Out with the Old and in with the "Real" New
City of Seguin Undergoes New Branding Process

In February 2015, the City of Seguin established a Branding and Website Committee to oversee a branding campa ign and website redesign. The City wanted to adopt a new brand that tells the true story of Seguin and captures all of the wonderful aspects of our community. The City wanted to send a cohesive message that the City, the Chambe r of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the SEDC and local businesses can use to market Seguin as a destination - whether it be for tourists new business or new residents.  

Creating a new brand is not about adding a logo and a tag line to business cards or the water tower- it's so much more than that. It's about creating an identity. It's about attracting new visitors to see the sites that make up our beautiful city. It's about understanding why Seguin is the right place to build your business and how to share that with potential developers. It's also about creating a cohesive message and identity that everyone can use when they talk about our city.

The Seguin City Council approved funding for a destination branding initiative in the 2015 budget. A task force including representatives of City staff (7) and City Council (2 members).  The City of Seguin received eight proposals and reviewed the proposals on qualifications, past experience, innovation, and capabilities of the firm. After reviewing the proposals, the task force invited the top five to come to Seguin to present their ideas and methods. Based on the presentation and proposal, the task force selected ChandlerThinks due to their vision, enthusiasm, creativity and shining references that made them a great choice for branding our community.

ChandlerThinks' Brand Navigator process stood out because of its emphasis on bringing the community together with one voice, one message and one identity. It's our job to manage our reputation here at home and to 'outsiders'.

The company's experience creating "destination" brands that successfully market cities like Seguin in a competitive field was a major factor in the decision.

Upon being selected to help Seguin renew its identity, ChandlerThinks began work on Seguin's Brand Explorer program which consisted of 4 stages in developing a strong community identity and making Seguin a destination of distinction-  Phase I: Explore, Phase II: Evaluate, Phase III: Expressions, Phase IV: Evangelize.  

Phase I of Seguin's Brand Explorer program measured the pulse of the internal community and strategic external audiences through research. In the "Explore" phase, ChandlerThinks conducted a research study to better understand Seguin from the resident's perspective. They needed to find out what people love about Seguin, what makes them proud of Seguin, the town's assets, how they would describe the town as compared to outsiders, how the town delivers on a series of attributes and what makes the town attractive to businesses. ChandlerThinks gathered data for the study from various people and organizations including community members, "outsiders" and Seguin's digital footprint. The research study consisted of 36 interviews with community stakeholders, 30 focus group participants, 464 community surveys completed and 221 attitude, awareness and perception surveys completed by residents in San Antonio, New Braunfels and some of the smaller surrounding communities.

Phase 2 of Seguin's Brand Explorer program involved evaluating key research findings and insights, identifying Seguin's perceived strengths and weaknesses and identifying brand truths. The brand truths ChandlerThinks accumulated from Phase 1, were undeniable, raw facts about Seguin. Analysis of the research allowed ChandlerThinks to form a branding strategy that leveraged and exploited Seguin's many strengths and assets, while minimizing and overcoming our current weaknesses. The basis of the strategy was to leverage Seguin's authentic heritage with its hard working character. ChandlerThinks then identified the brand promise and platform that determined what Seguin can offer and promise folks that is unique to our city. The platform reflects how we define ourselves, it provides measurement for branding decisions, highlights our heritage and our vision for the future and inspires. The platform consists of a Target (the types of people we want to attract), Landscape (where we compete location wise), Promise (the heart of our brand, what we can promise that no one else can deliver) and Benefit (how does our promise make people feel and why would they care about it). 

Phase 3 of Seguin's Brand Explorer program consisted of using the brand platform to creatively tells a story about Seguin that will gain attention from others. The "Expressions" phase included developing a tagline, a logo and a visual platform for telling the Seguin story.

The Seguin logo was developed to be bold and simply stated. It's intended to be just as authentic as Seguin. And much like Seguin, the all caps serif font gives it a combination of strength and personality. It proudly uses the entire word of Texas underneath its name. The green-ish blue background is intended to show the growth happening in seguin and reflect its love of the outdoors, parks and the Guadalupe river. The entire name is framed by an edged solid color rectangle, also giving it a bold appearance with personality. 

The tagline, "It's Real," illustrates that Seguin, Texas is an authentic experience. It's intended to showcase the personality of its people. It's meant to show Seguin is anything but fabricated, but the real deal. It's not about flash, it's about working hard to make the community better and to celebrate its people. "It's Real" is a message that can celebrate the grit of Seguin, it's sense of heritage and preservation of these stories. It's proud of its lifestyle, the work and the people of that call it home. It also thinks it appeals to those that come to visit.

Phase 4 of Seguin's Brand Explorer program consisted of generating thoughtful and creative ways for the City to live the brand. During the "Evangelize" phase, ChandlerThinks devised a Brand Navigator that will give the City, the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the SEDC the navigational tools needed to actually put the plan to work rather than putting it on a shelf. This phase is where all entities will educate residents on how to share the brand message with their friends and family, and foster a sense of pride.

This Brand Navigator is a process and action plan gives us the roadmap to get started in telling the Seguin story. The story the new brand unfolds is a great one to tell. It will help Seguin set ourselves apart from other communities when talking about economic development, living or tourism. The process will allow us to work with local businesses so they can incorporate our brand in what they do every day.

"The new brand will help market all of Seguin as a destination - whether it be for tourists business or new residents. The brand allows Seguin to send a cohesive message that the City, the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the SEDC and local businesses can use," said Kyle Kramm Director of the Seguin Main Street Program and Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Everyone can use the brand their own way, and tell their story with their own voice."

The SEDC believes that the new brand will be successful in aiding economic development marketing efforts by illustrating to site selectors and businesses that Seguin is an authentic experience. The new brand truly reflects the nature of Seguin- resident and business wise. The brand tells the story of Seguin's dedicated workforce, our community's history of entrepreneurship and our ability to accept change and overcome adversity.

"Seguin is a blue collar community that is made up of hardworking, down to earth, real, true human beings who are ready to work hard and celebrate our accomplishments and achievements," said Josh Schneuker, Interim Director of Economic Development. "We are Seguin, Texas - we've got some true Texas grit behind us and real world- class citizens who are here and ready to work hard."

Branding a community is about delivering a real authentic experience to residents, businesses and visitors. And although we're very proud of the new Seguin logo and tagline, "It's Real" alone is not branding. It's only a tool for branding. Branding a community requires long-term commitment.

The new brand is more than just a logo and a tagline- it's a story that tells where Seguin has been, and more importantly, where it's going. Seguin is a REAL Texas town experience that you can't get anywhere else and now we have a way to share that.
Son's Island at Lake Placid
Seguin Small Business Highlight

Palm thatched cabanas nestled among heliconia and hibiscus, wooden bridges over quiet lagunas, hammocks swaying in an island breeze- sounds like a far-off daydream, an expensive vacation maybe. Wrong.

How about a day trip?

Situated on 3.5 acres of prime waterfront, Son's Island at Lake  Placid boasts an island paradise right here in Seguin, Texas.  Located just outside of the city limits, south of CMC Steel Texas, at 110 Lee St. in Seguin. Son's Island has everything for a perfect day of relaxation with  friends and family. 
Owner, Byron Riedel purchased the property approximately one and a half years ago, adding another gem to Best Texas Travel's collection of waterfront getaways. 

Best Texas Travel is a local vacation rental management company that offers nightly, fully furnished, vacation properties on or near water in the area. Their vacation rental portfolio includes treehouse cabins, tipis, vintage airstream trailers and homes located on or near the Guadalupe River. Their latest business venture, Son's Island at Lake Placid, is their fourth property in the area- the other three being Geronimo Creek Retreat, located on the spring fed Geronimo Creek and River Road Tree Houses and the Reservation on the Guadalupe River, both located in New Braunfels.

With over 4,000 linear feet of waterfront, there is plenty of room for water activities. Rent a kayak, take a paddle boat for a cruise, swim, fish, waterslide, paddle board, rope swing or just sit with your toes in the water, all right here in Seguin. Also, you can venture away from the island with a 2 hour captained boat cruise on the lake, aboard a 24 foot pontoon boat that holds from 10-12 people at a time.   

For those looking for on-shore activities, there are numerous amenities allowing some dry fun in the sun as well. Enjoy beach-style volleyball, tether ball and a huge lawn that's perfect for basking in the sun, throwing a football or enjoying a game of horseshoes or washers. 

Recently, Son's Island offered the opportunity to extend your fun day in the sun by offering an overnight option as well. The island now has vintage, airstream RV trailers available for overnight vacation rentals. Additionally, guests can now enjoy live music every Saturday night once the sun goes down, with discounted cabana rentals from 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Riedel also said that the new features don't stop there- coming soon Son's Island will be adding new day and nighttime activities including hydro bikes and Friday night outdoor movies.

"Since we opened in August 2015, we've been very pleased with how many choose Son's Island for a relaxing day in the sun," said Riedel. "In fact, there have been many days where we've reached maximum capacity on the island and have had to turn guests away." Riedel stressed the importance of reserving your rentals online prior to arriving, due to increasing demand. "Seguin is an up and coming place - there is a going on in the area, and I'm excited that we are a part of it." He continued, "It's has been so fun seeing families and friends enjoying the place and spending time together outdoors."
Whether you are looking to plan your next vacation, or just a quick "day-cation" getaway, Son's Island at Lake Placid offers fun for everyone. There are large and mini cabanas available for rent every day during the summer and every weekend during Fall and Spring. All of the water and land amenities come with the purchase of a daily cabana rental - aside from kayaks, paddle boards and paddle boats, which can be rented separately for all day use. Additionally, guests can rent the entire island for private parties; perfect for company picnics, benefits and memorials, family reunions and more. 

All booking can be done primarily on their website at https://sonsisland.checkfront.com/reserve/ or by calling 1-888-993-6772.
For more inf ormation visit http://lakeplacidisland.com/ or email Son's Island directly at info@besttexastravel.com.  

Local Retailers Gear Up for a Weekend of 
Back-to-School Savin gs

With the first of the new school year approaching, local retailers gear up for a weekend of back-to-school savings. Just when parents begin fretting about how to prepare their children for another school year, along comes an opportunity to multiply the bargains.

The dates for the annual Sales Tax Holiday, as determined by the State Legislature are August 5th-7th. A large majority of Seguin's retailers are stocking up and marking down items in preparation for the upcoming Sales Tax Holiday. 

Local retailers such as D&D Outfitters, LaLa Gypsy Boutique, Serenity Boutique, Bling and More, Vogue Shoes, Gift and Gourmet, Bling, The Gift Shop at GRMC and more, will be offering shoppers savings, promotions and extended hours during the event. National retailers located in Seguin will also be participating in this years' Sales Tax Holiday.

As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

"As Seguin families prepare to send their children back to school, we hope folks take advantage of this opportunity to get the supplies they need and save some money in the process," said Josh Schneuker, Interim Director of Economic Development. "This event provides families with some relief from both state and local sales taxes."

According to the Texas State Comptroller's website, "backpacks priced under $100 sold for use by elementary and secondary students are exempt during the sales tax holiday. A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack, and messenger bags." The exemption does not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffel/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks."

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' website gives an in-depth description of qualifying exempt items, along with other important information you should know about the Sales Tax Holiday. Subject to the exempt criteria listed on the website, all sales of qualifying items made during the holiday period qualify for the exemption, including items sold online, or by telephone or mail. Lay-away plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

For more information on this year's Sales Tax Holiday, visit http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/m/index.html


Josh Schneuker
Interim Director of Economic Development
(830) 401-2415

Ashlynn Tovar
 Economic Development Analyst
(830) 401-5005

Karlee Scheel
 EconomicDevelopment Specialist
(830) 386-2545

Seguin Economic Development Corporation