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Sentinel staff report–
“Solid roots. New growth.” That’s the new branding message for Citrus Heights you’ll begin seeing roll out in the coming months, along with a new logo. The city says the new branding is the culmination of extensive research and development, with the final logo and tagline presented last month during a city council study session.
“The message is we have a solid foundation that provides a good environment for growth,” Vice Mayor Jeannie Bruins told The Sentinel on Saturday, highlighting the area’s 150-year history that eventually led to Citrus Heights becoming a city. A new two-minute promotional video about the new brand also traces the roots of Citrus Heights back more than a century and says “everything that’s good and true about Citrus Heights grew from those roots,” describing the new four-word tagline as encapsulating what the city is about: “a healthy respect for the past, and an eye on the future.”
Bruins, who served on a committee tasked with developing the brand, said the effort stemmed from feedback from the business community and others who were concerned about negative opinions and views of Citrus Heights that she said no longer exist. “We want people to know that this is a vibrant community and that people would do well to invest their time and their resources here.”
City branding efforts are seen in other municipalities as well, with an eye on attracting new businesses and residents by highlighting the distinctive aspects of a city. To craft its local brand, Citrus Heights enlisted the help of North Star Destination Strategies, a Nashville, Tenn.-based agency that has assisted more than 100 cities and counties across the nation with branding efforts.
Although the city’s brand development didn’t begin until 2016, discussion dates back to the city’s 2011 Economic Development Strategy, which identified a “lack of [a] strong identity distinguishing the city from surrounding communities” and called for a four-prong action plan that included the development and implementation of a “concerted marketing strategy.” That effort began to take shape five years later, when the city council approved an $80,000 contract with North Star.
The agency assisted with research that included two-dozen stakeholder interviews, several focus groups, a community-wide survey, and multiple “man-on-the-street” interviews. Results were then used to create a “DNA profile” for what Citrus Heights is and how it is perceived by others, which then led to the development and review of various options and the final product.
The city’s new logo consists of a large “C” and an “H,” with bright colors and a circle in the center that gives a nod to the “citrus” in the city’s name, while avoiding too much emphasis. Bruins said the move was intentional to shift away from the focus on citrus, commenting that the city’s name is “kind of a misnomer,” since it has never been overtaken by citrus groves.
The previous logo, which featured the old Sylvan school house and several citrus fruits, will remain as the city seal and staff say it will stay in its prominent place above the entrance to city hall.
A new page on the city’s website describes the “solid roots, new growth” brand as representative of the city’s “strong leadership and collaborative community spirit that won us cityhood [and] has kept us in a strong financial position despite no access to property tax and continues to be the foundation for our community’s growth today.” Highlighting recent growth, the city lists the construction of a new community center and city hall, as well as the new Dignity Health medical office building under construction on Greenback Lane.
Devon Rodriguez, economic development manager for Citrus Heights, told The Sentinel on Thursday that the new branding campaign will be rolling out in a variety of ways over the next few weeks. City staff have already updated their email signatures to feature the new branding, and plans are in the works for a redesigned city website.
On its website, the city says the new “solid roots, new growth” brand will be the foundational touchstone for all planned action in the city, “because it is who we are and what makes us unique.”
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