23 July, 2014

What's On The Whiteboard?: Re-Branding St. Albans Neighborhood Watch

Ideally, one of the best ways to kick-start the creative process of branding or re-branding your organization or company is to get a bunch of people in a room and search for the "essence" of the brand. 

For example, if I were searching for the brand essence for "St. Albans Neighborhood Watch" and I want to rebrand it in the fewest characters and syllables possible (see YESTERDAY's post on the "rules") the first obvious problem I have is that I need to somehow reference our location. We're not just any neighborhood watch anywhere we're specifically the neighborhood watch of St. Albans, WV, so I'd like to at least allude to the name of the town. So, if you're in a room brainstorming the brand, go to the white board and write down location as one of the essential components of the new brand. 

What else is essential to neighborhood watch? "Watching?" "Vigilance?" "Alertness?" Oh, I could fill 10 white boards with all the variations on these words and their Greek and Latin roots. But certainly vigilance, alertness and even unity and cooperation are essential to neighborhood watch so I would leave those on the whiteboard if I were brand brainstorming with other brainstormers.

Because my city is named for the first English Protestant martyr, I explored ways of getting to the location without the martyrdom thing. Neighborhood watches don't, of course, want to think of martyrdom while they're keeping watch for bad guys. So how could I create a neologism (see yesterday's post for definition) than contains part of my city's name, e.g., "alban" or "albans"? After reading a book about suffixes and prefixes and reading books about scrabble words - you know, words with 5 letters beginning in  "s" and that sort of thing - I thought of combining "Albans" and "Sentry" to get "AlbanSentry". I also thought of "AlbanSentinel." I also briefly considered "AlbanKeeper", "Safe Albans" and even "Sane Albans." 

I briefly considered trying to get at the location by trying out earlier names of the city like Phillipi and Coalsmouth. I quickly rulled out Phillipi because lots of people can't sau it or spell it and there's already a Philippi in WV and I quickly ruled out Coalsmouth because I don't want our neighborhood watch to be confused for another org using that name. If I were really in a room with other branding brainstormers we'd have a lot of stuff on that whiteboard.

I've decided to abandon historical references to an earlier St. Albans and go back to looking for a neologism based on Alban or Albans. I found one I like: Albans Emergent. The word "emergent" is a double entendre. It's ambitious and optimistic. Emergent means "arising unexpectedly" and "calling for prompt action." 

If you live in the city limits of St. Albans and you support the goals and methods of neighborhood watch as a means of improving the city of St Albans, join "Public Group For St. Albans Neighborhood Watch" on Facebook at ::https://www.facebook.com/groups/PublicGroupForSt.AlbansNeighborhoodWatch/.
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