VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce talked about a new effort to brand and unify the region, which has struggled with an identity.
A nine-month research effort, which involved numerous meetings and talking to around 3,000 local residents and hundreds of stakeholders, is where the decision came from, to embrace the “757” moniker that is already taking hold.
Research showed that residents and business across the 17 different municipalities have a connection to 757. The brand comes from the region’s area code, but research shows most people see the numbers in an emotional and personal way and not just a phone number.
Much like “RVA” came to represent Richmond, the Chamber hopes “757” continues to grow as a unifying brand for the area.
Embracing 757 doesn’t mean businesses and residents have to stop saying Hampton Roads, Coastal Virginia or Tidewater. They hope locals will incorporate 757 into those identifies.
Research also showed the area’s biggest assets, including our water, history and military should be a part of the campaign and the imagery and story behind 757.
3 Major Takeaways From Envision 2020
- The Hampton Roads region doesn’t have a naming issue; it has a marketing issue. We have never promoted Hampton Roads to the outside world. We just promote the individual cities that make up our region.
- We are not united as a region, and this ties back to the first point. It’s hard to promote a region if you don’t know about it or act like one.
- Everyone is competing for workforce talent, especially young talent. We must excel at placemaking and place marketing.
The 757 brand was also shown to greatly appeal to millennials and is already popular on social media. According to the “Envision 2020 Report”, nationally, “757” is the most popular informal name and hashtag associated with the Hampton Roads region.
John Martin, the CEO of the Southeastern Institute of Research, talked about why “757 ” was chosen.
Martin said their research showed a big spike on social media during Something in the Water in April.
“Then it started ticking up right as Something in the Water stared ticking up, and in that week or two … it was off the charts nationally,” he said.
Martin says they met with Pharrell Williams, the person who created the festival, and came up with a video about the “757.”
Jim Spore, president of Reinvent Hampton Roads thinks the rebrand will connect people and bring in young talent to the region.
“We’ve been educating our kids in Hampton Roads and Virginia, and a lot of them have been leaving. We’re trying to focus on them and make it a place they want to stay in,” Spore said.