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Morrow officials seek new brand for city

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

So, if "Virginia is for lovers," and "I love NY [New York]," while "Charlotte's [N.C.] got a lot," then where does that leave the City of Morrow?

Well, that is the question that Morrow's head tourism official is trying to answer. Mike Twomey, president of the Morrow Business and Tourism Association, said he is working with Atlanta-based Schroder Public Relations to re-brand the city, draw more visitors, and attract more permanent residents to the town.

"We want people to know this place is not Godforsaken," Twomey said. "It is a wonderful place to do business in, and to live in."

As part of the re-branding effort, Morrow will see a heavy shift in how it is presented, with changes coming to everything from the city's logo, to its web site. A new city slogan, which would serve as the theme for a public relations campaign for Morrow, is also being worked on, according to Twomey.

He said a short promotional video for the city is currently being filmed (for a new city web site), and he added that his office has seen suggestions for a new city logo, and narrowed the options to a short-list of finalists. The tourism association president said the new logo and web site are expected to be rolled out by mid-August.

Twomey added that the list of slogan candidates has been narrowed to three, which play on the city's name, although he said he is not ready to publicly discuss what the options are.

"We are just trying to get together with the city council and the various [city] boards, and get their approval before we make any sort of public announcement," Twomey said.

The city's top tourism official said the city is seeking to revamp its image and branding message because its logo and web site are several years old, and have become outdated. "Everything needed to be updated," he said.

Right now, the City of Morrow is in the midst of a redevelopment study for the Southlake Mall area. That study includes suggestions to redevelop the area around the mall, and all the way up Ga. Hwy. 54, to Clayton State University, into an Atlantic Station-style live-work-play destination. Construction work is also underway to revamp and improve traffic flow on Ga. Hwy. 54 at the Interstate 75 overpass.

Schroder Public Relations President Chris Schroder said that with that kind of work and commitment going into improving the city, it's slogan and public relations campaign have to be something durable which can last across multiple decades.

"It needs to be short, it needs to be simple, it needs to be clean, it needs to be memorable, and it needs to be durable," he said. "In other words, if you're going to be building these things for the next 20, to 25 years, and making all of these transportation and construction investments, you want a campaign that will stand the test of time."

So, what will go into a new image and branding campaign for Morrow?

Last month, Schroder told the Morrow City Council, as well as the city's economic development, business and tourism, and housing boards, that the new public relations campaign will promote several amenities in, and around the city.

Those amenities, Schroder said, include Clayton State University (and its Spivey Hall concert facility), the National Archives at Atlanta, the Georgia Archives, Morrow's new pathway walking trail system and the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve. Morrow's proximity to Atlanta, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, should also be incorporated into the public relations campaign, he added.

"Really, what you have are all the comforts of a small town, right near a big city," Schroder told city leaders last month. "That's something you need to build upon in your campaign."

Schroder shows city officials several examples of public relations campaigns that other cities and states have in place, including "Virginia is for Lovers," "I love NY" and "Charlotte's got a lot." He also brought up Augusta's "Play in Augusta" campaign, which plays off its status as the home of the Masters Golf Tournament, by encouraging visitors to engage in many different ways to "play" in the city.

That is the kind of campaign that Schroder is working to build for Morrow.

"Our goals for this PR campaign are to position Morrow as an attractive place to visit, live and shop," he said. Schroder added that his firm is aiming to promote Morrow as someplace "where you can enjoy the outdoors, you can research history, you can attend the university ... listen to music in one of the most wonderful acoustic venues in the country, and most of all, build your future."