What does Boynton Beach have to offer? The rest of Palm Beach County and beyond should know soon enough.
Since 2010, the city has been undergoing a branding journey, as independent contractor Dale Carlson calls it.
She was brought in last October to help present a brand promise during a recent City Commission meeting.
“I’ve been down here for 20 years and operating my own marketing business for the last 14,” Carlson said.
For the past few months, she has been working with a brand committee to come up with catchy phrases that tell the world what the city to offer that should make the average out-of-towner stop in to visit, or stay.
“There were 15 locals in the brand promise committee: educators, Realtors, philanthropists,” she said. “This included Glenn Jergensen from the chamber and Joseph Schneider from Galaxy Elementary. It was a good collection of Boynton assets.”
But what does this mean for residents?
The goal is to increase traffic within the city by giving it a memorable place in the mind of all Florida residents.
The committee assessed the strengths and weaknesses and determined the city’s target audience.
“Who do we want to come to the community in the future?” Carlson said. “Our target audience is retirees, businesses, artists even, and residents.”
In particular she said she wants to attract “I-95ers,” the people who drive up and down Interstate 95 but have no reason to pull off in Boynton Beach.
She said these drivers have no idea that the beach is so close, closer from the interstate exit than other cities nearby like Boca Raton. This is the message Carlson wants to get out to a family looking to build a sand castle or a college student looking to surf.
“Let’s give them a reason to pull over,” she said. “Hey in five minutes, your feet can be in the sand.”
From a 2011 survey, the committee also discovered what people considered positive and negative attributes about Boynton Beach.
These results told the committee that the green, verdant parks were a major plus while corruption, crime, limited downtown and elderly residents were all negatives.
But after doing some research Carlson said she found some of the survey participants’ perceptions weren’t based on facts.
“Boynton Beach has the second lowest crime rate behind Boca Raton,” she said. “The no downtown depends on your perspective. Our downtown just doesn’t look like Delray or West Palm.”
She said when it comes to the downtown area, the work the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has done over the past three years trumps the work done in the 20 years before that.
Free movies, concerts and art events are some of the pieces that the branding effort is trying to highlight.
“Affordability too; this is the second most affordable city behind Lake Worth,” she said.
Some samples from the branding promise include:
“It’s time to take a look at Boynton Beach, A tropical home town where the Atlantic and Florida’s Everglades meet.”
“Catch a wave, Catch a fish, Catch your breath.”
“Breeze into Boynton Beach, America’s Gateway to the Gulfstream.”
Carisse LeJeune, assistant to the city manager, also worked on the campaign and said the City Commission took the branding promise well.
“Staff has been given approval to go forward to implement it,” she said. “We are coming back in May with an outline of the plan,” which will include steps and a timeline. It will also try to estimate costs and different strategies.
LeJeune said moving forward, all those initiatives should be at no cost to the city.
She wants the branding to be used by local businesses and schools.
A branding effort like this is what’s going to bring in new families, visitors, more real estate and restaurants, she said.