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The current design theme on the tourism corridor includes distinctive purple streetlights and bus shelters. Even the sidewalks use purple tinted concrete.
The current design theme on the tourism corridor includes distinctive purple streetlights and bus shelters. Even the sidewalks use purple tinted concrete. (Osceola County)

Osceola's W192 Development Authority will have a choice of eight local and national marketing firms to lead a rebranding study for the county's tourism corridor.

The county wants its destination district on U.S. 192 to have the same cachet as the Las Vegas Strip and Orlando's I-Drive.

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Assistant Procurement Director Ted Philips told GrowthSpotter the evaluation team hasn't been selected yet and likely won't meet to review the proposals before the new year. The top ranked firms may be invited to present to the Board of County Commissioners and/or the development authority.

Authority Executive Director David Buchheit initially planned to contract with Atkins Global, which already has a service agreement with Osceola County. He even invited Atkins consultant Kristen Caborn to present a project outline - one that involves extensive surveys and consumer focus groups - at the authority's October meeting. But board members voted instead to publish an RFP, noting that the amount of the contract warrants a more competitive bidding process.

Caborn said the firm teamed up with Tipping Gardner - a New York firm that specializes in brand strategy and architecture - for the W192 proposal.

The firms are: Appleton Creative, Orlando; Sparxoo, Tampa; HCP Associates, Tampa; Strategic Advisory Group, Duluth, Ga; T-Creative, Oviedo; Ideas - Integrity Arts & Technology, Orlando; and Wilesmith Advertising, West Palm Beach.

The winning firm will conduct a detailed marketing study of the destination corridor and develop new logos, banners, slogans and design standards for U.S. 192. The contract would be for a 3-year term.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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