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Town pride is behind new slogan

By Robert Preer
Globe Correspondent / July 29, 2012
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RANDOLPH — Most people know that New York is “The City that Never Sleeps,” “Virginia is for Lovers,” and “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.”

Now, after several years of study and deliberation, the town of Randolph has a slogan, too: “Building toward tomorrow today!”

Town officials unveiled the slogan along with a colorful new logo earlier this month. The logo is the town’s name in bold red letters with a numeral one incorporated into the R.

Bumper stickers with the logo and slogan were distributed at the town parade on the day before the Fourth of July, and the logo also will be on the cover of the next annual town report. Officials plan to mention the slogan at public events in the coming weeks and months.

“We are trying to provide a positive outlook about Randolph so people in our community and our neighbors can see that we are moving forward,” said Randolph Town Council president Andrew Azer.

Moore & Isherwood Communications, a public relations company hired by the town, devised the branding campaign. The town budgeted $40,000 for the project but will wind up paying the company between $25,000 and $30,000, according to Azer.

Randolph officials launched the branding effortT in 2009, as the town emerged from a difficult period during which the library lost state accreditation, the schools narrowly avoided being put into state receivership, and a series of violent crimes, some involving gangs, shook the community.

In 2008, Randolph voters approved a $6.1 million property tax increase, the first Proposition 2½ override in town history. Officials used the new revenue to bolster public safety departments, improve the schools, and restore services that had been cut in previous years.

“The ‘Building toward tomorrow today!’ slogan highlights the numerous investments that Randolph has made in the town’s quality of life and education,” a press release issued by Moore & Isherwood stated. “With an improving school system and new amenities throughout the town, Randolph has wisely invested resources for a better future.”

In recent years, Randolph has renovated its high school athletic complex, built six new playgrounds, and undertaken downtown beautification work.

“We had came to a turning point when we felt it was important to stop and take stock of what Randolph is and what we want it to become,” Azer said.

In 2010, Randolph replaced its board of selectmen and town meeting form of government with a manager-council format, which has curbed the divisiveness that characterized Randolph politics for many years.

In the 1990s, Moore & Isherwood of New Bedford organized the South Coast branding campaign for a regional development effort for Greater New Bedford and Fall River. Randolph officials said they decided to hire the company, in part, because of its success with the South Coast campaign.

In the Randolph project, public relations specialists from Moore & Isherwood met with town leaders and surveyed residents to gain a sense of how the town perceives itself.

“We found that people in Randolph felt good about the town,” company president Liz Isherwood said.

Moore & Isherwood then offered town officials several different choices for a slogan and logo. A special committee overseeing the project settled on the traditional red lettering for the logo and “Building for tomorrow today!” for the slogan.

Branding campaigns for cities and regions are usually undertaken by development and business organizations in conjunction with local government officials. Most of the campaigns are intended to promote tourism or to attract businesses.

“It is something that started in the private sector, but more cities and towns are looking at it today,” said Patricia Mikes, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “For a community, it’s another way of refreshing yourself. It’s a way to engage civic pride.”

The Massachusetts Mayors Association, which is part of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, held a forum on branding at its July 25 meeting. One of the scheduled speakers was Kim Driscoll, mayor of Salem, which last year completed its own branding campaign.

Randolph officials said they hope the campaign will boost town pride and also make the town more appealing to businesses. Azer said that the branding effort is the town’s way of “announcing to the world that Randolph is a forward-thinking community that believes in itself.”

The Quincy Chamber of Commerce and a series of recent city administrations have promoted the city as “Birthplace of the American Dream,” a reference to the city’s being the birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as the birthplace of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Howard Johnson’s food chains. Quincy also has long been known as “The City of Presidents.”

Quincy Chamber president Dean Rizzo said most branding campaigns are cooperative efforts involving business groups and municipal officials.

“If you are going to market or brand a community, you have to do it in cooperation with the administration,” he said.

The Randolph business community was not directly involved in planning the town’s logo or slogan, but officials said they hope businesses will use the brand in advertising and promotions.

Robert Preer can be reached at preer@globe.com.

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