Housing Complex

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.

Georgetown-themed swag.

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.


  • LongTimeRez


  • John

    ...waiting for all the strange Georgetown bashing replies to begin...not sure why the hate...

    In all seriousness though I am not sure the come out and play slogan is the right slogan here although the logo does look nice. Georgetown should market itself as the highest-end shopping and restaurant district - a more historic 5th Avenue, a more beautiful Newbury Street. The Canal, Cady's Alley, Waterfront, Beautiful Houses -- all add to the beauty and elegance that is this area. Georgetown will never be a cool/hip 'go play' gentrifying neighboorhood anymore. Why doesn't the BID support closing some streets to Virginia commuters passing through (at least on the weekend @ M Street, or perhaps the side streets crossing the canal and encouraging street vendors, etc), adding CaBi locations, pushing for easier ways to get there, etc. My two cents anyway.

  • DC Guy

    "Come out and play?"

    Sounds like a slogan for a bottom-tier casino.

    I used to live in G'town. Here's the slogan I'd propose:

    "Get the f***k out of my neighborhood."

    My old neighbors would agree.

  • trulee_pist

    "Welcome to Georgetown. Now go home."

  • http://georgetownweek.com Dave Roffman

    A woman pushing a baby carriage at Wisconsin and O (maybe P) with a small boy in hand as well, came across a gang of black kids standing in her way. She asked if they could please move and let them through. One of the black girls punched the mother in the face.

    Perhaps the rebranding of Georgetown should have followed a different train of thought:

    GEORGETOWN: You'll be knocked out by its diversity!


    GEORGETOWN: Where school children come to play after school....and kick the shit out of helpless moms.

  • dede

    the thing that kills georgetown for locals is the tourists.

    take out street parking on m, widen the sidewalks, then the locals will come back.

  • Tres

    Georgetown is not really a place to play for the myopic twit "creative class" demographic in DC. You walk around, most passers-by are kids (18ish), students, or older folks. I can see this campaign appealing to VA folks, but not the DC crowd.

    If anything, I think they should have doubled down on their current image -- think of it as a place for a romantic dinner, a special night out. It is very cute after all, but the lack of basic transportation options can't be overcome. Why cab it to G'town when you can walk to high end place in your own neighborhood -- a place that suits the 25 to 40 demographic much better than the places in G'town?

    To me, this is denying the inevitable. It's like pushing against an iceberg. People just are not going to hang out in G'town as much when they now have 5 or 6 other closer, hipper neighborhoods to choose from.

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  • Brad Altman

    When do the slot machines arrive? Maybe that's what the mall needs.

  • cosmkdbree

    This article came up when I searched Georgetown woman stroller punched. Black or white.....It's a racial hate crime and should be charged as such. Otherwise.....Hey, it's just Georgetown shopping and businesses should move to Old Town, Canton, Frederick or Leesburg. Otherwise, let Georgetown residents.....and the DC justice system.....fend for themselves.

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