Rosslyn Business Improvement District


Situation / Challenge

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 its 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.

Our Strategic Approach

Sage began our brand strategy process by examining current perceptions of Rosslyn 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. Research revealed opportunities to focus less on comparisons with other areas and to emphasize Rosslyn’s current positive attributes. There is a desire among residents, workers and businesses to be located in active, urban areas with connected amenity bases that have access to multiple transportation options. These attributes in particular were found to be attractive to millennials and the businesses wanting to include them as a growing part of their workforce.

We used these insights to create a message framework that highlighted Rosslyn’s transition from a commercial center to an active urban environment home to both employers and residents alike.


The message framework has been used across all of Rosslyn’s internal and external communications 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

  • Provided talking points on key issues such as Mobile Vending Zones, streetscape elements plan and zoning regulations