What’s in a Name? Everything.
Rebranding a community such as East Akron changes the perceptions and expectations of its residents. We saw this as an opportunity to reposition the neighborhood in the minds of its stakeholders and its neighboring communities, and to make the neighborhood into something more aligned with the shared values and cultural standards of its residents.
With all of this in mind, we proposed renaming East Akron to Minson Park, after the late Art Minson, a hero to the community whose commitment to service was matched only by his warmth.
IMPACT WE SEE
Everything was there: the hero, the legacy, the forward-thinking mentality, the center point of pride. But nostalgia, familiarity, and risk-aversion were also there. In the end, the committee of residents discussed the pros and cons of such a strategy, agreeing to the shared brand values of the community but ultimately passed on our recommendation.
What we learned: the committee we worked with was, on average, an eighty-two years lifelong resident. The absence of younger residents on the committee who could advocate for taking the risk made the renaming prospect too uneasy for the older residents. Asking them to suddenly refer to their neighborhood by a different name than they had for eighty-two years was the right thing for the neighborhood, but it was too much for them. And it’s understandable. The next time we propose renaming a neighborhood, we’ll float the name and rationale past a larger sampling of other residents from across the spectrum first and then present it to the committee along with our data to sell this in.