On February 20th ADHDA will hold an identity and marketing workshop at the Columbia River Maritime Museum at 1792 Marine Drive. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the workshop starts promptly at 5:45p.m.

Just what is downtown Astoria's "identity?" If you want to weigh in on the subject, you'll have the opportunity on Feb. 20. As one component of a comprehensive, multi-month downtown assessment and revitalization program, the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association is hosting a downtown identity and marketing workshop that day in Astoria. The Feb. 20 session is open to all.

The fast-paced evening session will be presented by Michele Reeves of Civilis Consultants, who, in addition to interviewing local individuals and conducting downtown-related research, has presented at two previous workshops and led a tour of a recently revitalized Portland urban district as part of the second phase of the Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown project. Phase II of the Building Blocks program was funded by the City of Astoria, Astoria Sunday Market, the ADHDA and Pacific Power.

At the Feb. 20 workshop, Reeves will work with participants to build what she describes as a "story framework" for downtown Astoria.

"I chose the word 'story,' Reeves said, "Because 24 hours a day, seven days a week, downtown is telling a story and its businesses are telling a story.  And, it's time to start understanding exactly what that story is today, and determine what you want it to be in the future," she said.

During this fast-paced marketing and public relations production, Reeves promises to help attendees understand the four elements found in all successful brands and identities, and the four rules for using a story framework to connect with local customers and visitors.

Once participants are up-to-speed on the "rules," Reeves will conduct a speed-based session to begin populating the story framework for downtown Astoria.

"This civic identity exercise will help the group quantify who its business owners and residents are, how those people present themselves, what people here believe in, and, ultimately, what will make people decide to connect with downtown Astoria as a special place," Reeves said.

Reeves is a big believer in brands, and the power that a good brand wields.

"Good brands emerge from good stories, and good stories are what create connection, pride and loyalty to brands," she said.

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