Responses to a recent survey asking Westmont residents whether the village should change its slogan indicated that the move is something the village should consider, according to Westmont’s Communications Director Larry McIntyre.
The current slogan, “The Progressive Village,” was selected as the winner of a contest run in the 1950s, according to McIntyre. About 120 residents replied to the recent online survey, which the village conducted in November. Approximately 10 percent of respondents said they loved the current slogan, but the balance of responses suggested to the village that a change is something worth considering.
The survey responses were shared at a special meeting for the community held May 20, which was attended by a small group of residents. McIntyre said the possibility of changing the slogan is just one facet of a strategic planning process the village is undertaking over the next few months.
“There will be overlap and synergies with the branding and strategic planning process,” he said. “That’s what branding is. What is our image, how are we perceived and what do we aspire to be and achieve?”
The Westmont Village Board is considering whether to hire a consulting company to lead them through the strategic plan process, which the board would like to launch in the summer and conclude by late fall. However, McIntyre said resident feedback is very important to the process.
“It’s that market research and what people think that’s important,” he said.
Resident Heather Booth, who said the slogan was one of the reasons she and her husband chose to move to Westmont about 10 years ago, questioned why the village wanted to change the slogan.
“It’s what drew us to settle here,” she said. “We saw it as an open place that embraces new ideas and change. We didn’t get that feeling from surrounding communities.”
Although some survey responses questioned exactly what the “progress” in progressive has been, Booth pointed out the revitalization of the businesses along Cass Avenue, as well as the accolades the school district has received in recent years.
“Why move away from something that’s aspirational and positive,” she asked. Booth added that the survey responses represented too small of a sample for the village to even consider undertaking such an effort.
McIntyre said the suggestions for new slogans the village received from the survey showed a strong sense of family, as well as emphasized all the village has to offer.
Larry Forssberg, executive director of the Westmont Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, said community events are apart of the village’s offerings.
“We offer more events than many of the surrounding villages,” he said, adding that the success of the Ogden Avenue corridor and the wide range of restaurants in the village are other draws.
McIntyre said Ty Warner Park, the Taiwanese Cultural Center and the village’s connection to blues legend Muddy Waters are also unique aspects of the village that could be emphasized.
In the event the village did decide to hire a consulting firm, McIntyre said it would be directed to include methodologies for getting public feedback.
“The process will evolve, and there will be more opportunity for public feedback,” he said.