Town Crier

WILMINGTON — On Monday night, Stirling Brandworks Principal Thomas Stirling and Eco­nomic Development Com­mittee Chair Mike Cham­poux presented the committee’s best proposed tag­line as part of building a brand identity for the town: “Wilmington on Tap.”

Champoux opened by ex­plaining that this work was provided by a grant to help businesses in the com­munity recover from loss during the pandemic. Al­ong with the tagline, the grant would go toward Stirling Brandworks creating messaging, a program, and a strategy for going to market. He mentioned that other surrounding communities have made similar efforts. He emphasized that they sought the board’s en­dorsement and came to an agreement on this tagline.

Thomas Stirling shared that their intentions for the initiative included creating resources and materials to be leveraged going forward along with creating an overall identity for the town that had life associated with it. Their efforts to market Wilming­ton would aim to help businesses, refresh public perception, uncover Wil­mington’s identity to build a sense of community, create community pride, and increase visibility for local businesses by educating and encouraging business owners to have an online presence.

The “provocative, bold, and unexpected” tagline they created, making up most of the work they had done so far with the Eco­nomic Development Com­mittee, was: “Wilmington On Tap.” This would also feature highlights on innovation, community, open space, and opportunity in town. The tagline was the first step in their longer-term initiative.

The board, however, was not completely sold on this tagline. Select Board mem­ber Lilia Maselli commen­ted that she didn’t think the tagline should need ex­plaining and that it may not resonate with residents.

“It reminds me of beer,” she said. “I don’t like it.”

She later suggested that it was insensitive to people in recovery, offering in­stead “Tap Into Wilming­ton.”

Gary DePalma shared similar feedback that this would only illicit ideas of alcohol. He commented that the tagline wasn’t ex­citing, but he wanted to see a tagline that emphasized culture, businesses, and history in town while also looking toward the future.

He proposed some sort of use of “yesterday, to­day, and tomorrow.”

Greg Bendel said he’d be open to this tagline, but he was interested in hearing any other options they had brought.

Stirling replied that they heard and worked through this feedback in their ef­forts with the Economic Development Committee, not only among committee members of varying ages but also among business owners in town.

Kevin Caira asked how the tagline came about. Stirling explained how it came from interviews and meetings with the committee, trying to create new energy for the town, and thinking about what areas in town they wanted to change. Caira suggested that they seek even more public feedback on the wording.

Select Board Chair Judy O’Connell detailed the meet­ing of the Economic Development Committee meeting that she attended where the tagline was selected. She spoke to how she slowly warmed up to the tagline as she saw the other committee members coming to agree on it, the idea of “what’s on tap” and innovation, the history of Wilmington and hops, and the use of additional language alongside it.

Champoux added that he had undergone a similar change in attitude. The re­moval of hops from the Middlesex Canal was just one reason why he liked the reference. He also appreciated the flexibility of the tagline and its “wow” factor.

Suzanne Sullivan, another Economic Development Committee member, spoke up to say that she liked the premise of tapping into Wilmington’s potential.

“Being provocative may be something that we have to do,” she added.

Town Manager Jeff Hull also shared that he came around to the tagline be­cause it grabbed your attention and brought mys­tique to Wilmington.

Stirling responded to the board’s hesitation saying that the tagline would not be left by itself; it would be accompanied by more vi­suals, possibly a video with a script explaining it.

“We were all aware of the concerns and potential connotation,” he continued. “The team has had so much energy and discussion around it.”

However, he moved on to present the other option for the board to support: “Opportunity Awaits.” This would emphasize Wilming­ton’s rich history and connections in the community both for families and businesses. Stirling proposed that this tagline could ro­tate in the other ideas of innovation, community, and open space which the board liked in the previous tagline.

DePalma immediately answered that this tagline was boring and he couldn’t support either of them. Bendel shared that he could connect with this tagline more than the first. Caira and O’Connell also said they’d be more comfortable with the second tagline. Hull was the only one who preferred the first.

Champoux suggested a compromise of rotating language such as “Tap Into Wilmington,” “Tap Into In­novation,” and oth­er concepts. Stirling ag­reed that his team would return to the board in two weeks with a refined message so that the board could become am­bassadors of the tagline.

Lastly, Champoux noted that he hadn’t provided any information to the board so that they would see the surprise factor of the tagline.

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