Social Circle endorses One Walton campaign

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- The Social Circle City Council appears poised to stretch out and participate in a countywide public relations effort spearheaded by One Walton.

After working for more than two years, the group is now prepared to roll out its branding initiative and is asking all the local governments within Walton County to come on board.

Teri Wommack, president of the Walton County Chamber, addressed the Social Circle City Council on May 17 and described the process undertaken since the idea of creating a countywide identity was hatched in 2009.

She said community stakeholders came together in the spring of that year and formed One Walton, the countywide marketing campaign. The group asked what they would like Walton County to be and took an analysis of what the county and the cities currently offer. In December 2009, One Walton hired the consulting firm North Star to put together a brand platform.

Debra Smith, representing One Walton, then outlined the final marketing plan that uses the keyword "stretch" and a silhouette of a man with his arms stretched open as its logo.

"Which brings us to Walton County," Smith said, reading from a prepared PowerPoint presentation. "This quiet community offers plenty of room (physically and mentally) for anyone looking to expand their business or their life."

Smith said One Walton is encouraging the municipalities, school systems and other government and business entities within the county to adopt this concept and incorporate its tagline, "Stretch Out," color scheme and logo as much as possible.

For example, she said, Social Circle could incorporate the logo and tagline the next time it has to reorder letterhead or repaint the water tower or city-owned vehicles.

"The more we can put it out there, the more it unifies our community and shows a united front," she said.

Smith said some other ways that One Walton might use the branding is by purchasing advertising in local and regional media outlets, buying billboard space along Interstates 20 and 85, and installing signage along local roadways. Members of the Walton County Board of Education have expressed their support and the Downtown Development Authority in Monroe has purchased some signs to be placed on light fixtures, she said.

Smith said implementing the countywide brand will take place over the next eight to 10 months. One Walton plans to hire someone in the next few weeks who would serve as a coordinator for any group planning to use the new brand to ensure consistency.

"This is the fun part, because we can start looking at how it is almost like a wave in the community," she said.

Social Circle had previously shown its support for the One Walton campaign, contributing $2,500 in January 2010 to the effort. On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Burgess said he was pleased with the outcome.

"I think this is an awesome concept," he said. "You've done a tremendous job; it is very, very creative."