The Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association (GHHWA) has some good news/bad news: The organization’s mission is working well; its name, not so much.
The name, brand and marketing approach used by the Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association (GHHWA) will undergo a professional remake during an intensive, three-day branding workshop during Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. The workshop also will involve a broad cross-section of the community to ensure ideas reflect the overall character of Gig Harbor.
The project was conceived when the organization’s leaders began noticing the nonprofit’s existing name and brand were consistently creating some misperceptions and confusion.
“Our new name and brand should align with our purpose, should be easier to say, and should establish our organization as easily identifiable in the community,” said Gary Glein, president of GHHWA. “Many have told us our existing name is somewhat confusing and raises too many questions, so we’re going to improve that.”
The “brand resource” project is being led by Arnett Muldrow & Associates, a firm that specializes in downtown, community and regional branding initiatives on a national basis. Arnett Muldrow, headquartered in South Carolina, has completed similar community branding exercises in 26 states and more than 200 communities. Earlier this month, the firm conducted a similar project in Waterbury, Vermont.
The outcome of GHHWA’s brand blitz will be a recommendation for renaming and rebranding the organization, including a commercial logo, brand statements and market positioning strategies. However, the project will not treat the organization as an isolated entity. Instead, the project will position GHHWA as an integrated part of Gig Harbor’s broader commercial and civic community. Recommendations will include advice on how the GHHWA brand can benefit rather than compete with well-established entities such as the City of Gig Harbor, Uptown, Gig Harbor North and others.What should be the new name for the Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association? Tell us in the comments below.
“This effort involves more than simply renaming our organization and designing a snappy new logo,” said Glein. “Our goal is to create a clear and compelling identity system that reflects our mission and fits with the promotional and economic interests of our community as a whole.”
The intensive process includes a tightly scheduled series of six one-hour roundtable workshops with a representative variety of invited guests from throughout the community. GHHWA volunteers have enlisted approximately 80 participants from various organizations and interest groups, including business owners, property owners, boaters, tourism groups, residents, students, educators, civic leaders and others.
The roundtable sessions will culminate on Feb. 1 with a presentation by Arnett Muldrow’s brand development team. At the end of the process, GHHWA’s board will evaluate the firm’s recommendations and begin the work of deciding direction and implementation.
While GHHWA is funding the majority of the $15,000 project from its operating budget, several other organizations, including the City of Gig Harbor, Uptown, Gig Harbor North and the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, have signed on as collaborative partners to the program.
“We want our partners to have a voice in the process and a first-hand understanding of the outcomes,” said Glein. “Our end game is to bring clarity and visibility to our brand so that our mission of creating a distinctive and economically vibrant community will gain broader momentum across multiple organizations and over the long run.”
Information provided by the Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association.