Rebranding workshop draws dozens

Craig Laird, right, of Royal Oak Computers and Front Royal Business Alliance, Ginny Leser, center, a local travel agent, and Katrina Meade, of City National Bank, discuss the branding direction of Front Royal. Nathan Budryk/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – The rebranding forum held Tuesday by the Town of Front Royal consisted of lively public discourse and a myriad of in-depth discussions related to the direction of the town and concerning marketing, tourism and branding.

Led by members of Darwin, the Pittsburg-based consulting firm hired by the town, the forum was extremely interactive and featured several activities for those in attendance designed to get the ball rolling on what Jeremy Camp, director of planning and zoning for Front Royal, called a “long-term process.”

Laura Kisailus, of Darwin, touted the interactive nature of the workshop and getting people to speak out on important concepts that affect the town.

“I think using this interactive workshop allows people to get out of their shell,” she said. “I think, for people who might be shy, it allows them to markers and dots and different visual aids that stimulates conversation and puts things in a different perspective.”

The event was well attended, which Kisailus said is crucial to the success of the rebranding effort, which Camp said was very much in its infancy.

“I think that (the crowd) was a perfect size – really manageable, and real enthusiasm coming from the community,” Kisailus said. “… My hopes for the following sessions are that we’ll still have the same participation and the same turnout. My hope is that folks will be comfortable with us making them step outside their comfort zone a little bit and put some ideas out there and reshape some thinking.”

The workshop was the first in a series of three, through which Darwin and the town hope to create a town-wide discussion on what those invested in the town hope to see from the rebranding campaign.

“I think that tonight represented a cross section of the community and I think everyone has a unique perspective and a unique need,” Kisailus said. “I think getting everybody’s voice to the table is going to be critical for us to find a common theme, something that’s going to transcend all audiences and something that’s going to work for everybody.”

That cross section of the community was comprised of businesspeople, government representatives in addition to area residents hoping to have their voices heard. One way those in attendance could speak out was during an activity in which they viewed a piece of paper with concentric circles labeled Main Street, downtown and county. Participants were asked which of the three should be the areas that required the most focus and attention in relation to branding.

Teresa Scalzo, a tour guide in Front Royal offered her input.

“I agree with encompassing everything into the brand from the county to downtown to Main Street,” she said. “I’ve been a tour guide for quite a long time so I’ve met a few tourists and most of them are coming to the area for things that are in the county like Skyline Drive, Shenandoah Caverns and the ziplining. And then they’re not really focusing on stuff on Main Street, so we should really try to draw them in.”

Camp said the energy level at the event was impressive and was pleased with its turnout.

“I think it was an exciting meeting,” he said. “I think we had a good turnout. As you can see, we filled the space. It was perfect as far as the attendance. The more the merrier.”

The next meeting in the series will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 16 with the location to be determined.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or