News Flash


Posted on: August 17, 2021

Newport News Launches Community-Wide Research and Branding Initiative

Newport News has launched an intensive research initiative focused on discovering and defining the assets and qualities that make the city unique in the marketplace. Through this community-wide effort, the city will create a unified and authentic message and communications strategy that is relevant to the city’s current environment while also highlighting the city’s distinct attributes. 

In 2019, Newport News City Council established a new Strategic Plan, with priorities that impact People, Places and Quality Government.  One of the focuses under Quality Government is branding and marketing, with a goal of developing a brand strategy and promise that is clear, compelling and aligned with the other strategic priorities.  

“Newport News has a powerful and inspiring story to tell,” said Newport News City Manager Cindy Rohlf. “This branding initiative will help us communicate that story in a way that resonates with a variety of audiences.”

Newport News has partnered with Jacksonville-based North Star Place Branding + Marketing on this project. A leader in capturing and crafting the story of places, North Star has helped develop brands for more than 250 cities, regions, states and municipalities nationwide.  North Star’s integrated process includes research, strategy, creative development and implementation planning. 

“Over the next several months, we plan to engage with a wide range of voices, including residents, businesses, visitors, students, and state and regional leaders to get a feel for the history, culture, geography, and society of this historic waterfront city,” explained Will Ketchum, CEO of North Star. “Anyone who lives or works in Newport News, as well as those who feel a connection to the city, will have the opportunity to add their voice to the research.”

Stakeholder engagement is critical in the creation of an authentic city brand.  To ensure the new city brand captures the city’s diversity and distinct attributes, Newport News will offer numerous opportunities for engagement, including focus groups, interviews, phone conversations, virtual meetings, a community-wide survey and much more. 

The city has launched a website,, to provide background information on the project and post updates.  The public is asked to visit the site to learn about the project, register to be emailed when the community-wide survey is live, sign-up as a brand ambassador or share their Newport News story.  The website is available in English and Spanish.

“We hope the community will embrace this process and share their input and vision for our city,” said Cindy Rohlf.  “The essence of our brand is the stories of people who live, work and visit Newport News.  I encourage everyone to visit our brand website and share your perspective of our city and get involved in this project.  Our goal is to create brand ambassadors who proudly amplify our message and encourage people to live, work, visit and explore in our city.”

To get involved and track the project’s progress, visit  The city created a video to highlight the project.  The public is also invited to visit Newport News Television’s YouTube page to view a video highlighting the project.

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