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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Shaw Neighborhood "Brand"

Not to influence the poll regarding the name of this blog, but I have been thinking a lot about the Shaw neighborhood "Brand". We have a lot to do in the way of marketing ourselves to each other and to the world: the current perception of Shaw is not a good one. But as development continues to progress in our area and to encourage more development, we should think about who we are and who we want to be.

I like the tag line "a place between places" that Shaw has developed over the years, and think we should capitalize on it. It captures a lot about us--geographically, we're well located in the city; metaphorically, we're in the process of redefining who we are as new people move in (like it or not); and, intangibly, on a hopeful note, we have the essence of place, or community, captured. Furthermore, "A place between places" could present many marketing opportunities for us. I wrote about banners last month, and, although the following example copies downtown D.C.'s theme, here's an example of what banners with this theme could say:

Yeah, so I'm not a graphic designer, by the way...

Do you have any ideas about or insight into our neighborhood brand?


Shaw Rez said...

Some of the positive things I associate with the Shaw "brand" include that Shaw is a place: for history (e.g., Carter Woodson, 100+ year old row houses, and so forth); for learning (e.g., we have several schools); for worship (e.g., the numerous churches); for recreation (e.g., the Kennedy Recreation center, the many school fields); for culture (e.g., the great Galleries like Longview, 9th Street Gallery and Project 4; Warehouse Theater, DC9, 9:30 Club), for dining (e.g., Little Ethiopia, Vegetate, the new places in the Convention Center about to open), and so forth.

ML said...

From a marketing standpoint, "a place between places" is a bad idea. It suggests an area to just pass through on your way to an actual destination or place you care to visit or want to be.

A better approach in thinking about how Shaw could be marketed is to think about the qualities we know exist here as residents. These ideas could include:

- rich history
- "old city" - we've got roots
- location - heart of the city, walk to downtown
- diversity
- uniqueness
- cultural
- up-and-coming place to do business
- etc.

Our neighborhood was once, and should be again a destination - not a place to pass through.

Shaw Rez said...

Thanks for the insight, ML. That thought had crossed my mind but I figured the "place" between places countered the pass through aspect of the phrase.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree the "place between places" seems like a place to pass through, not a destination...

I'd work off of how Shaw is described in the real estate multiple listings and use the name "Old City" or use a variation on that and call it "Center City"...either name emphasizes the great locaton and the history of the neighborhood...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last two commenters... it's similar to how the Midwest is (incorrectly in my view) often considered "flyover land" - just a place between places (the East and West Coast). It's probably best to leverage the history, rowhouse "fabric", and potential of Shaw.

Carmen said...

I think "center city," suggested by anonymous, really captures this neighborhood and promotes the fact that we really are centrally-located. We're a short walk to Dupont, Logan, U Street, downtown.

I don't like old city, it evokes a section of the city that has been passed by - although in a way we find ourselves in that place - with development all around us and yet things here in Shaw progressing ever-so-slowly (See the discussion of whether development has bypassed Shaw at Off Seventh Blog -

I think that "a place between places' gives the same impression of the neighborhood - that we're just on the way to better places.

Hey Shaw Rez, I met you at the happy hour last week and I've just started reading your blog - and I love it! Good work!

Shaw Rez said...

I've amended the poll to include two new names inspired by the comments, "Shaw Nouveau" and "Old City New."

Carmen--thanks for reading! Great meeting you last Friday; we'll have to have another Shaw gathering again soon.