SOMERTON’S COMMUNITY BRANDING PROJECT
Hector Tapia is the economic development director for the City of Somerton. He can be reached at 928-722-7390, or HectorTapia@SomertonAZ.gov.
THE CITY OF Somerton developed an identity that unifies the community to appeal to visitors, new residents, and new businesses. Due to the evolution of economic trends and residents’ needs, the city held community meetings to answer this question: “Who are we?” The intent was to bring meaningful buy-in and value to the community and its stakeholders. Liza Noland, Director of Rural Programs, with Local First Arizona and community branding expert, held a series of community meetings to obtain input from a diverse array of attendees to delve into the authentic identity of the City of Somerton. A content style guide was developed as a tool for marketing and messaging to help convey the unique aspects of all that this community has to offer, and to achieve the City’s goals for Family, Tourism, and Commerce. This article highlights Strategy One: Family. Participants provided historic value about Somerton, current thoughts, and what they would like to see in the future. From those conversations, the “Vision Key Principles” were created, and the Community Vision was born, a unique image of the future. Vision Key Principles • Somerton is a peaceful, well-planned city consisting of good neighborhoods with a great sense of community • Somerton is an inclusive community with strong values that honors its cultural diversity and heritage • Somerton is a safe community with a low crime rate and exceptional public safety services • Somerton is a community with excellent schools that prides itself on providing and sustaining strong educational values and academic excellence • Somerton will continue to stay true to its agricultural roots while diversifying economically and creating jobs so future generations may return home to raise their families • Somerton has a spirit of leadership, promotes entrepreneurship and is a place that residents love to call home • Somerton will focus on specific, quality growth in targeted areas that can be supported by existing infrastructure or currently ongoing improvements • Somerton will strive to further enhance its excellent education status by working with the school district to locate a new high school in the city and support advanced education opportunities • Somerton will look to improve its recreational opportunities by co-locating a major Community/Regional Park with the new high school • Somerton will focus on revitalizing its existing downtown district by filling vacant storefronts and increasing the uniqueness and economic diversity of its business community and historic neighborhoods. The key principles are the foundation of the three strategies that were developed – “Family” – “Tourism” – “Commerce.” The “Strategic Objectives” were to: Develop • External partnerships that enhance awareness of Somerton • Regional economic development initiatives • Long term viability of existing and potential businesses • Local business advocates to engage with the Somerton plan • Strategies that extend the Somerton experience following events • Signage and outreach that draw people into Somerton Enhance • Downtown experience • Special events • Cultural heritage and historic character • Local pride and quality of life • Experiential tourism • Recreation and community service programs • Digital footprint Promote • A strong, unified Somerton community • Safe and welcoming environment • Community events statewide and inside the community • Downtown Somerton as a center of commerce and culture • Small business expansion and growth • Spirit of leadership / Heritage stories Strategy One: “Somerton | The Best Little City for Family.” Historic buildings on Main Street house the passion and fortitude of Somerton’s most energetic entrepreneurs lush. Green fields flourish nearby with fruits and vegetables are grown to sustain both local appetites and nationwide economies. A community rich in heart and heritage come together to make Somerton the best little city in Arizona. Somerton is a true hometown, where families thrive, education is supported, and heritage is preserved. It is a place where local roots are as deeply seeded as the surrounding crops that continue to nurture a community once built on agriculture. Stories abound from locals with deeply embedded roots that can be traced back generations, while a new generation of residents begin their own Somerton story. Whether you were born and raised in Somerton, or are in town for a festival or event, all are greeted with the same friendly, welcoming attitude that makes the community feel like one big family.