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.


Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

South Austin-based gym Austin Barbell relocated to a new space Sept. 10.  (Courtesy Austin Barbell)
Rolling in Thyme and Dough opening a new drive-thru, plus more South Austin and Dripping Springs business news

Here are five recent updates from South Austin and Dripping Springs businesses.

A band performs at the Mohawk on Red River Street. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Six months into pandemic, Austin officials scrambling to save music venues, child care facilities and restaurants

City Council is set to begin making choices on which businesses to try to save on Oct. 1.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Austin City Limits Music Festival will present a free virtual broadcast from Oct. 9-11. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Free virtual broadcast of ACL Music Festival to be held Oct. 9-11 and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

From left: District 2 candidates include Alex Strenger, David Chincanchan and Vanessa Fuentes. (Courtesy ATXN)
City Council candidates for Southeast Austin District 2 speak on how to address the area’s food deserts

Three candidates for the District 2 Austin City Council discussed a range of topics at the Sept. 16 League of Women Voters panel.

Austin City Limits Music Festival will present a free virtual broadcast from Oct. 9-11. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Limits Music Festival to present virtual broadcast Oct. 9-11

The in-person form of the 2020 festival was canceled for the first time since it began in 2002.

Army Futures Command leadership tour renovations to the Austin Community College Rio Grande Campus with ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes and trustee Gigi Edwards Bryant. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Austin Community College, Army Futures Command to launch software incubator program this winter

The program will be located at the renovated ACC Rio Grande campus in downtown Austin.