Local Commentary

Editorial: ‘The Little City:’ Perfect!

‘The Little City’ is spot on. Kudos to Falls Church’s own Smith-Gifford marketing firm for accepting the task, involving the entire community, and delivering on a first-rate “brand” for the mighty City of Falls Church, announced last night to the citizen task force assembled to review and assist in the months-long effort.

As Mayor Robin Gardner told the News-Press yesterday, sometimes what seems the most obvious and simple thing needs to be identified with a three-word phrase like ‘The Little City’ to create an ‘Aha!’ moment. It’s a  moment of realization that this well-thought out and crafted phrase is exactly the right, tight and succinct description of everything Falls Church represents to its citizens, to its business community, and to the wider world the City is hoping to better engage.

This is exactly what marketing firms get paid the big bucks to do. In our consumer-oriented economy, we take so many slogans and logos for granted that we seldom think about the effort that goes into devising them. But any fan of the award-winning TV series, ‘Mad Men,’ knows, an awful lot goes into producing what may seem to most as a very simple turn of a phrase or stylish logo.

We are grateful to the City of Falls Church and its Economic Development Authority for deciding to put this task into the hands of true professionals, and we feel what was unveiled last night is proof of the value of the move. It’s something we’ve editorialized in favor of for years in this space, often to the chagrin of many at City Hall who were slow to pick up on the idea but something which has now born fruit.

Of course, it now remains to make this campaign work, to go out and sell the City to prospective new economic development opportunities so sorely needed in the current recession.

For example, there are three major corporations who have relocated their headquarters from sunny Southern California to the nearby Tysons Corner and greater Falls Church areas of Northern Virginia in the last year: Hilton Hotels, SAIC and the Computer Services Corporation.

So, someone in Falls Church needs to step up to the unsavory task of flying out to suffer some Southern California sunshine in order to approach the many smaller, feeder companies that sprung up to provide special services to these corporate giants. Those smaller feeder companies are exactly the size and style to fit into ‘The Little City.’

What we like about ‘The Little City’ as Falls Church’s new brand is the depth of meaning in each of the three words. ‘The’ is not ‘A.’ It claims ownership over everyone else: as in the way so many in Falls Church consider their community like no other. ‘Little’ is, well, reality, and something considered a plus by many living here. Finally, ‘City’ is exactly what Falls Church is, technically as well as in spirit. It is not a ‘village’ or ‘town,’ but increasingly cosmopolitan, up-to-date and forward-looking. Perfect!