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posted: 3/20/2014 5:30 AM

Arlington Heights may focus on rebranding

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  • Arlington Heights downtown signage for the Discover Arlington campaign.

       Arlington Heights downtown signage for the Discover Arlington campaign.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Arlington Heights may soon be discussing rebranding itself after several trustees expressed concerns with the effectiveness of the "Discover Arlington" campaign.

The discussion came up when several trustees questioned the campaign's future before approving the planning and community development budget at Wednesday night's budget hearing.

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Trustee Mike Sidor mentioned that several other suburbs use the word "discover" in their branding.

"I think we are better than that," Sidor said. "I'd like to see us move toward differentiation."

Trustees also brought up problems with how well the campaign is recognized. In 2013 the Arlington Economic Alliance conducted a consumer research study that found that 70 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the Discover Arlington campaign.

"When (that many) people are not aware of what the program involves, I think that speaks a lot to what we need to do as a governing board," said Trustee Carol Blackwood.

Blackwood said she would like to see the Discover Arlington website be incorporated into the main village website, which is being redesigned this year, instead of a completely separate site for visitors and businesses to visit.

"I would much prefer, as a resident, to go to one place and find what I need rather than go to two, three or four different websites," Blackwood said.

She went on to praise Des Plaines, which she said is taking a full year to figure out the city's brand and plan how to best promote themselves.

"Why is this important? Because it drives economic dollars into Arlington Heights," Blackwood said.

Discover Arlington was developed in 2002, but trustees pointed out that times have changed.

"I do want to see us redevelop our marketing plan. It was set up at the beginning of the century when there was no social media," said Trustee John Scaletta. "Everything in that plan had to do with newspaper advertising, radio and billboards and all the traditional mediums. Now, we do need to redevelop our brand."

Mayor Tom Hayes said since so many trustees wanted further discussion on rebranding the village, it will be a topic at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting. Since there is no funding for any rebranding changes, in the budget that was approved on Wednesday, trustees would need to approve a budget amendment for costs at a later date, Hayes said.

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