New Rochelle’s contracted “community brand avengers” are asking residents and those who work in the city to complete a 25-question survey filled with questions about the community’s strengths and weaknesses.
Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies, which says on its website it is “saving the world one community reputation at a time,” was hired in September to help brand and market the city in an effort to spark economic development.
“One of the best places to find that figurative nugget of marketing gold is the hearts and minds of the people who call New Rochelle home,” North Star CEO Don McEachern said in a statement. “To learn what makes a community special, you have to go to the people who spend more than just their money and time there – you have to go to the people who spend their lives there.”
The survey can be filled out until Dec. 14 online or on paper copies available through the New Rochelle Public Library or city clerk’s office.
North Star has been gathering community input and will present a brand identity guide and implementation strategy to New Rochelle’s City Council as early as next summer. Its recommendations will be based on creating a brand identity, including a logo, colors and catchphrase to use on social media and local signage.
Advertisements with testimonials from local business owners can also be implemented if New Rochelle officials wish to proceed that way (Lee’s Summit, Mo., went with a campaign around the slogan “yours truly”). North Star is being paid $68,000, funded in part by the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency.
Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, said an effective branding strategy could be a “huge boost for New Rochelle’s economy, property values and civic image.” “But getting it right depends on public involvement, so I urge residents and business owners to take a few minutes to complete the survey and share their thoughts about what our community is today … and what it can be tomorrow,” he said.
The rebranding strategy comes alongside several large-scale redevelopment projects that could redefine the city and boost its 80,000-person population. The City Council voted in July to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Manhattan-based Twining Properties to develop a mixed-use property that could encompass as much as 26 acres on Echo Bay.
In October, elected officials chose a master developer to oversee redevelopment in two downtown “clusters” that is likely to reshape the New Rochelle skyline. RDRXR, a development partnership between Long Island companies RXR Realty LLC and Renaissance Downtowns, plans to redevelop the corridor near Interstate 95 and the Metro-North train station.