It’s official! Bridge Street in the borough of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania has been freshly paved and the town is wearing a tux, or at least a cummerbund. Whatever the metaphor, Phoenixville is starting to dress itself up signifying that it is officially in the throes of a long-awaited revitalization.
Shaking Phoenixville’s Magic 8 Ball yields a positive, “All signs point to yes,” and, as the borough begins beautifying, it’s our hope that strong, consistent, memorable and repetitious branding will be the first vehicle to roll down the road.
We’ve lived and worked in Phoenixville for the last fifteen years and it seems as if rumors of revitalization have been swirling around just as long. In fact, one of the reasons we moved to the area is because of its historic charm and present potential. Now more than ever, on the cusp of complete rebirth, it’s important that proper promotion paves the way.
While we’re certain that the minds behind Phoenixville’s rebirth have a marketing machine idling in the driveway, we can’t help fantasizing over what we would do with such an exciting opportunity! Here’s a creative sampling of projects that could compliment the dream job of branding a borough:
Forge an Identity: This old steel town has a lot of character and a standard-setting, professional logotype illustrative of the borough’s personality, coupled with a clever and memorable tagline can power a creative collateral campaign.
Create gateways: Phoenixville has several main in-roads that could serve as prominent and impressive entryways into a vibrant community with compelling physical sign posts, banners or flags.
Mural redundancy: The culture of Phoenixville’s potential has always been defined by a central image, the mural on the side of the Steel City Coffeehouse. More murals as part of a community campaign would boost the brand and beautify some sad sidewalls.
Invite opportunity: Create a custom invitation describing the boroughs current reality as a big blueprint, rolled up and sent to regional developers, realtors and investors in a package marked as the “plans they’ve been waiting for!”
Community involvement: Create incentive programs for borough homeowners to beautify neighborhoods that could evolve into a community association environmental standard. Contests for the “neatest block” with the winner being published in the paper each week would go a long way toward propagating public pride.
Park place: Among the new retail and commercial outcroppings there is likely the plan for a community space and there are hundreds of exciting and compelling options that visitors will remember and forever equate with Phoenixville. From interactive sculptures that create music to natural parks that inspire creativity, the options for branding the borough as a special place with special features are promising.
Community ownership: When your name is on something or when you’ve invested in its success you tend to care more about its fate. A creative “brick” campaign, like a field of steel sunflowers with the benefactors names etched into the center, where residents and investors own a part of the above park would fund itself and generate a natural vested interest.
Environmental consistency: Blend the borough’s promotional campaign into the environment by replacing a mish-mash of street planters, garbage cans and recycling receptacles with branded versions showcasing Phoenixville’s new identity and big, bold messages.
Tell the World: A multi-function Internet presence promoting the borough is vital to the initial and ongoing promotional campaign and can be an exciting tool to allow merchants to collectively support their singular missions while providing an organized, critical resource for residents and visitors.
Promote tourism: By creating categorical micro-campaigns for like-minded entities, the borough can positively promote visitation in powerful ways. Working with, say, the antique shops, the restaurants or entertainment venues to create synergistic missions that brand the borough as a destination for special interest groups is a no-brainer.
As Phoenixville builds upon its recent successes and current civic pride, opportunities abound! You can be sure that the people that brought you First Friday and the Firebird Festival are planning exciting original promotions that will brand Phoenixville and perfect a personality for the borough that resonate with residents. Like many other believers in the positive potential of Phoenixville, we wish the best for the promoters of the region. May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.