Aldermen getting an education in Town branding

A pair of Farragut aldermen said they received an eye-opening education in Town branding, which could be used to boost overall Town growth while specifically boosting tourism, during Tourism Society Conference Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27-29, in downtown Knoxville.

Sharing her observations about Town needs following her attendance at the conference, Alderman Louise Povlin said one thing lacking in Town “is wayfinding signs, we don’t have any. That is something we really need to look at.”

Povlin was among those addressing the Town’s Economic Development Advisory Commit-tee during its monthly meeting Wednesday morning, April 5.

Wayfinding signage “is a big deal for coming off the Interstate. We’ve already started doing a little bit more signage on the greenways to make sure it’s as easy to navigate those as possible,” Sue Stuhl, director of Parks & Leisure Services, said.

“We have a long-range idea about a pedestrian walking tour for our downtown area from [Founders Park at] Campbell Station to the cemetery,” Stuhl added. “We’ve had that for years.”

Povlin also said the Town needs “to collect data” on why those outside of Farragut choose to come here to celebrate events versus other municipalities.

Quoting another source, Povlin said she was told “a family reunion came in and they decided to stay at Baymont [hotel] because of the proximity to all the shops and restaurants. But they were using McFee Park pavilion as their gathering place for their family reunion. Those are the types of things we need to know: why are they here? Why are they using our facilities?

“… I think we need to develop a strategic plan,” Povlin added. “But it’s big and it’s complicated.

“We’re the best untold story right now. We have so much to offer.”

In pointing to a reason for being “untold,” Povlin said, “Just because we’ve been very occupied with growing and making sure we’re doing it right. We haven’t highlighted this [tourism draw] part of it.”

“We have a long way to go because this has not been the focus for a very long time,” Stuhl said. “It will be small baby steps, but we’ll get there.”

Povlin said about the Town’s Annual Report, “I would love to change the name, I would love to change some of the aspects in there. … We should be highlighting our special events.

“I’m not sure we need two pages of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and our descriptions, that’s on the [] website,” she added. “Look at [Annual Report] from more of a marketing aspect.”

Similar to Povlin, Alderman Ron Williams said he “saw right quick what I didn’t know” during the conference.

“The big thing that I see that we’re lacking is … on the website they all focused on quick screen shots of the features that go on in [any given] area. That could be events, parks … historical things like the [Farragut] Museum,” Williams added. “They were focused on things that would pull people in.”

In terms of the Town being a unique selling point for a roughly 200-mile stretch across the state, Williams added, “If you go, really, from Nashville to Sevierville, this [Campbell Station/Farragut exit] is really the only exit that’s got anything to offer.”

Girl on the Roof, the firm hired to assist and recommend branding ideas to Town leaders, has a “contract deadline of Sept. 15” to complete their recommendations, Stuhl said.

The firm, Stuhl added, “is working on a campaign tagline, or ‘call to action’ for visitors and for prospective businesses. … That is very different from our logo, which is really based towards residents.

“We’re working on a downloadable guide. … On our website we might have [a site for] visitors and new residents, and some information there that’s [presented] in an easy way,” Stuhl added. “We’ll be talking to Realtors about that.

“Looking at a new business landing page on our website. … Looking at different ways we can use social media.”