You can’t drink, surf or lace up Prince William County. But that doesn’t mean county officials can’t learn a thing or two about branding from companies such as Pepsi, Google and Nike.
Prince William officials want to standardize the logos used across departments to help the county become a consistent brand, especially to companies that might want to relocate here. To that end, officials chose a dark blue square inside a light blue square and the words “Prince William County, Virginia.” The county paid a contractor $750 to design the logo.
The county uses 22 logos across its agencies. Officials hope that the single logo will come to represent Prince William. It will not, they said, replace the county seal, which appears on the Prince William flag and other official correspondence.
During a recent meeting, county spokesman Jason Grant noted that Google Chrome, Nike and Pepsi have logos that don’t physically represent anything but came to represent the strength of a brand after people become familiar with it.
The logo is “not meant to do anything in and of itself other than to be clear and identifiable . . . and it means something down the road,” Grant said in an interview. “That’s the type of logo we chose to go with as opposed to something that literally represents Prince William.”
The logo will be used primarily for marketing. For enforcement actions, such as correspondence from the Department of Social Services, and all Board of County Supervisors correspondence, the county seal will remain in use, officials said.
The design is not necessarily a done deal. Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) said that county officials should not have moved forward with the logo, which has already been put on some county letterhead and used for marketing, without express permission from supervisors.
“I’m not saying I object to the use of the logo,” Jenkins said. “But I object to the way this went around to getting approved.”
Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) said supervisors should examine the issue. “I think we ought to take a look at this before we start scraping [the logo] off wherever it is,” he said.
Grant said county officials were following a 2010 board resolution and report that directed them to implement a marketing plan. The report charges Grant with promulgating and implementing “a unified communications and marketing strategy.”
The logo has worked well so far, said Jeffrey Kaczmarek, the county’s head of economic development.
“We think it’s clean, crisp. It’s adaptable in a lot of different things we do,” Kaczmarek said. “It’s great, and it’s worked very well for us. We’ve gotten very good feedback from those who have seen it. We think ours stands up very well against what our competitors are doing.”
Supervisors plan to take up the marketing plan at their meeting Tuesday.