Describe yourself, or else others will describe you by their own perception.
That was the marketing lesson an urban planning firm presented to senior city officials and many other residents Friday. They had gathered at the Heflin Community Arts Center for the unveiling of a description the firm thought would work for the Cleburne County city.
“Open Space. Perfect Pace.” combined with a new logo, will “connect the dots” between the landscape of the region and the activities and amenities in and around Heflin, said Tripp Muldrow of the South Carolina firm Arnett Muldrow. In a 30-minute presentation he explained the factors that went into the choice of Heflin’s new public image.
The slogan and various logos unveiled will be used to reinforce community pride and attract investment and visitors to the area.
“We feel like if a community doesn’t tell its own story someone else will tell that story for them — and more often than not — that story may not be positive,” Muldrow said.
Muldrow showed a series of slides telling the story “We are Heflin,” which painted a portrait of a small, friendly town nestled next to the Talladega National Forest that has a lot to offer.
Muldrow said the new Heflin Main Street slogan includes four words that encapsulate what it means to live here.
The logo itself features the Cleburne County Courthouse against a setting sun. Below the courthouse are green mountains and at the bottom is a lake.
Heflin Main Street director Tanya Maloney said this year’s branding was provided by being a member of the Main Street Alabama program. Maloney said that it currently costs $2,000 each year to participate in Main Street, which aims to help towns and cities revitalize their downtowns and neighborhoods; last year a market analysis was provided.
Maloney said the firm “hit the nail on the head” with the unveiling of the new brand.
“We sit at the epicenter of Cheaha, Pinhoti, Ladiga, Tallapoosa; we have all this stuff around us but we didn’t know how to market ourselves to take advantage of those things and how to grow our city in a way that supports those things around us,” Maloney said.
Mary Helmer, state coordinator of Main Street Alabama, was on hand for the unveiling.
“Love it,” she said. “I think it’s one of the better ones that really fits the community. The community involvement here has just been amazing.”
Malachi Phillips, 12, one of many middle school children bused in for the event, said he hopes the logo will appear on tablecloths and blankets.
“I really liked the ‘Open Space, Perfect Pace’ and I really liked the picture of the courthouse,” Phillips said.
Heflin City Clerk Shane Smith said he was happy with the branding presentation.
“It’s going to be great branding opportunity for the city to market us across the state, across the United States, across the world so that people can communicate what we’re all about,” Smith said.