MURPHY (August 4, 2022) Consumers have choices, sometimes lots of choices. That’s the fundamental basis for the economic system employed in our nation. Success for a business in this system thus requires some differentiation from the competition, whether on price, service, location, or some other factor. Many times, the difference between these factors is so slight that consumers make their choices on emotional preferences, persuaded by a good feeling or a positive mood for a specific product, vendor, or business. Business owners know, with all other things being fairly equal, their success depends on somehow tapping into these emotional tugs on consumers. As a result, an entire industry has been established to understand and interpret consumer preferences, and develop effective ideas, concepts, and messages that serve to convince and encourage consumers to choose them over their rivals. These are the principles behind the art and science of marketing and branding. But what about a group of diverse businesses that do not necessarily compete against each other but are tied together only by location? A shopping center or mall, for example, may have only one department store. How does that department store attract and keep customers? How do the other stores in the center or mall get themselves noticed by consumers when the traditional competitive factors don’t apply? That was the question before the burgeoning business community along FM 544, inside the boundaries of the City of Murphy. Few, if any, of the 50,000 commuters who daily travel along FM 544 can remember back 40 years when today’s modern, concrete, divided, six lane thoroughfare was a quiet, tree-lined, two-lane country road connecting the City of Plano with Highway 78 in Wylie. Of course, today’s FM 544 bears no resemblance to that pastoral byway of long ago. Long gone are the idyllic and rustic days when FM 544 within Murphy was marked by a solitary grain silo, a rural wooden clapboard church, and the iconic Murphy Grocery, a small but important sundries store that served locals and those ‘passing through.’ Murphy’s proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area virtually guaranteed that the City’s population would grow along with the businesses that these residents would patronize. In fact, once the expansion and reconstruction of FM 544 was completed, the commercial development that quickly followed has transformed it into a bustling corridor providing good, permanent and seasonal jobs, supporting the local economy through robust sales and use taxes, and forming the central point for consumers seeking goods, services, dining, and entertainment options. While there are indeed new and long-established businesses within this two-mile stretch that compete against each other, the vast majority of businesses along Murphy’s recognized economic development district are diverse, serving a variety of needs and demands. “Discussion around this critical topic began last year,” says Jared Mayfield, Director of the City’s Community and Economic Development Department. “During the brainstorming sessions that preceded the development of the 2021 Economic Development Strategic Plan, a steering committee made up of the board members of the Murphy Community Development Corporation (MCDC) and the Murphy Municipal Development District (MMDD) felt so strongly about it, that it became the plan’s number one priority.” Specifically, the steering committee verbalized the top goal thusly: “to improve brand awareness of Murphy and its shopping district.” “The lack of an identity or brand for Murphy was of overall concern,” said Mayfield. “In addition, the need to distinguish ourselves from the communities that surround Murphy bubbled up as a real need. We wanted to bring some alignment and synergy to our business partners along FM 544.” With the Strategic Plan in place, solidly including its top priority, the City Council appointed a branding committee and asked them to work with Eisenberg & Associates, a third-party consultant with a long history of successful branding and marketing campaigns. The branding committee included a member of the City Council along with representatives from the MCDC, MMDC, the Murphy Chamber of Commerce, a local realtor, a restaurant owner, and a business operator; all seven having a critically important stake in the process. The branding committee met four times, hearing presentations from Eisenberg staffers, asking questions, debating the pros and cons of virtually every aspect of the branding effort, sending the consultant back for ever more detailed fine-tuning. After the thorough and exhaustive review process, the committee settled on a concept, including a name and logo for the target area. Their findings were then communicated to the City Council for their final review and approval. Launching in mid-August, coinciding with the traditional back-to-school shopping cycle, the new branding and logo will be unveiled – “The Corridor.” The marketing company’s Creative Director Arlo Eisenberg says the idea for the name and accompanying logo was born of the necessity to emphasize the area’s unique blend of offerings while setting it apart from the area’s other shopping options. “The Corridor as a brand is distinctive and stands out in a cluttered marketplace of competing business districts,” he said. “The name speaks directly to the unique property of ‘the corridor’ of businesses along FM 544 but also elevates the brand into something marketable; it sounds like a gathering place, where things are happening.” The area’s logo is a stylized version of the name, with a white or blank stripe running along the center of the letters. “The empty space running through the center of the logo creates a corridor,” said Eisenberg. “The type is presented in a stylish combination of colors to represent the diversity of businesses along FM 544, but also the inclusivity of Murphy and the commercial district. The distinctive logo and name work together to create a memorable impression.” Once launched, street banners touting the new name and logo will be strategically placed in prominent locations along the thoroughfare. A video will accompany the launch, highlighted on the City of Murphy’s very active and popular social media channels.