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Finding the right brand for Fort Myers Beach

November 27, 2019
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

One of the operative words in business today revolves around the term "branding."

Even athletes focus on building a brand, or identity, that can make them more popular or attractive for endorsements and celebrity status.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council has allocated $65,000 towards the endeavor of creating a brand and marketing strategy that they hope will draw more attention to the beach itself while promoting characteristics that are distinct from the greater Fort Myers area and surrounding beaches.

The town hired Pompano Beach-based RMA in October on a one-year contract. Sharon McCormick, director of business attraction and marketing for RMA, has met with town council members, the town manager and the chairs of advisory committees as part of research to develop the town's brand and marketing campaign.

RMA specializes in economic development, redevelopment, real estate, management administration, urban design and planning, McCormick said. They were chosen by the town following a request for proposals.

"We were impressed with their experience," said Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt. He said the agreement with RMA is a concept which grew from the council's strategic plan.

The goal, McCormick said, is to develop a brand so that "when (people) hear Fort Myers Beach, what do they think?"

A common theme in responses from the political leaders in town she has spoken to is that Fort Myers is "very unique" and is a "very friendly, open and welcoming and accepting place," McCormick said.

One of the ways the town stands out is its mix of wealthy residents and working class people, she said. "It has its own unique vibe compared to the other beaches around."

One of the main goals of the branding and marketing drive is to differentiate Fort Myers Beach from Fort Myers. "Fort Myers Beach gets lumped in with Fort Myers," McCormick said. "The idea is to make it distinguished."

As part of the process, a new logo will be created for the town through RMA's graphics team. Input is being solicited for colors and images. McCormick is hopeful to get input from the public down the road.

"There is no question we are competing with other beach communities with what we have to offer," Hernstadt said.

The goal is to have plans for the rebranding and marketing strategy formalized and approved before the town's next election. "We would like to take the final logo and creative material for final adoption in March," McCormick said. "We pride ourselves in developing plans that are implemented."



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