Trip 2 Recap

Our team was back in town late July for trip 2 of the Lubbock Branding Project! The focus of this trip was public engagement — we wanted to speak to as many different types of people as possible in order to understand what Lubbock means to them.

We kicked the trip off with a committee meeting to update the branding committee on everything we’ve done since trip 1, review the community survey, and get their opinion on the common threads that unite the people of Lubbock. We did a flower petal exercise with the group where each petal represented a specific group and their unique interests, and the center represented common values or traits that tied each group together.

We held two focus groups this trip — one with local business leaders and another with local diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) groups. Questions were centered around what challenges face the business community and what it needs to grow, and what it is like to be in Lubbock as a member of a marginalized or historically underrepresented community, respectively. We also did the flower exercise with the DEI group.

After the focus groups, we interviewed Milton Lee, Lubbock NAACP president. As a decades-long Lubbock resident, it was great to hear what he loves about Lubbock, how the city has changed, and where it still needs to grow to be a more inclusive space for all types of people.

A great part of this trip was being able to spend some more time as locals would. We hit up both Two Docs and The Brewery LBK, and on Tuesday we knew we had to head back to Tom and Bingo’s for brisket cheeseburger day. We also hung out at Cotton Court Hotel, had a great visit to Mountain Hideaway, tried out Pie Bar, and visited several shops in the Depot District.

We met up with Lindsey Maestri of LHUCA and she gave us a tour of their incredible facilities. We also visited Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP) and spoke with Director Chad Plunket, Flatlands Dance Theatre president Rachel Ure, whose dance company uses studio space at CASP, and Aaliyah Limon AKA Yung Cry Baby, who is an artist in residence. The arts district is a huge asset for the community and may surprise outsiders who think they know what to expect of Lubbock and West Texas.

One night of our trip we had a wonderful dinner with the branding committee at The Texas Tech Club. Branding committee chair Sydney Hopper and CivicBrand CEO Ryan Short also recorded a short video update on the project.

Our last stop was visiting WunderTRE, a local agency helping us produce the Lubbock Branding Podcast. The podcast aims to explore Lubbock through a variety of different lenses. Episode One’s topic was food. The podcast will be launching soon on all platforms!

How to Get Involved

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The team headed to Lubbock for a kickoff meeting with the branding committee and our initial visit, where we explored some of Lubbock’s most famous places and got a taste of what life in Lubbock is like.

On day 1 of our first visit to Lubbock, we held a kickoff meeting with the branding committee where we discussed what makes Lubbock unique, the challenges the city faces, the diverse groups of people we’ll engage with as part of the project, and must-dos and sees while we were in town. We then headed to the brand new Buddy Holly Hall for a press conference about the project.

The next few days were spent exploring Lubbock. We visited the Buddy Holly Museum, American Windmill Museum and Prairie Dog Town. We started each day with a local cup of coffee (or two) and got to know more about the local culture as we wandered around different neighborhoods and the campuses of Texas Tech and Lubbock Christian University.

We had some excellent meals during our stay — a team favorite was the brisket cheeseburger at Tom & Bingo’s, plus a great time with the committee at Rave On.

Our final day of the trip was spent interviewing Mayor Pope and a few local stakeholders to understand more about the city and its history. Their interviews, along with further engagement, not only help us learn and begin to uncover the brand, but will be featured in the project documentary. Click here to read more about our approach to engagement.

Stay involved with the project and be notified of surveys, events and more by signing up for project notifications!


The Importance of True Engagement

On any civic project, whether it’s to develop a comprehensive plan, redesign an area, or define a cohesive identity like with this project, public input is perhaps the singular most important factor. Engagement with the public provides the direction, buy-in and feedback the project needs to be a long-term success. Too often, though, public engagement is seen as merely a box to check rather than an integral part of the process.

What engagement looks like in many instances is this: one or two public meetings that only a handful of people (who don’t have to worry about work or other obligations) attend, a survey that is distributed in only one way, and that’s about it. There is an effort to engage with the public, but not in a way that is comprehensive or equitable. Not every demographic is reached, and so the input provided can be skewed based on one set of opinions.

That’s why we make every effort to engage with every demographic in the community. We don’t want the outcome of the Lubbock Branding Project to be swayed because we only met with certain types of people. The end result of the project needs to be something that is truly representative of the entire community, because that will result in greater ownership of and pride in the identity, which means the work will last longer and have a greater impact.

We put a lot of effort into identifying the different demographic groups and subgroups we need to reach as part of our process — like families, young entrepreneurs, community nonprofits, minority groups, religious groups, etc. — and specifically what people within those groups we can speak to that can act as champions for us among their peers. We look at the ways different groups like to engage, whether that is through public meetings, online surveys, roundtables, on digital platforms, at events, or in any number of other methods. It is about meeting people where they are at, rather than expect them to come to us. Doing this allows us to achieve rich, meaningful, equitable engagement that enables us to uncover Lubbock’s true identity and bring it to life.

We operate under the philosophy outlined in this famous Jane Jacobs quote:

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Another core tenet of this in-depth engagement process is doing far more listening than speaking ourselves. We will gather hours and hours of input before we ever design anything, ever work on any messaging deliverable, or ever talk about implementation. Our job is to uncover Lubbock’s unique identity, and we can’t do that without listening first, acting second.

So as you see us around town, speak to us at a pop up engagement event, or read project updates online, please know that we need and welcome your feedback. If at any point there is a group you feel like we are not reaching, tell us so we can take action. If there are specific individuals you know we should speak to, pass us their contact information. We want the outcome of this project to be something that everyone can feel proud of.

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