NORFOLK, Va. - Could Hampton Roads get a name change?
Backed by a nine-month research effort that included surveying more than 3,000 people, the Envision 2020 Regional Branding Initiative found that "The 757" is a regional name that resonates most strongly across communities in Hampton Roads.
The initiative began as a mission to understand the current perceptions about the region's brand identity. It was guided by a task force of about 30 community leaders as well as a stakeholder group of more than 100 community advocates who have shepherded the project from its inception.
Jim Spore, President and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads and the spokesperson for the Envision 2020 task force, says through the research process it became clear that even residents and business leaders have a difficult time defining who and what is Hampton Roads.
As a result, "both community pride and regional marketing efforts are often fractured," the Hampton Roads Chamber said in a release, and the group said that survey results showed almost equal support for the names "Hampton Roads" and "Coastal Virginia."
"What we need now more than ever is a regional pride-building effort that pulls us together in a way where we can effectively share our story with each other and the world," Spore said.
Spore and Envision 2020 leaders say "The 757" is the beginning of that effort because the name is more than just an area code. They say it's a point of pride and empowerment, especially for the region's young residents, and can become a strong regional signifier for everyone to use if leveraged properly.
"We need to focus on empowering the next generation and who that we are all united and proud to be from The 757," Spore added.