The “Independence – Real People. Real Progress.” logo was unveiled at a “Shout Out Independence” celebration Thursday evening on the Square.
“It’s a symbol for our community to hold onto, to embrace, for our community to move forward with,” said Lori Worth, of the organizers of the Rethink Independence effort that led to Thursday’s event, which included live music, bouncy houses for children and tables for community groups to promote their efforts and activities. Those festivities led into fireworks later in the evening and the first “MoonLight Movies on the Square,” a free event held on Thursdays in the summer.
“It’s just a party to celebrate ourselves – celebrate community,” said Cori Day, the city’s tourism director.
Organizers say that a couple of years ago conversations were going around town, through initiatives such as Twelve Blocks West, about celebrating what’s going on the city and about improving its image. Those conversations rolled into the Rethink Independence project, which has involved surveying or talking one-on-one with more than 2,000 people.
Day said those conversations turned up several words and phrases, including pride, history, real, honest, small-town feel, hard work. That helped shape the “Real People. Real Progress.” slogan that Day said carries a “brand promise” that includes the idea that Independence is “a genuine community that’s glad you’re here.”
Look for that logo on buses, billboards and elsewhere. The city’s Tourism Department is using it, and other city offices might also use it. Day said she hopes anyone in the community makes liberal use of it.
“We want it everywhere. That’s the thing – it’s got to go viral,” she said.
Worth said she’s confident the brand will take off. Organizers lined up 20 sponsors in two days for Thursday’s event and more than 1,000 people “liked” Shout Out Independence in its first three weeks on Facebook, she said.
The Shout Out Independence website has a community calendar, and the idea is to use social media to get the word about what’s going around town.
“And we’ve done a lot to think about how we can get good, positive messages out about Independence,” said another organizer, Brad Speaks of Speaks Funeral Home.