Front Royal rebranding work continues with public input

FRONT ROYAL – The town unveiled three “big ideas” on Wednesday toward its goal of giving it a fresh, new and consistent brand.

With the help of Darwin, brand consultants hired to help the town on its rebranding efforts, the town held the second of three meetings  for input from residents as well as those who do business there.

“Slowdown Town,” “Country Culture” and “Base Camp” were the suggested ideas resulting from the first meeting, and will give the consultants a direction for the branding initiative. All three ideas were designed to capture some elements of what bring people to Front Royal while still maintaining the town’s individuality. “Slowdown Town” and “Base Camp” were the favorites of residents and business owners.

Laura Kisailus, of Darwin, said she’s never sure which “big idea” will click with people.

“We never know what to expect,” she said. “We’re always equally confident in each one of them, and after the voting to give them the opportunity to defend it. This entire process is meant to be transparent. This entire process is meant to be collaborative so that this is a brand that works for the community.”

Kathleen Monin, of Darwin, explained what she and the company are trying to create with their work in Front Royal.

“What we’ve been building together is … the strategy of the brand,” she said. “We have to understand the audience, the attributes, the DNA of our brand. We have to understand what’s at the big idea and its unique position and how it’s different from other things. That’s what we’re working together to build.”

A major point of emphasis for the consultants is the concept of “shared versus owned,” and they explained how there are several directions in which the town could go regarding the new brand.

“When you’re building your brand, it’s important to understand the difference between a brand that’s sharing something and a brand that’s owning something,” Monin said.

The company then did an exercise where quotes from various websites for towns around the valley were displayed, and they were all saying essentially the same thing – to come for the outdoors, scenery, history and golf. The consultants said their mission is to create a brand that alludes to those traits, but doesn’t rely on them exclusively or reference them explicitly.

Kisailus said she was once again pleased with the event’s turnout and public participation.

“I think the turnout was spectacular,” she said. “We saw some familiar faces and some new faces. The participation again was on par with what we saw – a lot of buy in and following along with the process.”

Jeremy Camp is Front Royal’s director of planning and zoning.

“This is part of a larger picture,” he said. “We (the town) have got a number of activities going on. Branding is one of the more exciting parts of that project.”

The next installment in the rebranding will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Warren Community Center, 538 Villa Ave.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com.