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City still working on its image

Burbank officials continue effort to bring consistency to its brand and signs.

November 12, 2010|By Gretchen Meier,

Burbank is looking to refresh the city's image, but with the current economic climate, officials say the process will have to be gradual.

Some improvements have already been implemented — a redesigned and mobile city website and a public newsletter in utility bills. Others, such as an online network for city employees, on-demand video of city programs and an instant emergency notification system, are in the works.

All of the efforts are flowing down a path of rebranding the city, officials said.

Keith Sterling, who manages the city's public information division, presented a new Communication Strategic Plan to the City Council last week, a document he has been working on since his arrival in 2009.


He is leading the effort to unify the image the city presents within and outside the community.

"Other cities need to establish who and what they are and how they can seem more progressive and relevant," Sterling said. "Burbank does have identity and a built-in brand that gives it a leg up on other cities."

Ira S. Kalb, an associate professor of clinical marketing at USC, says the basics of creating a brand is having a name, logo and a slogan.

"Santa Monica, for example, created a new logo that connotes the sun, sea and mountains, and you see it everywhere in the city," Kalb said. "When you see it, it gives you that image that you are in Santa Monica."

A refresh of the city logo has been discussed, but no solid plans have been made.

But all of it takes money, and given the current economic climate, Sterling said he wants to implement the plan slowly.

Just like with a business, Kalb said the city needs to find out how the people see the image of Burbank, something the city plans to explore when the brand process begins.

"Branding is something we'll look at down the road," he said. "With the current financial picture, we need to be prudent with every dollar."

Valencia, a community developed by Newhall Land in the Santa Clarita Valley, has gained media attention in recent months with its new slogan, "Awesometown."

"We wanted to reinvigorate the brand of Valencia after we were hit hard by the economy," said Marlee Lauffer, spokeswoman for Newhall Land. "When we went out in the community, every third person used the word awesome."

Valencia wanted a refresh of the "live, work and play" slogan that Burbank uses, she added.

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