The Herndon Town Council got its first look at the new branding initiative for the town this week.
During Tuesday night’s work session, Trialogue Studio’s Michael Altman presented the council with the work the branding, design and communications company has come up with for the town.
The initiative was also spearheaded by a committee put together by the town, comprised of business professionals and town of Herndon residents, including those who specialize in marketing. Mayor Lisa Merkel and former Mayor Steve DeBenedittis also served on the committee.
The brand strategy committee members decided on a positioning statement, naming Herndon a next generation small town:
“A next generation small town pulses on the edge of Fairfax County. Turn off the highway and find yourself in a place that welcomes innovators, risk-takers, history seekers and family-keepers. This is where the roots of history help to grow the ideas of tomorrow," it reads.
Altman said they want the town to be known as focused, open and caring. He said when they started to think about how to bring the vision to life creatively they chose a word mark that was bold, specific and had a certain emphasis and device they could use in marketing.
The “on” in Herndon is stylized, connecting the two letters. The branding initiative takes the stylized letters and creates phrases that can be used in marketing, such as: it’s on, try on, rock on, lunch is on and on point, among others.
The main colors for the new logo will be gray and red—colors that struck a cord with Herndon residents, as red is the color of Herndon High and Middle Schools. Alternate colors that may be used in the “on” marketing include purple, fuchsia, blue, green, yellow and orange.
Altman said they wanted to create a brand that would lend itself to collaboration with town organizations and businesses. He said the town should use crowdsourcing to get consumers involved in contributing to the brand, which would help them learn what would make people fans of the brand.
He said the town should also aim to have a business incubator—an organization designed to help entrepreneurs grow and succeed in the town through business support resources.
The town could also use what he called pop ups to show off available retail space, Altman said. He said when there is an empty store front, the town can collaborate with businesses and organizations to fill it for a short time to get more traffic looking at the space.
An example Altman used was creating a temporary art gallery in an empty retail space that would show up, give people some time to come in and browse the temporary exhibit, then disappear.
Altman said the town should also focus on being welcoming to all people, ideas and business. He said these four items will be the pillars of the brand.
The brand will also allow town businesses to opt into the campaign in their own way, Altman said. He said it can be as simple as putting a window cling on their front door with the new Herndon logo and the message “come on in” using the stylized “on.”
Another suggestion from Altman was for the town to hold an event called “lunch is on,” in which local restaurants will come together to form a large buffet meal to get residents and local workers sampling the food from area businesses.
He said the branding initiative could start with a kickoff event where Mayor Lisa Merkel would “turn it on.”
Town Council members praised the brand strategy on Tuesday.
Councilwoman Grace Wolf said she likes the word play available and the possibilities of all the events in town that could partner with the campaign. She said she would be excited to see the town launch the new brand around Herndon High School's Homecoming.
Councilman Charlie Waddell asked what the life expectancy of the brand is. Altman said the word mark, or town of Herndon logo, could be used for quite some time, even if the town ceases to use the stylized “on.”
Waddell asked if a tagline would be of better use, citing that Ashland, Va. calls itself the “center of the universe.” Altman said he finds taglines tend to expire more quickly than the approach he shared.
Councilwoman Melissa Jonas said the flexibility the brand lends itself is "amazing" and has provided her with lots of ideas. She said the additional colors they can use will provide the town with lots of mileage on the brand.
Vice Mayor Connie Hutchinson said though she thought the logo was plain at first, it grew on her. She said she would encourage the “caring” portion of the brand personality to include that the town cares about its residential and corporate citizens.
Town of Herndon Public Information Officer Anne Curtis said the next steps are to bring the branding strategy to the town’s departments and see how they can apply it. Then they will receive a style guide and more information on implementation.
[Want to stay on top of news in Herndon? Sign up for our weekly, daily or breaking news emails.]