Mammoth has a brand new brand

Mammoth has a brand new face.

If not a new face, then at least a brand new brand.

It’s blue and white and evokes the letter M, water, and mountains. Before long, it will be ubiquitous around town, on brochures and other mailings.

It will be on streetside banners, wayfinding markers, city vehicles and behind the Town Council dais.

No one would be surprised if it also weren’t tattooed on John Urdi’s forehead.

Urdi, Mammoth’s tourism director, showed up at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday and pushed through a proposal to re-brand the town.

The new branding closely rubs up against the color scheme and feel of Mammoth Mountain’s familiar blue brands, but not quite.

It’s close enough, though, that Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain are in design harmony, for the first time ever.

Urdi, the town’s tireless marketeer who arrived here nine months ago, said it became clear to him right away that the town had a branding problem.

And since he’d been working on the project for that period of time, he called it a branding rebirth Thursday morning.

Having worked in the ski industry for many years in many resort towns, Urdi told the Town Council,

“The biggest telling thing for me is that when I moved here and told my friends that I was moving to Mammoth Lakes, the first question they’d ask is ‘How far is that from Mammoth?’

“It was a little bit of a disconnect but it gave us an opportunity to move this to a different level.”

In response, Urdi won $36,000 to begin pushing the brand as fast as possible, with only councilwoman Jo Bacon opposing the vote.

It was a surprisingly quick and easy response from a council that is skittish when it comes to money matters.

Urdi himself was surprised, though pleased.

“I don’t need to throw a no-hitter,” he said afterward. “I’m fine with 4-1.”

In his report to the council, Urdi said that the new identity “communicates to the community and the world who are and what we’re all about.

He emphasized that “branding” is not merely creating a new logo.

“Branding is the term used to describe the collective effort of giving your product, service and experience a consistent, recognizable and memorable look and feel.

“Branding is the process of defining who you are; how to represent that message through graphics, colors, words and images.”

Urdi began work on the project nine months ago, researching past design projects both by the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the ski hill.

Important aspects of the brand were:

• Clean and clear message
• Tie in to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area logo
•Representation and orientation on collateral material
• Retail and licensing opportunities
• Implementation on signage and town vehicles
• Color representation
• Adding “California” locator to the logo

Mammoth Lakes Tourism already had invested $65,000 in the research, Urdi said, but needed help on implementation.