‘The Little City’ Unveiled as ‘Brand Name’ for Falls Church

Smith-Gifford Reveals Result to Task Force

In a stunning roll-out to the assembly of citizen task force at their offices on W. Jefferson St. tonight, princ TheLittleCityFallsChurchiples of the Smith-Gifford marketing firm presented the conclusion of their months-long study and development efforts at a defining brand for the City of Falls Church.

“The Little City” was unveiled as the simple but powerful result.

A glowing Mayor Robin Gardner told the News-Press tonight that the slogan and the logo accompanying it “is exciting. It captures the essence of the City of Falls Church. It is a tie that binds the City, its residents, its legacy, its innovation and creativity and its appeal to the surrounding region.”

The mayor was one of a small, select group of City leaders given an advance preview prior to tonight’s meeting, and City resident Matt Smith of Smith-Gifford told the News-Press that he was heartened by her enthusiasm for the result of the work.

“The City of Falls Church is a small place on purpose,” Smith-Gifford’s Amanda Hurt said in her power-point presentation. “We are enthusiastically small. We are a small town oasis in the midst of a big city, and are happy to be that way. We’re a mere 2.2 square miles, but we are not trivial.”



A rendering of a local bus with “The Little City” logo. (Courtesy Smith-Gifford)

She added, “We have the mindset of a big city – the thinking, culture, food, schools – without the crowding. It’s all the benefits of a big city, without the drawbacks. We have a metro, a performance venue, our own policy department and government, access to major highways, malls, and we are only a few minutes to downtown D.C., but we have minimal crime, noise, congestion and most of the other drawbacks that come with being a city. We’re an impressive 2.2 square miles.”


There are a lot of other cities that have the word, “city,” in their brand, including the Emerald City, the City of Lights, the Twin Cities, the Windy City and many others, she noted. Now, Falls Church has stepped up to claim rights to being, “The Little City.”

The slogan captures, she said, the nuances of the city’s personality, which encompasses the features of being “convenient, neighborly, involved, vibrant, with lots going on, with small town values, down-to-earth, quirky, creative, human, warm, educated, fun, inclusive, welcoming, friendly and community-oriented.”

The branding project was initiated by the City of Falls Church’s economic development office and its Economic Development Authority for the purpose of “attracting more of the right kinds of businesses” to the city by “articulating an identity and personality that is appealing, and attracts non-residents to visit, while being a notion that residents will embrace.”

The power-point presentation last night included samples of the new brand, inclusive of the slogan and logo, in a variety of contexts, on business cards, letterhead, promotional materials (such as “Little City. Big Plan” and  “Little City, Big Taste”), on the local bus system (“The Little City Bus”), and t-shirts.

As far as implementation was concerned, Smith and Hurt said it should involve “creating a sense of place with consistent signage, event banners, and welcome and thank you entrance and exit signage at the city’s borders.”

A marketing campaign could include the distribution of coupons to surrounding neighborhoods and ads in the News-Press with the listing of events.

Recruitment of new businesses could be better achieved with the new brand by communicating the personality of the city through business cards, letterhead, pamphlets and a consistent look and feel among all city publications and web site designs, they said.

Note: SmithGifford has slightly revised “The Little City” logo, due to some comments that “City” looked like “Citey”.