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YP Tips: Parkside Lessons in Personal Branding

railroad park

In our social media age, everything and everyone is a brand. Our online presences are carefully crafted avatars for the people we are in real life. We know this to be true, but building our own brands can feel like one more chore at best, and a deeply inauthentic one at worst. To help, we’re exploring one of our favorite current real estate brands: the new Parkside neighborhood.

The website lays out clear boundaries of the 9 x 5 block neighborhood: I-65 to 20th Street, 4th Avenue South to the train tracks. Black-and-white line drawings of neighborhood landmarks fill in the compact map to lay out a district with a strong point of view. Parkside has a concentration of offerings within a discrete, high-design space.

Parkside’s logo is iconic Birmingham imagery reshaped into a railroad park footprint. Its strong linear design and accent curves are just the right level of busy. The logo keeps your eye active, cycling through the surrounding images and the name that connects them all. The font is part deco, part street art, and lots of negative space. We also think it’s influenced by the Birmingham font on Regions field, which is a nice touch.

“There are other mixed-use districts in the city, but Parkside is the first in Birmingham to combine upscale living with an ideal location in the heart of the city, driving toward a walkable, healthier, more diverse future,” the website says. “If you’re looking for the ideal urban neighborhood for the 21st century, look no further.”

Parkside touts a neighborhood with a best-of-both-worlds perspective: local indie offerings and national chain convenience, easy access to the city with some of its best amenities in your own backyard:

Within easy walking distance of the historic Central Business District, the Loft District, UAB, Five Points South and more, Parkside also serves as an urban trailhead to begin your exploration of Birmingham on a human scale, at a human pace—whether that’s on foot, your bike, skateboard, rollerblades, or with the kids in strollers, Parkside is a great jumping off point to experience Birmingham.

So that’s Parkside, but what about your brand? Here are some branding 101 lessons we think Parkside helps illustrate:

Show, don’t tell.

In LinkedIn profiles, as in resumes, a strong turn of phrase matters. But beware of empty words. Focus on showing what you are and fill in from there to follow the ubiquitous “show, don’t tell” writing advice. Parkside takes it a step further with a time-lapse video of the city featured well before any marketing language.

Be a source of information.

Parkside’s site features news about the community from multiple sources, situating itself as a one-stop shop for all neighborhood news. Hootsuite has the following rationale for content curation:

It shows your audience that you know the industry well, that you’re collegial and are aware of competition. It shows that you’re collaborative and confident enough in your own brand to share another’s content. It also doubles your exposure by potentially connecting you to another brand’s audience or online community.

Target a clear audience.

It’s no accident we use words like energetic to describe Parkside’s branding. The fact is, the neighborhood skews young (and YP-friendly, at that). It’s for dedicated urbanites with a sense of adventure, and that’s not a category that describes everyone. But having some limits to your marketing is the way to go, according to the Brown Creative Group. “Remember the best advice that your mother gave you — not everyone will like you, so don’t worry about making them,” the group’s blog notes. “Market to the kinds of consumers that need the services you offer and you’ll see your customer base grow.”

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