Here's why 'Port Authority' redeveloped its name -- again

Posted at 4:21 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 17:13:33-04

CINCINNATI -- Say goodbye to the Redevelopment Authority of Greater Cincinnati -- or at least to the name.

For the second time in a year, the agency once known as the Port of Greater Cincinnati Authority has a new moniker.

Now, it's doing business simply as The Port. Officials see humor behind the situation, too, but they say they saw a need.

"Everyone gets 72 hours to laugh…then just be happy we're calling ourselves what everyone already calls us," Port president and CEO Laura Brunner said. "We previewed this, and (the) reaction was, 'Oh, thank God.'

Port President and CEO Laura Brunner. Photo provided.

The agency is rolling out the change slowly. It's now referencing itself as The Port on LinkedIn and in Twitter posts and is working with Covington-based branding agency BLDG on an overall messaging campaign.

BLDG conducted dozens of stakeholder interviews leading up to the change, said Gail Paul, The Port's vice president of communications. There was also an "a-ha" moment in June, she said, during City of Cincinnati budget hearings. Port officials had asked interested parties to speak on their behalf -- city council had originally proposed a cut in funding -- but speakers seemed to consistently stumble over the name.

Gail Paul, The Port's vice president of communications. Photo provided.

It had initially opted against using the name "port" because it considered it a barrier -- the agency has no maritime-type interests. The hope was "Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority" would "better reflect the mission of the organization," officials said last August. But there seems to be less confusion today.

"Most people have a lot of trouble saying 'Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority,'" Paul said. "In the last few months, a few things have become clear. One, everyone gets really excited about what we're doing, and they understand what we're doing. And two, everyone still calls us The Port, at least on second reference…and we've decided that's OK, because a port can be a good conduit, a good connector, an access point. So we like being able to use that."

Brunner said the group is also dropping "authority" from its original tagline. It's a "bit of a put-off," she said, when officials show up to work in a community. 

The agency, first formed in 2000, is increasingly visible. Its efforts include economic development, neighborhood revitalization, public finance and more. The Port, for example, will own the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium in the West End; recently broke ground on a construction project in the Bond Hill business district; and stabilized – and listed for sale – the former Mt. Auburn home of Cincinnati beer baron Christian Moerlein.

Bond Hill Revitalization

"A year ago, I joked that I'm the CEO of a port authority that has no port," Brunner said. "We really focused on that as a barrier, but people don't care that redevelopment is more descriptive of what you are. (They) want something easy. It's that simple."