Florida Keys News
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
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Bight gets branded
'Key West Historic Seaport' best official title for bight

One attraction in Key West gets called plenty of different names -- not a great way to keep one's brand strong in the tourism market, city staff says.

To some it's just the Bight, while the current logo says Harborwalk Key West Historic Seaport. A promotion for the ferry terminal there makes reference to Key West Bight at the Historic Seaport.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday at Old City Hall, the Bight Management Board will have the opportunity to once and for all declare an official title for the seaport at the northwest end of the island.

City staff, board members and locals have spent months brainstorming for a proper name, one that will stick with visitors and search engines.

On March 12, the board told staff to once again bring back a name contender, of two final contestants -- Key West Historic Seaport or Key West Seaport.

Staff's top pick: Key West Historic Seaport.

"This will allow visitors to find the seaport easily from both the upland and marina side," Port and Marina Services Director Doug Bradshaw said in the memo.

In a brief memo attached to Wednesday's agenda, Bradshaw turned in staff's recommendation, without offering any reasons or explanation.

But the purpose behind one universally recognized name is to focus all marketing materials and signs to one easily searchable target, Bradshaw said.

City-owned since voters approved buying it in a 1992 referendum, the seaport's alphabet soup of names doesn't help marketing it, the Bight board and some of its tenants said.

"If we want to compete with Duval Street (or the future Truman Waterfront) then we must elevate presence with smart branding," entrepreneur Pat Croce told city staff in an email over the debate.

Staff didn't go with the name Blackdog Advertising representatives liked the most, Key West Seaport, which the firm found short and snappy. Croce preferred it, too, along with architect Bill Horn. In August, Operations Manager John Paul Castro wrote a recommendation for it.

Adding "Historic" just makes it wordy, the advertising pros said in a two-page report delivered in September.

Key West Seaport, however, has already been taken by a longtime business, board member Harry Bowman explained in an email to staff last year.

"Can't use it because this has been the name of Paul and Evalena's business for years," Bowman wrote, referring to the owners of Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St., the Worthingtons. "It's on their checks. I have asked Evalena to submit her suggestions."

Schooner Wharf hosts a number of annual events, including the holiday lighted boat parade in December and the Wrecker's Cup Race series.

Bowman, who preferred Key West Harbor Walk, said Evalena Worthington was okay with Key West Historic Seaport.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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