NoTe District - North Temple
New Light Rail Revives Community and Inspires Brand
Client: NeighborWorks Salt Lake
Goals: Create an authentic brand for an aging main street corridor with a diverse mix of community assets.
Results: The residential and business communities came together to develop a more cohesive approach to developing a brand that everyone could embrace and build upon.
The North Temple corridor in Salt Lake City, Utah was once a major thoroughfare, connecting downtown Salt Lake to major community amenities, including the fair grounds and airport. As with most U.S. cities, a highway was constructed decades ago that had a significant negative effect on a once vibrant main street, now home to mostly national retail chain outlets.
This busy multi-lane road is surrounded by several vibrant neighborhoods, filled with a variety of quality, affordable housing and a new community center. The community is the most ethnically diverse area of the city and is the location of the famed the Red Iguana Mexican café. A narrow section of the Jordan River runs through the community, but it is not readily found or accessed.
We expanded the existing marketing committee beyond members of the River District Business Alliance to pull in a wider community perspective and develop a greater understanding of how to cultivate the area as a destination for shopping and living. After months of research and interviews we developed a plan that focused on developing a strong brand identity for the community and a comprehensive marketing strategy focused on both business and residential outreach efforts.
What initially began as a branding process for the “River District North Temple” commercial corridor evolved to become a broader approach that included the surrounding residential neighborhoods as well.
A main attraction of the community was the newly completed light rail line that runs along the North Temple corridor and directly connects to downtown and the airport, bringing back the area as a local access thoroughfare once again.
The light rail is a significant component to the future growth and attraction of the community, and we felt it was an important consideration in developing an authentic brand for the community. Whereas leveraging the Jordan River (cornerstone of the “River District” concept) was a challenging concept, as it was difficult to find or easily access.
After a great deal of engagement with stakeholders, it was decided to change the brand to just “North Temple” and to potentially use “River District” in the future, when the visibility of the river is a more prominent feature in the community. From there, we focused on the transportation element of the light rail system, a key community asset, and designed a brand inspired by the system’s station signage.
We found that there are several neighborhoods in Salt Lake with strong brand recognition and that residents embrace these destination concepts. We explored many approaches, but ultimately chose the acronym “NoTe District” to represent NOrth TEmple. The marketing team was very pleased with the evolution of this branding process, as they were the drivers in changing the approach and position.
The community has taken strong ownership of this brand and continues to embrace it with street banners, murals on prominent buildings, and additional installations.