The City of Zephyrhills is getting ready to tell its story.
It’s all part of the rebranding process that Pasco County’s largest municipality is undergoing — one that will carry the town into the future, and will provide a more complete picture.
Zephyrhills, in conjunction with North Star Place Branding + Marketing, a Jacksonville-based consulting firm, has finished its community research, which is aiding in the town’s rebranding efforts.
Data has been collected from 1,486 unique inputs, including nearly 1,000 online surveys, focus groups and interviews. The firm will use the feedback to develop options that include a new town logo, motto, color schemes and other elements to to rebrand Zephyrhills.
“We were very happy we got this much feedback,” said Patrick Golden, executive creative director for North Star. “Sometimes communities can be survey fatigued, but we got a lot of responses, and getting input from the community in this type of venture is very important.
“We’ve seen a lot of passion in the people, and that’s very indicative of the city and what the city brings to its people and always has brought to its people. That’s just going to help when it comes to finding the brand of the city.”
That passion was on display when Zephyrhills and North Star hosted a Community Creative Input Open House on Feb. 1, allowing for about a couple dozen citizens and stakeholders to offer their opinions.
Those present brought up views and themes consistent with the data collected, from keeping the same ‘town fee’ to remembering and honoring the town’s history and veterans. They also want the town to be known for more than being where the bottled water comes from, its skydiving, and, of course, being “Snowbird Central.”
“The passion (we’ve seen) is what is going to make the brand the best it can be,” City Manager Billy Poe said. “Trust me, the comments we have gotten, not all of them have been positive — and we’ll address the negative ones.
“People just walk up to me, and say, ‘Why are you spending so much money on this (rebranding)? Why are you spending any money at all on this? What’s wrong with the logo we have? This is where the water comes from, what’s wrong with that?
“And it’s not to get rid of the water logo or get rid of the skydiving component. We feel we’re more than one thing, and we want to tell our story before someone can tell it for us and then not get it right.”
Indeed, rebranding the city, Golden added, is not about doing away with what Zephyrhills already has, but refining the story and finding a cohesive one. The story will encapsulate the town as it moves forward and looks to soon surpass a population of 20,000.
“People are usually excited, not just to see what we come up with, but what everyone said their community is about and how everyone sees their city, from the outside,” Golden added.
The city and the rebranding firm launched a community-wide online survey on Oct. 17, giving everyone in Zephyrhills a place where they can share their input and have their perspective counted.
The survey asks several questions, including how one would describe Zephyrhills, how others perceive Zephyrhills and even to name some things that people outside the community should know about the city.
In the survey, participants were asked to pick two descriptors of Zephyrhills. The top two chosen were “Snowbird destination, older residents,” which accounted for 43% of the answers, while “Where growth is headed” came in at 27%. Another category, “neighborly, hometown feel” came in at 23%.
The data also showed Zephyrhills greatest assets, with the top responses being the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center, Main Street, Skydive City, the city’s many parks, the municipal airport and the proximity to Tampa and Orlando.
The $68,000 rebranding project now moves to the creative phase, as North Star’s team will produce options to present to the city, tentatively in about five months.
Zephyrhills, currently known as “The City of Pure Water,” will then choose a new brand aimed at increasing interest and investment in its residents, entrepreneurs, companies and visitors.
“We are a small town, but what we’re trying to do is grow and maintain that small-town feel — that’s important because if you lose your downtown, where’s your center of community?” Poe said. “I think the story of Zephyrhills is that we’re an emerging community that’s always been known as the ‘Snowbird Capital’ and I think we’re so much more than that.
“Yes, we have the water (bottling plant), we have the skydiving, but Zephyrhills is a very open-minded community that is always trying to better the lives of its citizens.”
Published February 08, 2023