Where would Taco Bell be without its talking Chihuahua, where would Mac be without its Apple and where would McDonalds be without its yellow arches?
It’s clear that no matter what product you have to present to the public—whether that’s fast food, technology or even a town—marketing and packaging are crucial to long-term success.
The Town Board and the newly established Downtown Revitalization Committee (DRC) are aware of the importance of outside marketing to our town’s future development. Both groups have been discussing options for the branding and marketing to outside markets in recent weeks.
Prime markets include large corporations looking for office space in Westchester, young couples with families looking to move out of the city, sought-after businesses like Starbucks or Whole Foods who could enhance our downtown retail experience and retail buyers that currently shop and dine in Rye, Mamaroneck and Port Chester.
Tom Forrester, a retired Pepsi executive and a member of the DRC, suggested at the most recent committee meeting that downtown businesses and the town as a whole market all future initiatives under one consistent campaign, capitalizing on the equity the town has already built up over the years instead of starting over.
“What marketing has Harrison already been successful with that we can capitalize on?" he asked the group.
Forrester suggested that the town’s most successful marketing efforts have been under the tag line of "It’s Great to Live in Harrison" and the resulting It’s Great to Live in Harrison Day festivities that have attracted great participation.
Forrester went on to suggest that the DRC, local politicians and local businesses build on that equity in all future internal and external marketing efforts.
“Why not have local restaurant weeks marketed to residents and other Westchester locals under 'It’s Great to Dine in Harrison',” Forrester said. “Or sidewalk sales and street fairs to encourage downtown traffic presented under the tag-line of ‘It’s Great to Shop in Harrison’?”
The committee and the Harrison Chamber of Commerce, now led by Anthony D' Arpino, both responded positively to the idea.
The town board has also been considering other marketing ideas. Producers for the television show “Today in America” with Terry Bradshaw recently told the board they were considering the Village of Harrison for a segment on “Communities of Distinction Places to Live, Work and Play” in their “Discover America” series.
While the Town Board ultimately rejected the proposal because of internal priorities and the substantial costs that would have been incurred for filming, it is good to see the our local government considering how to present the town to the outside world as part of a long-term development plan.
I would love to see the town put together a targeted campaign to attract young families and specific businesses that could widen the downtown shopping area to one-stop shopping and bring in extended hours traffic downtown.
A low-cost, high-impact campaign could be initiated including tax incentives for specific corporations and retailers and pro-active marketing materials for their realtors in Westchester and New York. These could be followed up with regular updates on the positives of the town and additional time-driven incentives that would keep the town’s profile high within these sought-after markets.
I love Forrester’s proposal of the consistent marketing tag line and the Town Board’s consideration of marketing the town positively to the broader community. We have many projects that need attention in town, but there is no reason that while those are being addressed we can’t look at attracting the residents and targeted businesses that would further enhance our town development moving forward.