As the City of Falls Church ushers in a new era, the era of “branding” and marketing the city’s attributes to the outside world, the man retained to spearhead the effort offered some astute insights during his interview on the “Falls Church News-Press Live” television program last week.
City resident Matt Smith, whose city-based business, Smith Gifford, is a fast-rising and prominent marketing firm with significant national accounts, has been hired by Falls Church’s Economic Development Authority to develop a “brand” for Falls Church. A task force reflecting a wide range of interests in Falls Church has been assembled to help, providing its input on this project.
Among other things, Smith said that the “brand” should reflect what the city is, and not what some may want it to be. It should grow out of what is already here, not from a superimposed desire or construct.
So, what does Falls Church have to start with in this effort? Here are some of the things we’ve identified to help shape its “brand” going forward, not listed in order of prominence or preference:
1. At least two structures of significant historical value, the original Falls Church and Cherry Hill Farmhouse.
2. A legacy as home to the first rural chapter of the NAACP.
3. The State Theatre, renovated to become one of the Metro area’s premiere live music venues, orbited by other, smaller live music sites.
4. A quality school system recognized nationally for its excellence.
5. Location, location, location, to the wider region, with two Metro rail stations, an interstate and the beltway all connecting the city, which is just seven miles from D.C. and equidistant between two airports.
6. The Eden Center, the premiere destination for Vietnamese-Americans on the entire eastern seaboard, and now safe and more welcoming, with its great restaurants, etc., to the general population.
7. Outstanding, if small, ethnic restaurants, many widely recognized as among the finest in the Metro region.
8. Quiet residential neighborhoods, with abundant trees and parks.
9. A City government that staunchly affirms non-discrimination principles, welcomes diversity and increased affordable housing, and supports “smart growth” and environmentally-friendly practices.
10. Two of the most unique, stylish new buildings in the region, the Art Nouveau-inspired Read Building and “Flower Building.”
11. A robust cadre of citizens and business leaders actively involved in the community, on boards, commissions, civic and school groups, and customarily, voter turnout levels that are the highest in the state.
12. A quality local newspaper that helps bind the community by chronicling in depth its activities each week, a rarity these days.
13. Some of the highest per-capita income and college and graduate degree level demographics of any jurisdiction in the U.S.