The Montgomery County Business Development Center wants to know what famous actor locals feel embodies the area.
“It could be Robert Downey Jr.” said Montgomery County economic development specialist Jacqueline Meola, “Because he has astounding talent, but some life challenges. I don’t know yet. I’ll have to Google some celebrities.”
The question is part of a survey currently circulating through the county. It’s designed to gauge public opinion on the area’s strengths and weaknesses in preparation for a full county rebrand coming in the next few months.
The center recently hired Nashville, Tenn.-based marketing company North Star Destination Strategies to bind together the county’s current disparate messages into one cohesive brand using data and research. According to Meola, the move is long overdue.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people,” she said, “and every one of them gives me a different definition of what Montgomery County is all about.”
Some say it’s a recreational county, other’s a historical county, “or it could be a bedroom community for Saratoga tech jobs,” she said.
North Star is currently sorting piles of census data, population research and survey responses along with planning a trip to the area’s largest attractions. They’re getting paid $80,000 to deliver an honest view of what the county actually offers, based on numbers rather than wishful thinking, officials say.
That core definition will change not only the county’s visual brand, but possibly the business landscape.
Meola said the results of the branding will decide what business the Industrial Development Agency chooses to pursue. If North Star decides Montgomery is a historical county, the IDA will encourage the sort of small business known to cater to tourists interested in history.
In a more obvious sense, county websites and pamphlets will look different.
“Right now every part of the county has their own message,” she said, listing off the various, different brands within the area.
Amsterdam has a blue motif with the “small city big heart” slogan. The county website is blue and orange and the Business Development Center itself uses the tagline “so many ways to move,” which doesn’t clearly apply to the county.
Meola said there are three basic groups of people in the county, with some overlap: People who come to work; come to live; and come to visit. Currently, she said, the county goes after these groups separately.
“We’re looking to condense our effort to go after them all at once,” she said.
Colors, fonts and logos will all be tweaked to form a single message.
They’re not yet sure what that message will be — thus the survey and marketing team, she said.
The project is funded through a National Grid grant, the IDA, I Love NY and county occupancy tax funds.