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Newtown Economic and Community Development earlier this month revealed to the Board of Selectmen the results of an out-of-state company’s (Haven Creative) marketing campaign to promote Newtown. But does the newly introduced Newtown logo of a rust and blue rooster imposed over the mustard yellow shape of Newtown’s borders say, “Come to us!” if you are trying to attract new businesses and residents, and present an upscale, progressive, and friendly community? Its design says rural. The colors say, “Safe, Colonial.”

The new (Newtown: Unique By Nature) logo and colors incorporated into an ongoing program are based on local results of a survey conducted by the marketing agency. The result is preaching to the choir. Business owners and residents are already aware of the charm of this New England community. It is the uninitiated who need to be drawn to put down roots in our town; and the quaint but predictable logo featuring the rooster will not make sense to some who take a peek at our materials. Beyond the borders of Newtown, where the gilded, buckshot rooster perched atop the old Meeting House reflects a bit of town history, a barnyard king only appears to be an agricultural wake up call.

Those of us who call Newtown home might recognize the outline of our town; but will someone unfamiliar with the state see anything beyond a random smear behind that cheery rooster?

The effort is to be commended. A new image for our town is a means of increasing interest and exciting prospective residents and businesses. Before a full rollout, something a little stronger than tweaking needs to occur. A vibrant, eye-catching look (based on a regional survey) could encourage adjustments that reflect our heritage in a manner that is recognizable to those near and far.

A logo that depicts the sense of safety and congeniality, the generosity and resiliency of Newtown to those unfamiliar with our community can put us on the map with newcomers to our town website, or any literature that is branded with our image.

Defining the Newtown of 2020 with a logo that harkens back to the Revolutionary and agricultural eras does not seem to sum up the personality of our culture here. Newtown is more and more a community responding to world events and ready to embrace changes that highlight our New England history while moving forward.

If new branding is only about “capturing the essence of what community members feel,” as First Selectman Dan Rosenthal stated at the Board of Selectmen meeting, then this is a successful campaign. If new branding is meant to entice new blood, then this branding may have slipped off the hide of the cow.

As Jeni Bukolt of Haven Creative told the Board of Selectmen, “Branding isn’t just a logo or tag line,” but a means of strengthening perceptions.

To emphasize our natural environment and pride in our New England heritage, is a caricature of a rooster in muddled colors the perception we desire? We wonder.

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