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Village of Brockport to rebrand its image

by Margaret Stewart - Managing Editor
Tue, Nov 12th 2019 09:00 pm
The Village of Brockport will be shifting its focus from its current Victorian branding to an undecided identity.
The Village of Brockport will be shifting its focus from its current Victorian branding to an undecided identity.

Similar to how people change over time, places evolve as well and currently the Village of Brockport is in the middle of a change. Brockport Mayor Margaret Blackman says the village is working to rebrand itself from being the “Victorian Village on the Erie Canal.”    

“The committee discussed Brockport’s identity, or lack thereof, and in the planning section of the document the need for one,” Blackman said.      

Ideally, Blackman said, the new name will come from someone in the community, college or village.

“We’re starting to do another village newsletter; we do them twice — twice a year,” Blackman said. “I’m going to have a little paragraph in there, a little piece about branding and village identity, encouraging people giving them the links to send in suggestions.”

Blackman felt hiring a company to handle the rebranding process was a little impersonal and the new identity should come from Brockport’s residents.

“Some municipalities hire firms to come up with their brand, but we feel there are enough creative talent in Brockport that we can come up with our identity without outside help and cost,” Blackman said. “We have been informally known for some years as the ‘Victorian Village on the Erie Canal,’ which speaks to our historic downtown and our commitment to historic preservation, but Brockport is more than that.”    

On Monday, Nov. 18, the village plans to adopt the comprehensive plan and is hoping to begin accepting submissions for any ideas. 

The village is not the only one to have gone through a rebrand in recent years. According to the Vice President for University Relations and College Communications David Mihalyov, The College at Brockport is currently conducting a market research on what the benefits would be should the college revert back to “SUNY Brockport.”

“There is no change at this time,” Mihalyov said. “We’re investing in some market research across New York State just to get a better sense of how well we’re known across the state. I guess the point we’re trying to get to is if people, primarily downstate, understand that Brockport is part of SUNY.”

While wanting to stand out amongst the 64 colleges within the SUNY system with a unique name, college Archivist Charlie Cowling explained the significance of being recognized as a SUNY school and the importance of having that designation in the name.

“I think it kind of connects us with a history that we have,” Cowling said. “We’ve been part of the system now for — 1948 to today — so 70 years of history. We’re not just one place; we’re part of a whole.”

The college has changed its name so many times that, depending on what year they graduated, alumni can be narrowed down simply based on how they reference the college.

“The progression was the Brockport Collegiate Institute 1841 to 1867, Brockport State Normal School 1867 to 1941, State Teachers College at Brockport 1942 to 1966ish. Then, it was not the greatest label, but SUC Brockport from like ’66 into the ’70s,” Cowling said. “Probably the biggest controversy was a few years — probably more years than I remember — but 5-10 years ago, when they changed it to The College at Brockport. Everybody had always been some variation on SUNY Brockport ever since SUNY was formed in 1948.”

A concern of the college is that “The College at Brockport” is too far removed from the SUNY system causing some students to overlook Brockport in its entirety, especially if they are not from Upstate.

“One of the reasons we’re doing it is, if you look at the downstate market which at least a quarter of our students come from downstate now, do they realize we’re part of SUNY and that is a huge selling point to be part of the system,” Mihalyov said.

When admissions representatives go downstate in order to attend college fairs, Brockport is sometimes set up alongside the private colleges rather than with the SUNYs as the people setting up the fair are not aware Brockport is a SUNY school, according to Mihalyov.

However, worry not, according to Mihalyov, the research will not be done until after the fall semester and no decisions or changes would occur until summer 2020, if they happen at all.

If you or someone you know have suggestions for the village’s rebrand, you can send in ideas to The Stylus at stylus.executive.editor@gmail.com.



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