KHJ’s offices are in Seaport Place – the Seaport West tower to be specific, on Seaport Boulevard. We eat lunch at the Seaport Café in the Seaport Hotel, located on Seaport Lane. We’re next to Seaport Square and a block from Seaport Center.
We work in the Seaport.
Not the ‘Innovation District’.
Not the ‘South Boston Waterfront’.
At KHJ, we are always asked to rethink, rebrand or rename neighborhoods, because neighborhood brands are such an integral part of positioning a property for success. But before we let clients get too far ahead of themselves with ‘new neighborhood brands’ there are two incontrovertible facts when it comes to neighborhood branding: 1) it has to be real and 2) it has to be short.
1) Keep it real: Charles River Park was one of Boston’s most infamous real estate developments – a sprawling, post-war apartment community built on the grave of Boston’s bulldozed West End.
When its new owners, Equity Residential, asked KHJ to reposition and rebrand the area, Equity was joining a long line of people that had spent decades trying to get people to forget about the old West End. But nobody forgot – it’s the real name of a real neighborhood. So after decades of missteps, our brilliant idea was to rebrand the area as… the West End. Because that’s what it is.
Could you imagine if by developer’s decree Boston’s old West End was now given a fake brand name, like “The Esplanade District”? Before you roll your eyes, it’s happened before: remember the Ladder District?
2) Keep it short: Most major neighborhood names in Boston are just 2 syllables long, some are 3 syllables and only West Roxbury is 4 syllables. And almost every neighborhood over 2-syllables has a commonly-used nickname: Southie, Eastie, Rozzie, Dot, JP and West Rox.
So as a rule of thumb, two syllables is what you should aim for – and certainly no more than three. So at six syllables, both the “South Boston Waterfront” and the “Innovation District” were doomed to fail.
And that’s a key reason why KHJ’s offices are in the “Seaport”
So is ‘neighborhood branding’ just snake oil sold by politicians, realtors and developers? Of course not, a previously undefined area requires a new brand to accommodate new development uses. KHJ’s recent work in Devens, Needham, Everett and Portsmouth, New Hampshire show how previously undefined areas can attract 21st Century businesses and residents through proper neighborhood branding.
If you’re curious about KHJ’s real estate branding practices, we’d be happy to show off our work, just come visit our offices.
We’re in the Seaport.