FORT WALTON BEACH: This morning we talked with Fort Walton Beach City Manager Michael Beedie and Sarah Peter from ‘no luggage Brand Strategies’ on the upcoming branding initiative starting this month for the city of Fort Walton Beach. Here is what it means, why it is happening and who will be involved.
The City of Fort Walton Beach will begin its first ever branding initiative in January 2021. The project includes comprehensive, citywide information gathering from residents, business owners and key stakeholders.
The need for a city “brand” is not a new concept in Fort Walton Beach. The idea has been discussed for many years among city leaders and the business community to establish a baseline for marketing, messaging, visual consistency and revitalization.
“We are at a pivotal time in our city,” said City Manager Michael Beedie. “We are experiencing a great deal of momentum thanks to our elected leaders, businesses and residents. A community-vetted and approved brand for the City of Fort Walton Beach will provide the necessary direction and tools to market ourselves to new businesses and residents, promote economic growth and inspire pride in our community.”
In November 2020, the Fort Walton Beach City Council entered into a contract with no luggage Brand Strategies to lead the initiative. no luggage Brand Strategies is the consultant that recently guided the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department’s latest branding initiative.
According to a press release from the city, an identified city brand affects the entire community and has many benefits.
- Messaging and marketing among stakeholders (businesses, government organizations, residents, etc.) align: all parties talk about the community in the same tone.
- The ability for regional, state and national recognition is greatly enhanced: the city becomes an identifiable topic of positive conversation. Economic and business decisions are easier to see and understand: locals share messages about the direction the city is headed.
- Negative perceptions can be overcome: residents and businesses embrace the community and engage in positive discussions.
In the interview above, both Beedie and Peter explain the need for a city brand, the process for the overall project and outcomes.