Thinking Outside the “Rebrand” Box

How New Roc City overhauled its public perception.

When sales are suffering, many businesses automatically think it’s time for a rebrand. But when New Rochelle entertainment complex New Roc City came calling for just that a few years ago, Sherry Bruck knew better. “No revamped ad campaign or logo was going to help change the perceptions that New Roc City was a dangerous place where teenagers went to hang out at night,” says Bruck, creative director of branding firm Harquin Creative in White Plains. 

It was time to think outside the proverbial box. They shifted the focus to creating (and promoting) family-friendly events that would help redefine the downtown New Rochelle brand. “Events are a fantastic branding tool and way to reach a new audience,” Bruck says.

Thus New Roc’s signature event, Ring in the New Year at Noon, was born. Now in its fifth year, the family-friendly celebration includes face-painting, arts and crafts, clowns, magicians, games, and a noon-time ball-drop. The event drew more than 1,200 revelers to ring in 2014 in downtown New Rochelle. 

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Since then, the New Rochelle Downtown Business  Improvement District (BID) has developed additional downtown events including BID Family Saturdays, which offer free crafts, music, and dancing to young families on Library Green; a free summer concert series called Music on the Green; and the Grand Market, a farmers’ market started last year on Library Green. “These events are a great way to brand downtown New Rochelle as a place to go and a place to be,” says Ralph DiBart, executive director of the New Rochelle Downtown BID.

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