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February 12. 2014 9:53PM

Nashua Chamber president: Let’s focus on the brand

NASHUA — Despite all of the disagreements surrounding the city’s branding campaign, the focus should now be on promoting Nashua’s new brand and making it productive, according to one of the organizers.

“I am hopeful we can all still have a very united front,” Chris Williams, president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, told aldermen who are concerned about the process. “I do want this to be a good thing for our city going forward.”While it is important to understand the procedures that led to existing frustration about two branding contracts and their timelines, Williams said, once that information is explored the priority should be selling the brand.

“That is what is important to me,” said Williams, adding the chamber believes it is critical to promote the brand, help it take root and make it as productive as possible.

This week, several aldermen voiced concerns about the city’s ongoing branding campaign and whether contracts should have been written differently or reviewed further by the aldermanic Finance Committee after an initial contract came to a halt.

“There have been multiple delays, and none of us are happy with that,” said Williams. He described the process as “messy,” saying he can appreciate the frustration.Still, Williams maintained that the chamber is committed to the project, and is anxious to see it come to fruition.A budget of about $105,000 was created for the branding initiative, with half of the project being paid by the city and the other half being funded with contributions from the chamber.

Although an initial contract with consultant North Star Destination Strategies of Tennessee was terminated early, some aldermen say they were never informed of the change and should have been notified during a prior branding update.

Others argued that when MESH Interactive Agency of Nashua took over the project — along with an additional $9,500 in work — an amended contract should have been reviewed by the Finance Committee.

Alderman-at-Large James Donchess questioned how periodic updates are beneficial if a key piece of information — the early termination of a contract — was never revealed to aldermen.

“I think it could have been more specific,” acknowledged Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, stressing that in the end, an exciting brand platform will be in place to promote the city.

“I guess I am a little skeptical because I haven’t heard any evidence that victory is at hand … it seems that there is a lot more to be done,” said Alderman Ken Siegel, Ward 9.

While the city’s new Dare To Begin logo and tagline was launched last fall, more work on the branding initiative is expected to be completed next month, including website development and templates for branding materials.

“We have a lot of ideas,” said Tom Galligani, the city’s economic development director. He believes that MESH’s final product will be great.

Once it is complete, Galligani is hopeful the city’s branding platform will be featured at a trade show to help with active recruiting. He echoed the mayor’s comments, saying the project is about $8,500 under budget.

khoughton@newstote.com


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