Sunset Valley selects a local marketing company to rebrand the town

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

Sunset Valley has selected a proposal from South Austin-based agency Ampersand and Canales & Co. to take over the city’s marketing and branding services, completing a process that began last summer to find a company to help rename the town and create an economic development plan.

While the city is still finalizing a contract, council members voted June 23 4 to 1 in favor of the two partner agencies, selecting the proposal from a list of three finalists considered for the position.

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

Montgomery called Sunset Valley a hidden gem in Austin, with shopping opportunities and green spaces. She said the companies 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 just a potential partner agency; we are your targets,” Montgomery said during a June 23 presentation. “We live here; we shop here; we love it here. We’ve been an agency for over 20 years and our only office is in Austin, TX.

According to the presentation, the company would also use cell phone data to research local shopping trends and develop targeted marketing. During the ongoing pandemic, they would work to bring people who visited Sunset Valley back and use this group as a base to expand to find future buyers.

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

Council member Rudi Rosengarten suggested selecting Ampersand and Canales, in part because of their local ties and familiarity with the city.

Board member Melissa Gonzales said she was impressed with all of the proposals made on June 23, but the Ampersand and Canales presentation stood out.

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

Sunset Valley began looking for a new company last summer and officially issued a request for proposals in November. After this request returned only two candidates, the city council took a break to re-evaluate the objectives of the request.

The current process began on March 30 and returned 11 candidates in total. The city ranked the nominees 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 on June 23.

Mayor Rosa Cardona said she can’t remember a time in the past when the city received such a large pool of applicants for a request for proposals, and the presentations given were of a higher caliber than the ones the city city ​​has views in the past.

“I have confidence that the board will make a good selection tonight, and that [Sunset Valley] would benefit from any of these three companies,” she said.

Council member Phil Ellett, who voted against the motion, said he preferred the economic development aspects of Resonance Consultancy’s presentation. However, he said he was impressed with all three candidates.