Visitors and residents will soon be invited to “Explore Brookhaven” as part of a new branding strategy to boost the young city into a regional and national presence.
Renée Areng, executive director of the Brookhaven Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the new brand identity along with a logo to the City Council at its Sept. 24 work session.
Explore Brookhaven will be the used in the city’s marketing and tourism materials and even within city departments such as permitting to “distinguish Brookhaven from its older, larger or more established neighbors.”
Full rollout of the branding and marketing is expected to begin in early 2020.
The logo, a quadrilateral shape that roughly mirrors the city’s borders on a map, is a patchwork of blue and green. The colors represent the city’s parks, the Peachtree Creek Greenway, tree canopy and neighborhoods, Areng said.
CVB board members and the consultants reviewed 700 responses from residents, business owners, frequent travelers and visitors to get their perspectives and impressions of the city, Areng said.
From those interviews and surveys, they came up with a “destination promise” that includes the phrase, “You are a guest in Brookhaven. For a day or forever” that resonated well with all 700 respondents.
“This bridges the relationship between residents and visitors as all being guests,” Areng said.
City administrators like the brand identity so much they want to incorporate it beyond just tourism and destination marketing and into other areas like economic development and job creation.
With that in mind, the city entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the CVB at the Sept. 24 meeting to cover one-half of the approximate $52,000 costs of the final phase of the branding strategy. The money is coming from the city’s Communications budget.
The CVB also voted to split the word Brookhaven into “Brook” and “Haven” when using the logo in vertical marketing pieces, Areng said, to be creative. There is still some question how that may play in the public, but many people like the look of the two words alongside the logo, she said.
The council approved spending more than $800,000 earlier this year to hire research and market analysis consultant BrandStrategy Inc. and advertising agency Zehender Communications to develop a comprehensive strategy as well as marketing materials, including the logo.
An Explore Brookhaven website is expected to be finished in October, Areng said.
The CVB board preferred “Explore Brookhaven” to an initial idea to use “Discover Brookhaven” as the brand identity because the phrase encourages visitors as well as residents to go see different areas of the city, Areng explained.
The city’s total CVB budget this year is $1.6 million and is funded with hotel-motel tax dollars. There are 11 hotels in the city with a total of 1,622 rooms.
Areng said the city’s hotels currently use Atlanta addresses and a top priority for her is to have them change them to Brookhaven.
She explained to the council that all of the hotels tend to exceed occupancy between Tuesday and Saturdays, but occupancy drops off for the weekend. The CVB is working to find ways to get rooms filled every day of the week.
State law requires hotel-motel taxes be spent on tourism and promotion. Legislators agreed the Greenway would become a regional destination and approved the city raising its hotel-motel tax from 5% to 8% in 2017 to fund its construction and promotion. Brookhaven was the first city in the state to use hotel-motel tax money to pay for a multiuse trail.