Last year, New Rochelle launched a professional “branding” exercise, aimed at better defining and marketing our community’s strengths. A good brand can help attract investment, support business, and generate enthusiasm among residents and visitors alike, so there’s a lot at stake.
We’re just now wrapping up the first stage of this process, which involved surveys, interviews, and focus groups to get a handle on public perceptions. In a presentation to the City Council this week, our consultants highlighted their major findings, none of which are surprising to those who have been involved in New Rochelle’s civic life. Here are some of the major conclusions:
• New Rochelle has significant strengths, including outstanding location, a diverse population, a wide range of housing choices, remarkable history, and a good entertainment & dining scene.
• By several other measures, such as cost of living and public safety, New Rochelle is pretty much in the middle of the Westchester pack, without standing out.
• We have something of an inferiority complex, with our own residents assuming that external perceptions of the city are much more negative than they really are.
• Residents regard our city as a much better place to live than to do business.
With data collection completed, the creative stage of this process now begins: devising a marketing campaign than is at once honest and aspirational, that can distinguish New Rochelle from competitors, and that can be utilized flexibly with different audiences and across different platforms.
To help frame the creative process, our consultants have suggested a strategic brand platform specific to New Rochelle. As you read it, please keep in mind that this is not a slogan or pitch aimed at any external audience, but rather an internal statement that can be used to ensure that marketing efforts reflect a consistent message and theme.
Many thanks to the hundreds of New Rochelle residents who completed surveys and offered opinions. I am hopeful that this exercise will bolster our ongoing economic development efforts, celebrate our positive attributes, and help us better overcome our weaknesses.