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New ‘We believe’ city branding effort unveiled

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Mock-up posters with a ‘redacted information’ theme for the city of Roswell’s new marketing campaign can be seen on the screen behind city councilors and Mayor Dennis Kintigh. (Alison Penn Photo)

The city of Roswell is known for the alleged UFO incident in 1947 and Cubic Inc., the city’s contracted marketing firm, encouraged the city to ‘embrace the cover-up’ in its new brand platform.

Winston Peraza, vice president and chief creative officer at Cubic Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Juanita Jennings, public affairs director for the city, presented the city’s new brand platform at the full city council meeting on Thursday night. (Alison Penn Photo)

Winston Peraza, vice president and chief creative officer at Cubic Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Juanita Jennings, public affairs director for the city, presented the brand platform including a modernized logo, a graphic standards manual with variations of the brand for all city departments to use and the plan for implementing the marketing campaign, at the full city council meeting on Thursday night. The presentation was informational only and the council gave feedback without taking formal action.

To implement the brand, Jennings said all city departments should be on board at the beginning of July. Jennings said her department will also be asking the city council to invest in community branding integration in fiscal year 2020. Jennings said the collaborative process and “challenging mission” to unify the city’s “million dollar brand” has taken place over the last six months. Peraza reminded the council of the unique opportunity the city has in having a “world-renowned” brand.

As presented by Peraza, Roswell’s new “bulletproof” logo is a capital ‘R’ with a UFO with a light or a beam below it to create the negative space in the center of the R. Beneath the R emblem, the “signature” reads “Roswell” and a “specifier” spells out “New Mexico”. Peraza and Jennings said the specifier could be modified for various uses such as city department names. The logo is accompanied by the slogan “We believe”.

“The way that we approached this work gave us the opportunity to land on a very cohesive single statement that we’re calling it a slogan, if you will, but it’s much more than that,” Peraza said. “It’s a brand platform. It’s this declaration of belief. It’s a confident and optimistic declaration of belief. So when we say, ‘We believe. We believe in Roswell,’ we are not just winking our eyes at the 1947 incident and the idea about people believing in extraterrestrial life or not.

“It’s really about believing beyond that. It’s about again, a declaration of confidence and optimism, and that we feel it’s very deeply rooted in this community — because we believe in our people, the same way we believe in our land, or you guys believe in this land and the beauty of this land — because even natural resources and the energy that it produces. We believe also in its history and the legacy that has made this community what it is today and more importantly what it’s going to be in the future.”

Cool colors such as greens, blues and purples along with silver and black make up the logo, graphics and other facets and applications of the brand. Jennings said the brand has been ordered on merchandise for visitors and will provide an opportunity to streamline all of the city’s uniforms and hats. A trademark of the logo is in the works by Jennings and City Attorney Aaron Holloman.

Jennings said it has been discovered that 26 different logos are currently being used around the city and the new logo will create cohesion among the city’s various departments. Peraza and Jennings said departments would now be codified by color.

Jennings also said there is flexibility in different versions of the logo, to be “playful” or “professional” depending on the circumstances. For example, Jennings pointed out a potential logo with only typography, without the UFO theme, for the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Jennings and Peraza showed how the marketing campaign can be used in a diverse way from the Roswell International Air Center’s Fly Roswell campaign to hiring efforts for the Roswell Police Department.

Expressing her gratitude for the work behind the branding, Councilor Judy Stubbs said she approved of trademarking the logo and the city should also look into wordmarking (text-specific trademarking) the slogan. For other feedback, Stubbs also said she didn’t like the ‘S’ in the Roswell signature.

The iconic city seal with Roswell motifs including an alien, a rocket, pecan trees, a yucca, a zia, a cow, El Capitan Mountain and the Pecos River will still be used, according to Jennings. She said the local police and fire department will retain their unique seals in addition to the offerings of the new brand platform.

For external marketing for tourists, Peraza explained a “redacted information” theme, as an ode to the History Channel show Project Blue Book, and other sci-fi cultural trends would be used to “spark curiosity,” to intrigue and attract visitors to Roswell. Peraza also recommended to the council they consider how to improve the experience for visitors.

Councilor Juan Oropesa also asked if the media campaign could be translated into Spanish and Jennings said this is on the “to-do and wish list.” Peraza and Jennings also addressed the new technology and media that will be used in the campaign.

Councilor Jeanine Corn Best brought up the premiere of the Roswell, NM television show on the CW network and other film initiatives in the city. Jennings said the city has $1.6 million in earned media due to the city’s name and said she hopes this exposure will increase attendance at the UFO Festival.

With a smile, Mayor Dennis Kintigh said he found one theme — the redacted information theme, or “FBI teletype” as he called it — “a little bit disturbing,” which drew laughs from the audience, and referenced his retirement from the FBI and aerospace background.

“What I find particularly … desirable about the ‘We believe’ is that it truly embraces all parts of this community, including although maybe not intended to, the faith community here, which is very strong here in Roswell and an important part,” Kintigh said. “And believers, yes, they believe and they’re here in Roswell, so those who believe are welcome here and so I appreciate that context here.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.