Georgetown’s New Brand: An Anti-Brand
For the last year, feeling the pressure of hipper neighborhoods to the east and just-as-rich neighborhoods to the north and south, the Georgetown Business Improvement District has been thinking about how to package itself to stay on top. Tonight, they'll finally unveil their concept at the BID's annual meeting. Just don't call it a re-branding.
"We don't need a slogan. We don't need a brand," said retail broker John Asadoorian, the BID's marketing chair. "We're not trying to be cutesy." Instead, the new website, logo, clean team uniforms, waste receptacles, and other assorted swag will seek to accommodate whatever Georgetown means to everybody who spends time there.
They actually do have a slogan, though: "Washington's neighborhood to come out and play." Branding consultant Neil Archer Roan, also the mind behind NoMa's "Connected" campaign, arrived at Georgetown's more understated message through scores of interviews with Georgetowners who were sometimes skeptical of the need for a branding campaign at all. For the logo, they started with much more historic lettering, but ultimately decided on something more chic and modern (that's Sackers Gothic to you, font geeks).
BID Chairman Jim Bracco didn't say how much they spent on the whole campaign, but it's a significant chunk of change. The BID spends a third of its budget on marketing, which next year will come to $900,000. The ones who paid for it, BID members, will be able to use sections of the website for their own purposes. The BID didn't work closely with the neighborhoods biggest X factor: The Shops at Georgetown Park, now owned by Vornado, which hasn't yet made clear how it plans to market the aging giant.
The rollout will come with a slick video, narrated by an oozy female voice, that explains the process and the idea.
"It may sometimes be hard to get here, hard to park here, but it's always hard to leave here," she says.