COLUMN: Chesterfield Council leader hits back after rebrand project is criticised

John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council's Leader, has hit back at criticism of the authority's rebranding project.
John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council's Leader, has hit back at criticism of the authority's rebranding project.

You may have read about Chesterfield Borough Council’s new branding. I’d like to take this opportunity to correct some inaccuracies which have built up about the subject.

The total cost for the whole project is £13,600 – this is for far more than just a new logo.

This money has been spent on:

Producing templates to allow us to advertise public events without the cost of having each one designed. Each year we run and publicise hundreds of events. By using these templates we will, within a couple of years, recoup the cost of doing this branding project and then provide on-going savings in the future.

Producing a standard design and book of guidelines to create a consistent look to promotional materials informing the public about council services.

Ensuring that the logo and accompanying design is legible in every potential use of it.

Running five focus group events with the public, businesses and staff and holding a large number of other meetings with council staff over the work.

As a priority from us, the new logo features the Crooked Spire as the old one did.

This is a modern interpretation.

In the consultation events we ran, people said they felt strongly that we should continue to use the Crooked Spire and we have listened to their feelings.

We are phasing the branding in so that we replace existing branding when it reaches the end of its working life or needed replacing anyway to prevent additional costs.

People have also commented on the ‘Welcome to Chesterfield’ road signs introduced a few years ago. These are not in the council’s branding but that of Destination Chesterfield.

The branding used by Destination Chesterfield is ‘place branding’.

This means that their work is aimed at attracting visitors to the town and encouraging new businesses to invest in the town to help the local economy.

This is not changing and the ‘Welcome to Chesterfield’ signs will not be replaced.

To survive, the council is going to have to generate more income to replace the Government grants we are losing or have lost. This will be used to pay for the essential services we provide to the public.

To achieve this, our services which generate money will need to get more people using them or get existing customers to use them more.

They need consistent and modern branding to use in advertising and marketing if they are to compete and win new customers.

For example, our leisure centres will need to compete against multi-national companies like Virgin, who spend millions on their advertising and marketing.

To do this using branding that is 40 years old would set them up for failure.

There are sound commercial reasons for introducing a new council brand and I hope the reasons for introducing this are now clearer.