Gahanna wants to create a new brand to attract more businesses, residents and visitors.

A request for proposals from advertising agency partners to develop and implement an umbrella brand for the city was issued March 31 with a deadline of April 21.

The city has been meeting with key stakeholders including the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, area business owners and residents to create a framework for developing a new brand that expresses the city's character, according to Niel Jurist, public information manager.

The need for a new brand was identified in the city's Economic Development Strategic Plan and throughout the public input process for the GoForward Gahanna Strategic Plan.

"Over the past year, my development team and I have met with more than 100 Gahanna businesses, and one of the recurring messages we heard was the need for an identifiable brand for our city," said Tom Kneeland, Gahanna mayor. "I am excited about this project and our goal to develop a stronger and more cohesive brand to attract more businesses, residents and visitors to our city."

The brand will directly shape the city's marketing, promotional, public relations and community outreach efforts, according to the request for proposals.

The brand development and validation process is expected to be completed this year and launched in the first quarter of 2018.

In an effort to support recommendations identified in the Economic Development Strategic Plan, Kneeland created the Department of Marketing and Communications last year and hired David Kusz as director to lead city marketing and branding initiatives.

"There was a lot of interest in the branding project among Gahanna's community leaders and stakeholder organizations, so we moved on this insight and established a committee," Kusz said. "Today, all of the stakeholder organizations are independently promoting Gahanna, each with limited resources. The collective goal of this initiative is to create a single umbrella brand for Gahanna that the city and all of its stakeholders can leverage. There are synergies to be achieved when we're all behind one brand."

The Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau is participating in the community involvement process for the new brand.

"As the destination marketing organization for Gahanna, whose mission is to market and promote the city as a vibrant visitor destination, we understand the value that a strong brand can bring to a community," said Laurie Jadwin, executive director of the Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"One need only to look at the recent development within the Columbus region to see the significant impact that a successful brand can have on economic development overall," she said.

Having an effective brand that unifies a city's message can boost a community's ability to attract new business, strengthen its existing business base and unite the many factions that make up the city, Jadwin said.

"From Visit Gahanna's perspective, having a strong brand recognition for the city would further enhance our ability to draw visitors and their valuable spending dollars to our community by helping us to further set Gahanna apart from the many other surrounding communities that are vying for the same visitor dollar," she said.

"The staff and board of Visit Gahanna applaud the mayor and the members of city council for recognizing the importance of brand development and for prioritizing this project as a result of the GoForward Gahanna initiatives," she said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla