Rosslyn Business Improvement District


The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (RBID) provides high-quality, customer oriented services designed to define, enhance and continually improve Rosslyn for those who work, live, visit and do business in the community. Marketing the neighborhood and building positive perceptions of the community is one of their main strategic goals.

Despite its evolution into a mixed-use, vibrant neighborhood, Rosslyn found that many misconceptions of the area persisted from the decades it had positioned itself as a commercial center. The RBID wanted to create a robust communications program with new messaging that would resonate with a diverse group of audiences including residents, businesses, workers, organizational stakeholders, media and county decision makers.


Create a message framework that resets the Rosslyn public narrative that is both credible and compelling. Test messages with key audiences and scale communications through a proactive and ongoing public relations campaign. Secure positive portrayals of the community within local media outlets including The Washington Post and Washington Business Journal.

Our Process

Sage began our brand strategy process by examining current Rosslyn perceptions among the key audiences mentioned above. Our research process involved interviews with RBID staff; an environmental scan of traditional and social media; and two stakeholder focus groups.

Our research revealed opportunities to focus less on comparisons with other areas and future states but to market the positive attributes of Rosslyn today. There is a desire among residents, workers and businesses to be located in active, urban areas with a connected amenity base that have access to multiple transportation options. These attributes in particular were found to be attractive to millenials and the businesses wanting to appeal to them as a growing part of their workforce.

We used these insights to create a message framework that focused on Rosslyn’s transition from a commercial center to an active urban environment that connects people.

One specific example was Sage’s collection and dissemination of data to dispel the threat of food trucks on brick and mortar restaurants in the metro area. Through strategic messaging, Sage placed Rosslyn as an area of growth where safety and smart city planning would increase quality and culture in the local restaurant scene, and shifted the perception of food trucks from threats to allies. 


The message framework has been utilized across all of Rosslyn’s internal and external communication tools including digital, paid and earned media as well as events. Over the course of a year Sage:

  • Strengthened relationships with media, including securing 75 positive unique articles;
  • Strengthened relationships with the general public and key stakeholders including helping the RBID win the Best of Arlington Award for Customer Service; and
  • Provided talking points on key issues such as Mobile Vending Zones, streetscape elements plan and zoning regulations.