary contribution was going to be used in county-wide efforts. Hake explained the situation saying it was much like the city considering hiring an engineering firm. She said while the city would hire the firm to work for it; that firm would also be employed by other clients. It will be the same with the LCA. The city of Lincoln will be, simply put, one of the several clients of the LCA.

Questions were also raised about the LCA offering reports and updates to the city. Hake said she could come before the aldermen with progress reports as often as they wished.

Mention was made of a report that was promised for the end of the fiscal year. Scott Cooper commented that he would want to see that report prior to April 30th. He indicated that because the city new year starts May 1st, and a new budget goes into effect at that time, he would want to see the LCA’s performance record prior to the last day of the fiscal year.

Hake said it was currently planned that the tourism bureau will offer quarterly reports to the city, but the LCA might need to offer reports more often. She said she could offer LCA reports as frequently as monthly if the city wishes.

Snyder also commented that the frequency of reporting should be stipulated in the final draft of the contract. He noted again that the contract will offer the city a tool to measure the LCA performance. The city will have written expectations and can judge the performance of the LCA based on those expectations and how they are carried out.

Hake also said that in regard to the branding project, she is setting a goal of having something solid by the end of March 2015. She said it was an ambitious goal. It will depend on how quickly the city approved the contract as well as availability of the marketing firm to do the work, but she is hopeful that the work can be done quickly.

The last meeting of the Lincoln city council for this year will be next Monday evening, December 15th. It is anticipated there will be a motion on the agenda for approval of the monthly financial support to the LCA as well as approval for the LCA to move forward with the branding project for the city.

[Nila Smith]

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