New logo reflects efforts to modernize

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

New logo reflects efforts to modernizeAn updated logo is the latest development in ongoing efforts to modernize operations of the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce.

While chambers are closing and downsizing across the nation, leaders of the local organization are examining ways to adapt their services to meet the ever-changing needs of the business world — which has seen trends like social media and e-commerce radically alter traditional business models over the last few decades.

Within the last few years, the chamber has added programs like Leadership Ridgecrest — which endeavors to mentor those interested in deepening their understanding of and involvement in the community — and the Ridgecrest Young Professionals Network — which provides monthly opportunities for interaction and education for new and younger members of the local workforce.

The chamber board tapped Kim Smith to lead the organization as executive director last spring. “Since my earliest conversations with the board, I know there have been very deliberate efforts to improve the chamber’s presence and services in our community,” said Smith.

“Today, the chamber still offers the same values and support to the longtime members who have been involved, but we also want to better understand how to serve the young people entering our business community.”

Smith noted that the logo is a reflection of that marriage between our past and our future. “I’ve been looking at the old seals and logos that the chamber has used over the years, and we have everything from a diver on a diving board to cactus.”

In the early 1990s, the chamber adopted a logo with the outline of mountains under a setting sun and a jet flying overhead.

“So this represents our mountains to the west and our proximity to China Lake,” said Smith. “We want to honor that history while reconfiguring the image with a little bit more of a modern feel.”

With the proliferation of smart phones, “we live in an icon-driven society. It’s important to have something that is visually aesthetic to draw you in.” Smith said that he also wants to refine branding with other organizations under the chamber umbrella so that their logos have a similar feel. “That way you see a cohesive identity that tells us all these organizations are related.”

Between ongoing community leaders and incoming members, the chamber membership and board better reflect the diversity of age demographics and service types, said Smith.

“For years we have had the same people involved in leadership, and I think some find that intimidating,” he said. “You look at these stalwarts of our community and assume you, as a 20- or 30-something, could not step into that kind of role. But we are not just here for the people already involved, we are here for anyone who wants to be involved. I’m happy to see that we have have some younger people stepping up.”

Smith said that the chamber has tried to stay current with the latest technological advancements in networking and communication, “But I think the need to connect face to face is still there.”

For most of our culture, people operate in three different spaces — with the two main ones home and work. But there is a need for a third space, he said. Historically that has been filled by church or service clubs or even people who meet regularly for coffee.

“The chamber wants to represent that third place for our business community. We want to engage people in a way that adds value to their time, rather than just taking up their time,” said Smith.

“When I read our mission statement, the two most important components to me are ‘building community’ and ‘strengthening the economy.’ I think those two goals are linked, and my hope is that everything we offer at the chamber furthers those objectives.”

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Story First Published: 2019-08-23