Location best brand option

A year and almost $90,000 after the city hired a Seattle design firm to explore branding options, the firm has recommended city leaders pursue one of Federal Way’s best-known attributes: Location.

Leonhardt:Fitch consultants presented the results of a branding survey conducted over the past month to the Federal Way City Council on Monday.

“I guess location is something we’ve always known about this area,” Councilwoman Linda Kochmar said.

Almost 500 people responded to a telephone survey and a survey posted online, which asked residents what they thought of four city identity options — location, amateur sports, new city and “capital of south King County.”

Most of the respondents found the location option the most appealing, followed by the new city option and the amateur sports option. Leonhardt:Fitch dropped the south county capital option because more respondents found it unappealing.

Rob Osler, brand strategy director for the Leonhardt group, told the council that choosing location as a branding hook might lack focus, but it also could provide the city with versatility in luring businesses and residents.

“It gives you legs, as it were,” he said.

Location is something city officials can tout now with existing amenities, unlike the amateur sports option, which would require the city to commit significant capital funding and time, he said.

Location also will be a sustainable attraction point, Osler said. Other options, like the new city idea, might lose their glimmer over time as the city evolves, he reasoned.

According to the survey conducted by MarkeTrend, an independent Seattle-based research group, 78 percent of telephone survey respondents thought favorably of the location idea. Ten percent were indifferent to the option and 13 percent found it unappealing.

Only 13 businesses responded to the survey, rendering their feedback useless in gauging which option the business community in Federal Way prefers, officials said.

Council members decided not to choose an option until the next regular meeting, scheduled for April 9. Three council members were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Once the council gives the go-ahead to move to the next phase of the project, design consultants will begin working on a tagline and logo for the city.

Osler said those items could be presented at the council’s May 7 meeting.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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