Pages

February 16, 2010

What do you think Walnut Creek's "brand" should be?

Seriously.

OK, I know we could all have fun with this, and I could get snarky.  But I'm reading comments on my  earlier post about Roger Brooks, the consultant who was hired by the Downtown Business Association to come up with a brand and logo to help promote Walnut Creek. Some of you were not wild about Brooks' ideas or the need to hire someone like him. And I'm thinking maybe we could do better than this self-described "destination guru " (thanks, by the way to the reader, who provided this link).

If you'll recall, Brooks came up with the idea that Mt. Diablo Boulevard is our town's Mason-Dixon Line (Yikes!) He also  threw out the suggestion that we call the area north of this Mason-Dixon Line our "International District" because of all the "ethnic" restaurants operating there. 

Another suggestion he made, while addressing city and business leaders last week, is that the downtown should ditch its "Escape the Ordinary" logo.  OK, I have to agree with Mr. Brooks there. 

But if Walnut Creek is not going to be promoted as an "escape from the ordinary," how should it be promoted?

Come on, all you creative, closet destination gurus out there. I bet someone reading this blog could come up with something pretty fantastic. The business association is looking for a way to brand this town, so let's see what we can come up.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Walnut Creek - It's All Here!"
A simple slogan to get across the idea that this community has everything the visitor or local could want - the stores, restaurants, parks, lovely neighborhoods, great views, an award winning retirement community, good schools, (add your own here). This slogan could embrace many different executions... shopping emphasized in one ad, dining in another, real estate in another. The point is to keep it simple and broad enough to allow it to be refreshed periodically. By the way, I am also paid well for my branding advice and have helped many large corporations. But when it comes to your own community, you give back.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

6:50 a.m.
Sounds good to me. You're right, the logo needs to be simple, but broad, so that it can be refreshed and adapted to different needs.

As much as I gripe about our hometown, I still believe that it has a whole lot going for it, and you summed up its assets very well.

beau hunk said...

Why on earth does Walnut Creek want more visitors? Traffic is dense enough already.

Does anyone really think that a sentient human being will read a "branding advertisement" and say to their spouse, "By Gar, Marge. Let's go to Walnut Creek - it's all there."

Anyone who does this is not "all there".

Anonymous said...

What's the point of this again?

There is already too much traffic downtown - the lots are packed - the people already snarky in Whole Foods and Trader Joes...

It's almost like Congress - they pass bills just so they can say they did something to their constituents

nope, I'm not gonna do it - - - - oh, god, I feel it coming.... ok, ah that feels better:

"Walnut Creek - it exists"

Anonymous said...

Talk about snarky! One of the key factors in determining where we shop and dine is location. Any individual business downtown is focused on attracting customers with merchandise, service, price, etc. By forming a downtown association, these individual businesses can pool their resources to focus on the location factor. Now you can argue that building an image for a location or "destination" is a waste of time, and attempting to increase awareness though advertising doesn't work, but plenty of successful retail centers and "downtowns" would disagree. I get the feeling that the people who are quick to dismiss this have never worried about running a small business that depends on traffic during a recession.

Anonymous said...

from 9:01 to 9:14

Actually there you are wrong in terms of at least me not knowing what it takes to survive a recession. We did exactly that post 9/11 and we were north of that Mason Dixon line... and no one helped us out of it but our customers and some innovative thinking pushed by necessity. A business assn would not have helped except perhaps to wring dues out of us and try to make us feel better.

a small retailer simply has to have something people need, not just things people want. I feel for them of course, but the assn is more for morale, IMO.

richierich said...

i like'' walnut creek for all ages'' redirected to dining casual,gourmet,and shopping children to boutigues. yes as a small business owner it galls me to hear 'we dont want more trafic'' guess ,more traffic means more people will come shop here. would you rather have alot of empty shops? then u would have alot less traffic .lets see maybe we can raise parking meters and ticket 100% more. then we can scare people to pleasant hill or pleasanton or concord. there, less traffic..happy ?

David said...

I think it has to say something about the city or area, and not be generic. This site lists city slogans around the country. If I said "What Happens here stay here", "The city that never sleeps" or "Mile high city" you know where I'm talking about.

http://www.taglineguru.com/citymottosmonikers.html

Anonymous said...

"Walnut Creek - It's All Here!"

Sorry, but there's no Here here.

Leave bad enough alone. No more traffic

Anonymous said...

WC - Where snotty biotches come to shop.

Anonymous said...

I guess I still don't understand why Walnut Creek north of Mt. Diablo Blvd. needs a 'Brand Name'. Isn't that just the opposite of what they are trying to sell????? Unique, not branded?

Talk to people from other parts of the Bay Area and even from the outer Valleys and you will find that most of them already know about Walnut Creek being the so-called 'shopping mecca'. People do talk to each other about their experiences so why make the struggling little shops spends lots of dollars with silly advertising that will never benefit them?

Mr. Brooks seems to have sold his talents(?) to the DBA leaders who now have to decide just how to use his suggestions to their best advantage. Good luck.......

Anonymous said...

Traffic ...blah blah blah.....blah blah.. parking... blah.. development... blah.. blah... parking.. blah... blah...

WC residents want all the benefits and none of the impacts. Get over it people!

~YYZ

Anonymous said...

Come visit the "Damn Library" and stay for dinner!

Anonymous said...

I think we should reprise that old 60s stunt of trying to stuff as many people as possible in a VW bug. Instead, let's see how many cars it is physically possible to stuff into downtown WC.

It would get nationwide attention, and we wouldn't need a "brand"!

Anonymous said...

So tired of the traffic and parking comments...

Anonymous said...

I would second this, the traffic and parking comments are getting really old, and why is it that these people seem to have the entire working day to read blogs and to complain about parking and traffic but seem not to have enough time to deal with maybe a two minute delay crossing town or can't find the five minutes it takes to walk a block or two?

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Readers,
Thanks for everyone's comments...
I'd propose a "brand" or slogan myself, but I'm rather inept at writing cool, eye-catching, dream-cathing headlines...
But there might be some contenders worth forwarding to the DBA.
Oh, with regard to the parking and traffic complains, I know it gets old. But I'm afraid I might foist another one on you, but it has to do with a topic that, I believe, is worth discussing, judging from the last time I dealt with it. Stay tuned?

Masterlock said...

How about "Home of the $56 Million Library"?

Anonymous said...

How about:

"Cougars prowl here."

The 25-30 year old men will be flocking here like sheep.

Anonymous said...

Land of shitty Parking

Anonymous said...

Do we really need a brand? What do the surrounding cities brand themselves with? If San Francisco has a brand I sure don't know it. Carmel by the Sea comes to mind...maybe something that describes our setting at the base of Diablo and its foothills.

Anonymous said...

My impression of WC and "concerned residents:

Walnut Creek: Shop, dine, then get out of here.

~YYZ

Anonymous said...

Walnut Creek: The Devil's Playground

Anonymous said...

Masterlock, thats pretty snarky of you.

No matter what the business assn comes up with WC will all survive...but Mason-Dixon Line is horrible. Where are we? The old south with plantations & dont step over "the line" thinking. Why would we want to divide WC with a stupid slogan anyway?

Amazing what some people will waste their money on. Why not just ask the people who live here & are not getting paid to come up with an idea? What a concept!!!

Masterlock said...

1:44, I was merely suggesting that the slogan should be an amazing but true fact, is it possible that any snark you see is what you are projecting?

Anonymous said...

"Up the creek without a Walmart.
A destination for those moments when Walmart does not say 'I love you' in her language.
Walnut Creek.

Anonymous said...

Wow, anyone reading this would get the impression that a bunch of disgruntled, mean-spirited people live in WC. Soccer Mom asked a light-hearted question, and this is what she gets? I enjoy this blog a lot, but many of the commentators seem to be reveling in the negative. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do." Benjamin Franklin

Anonymous said...

I think Walnut Creek retail is failing because nobody around here really has any disposable income for shopping. Walnut Creek is not LA and never will be until someone with brains in retail takes over and puts in better shops and restaurants where people want to spend money. This area cannot even keep a pottery barn kids in business and it is supposed to be a community where young families want to live. Apparently not since there are really no stores even catering to children with the exception of gymboree...a horrible cheap tacky clothing store.

When I moved here 2 years ago, most of the retail was occupied...granted many of the stores and boutiques were tacky, poorly merchandised or in bad locations with no way of knowing it was there. Now I walk around and over the past 18 months or so...I'd say about 70% of the retail is gone. The whole downtown area is a ghost town. It sucks and I wish I never moved here.

Anonymous said...

3:06
Go to just about any other town and you'll find the same thing has happened over the past 2 years - empty storefronts, failed businesses, frugal shoppers. We are in the middle of a recession and things may never be the same again. So good luck finding somewhere to move to that doesn't have this problem.

Anonymous said...

3:06pm - Nothing you stated is unique to WC. Potty Pants Kids closed a number of stores across the country.

The market will decide the retail mix. I suggest you stay and open the store that you think will be a winner.

Anonymous said...

3:06pm

Maybe you should move if you are not happy here just because of the shopping opportunities for kids in WC are so meager in your opinion.

What are you looking for? PB Kids is not unique and must not be missed by many as there don't seem to be alot of Moms on the streets clamoring for its return.

A nice place to live is not all about shopping and dining.....yes, it does make your town more interesting but would certainly not be what motivated me to live in a specific town.

Nice People, great parks, wonderful schools, open space, public transportation to work and relatively low crime rates rank much higher in my opinion as to what makes a WC a really good town in which to live.

You cannot run away from empty storefronts anywhere in the US today. Why don't you really give WC a chance and scratch below the retail surface (you won't have to go very deep) to find the good things about our town.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:06,

Its the economy stupid.

Anonymous said...

... at least the schools are good...

Southern Neighbor said...

Danville for Business,
Alamo for Beauty

Anonymous said...

4:31 - great points. The downtown is only a small percentage of my quality of life indicators. It's nice to go downtown for a stroll, dinner, coffee or just a drink and an appetizer. But having the beauty of all the open space in my backyard, access to transportation, safe streets, a nice damn library, access to the arts really make WC a great place for me.

MickeyMartin said...

Walnut Creek

"A Vibrant and Progressive Experience"

"The Cat''s Meow"

"It aint Concord"

"Live, Work, Play. Walnut Creek Today!"

And for my fans,

"A Great Place for A Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collective"

Anonymous said...

10:58 am

Thanks. However, I might not factor in the "nice damn library" as an important consideration for moving or living here. My quality of life in WC has been really wonderful for 30+ years without it.

4:31 pm

Anonymous said...

12:04 - You probably don't need it. But I have young kids the old library was terrible. The education shows, author meetings for kids were held in, what appeared to be an old supply room. I look forward to expanding their minds by spending time a the new damn library.

Hope to see you there.

Anonymous said...

2:41 pm

I raised my kids in the old damn library which was not fancy at all but we didn't go there for the asthetics.

The building was allowed to decay for many years and repairs and updates were not a priority because of the grand dreams of the local library promoters.

They conducted a very dramatic campaign to build the huge building that we now see infringing on Civic Park at Lincoln and Broadway. They were turned down for grants from the State several times and also lost at the ballot box on several occasions by the citizenry but that did not stop them. With the spirited help/support of the council, save one-Gary Skrel, these folks pushed ahead to build this damn library by borrowing/stealing funds from every city fund imaginable. Meanwhile other vital city services have suffered, but by damn they will hold a swish grand opening of the damn library this summer.

And so my friend, I will not go to the opening of the damn library nor wil I probably find the need to go there at all. But, since I helped pay for it and will be paying for it for many years to come, I hope you and your children enjoy what we have provided.

Oh, and by the way, you might also try expanding your kids minds and education by taking them outdoors to discover real life in the Open Space where you can encourage them to run barefoot through the beautiful spring weeds or lie on their backs in a mustard field to view and dream of the universe and beyond.

Simple pleasures that cost nothing but provide vast knowledge and wonderful childhood memories.

12:04 pm

Anonymous said...

Ah, Walnut Creek. I remember when the El Rey theater across from where city hall is now used to show porn. The park next to the library used to be a dangerous place after dark and suburban hippies shopped at the Co-op. What a city! Walnut Creek used to have flavor. Now? It's financial success seems to have choked off it's untamed side. Now it is a nice and safe and largely generic place. And now Walnut Creek is looking for a slogan? I'm not the one for the job.
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Howzabout: "Walnut Creek -- Hey, we're not Oakland!"

I say this as someone that grew up in suburban/generic SoCal neighborhoods that look just like WC neighborhoods, and who now thinks, on those rare occasions when I'm forced to drive from my current home to shop in WC: "I'm glad I live in Oakland instead of here!" To each, his or her own.

Bob said...

SM,

Congratulations on bringing out this wide range of opinion.

I just want to say that we should refer to the "Dang Library" instead of the "Damn Library". IMHO, guess I'm old-fashioned.

Children for the next fifty years will benefit from this resource, in spite of the efforts of the Unsuccessful Library Killers (ULK).

AKA Soccer Mom said...

More brilliant and beautiful comments! What more can I say?

There are some key ideas for "branding" that, of course, the Downtown Business Association should seriously consider.

More so than this consultant they probably paid to provide his "Mason-Dixon" insights. Geeze.

And then, there are some other keen observations, just about downtown Walnut Creek, and its past and future, that I believe are worth recording and honoring.

Keep it coming, destination gurus!

Anonymous said...

Walnut Creek - Where you too can pretend you have old money.

Anonymous said...

12:04 - I didn't go to the old one for asthetics either. I take my kids to the open space all the time, speak of quality of life! Too bad we didn't get that state grant.

Regarding the size, I heard all that and did some research. Our neighbors seem to have larger facilities built in the last 5 years,based on the size of the city.

Anonymous said...

5:09

Do you think we didn't get the state grant because we didn't deserve it? Being turned down on several occasions says to me that the selection committee did not see the need in Walnut Creek.

Do our neighbors, who you say have larger facilities also have other libraries in their community? Remember that Walnut Creek also has the Casey Library in Ygnacio Valley and a very good book delivery service to Rossmoor and to top it off the very fine
County main branch just over the border in north Walnut Creek.

Castle Hill Bill said...

The surrounding communities may have larger libraries, but we have the biggest and most expensive underground parking garage of anyone around. The other libraries may have solar panels for electric generation and hot water, we don't. We have $150,000+ parking stalls instead(and lots of them). The other libraries have finished and furnished public meeting rooms. Someday we might have those too but right now there isn't even any guaranteed funding to complete building the library. When it's finally opened, we will enjoy it but we can be assured that its lobby will, for years to come, be requesting funds to finish all the things that should have been done during the build.
SM- On another subject- Does it appear to you that more people are submitting comments to your blog anonymously instead of using their nom de plume? What's up with that?

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Castle Hill,
It would be more fun if people used a nom de plume. It's much easier to address you as Castle Hill than as Anon 12:02 a.m. The noms can also be fun, too. Maybe, it's just quicker to do the Anonymous. Here's a dumb question. Don't you need a Google account to have your nom show up on this message board? Maybe these others don't have Google e-mails...

Anonymous said...

Castle Hill, but RAMPART told us we need more parking when they attempted to save us from a retail store. Can we blame the expensive garage on them? What's the norm for a cost per space for an underground garage? How many bids did they get for the garage?

Bob said...

According to data provided by the City over a year ago, the cost is $8,000,000 for the 151 spaces in the garage (I think it's 31 spaces at ground level and 120 underground). That works out to just under $53,000 per space. The City took 4 bids for the entire project and accepted the low bid by West Bay Builders.
There were additional misunderstandings by Castle Hill Bill but maybe SM can give us an objective update sometime in the future. It's not worth the effort here since the topic of the discussion is Branding WC.

Anonymous said...

Just watched the video tour on the library website. It stated that 121 would be underground and 30 above.

Anonymous said...

Bob -

What you fail to mention is that the money spent on the parking garage creates only a net gain of 50 spaces from the parking lot that was destroyed for construction. That does drive up the cost per space just a bit...huh?

FIFTY new parking spaces....how many of those will be let out to Maria Maria and other nearby eateries for the valet parking program?

Anonymous said...

"Parking lot destroyed" LOL, paved paradise put up a parking lot... listen to yourself.

Hopefully the valet cost will help fund the books!

Anonymous said...

8:28 PM

A very nice, tree shaded parking lot was destroyed and while we are at it so was a very large and old oak tree that the City Arborist suddenly found to be diseased. How convenient.

The surface parking lot on the corner of Lincoln and Broadway with its many trees was much more attractive than the crowded looking over-sized building that is now there.

Anonymous said...

The old library parking lot was a wonderful mix of convenience and aesthetics....a classic Walnut Creek setting. The city tore out that parking lot for a gain of 50 spaces?.... that's unbelievable. Will it now become a parking lot for city hall employees?

Anonymous said...

and don't forget the space that will be required for the bronze plaque honoring you know who..

I did like the trees, nice spot for the farmers market. I do like the new venue with it's wide open spaces.

50 spots is a nice gain in parking. Do you really think it's for city hall parking, c'mon now. Were they parking in the old lot too!

Anonymous said...

The old library lot was metered.... it would have been inconvenient. I don't know where city hall employees park. When they expanded several years ago parking spots were lost. I would think that visitors to city hall would park in the new lot since it will be free...right? and some employees?

Anonymous said...

This conversation has degenerated... here are some suggestions:

Walnut Creek; At the foot of Mount Reagan(with a strikethrough) Diablo.

Nuts in Paradise.

Take a walk in Paradise.

Walkingtown.

A great walk for a summer’s eve.

Anonymous said...

Considering the antenna flaps, NIMBYville could be the brand name we're looking for.

Anonymous said...

Since this seems to be mainly about a downtown brand name, how about Mallnut Creek?(can't take the credit, I heard it at a council meeting)

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:37 pm

MALLNUT CREEK very aptly describes what this town is quickly becoming known for.

For for who think that attracting higher end stores makes us better than our neighboring towns....forget about it. A mall is a mall is a mall.