One of the first actions taken by the new administration was adopting a branding campaign. Cordova’s new logo and slogan can now be seen on several city and police vehicles as well as all official paperwork.
Most visibly, the brand is displayed on a welcome sign that was recently installed on the Cordova-Parrish Highway, one of the main gateways to the city.
“We’re really trying to symbolize a unified front because every one of us working together are going to make Cordova what it’s going to be tomorrow and for years in the future,” Gilbert said.
The branding campaign was designed free of charge last summer by students from Auburn University who created concepts for several rebuilding projects.
On their own initiative, one of the groups also pitched the idea of a logo and slogan that could be used by local officials while marketing the city to potential partners.
Gilbert was impressed with the imagery of the bottom half of the city’s name being hidden by the phrase “Building back better, safer, greener.”
“It’s like Cordova is growing up out of those words,” he said. “I can see that branding campaign being phased out in 10 years because we won’t be building back anymore. We will be built back. We will be better. We will be safer. We will be greener.”
Gilbert added that the “greener” part of the slogan has caused a minor stir among some residents.
Officials have not committed to making Cordova a “green city” as the council of Greensburg, Kansas did after 95 percent of that city was destroyed by an EF5 tornado in 2007.
However, Gilbert said sustainability will be considered in the upcoming rebuilding effort.
“Greener is in essence smarter, building more intelligently and efficiently,” Gilbert said.
Although the branding campaign has been rolling out for several months now, its official debut was last week when the new sign was installed less than a mile from one of the interstate exits to the city.
It replaced a grouping of dented, rusty signs that have concerned Gilbert from his first days in office. He wants to provide a different first impression to the many professionals who are coming to the city to assist with the rebuilding effort.
“We want them to think, ‘These people have bought in. They care about their image. They’re moving foward, and I want to be a part of that.’ I think something as simple as a sign can capture that,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert also hopes to inspire residents to take responsibility for the things they can control, such as their own civic pride, while they continue to wait on matters that are out of their hands, such as downtown demolition, to be resolved.
“Rather than wallow, we can be involved and get all these little things going in the right direction. As long as they’re in my control, I intend to make Cordova from the most miniscule detail to the very largest building the best that it possibly can be,” Gilbert said.