The branding project for the Town of Fort Myers Beach is starting to near the finish line.
The town’s marketing consultants met with members of the public Jan. 15 to get more input and while no overarching consensus emerged as to what the marketing strategy will be, there was one bold suggestion by one resident: to make the town’s logo a seahorse.
Town resident Sal Pedone said he would like the town’s logo to be a seahorse and its nickname to be “STRAND” for scenic, tranquil, relaxing, adventurous, natural and diverse. Pedone said the island has the shape of a seahorse, which he said is a rare creature.
The town’s consultants, Redevelopment Management Associates, is currently putting together a presentation for the Town Council in February. RMA Director of Marketing Sharon McCormick said the seahorse idea was the first time somebody from the town has put forth a proposal for an image to be the town’s logo. One resident said the “STRAND” idea could get the town mixed up with The Strand in nearby Naples.
RMA’s meeting with the public at the Bay Oaks Recreation Center followed previous sit-downs with elected officials, town staff and advisory committee members.
One common statement mentioned at the most recent meeting, is a desire to be recognized as separate from the city of Fort Myers. McCormick said this wish has been previously mentioned by town officials in their discussions with her.
“We’re not Fort Myers, we’re Fort Myers Beach,” Christy Hennessey said she has to tell people who are unfamiliar with the area. “I’m on San Carlos Island.”
There was one suggestion to rename the town Estero Island, though another resident opposed that idea as it could cause legal problems for the name of his club, which is registered with the state.
“It might sound great to name (the town) Estero Island,” McCormick said. But, she warned, “that has an impact on all of the businesses.”
Lorena Ledesma, an associate of McCormick’s, said that they have found “really excellent reviews speaking to the sense of security here.”
McCormick said the town has a good reputation on the internet.
“Everybody loves you online. You have a really good reputation online, which we don’t find all the time,” she said.
Other findings by RMA during its interviews and research include worries about traffic, confusion about the name of Fort Myers Beach (as it relates to Fort Myers) and some concern that Bay Oaks Recreation Center may be underutilized.
“Somebody told us they lived here four years before they knew the town had a pool,” McCormick said.
Distinguished traits of Fort Myers Beach are its “family atmosphere,” its “attitude” and “sense of personality,” McCormick found. “There is a lot of natural beauty,” she said.
McCormick said the town’s ban on plastic staws in 2018 was “environmentally conscious” and “ahead of the curve.”
The marketing consultants are expected to return in front of the Town Council in February with their findings and ideas.