Sunny Isles Beach is in the process of a rebrand

Sunny Isles Beach’s famous skyline. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Parker via Unsplash)

Sunny Isles Beach has decided to revamp its image.

This process includes adopting a logo and changing the slogan, signage and more. Phase one of the rebrand, at a cost of $88,000, was presented during a commission meeting last month by Jacober Creative and formally approved.

About four years ago, the city commission devised a cultural master plan that included rebranding. 

Vice Mayor Larisa Svechin explained the reasoning behind the rebrand.

“We have changed so much since the [city’s] incorporation that it required us to look closer at our demographics and see who we are versus who we think we are,” Svechin said. “In the past, this city has been known as older, Jewish, retirees. And that has changed.” 

With a better understanding of their current residents and their preferences, motivations, complaints and compliments, the city can make more educated decisions. 

“It’s very resident-focused to make sure we aren’t making decisions in a vacuum,” Svechin said. 

In fall 2019, this plan was set into motion through the hiring of Jacober Creative. The firm conducted focus groups and surveys with Sunny Isles’ residents, businesses and workers. The last interviews were conducted in February 2020 and surveys were added between September and December 2020. 

A screenshot from Jacober Creative’s presentation showing the positives of the city. (Photo courtesy of the City of Sunny Isles Beach)

Asked which words Sunny Isles residents associate with the city, over 60% of respondents praised the city’s beauty and safety, as well as over 30% noting the walkability and family-oriented attitude. 

A screenshot from Jacober Creative’s presentation showing the weaknesses of the city. (Courtesy of the City of Sunny Isles Beach)

When they were quizzed about the city’s weaknesses, there were a few concerns. The main worries centered around traffic and overcrowding, a lack of pedestrian walkways, not enough parking options, few evening entertainment venues and the blockage of the sun due to the high-rises. 

Luisa Jimenez is the brand strategist at Jacober Creative and was one of the two members of the team who presented phase one’s findings during March’s commission meeting. 

“One of the most interesting things that we unearthed is that generally, residents feel very favorably about Sunny Isles Beach and genuinely enjoy the amenities and resources the city provides,” Jimenez shared. “However, we did notice that the level of pride in the city didn’t necessarily correlate with these measures, and that’s a topic we’ll focus on in the communication strategy for the city.”

These responses were generated from three focus groups composed of residents, workers and businesses, and also from online and phone surveys in which 941 people participated. Plenty of other discoveries regarding the demographics of the city and the residents’ attitudes were revealed in the presentation, which can be read in full on the city’s website

While Sunny Isles has endured some minor changes over the years such as different slogans, Svechin said that this is the first time the city has approached a rebrand with such a methodical, resident-focused approach. 

With April’s workshop resulting in approval, phase two will begin around August of this year and will involve the brand development and execution. While the first phase is contracted to cost $88,000, additional funding will be requested in the next fiscal year for the second phase.

“We want to be fiscally responsible given all of the other things we are trying to accommodate and manage, which number one for us right now is safety,” Svechin added.

As Sunny Isles rebrands, a new image will emerge, and the commission hopes that it will truly capture how much the city has transformed over 25 years, from its diversity and luxurious image, to its beaches.

“[Our city] is a very unique and specific city,” Svechin said. “We want people to know that we are super international, diverse and not a part of Miami Beach. We are our own thing.”

 

Aaliyah Pasols was born in Hoboken, NJ but raised here in South Florida. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology while also working as a freelance writer for Miami New Times. After graduation, she hopes to move back up north to pursue her NYC dreams, which include writing about culture, music, and nightlife.