407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
NJLM - Branding Your Town for Success

Branding Your Town for Success

Rosemary Rys


After living in Collingswood for over seven years, I've noticed many changes. I moved here because it seemed to be going somewhere, as evidenced by the major renovations my apartment building was undergoing at the time-excitement was in the air. And the views and surrounding parks were beautiful and the people very friendly.

photo - NJ License Plate As I enjoyed all the amenities here, I began to notice much more-Collingswood was gradually becoming a great place to shop and work, as well as live. The merchants had a new slogan, "It's Where You Want to Be," and banners announced the many festivals and holiday events. I wondered, exactly how do you "brand" a town that way?

Branding The first order of business was to get promotional help from a professional. Collingswood hired Eggz, inc., a full-service branding, advertising and marketing communications agency that had recently relocated to the borough and specialized in economic development (www.eggzinc.com).

The next step was the creation of a logo and the development of community brochures.



On the "Second Saturday" of every month at 6:00 p.m., out-of-town visitors throng to join residents for an evening of arts and entertainment along vibrant Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. The town's logo and homepage design (above) are used consistently.

Consistency and repetition were adopted as policy for the use of the town logo.

Collingswood held an Economic Development Conference. Working closely with Eggz, inc., 150 developers were invited via a long, square white box labeled, "Here are the plans you've been waiting for." Upon opening the box, a rolled "blueprint" invitation gave the reasons why this historic town is "Where You Want to Be," and described the development opportunities that were available. Other direct-mail pieces followed.

Held in January 2001, the conference drew over 100 representatives from developers, realtors, and other interested parties. As a result, many of the properties were ultimately developed.

Collingswood also actively converted duplexes back into single-family homes using the slogan, "Glad to be Single Again." So far, over 150 duplexes have been reverted back to large homes and retain their original charm. Owners received special financing incentives to complete their projects.

With the support of Camden County, Collingswood won a $140,000 Smart Growth Award to review Haddon Avenue's land-use potential in the context of a larger corridor that spans from neighboring Camden to Haddon Township to Haddonfield.


The Mayor and Commissioners listened carefully to what the people had to say. Attendance grew as everyone saw that their requests brought action.


 

In October 1999 a local ordinance was passed here declaring our town a Business Improvement District (BID), allowing us to participate in a state program that lets merchants participate as a single entity. Businesses could assess themselves a special tax that has been used for everything from marketing strategies to beautification projects. It was the first multi-district BID in the State of New Jersey.

Successful BIDs, experts tell us, all rely on a similar formula:

1) Seek advice, preferably from a consultant
2) Allocate marketing funds and solicit contributions
3) Ask yourselves-is a BID a good option?
4) What about state enabling laws?
5) Evaluate funding sources for start-up and operation
6) Build support and consensus
7) Start small and make changes slowly
8) Create a strong foundation
9) Take some risks and bold steps to make things happen
10) Think of yourselves as "The Force" (in a nice way)
11) Develop a good track record
12) Implement the best ideas

Communicate Says Team Collingswood "Branding" included these elements that helped define Collingswood as an all-American home town celebrating its past, present, and future:

  • new logo and style guide
  • tagline, "It's Where You Want To Be"
  • a comprehensive website
  • capabilities brochure
  • media/information kit
  • radio, TV, and print ads
  • publicity
  • community involvement
  • inserts
  • flyers

Collingswood developed a free local town newspaper and used "buzz" words such as: Relocation, Innovation and Renovation. Town leaders also placed ads in well-traveled areas, such as train stations.


A transit-oriented, mixed-use development is planned
on the site of the former Peter Lumber Yard.

Expect Pitfalls Mayor Maley cautions, "You may get 'heat' from others, such as I did when protesters were carrying signs declaring Sutton Towers 'Maley's Mess' (And I wasn't even the Mayor yet!) Or store owners who may be leaving town and choose to express their reasons with a display right in their store fronts!

"Weather these storms. Don't fear raising taxes where it's necessary for real improvement or facing other such issues. Be prepared for naysayers and understand that no matter what, some will simply not go along with your plans. Remember, you can't please everyone, but must strive to do what is best for the general population.

"And yes, it's hard work."

Savor (and Build Upon) Successes Now it's 2005 and changes on "The Avenue" and throughout Collingswood are evident. Its population is stable at 14,326 residents.

There is a great deal of civic pride and community involvement. And everyone is very pleased and excited that 24 new businesses have opened here in just the past year. Christmas shopping last December exceeded all expectations, and special holiday lighting and carefully planned events enticed many more people to town.

The borough continues to trumpet the inherent value in its long-standing assets-neighborhoods with their own excellent schools and eclectic architecture, parks, and amenities--an outstanding location served by convenient access to updated and improved public transportation, major highways, and airports.

What's New? Glad you asked!! Another great way to brand your community, as Collingswood has done so effectively, is through tourism venues, arts, and entertainment--all designed to make your town a very special destination indeed.

Collingswood Scottish Rite Theater and Grand Ballroom Nestled in West Collingswood, the art deco-inspired Collingswood Scottish Rite Theater and its newly renovated Grand Ballroom have become the centerpiece for arts and events in southern New Jersey.

Completed in 1931, this magnificent auditorium also plays host to many internationally known performers, such as Robert Klein, Joan Baez, Steven Wright, Kansas, The Blind Boys of Alabama and David Crosby. At the center of the seating area sits a fully functional pipe organ that is sometimes played during intermissions. To sit in the splendor of this space is to take a trip back in time. Its near-perfect acoustics assure an enjoyable experience.

Following the acquisition of a 50-year lease by the Borough of Collingswood, renovations began in 2003 on this historic property, preserving both an important piece of history and an architectural marvel.

Collingswood Foundation for the Arts operates and maintains this local treasure. According to Director Gerard "Jerry" Chambers, "This project is an incredible gem--we have a great team that is busy polishing each facet to make it shine as one the best entertainment venues in the South Jersey Region."

Second Saturday On the "Second Saturday" of every month at 6:00 p.m., out-of-town visitors throng to join residents for an evening of arts and entertainment along vibrant Haddon Avenue. The evening includes arts and entertainment by painters, crafters, sculptors, photographers, musicians and food masters.

Celebrating its first anniversary in April 2005, this event was created to expose local and regional artists to Collingswood and the surrounding area. Participants can plan a night on the town and browse the many venues, including studios, galleries, coffee houses, retail shops and many unexpected spaces. More than 40 businesses extend their evening hours. From furniture making to jewelry design, there's something for everyone.

And Don't Forget...Collingswood also hosts an annual Book Festival, "Jazz in the Wood," a seasonal outdoor Farmers' Market, May Fair, A Gala on the Avenue, and much more. Taste magazine recently called our town "A safe and picturesque place to live that promotes economic growth, cultural opportunities, and community spirit."


"Don't fear raising taxes where it's necessary for real improvement or facing other such issues." -Mayor Jim Maley


Coming Attraction--The LumberYard A transit-oriented, mixed-use development is planned on the site of the former Peter Lumber Yard. The proposed three-building complex, to be called The LumberYard, will include 119 residential units, 19 retail shops, and 384 parking spaces, of which 132 will available to the public.

As for this happy-to-live-here Collingswood resident, I've put my name on the (long) waiting list to purchase one of those beautiful condos at The LumberYard!! It's where I want to be.

For more information call 1-866-BE-In-COLLS (1-866-234-6265) or visit the town website at www.collingswood.com.

Thanks to the borough officials, businesses and residents, as well as its Webmaster, for contributing to this article.

 

Rosemary Rys is President of her own firm, Creative Public Relations, specializing in architectural public relations, and also teaches PR as an adjunct professor at Drexel and Temple Universities in Philadelphia.

 

Article in May 2005, New Jersey Municipalities


407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Branding Your Town for Success

Rosemary Rys


After living in Collingswood for over seven years, I've noticed many changes. I moved here because it seemed to be going somewhere, as evidenced by the major renovations my apartment building was undergoing at the time-excitement was in the air. And the views and surrounding parks were beautiful and the people very friendly.

photo - NJ License Plate As I enjoyed all the amenities here, I began to notice much more-Collingswood was gradually becoming a great place to shop and work, as well as live. The merchants had a new slogan, "It's Where You Want to Be," and banners announced the many festivals and holiday events. I wondered, exactly how do you "brand" a town that way?

Branding The first order of business was to get promotional help from a professional. Collingswood hired Eggz, inc., a full-service branding, advertising and marketing communications agency that had recently relocated to the borough and specialized in economic development (www.eggzinc.com).

The next step was the creation of a logo and the development of community brochures.



On the "Second Saturday" of every month at 6:00 p.m., out-of-town visitors throng to join residents for an evening of arts and entertainment along vibrant Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. The town's logo and homepage design (above) are used consistently.

Consistency and repetition were adopted as policy for the use of the town logo.

Collingswood held an Economic Development Conference. Working closely with Eggz, inc., 150 developers were invited via a long, square white box labeled, "Here are the plans you've been waiting for." Upon opening the box, a rolled "blueprint" invitation gave the reasons why this historic town is "Where You Want to Be," and described the development opportunities that were available. Other direct-mail pieces followed.

Held in January 2001, the conference drew over 100 representatives from developers, realtors, and other interested parties. As a result, many of the properties were ultimately developed.

Collingswood also actively converted duplexes back into single-family homes using the slogan, "Glad to be Single Again." So far, over 150 duplexes have been reverted back to large homes and retain their original charm. Owners received special financing incentives to complete their projects.

With the support of Camden County, Collingswood won a $140,000 Smart Growth Award to review Haddon Avenue's land-use potential in the context of a larger corridor that spans from neighboring Camden to Haddon Township to Haddonfield.


The Mayor and Commissioners listened carefully to what the people had to say. Attendance grew as everyone saw that their requests brought action.


 

In October 1999 a local ordinance was passed here declaring our town a Business Improvement District (BID), allowing us to participate in a state program that lets merchants participate as a single entity. Businesses could assess themselves a special tax that has been used for everything from marketing strategies to beautification projects. It was the first multi-district BID in the State of New Jersey.

Successful BIDs, experts tell us, all rely on a similar formula:

1) Seek advice, preferably from a consultant
2) Allocate marketing funds and solicit contributions
3) Ask yourselves-is a BID a good option?
4) What about state enabling laws?
5) Evaluate funding sources for start-up and operation
6) Build support and consensus
7) Start small and make changes slowly
8) Create a strong foundation
9) Take some risks and bold steps to make things happen
10) Think of yourselves as "The Force" (in a nice way)
11) Develop a good track record
12) Implement the best ideas

Communicate Says Team Collingswood "Branding" included these elements that helped define Collingswood as an all-American home town celebrating its past, present, and future:

  • new logo and style guide
  • tagline, "It's Where You Want To Be"
  • a comprehensive website
  • capabilities brochure
  • media/information kit
  • radio, TV, and print ads
  • publicity
  • community involvement
  • inserts
  • flyers

Collingswood developed a free local town newspaper and used "buzz" words such as: Relocation, Innovation and Renovation. Town leaders also placed ads in well-traveled areas, such as train stations.


A transit-oriented, mixed-use development is planned
on the site of the former Peter Lumber Yard.

Expect Pitfalls Mayor Maley cautions, "You may get 'heat' from others, such as I did when protesters were carrying signs declaring Sutton Towers 'Maley's Mess' (And I wasn't even the Mayor yet!) Or store owners who may be leaving town and choose to express their reasons with a display right in their store fronts!

"Weather these storms. Don't fear raising taxes where it's necessary for real improvement or facing other such issues. Be prepared for naysayers and understand that no matter what, some will simply not go along with your plans. Remember, you can't please everyone, but must strive to do what is best for the general population.

"And yes, it's hard work."

Savor (and Build Upon) Successes Now it's 2005 and changes on "The Avenue" and throughout Collingswood are evident. Its population is stable at 14,326 residents.

There is a great deal of civic pride and community involvement. And everyone is very pleased and excited that 24 new businesses have opened here in just the past year. Christmas shopping last December exceeded all expectations, and special holiday lighting and carefully planned events enticed many more people to town.

The borough continues to trumpet the inherent value in its long-standing assets-neighborhoods with their own excellent schools and eclectic architecture, parks, and amenities--an outstanding location served by convenient access to updated and improved public transportation, major highways, and airports.

What's New? Glad you asked!! Another great way to brand your community, as Collingswood has done so effectively, is through tourism venues, arts, and entertainment--all designed to make your town a very special destination indeed.

Collingswood Scottish Rite Theater and Grand Ballroom Nestled in West Collingswood, the art deco-inspired Collingswood Scottish Rite Theater and its newly renovated Grand Ballroom have become the centerpiece for arts and events in southern New Jersey.

Completed in 1931, this magnificent auditorium also plays host to many internationally known performers, such as Robert Klein, Joan Baez, Steven Wright, Kansas, The Blind Boys of Alabama and David Crosby. At the center of the seating area sits a fully functional pipe organ that is sometimes played during intermissions. To sit in the splendor of this space is to take a trip back in time. Its near-perfect acoustics assure an enjoyable experience.

Following the acquisition of a 50-year lease by the Borough of Collingswood, renovations began in 2003 on this historic property, preserving both an important piece of history and an architectural marvel.

Collingswood Foundation for the Arts operates and maintains this local treasure. According to Director Gerard "Jerry" Chambers, "This project is an incredible gem--we have a great team that is busy polishing each facet to make it shine as one the best entertainment venues in the South Jersey Region."

Second Saturday On the "Second Saturday" of every month at 6:00 p.m., out-of-town visitors throng to join residents for an evening of arts and entertainment along vibrant Haddon Avenue. The evening includes arts and entertainment by painters, crafters, sculptors, photographers, musicians and food masters.

Celebrating its first anniversary in April 2005, this event was created to expose local and regional artists to Collingswood and the surrounding area. Participants can plan a night on the town and browse the many venues, including studios, galleries, coffee houses, retail shops and many unexpected spaces. More than 40 businesses extend their evening hours. From furniture making to jewelry design, there's something for everyone.

And Don't Forget...Collingswood also hosts an annual Book Festival, "Jazz in the Wood," a seasonal outdoor Farmers' Market, May Fair, A Gala on the Avenue, and much more. Taste magazine recently called our town "A safe and picturesque place to live that promotes economic growth, cultural opportunities, and community spirit."


"Don't fear raising taxes where it's necessary for real improvement or facing other such issues." -Mayor Jim Maley


Coming Attraction--The LumberYard A transit-oriented, mixed-use development is planned on the site of the former Peter Lumber Yard. The proposed three-building complex, to be called The LumberYard, will include 119 residential units, 19 retail shops, and 384 parking spaces, of which 132 will available to the public.

As for this happy-to-live-here Collingswood resident, I've put my name on the (long) waiting list to purchase one of those beautiful condos at The LumberYard!! It's where I want to be.

For more information call 1-866-BE-In-COLLS (1-866-234-6265) or visit the town website at www.collingswood.com.

Thanks to the borough officials, businesses and residents, as well as its Webmaster, for contributing to this article.

 

Rosemary Rys is President of her own firm, Creative Public Relations, specializing in architectural public relations, and also teaches PR as an adjunct professor at Drexel and Temple Universities in Philadelphia.

 

Article in May 2005, New Jersey Municipalities