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Town of Herndon explores rebranding itself as ‘next generation’ small town

Town officials are working through the town’s first rebranding effort in ten years (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Town of Herndon officials are mulling the town’s first rebranding effort in ten years.

The move — last discussed at a Herndon Town Council meeting earlier this month — comes as phase two of the Silver Line opens by Thanksgiving.

The rebranding package characterized the town as a “next generation small town.”

Mayor Sheila Olem said the placemaking nature of the new Herndon Metro Station provides an opportunity for the town to position itself as a rivaling area to others in the Commonwealth.

“With Metro coming in, it’s the perfect time,” Olem said at the Oct. 19 meeting.

Anne Curtis, the town’s director of communications, said distilling the town’d “distinctive attributes” was key in developing its brand strategy.

Curtis offered the following brand positioning statement:

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.

The town’s logo also emphasizes “on” in the visualization of Herndon, with the font connecting “o” to “n.”

But council members concurred that more discussion and research is needed before any changes occur. The proposal was presented in response to the council’s strategy initiatives planning meeting earlier this year.

Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila suggested that the brand strategy move out of relying on the town’s reputation as a small town.

“There are dollars out there to be had that we should position ourselves to grab,” del Aguila said, noting that the town must put itself on the regional map and move out of a “small town charm mentality.”

The town launched a brand identity development effort in 2012. Consultant Trialogue Studio worked with the town to launch the strategy.

In the most recent effort, the town held five focus groups, more than 20 interviews with key community and corporate leaders, and launched an online survey that yielded 400 responses.

From that effort, town features like “great location, “small town” and “Hispanic,” were salient.

Staff will continue to work on the proposal. A visualization exercise is planned for early next year.