NEWTOWN — The Board of Selectmen, meeting Tuesday, September 8, listened to a presentation on economic and community development branding, as developed by Haven Creative Agency

Jeni Bukolt, president and founder of the agency, described the goal of sharing information with clients to empower them and described her 18 years of experience before emphasizing that branding is more than a logo.

She said branding can help Newtown positively shape the impression people have of the town, explaining the project has specific benchmarks that will be monitored to note progress.

One such benchmark would be the number of new businesses attracted to the town and associated jobs created.

A survey recently conducted informed the work and the results particularly noted the New England charm of Newtown and the green spaces as an asset.

The town and EDC logos were examined, with the survey indicating that a change would be favorable and survey respondents were asked to describe the types of businesses that would enhance the town.

Ideas included small specialty shops, restaurants, light manufacturing and environmentally sensitive retail spaces.

Jobs, dining and shopping options, and diverse housing options were selected as the items that would have the best impact, in descending order of importance.

Preserving green spaces was also a priority, followed by preservation of historic buildings such as Edmond Town Hall.

The next step is to craft a brand platform, starting with the personality traits that represent the town and allow people to connect with Newtown.

Friendly, inclusive and authentic were words used to indicate all are welcome.

Ms. Bukolt presented the brand story from which the tagline, “Unique by Nature,” and differentiators could form and showed samples of how the logo, colors and ideas would come together to portray the lifestyle of the town.

Selectman Maureen Crick Owen confirmed that metrics would be measured as these steps were taken, learning that a new survey was planned to take place in six months.

As the selectmen considered the input, Wes Thompson, economic development commissioner, enumerated empty buildings and the opportunities that could exist for economic development and Ms. Bukolt noted that the shift to telecommuting might also be a benefit to Newtown.

Christal Preszler, deputy director of economic and community development, said that early feedback on the branding has been positive and Director of Planning George Benson said that the work really captured the essence of the town.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal shared the sentiment that the logo and tagline capture Newtown very well. “Nice job, everyone.”

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