Sunset Valley selects local marketing firm to rebrand city

Ampersand Agency and Canales & Co. team
Ampersand Agency and Canales & Co. presented to Sunset Valley City Council on June 23. (Courtesy city of Sunset Valley)

Ampersand Agency and Canales & Co. presented to Sunset Valley City Council on June 23. (Courtesy city of Sunset Valley)

Sunset Valley has selected a proposal by South Austin-based Ampersand Agency and Canales & Co. to take over city marketing and branding services, closing out a process that began last summer find a company to help rebrand the city and create an economic development plan.

While the city is still finalizing a contract, council members June 23 voted 4-1 in support of the two partnering agencies, selecting the proposal over a list of three finalists being considered for the position.

Ampersand CEO Cindy Montgomery said the full-service branding companies have experience in destination marketing and local and national retail clients, including Academy Sports & Outdoors, which has a location in Sunset Valley.

Montgomery called Sunset Valley a hidden gem within Austin, with shopping opportunities and green space. She said the firms would work to create a brand over time that reflects the city and differentiates Sunset Valley from neighbors such as West Lake Hills and the Hill County Galleria.

“We are not only a potential agency partner; we are your targets,” Montgomery said during a presentation June 23. “We live here; we shop here; we love it here. We’ve been an agency for more than 20 years, and our only office is in Austin, Texas.”

According to the presentation, the firm would also use cell phone data to research local shopping trends and develop targeted marketing. During the ongoing pandemic, they would work to keep those individuals who have visited Sunset Valley coming back and would use that group as a base to expand on to find future shoppers.

“We really responded to the RFP because we feel like we really know your community and your target audience, and we know them because we already work with them,” said Jose Canales, the CEO of Canales & Co. and a Sunset Valley resident. “We’re immersed in it. We saw it was an opportunity to work with a place that we’re very fond of and very familiar with.”

Council Member Rudi Rosengarten made the motion to select Ampersand and Canales, in part because of their local ties and familiarity with the city.

Council Member Melissa Gonzales said she was impressed with all of the proposals made June 23 but that the Ampersand and Canales presentation stood out.

“For me, Ampersand has the edge because of the emotional connection that’s important for who we are as a city,” Gonzales said. “My bias leans toward the artwork, and the edge in their artwork makes me want to go with Ampersand.”

Sunset Valley began looking for a new firm last summer and officially put out a request for proposals in November. After that request only returned two candidates, City Council hit pause to reassess the goals of the request.

The current process began March 30 and returned 11 total candidates. The city ranked the candidates based on their qualifications, and the three finalists—New York-based Resonance Consultancy, Irving-based Augustine Agency, and Ampersand and Canelas—were invited to make presentations June 23.

Mayor Rosa Cardona said she does not remember a time in the past when the city received such a strong pool of candidates for a request for proposals, and presentations given were a caliber above others the city has seen in the past.

“I have confidence council is going to make a good selection tonight, and that [Sunset Valley] would benefit from any of these three firms,” she said.

Council Member Phil Ellett, who voted against the motion, said he preferred the economic development aspects of the presentation by Resonance Consultancy. However, he said he was impressed with all three candidates.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph has started a scholarship fund that will provide $6,000 to two Austin Community College Culinary Arts students and give them opportunity to be mentored by Bristol-Joseph and to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants. (Courtesy Emmer & Rye)
Austin chef starts scholarship and mentorship program for Austin Community College students

Tavel Bristol-Joseph started the scholarship fund, which will provide $6,000 to two ACC students and give them the opportunity to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants.

Slaughter Lane will be extended east to US 183. (Courtesy Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam)
Slaughter Lane extension being designed for Easton Park in Southeast Austin

The transportation project could break ground in 2022.

Snow and ice cover the pond on the southeastern side of the Mueller development in East Austin in February. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After winter storm, Austin puts together a plan for better temporary shelters

The locations, which could be schools, libraries or recreation centers, would be disconnected from traditional infrastructure and be able to sustain operations if the city were to experience widespread power or water outages.

Austin ISD is holding community conversation sessions April 12-May 6. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD community conversation sessions continuing through May 6

The series offers AISD families an opportunity to learn about the district’s strategic plan and ongoing budget planning.

Vacancy Brewing is located across the street from The Yard development in the St. Elmo neighborhood. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin

Vacancy Brewing is located across the street from The Yard development in the St. Elmo neighborhood.

A resident at EdenHill Communities receives their second dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Amid the struggle to get vaccinated, these Austin moms have helped over 3,900 people get appointments

The women volunteer their time searching for hard-to-find time slots that often become available in the middle of the night.

Photo of Austin Central Library
Austin Public Library to begin resuming in-person services May 10

Austin Public Library will begin reopening branches to the public in May after operating with only digital and curbside pickup services since June 2020.

The upper decks of I-35 that run between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Airport Boulevard were constructed in the 1970s and could come down as part of a project the Texas Department of Transportation is planning for the highway through Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
As time runs short to weigh in on a $4.9B I-35 project, Austin community members say they hope TxDOT is listening

The official comment period for community members to share their thoughts on the highway closes April 9.