As all things midcentury modern reclaimed a cool and coveted allure on an international scale, a tiny pocket along Miami's main corridor got another chance to shine. But the window of opportunity was brief and the neighborhood nearly missed out.
Once home to glamorous and whimsical retreats for hip tourists with cars, the stretch of Biscayne Boulevard— from around 50th to 77th Street— saw its halcyon days during the post-war period. Miami Modern Architecture (MiMo) boomed as famed architects like Morris Lapidus, Norman Giller, Robert Swartburg and Edwin Reeder built with carte blanche and in decidedly futuristic forms (Hello, neon!).
So, how do you rebrand a storied neighborhood like MiMo to the world when your competitive set includes popular destinations such as Brickell, South Beach and Wynwood? Very carefully.
Smarthinking Inc. joined the revival in 2013 to develop MiMo’s new brand narrative. This included a new brand identity, tone of voice as well as print and digital asset development with the goal of elevating awareness of the MiMo Biscayne Association. To that end, we gave them the tools to make a bigger and bolder impact in the community, to spread the message of historic preservation and grow their membership.
Our team started by refreshing the brand identity with cues and inspiration from the neighborhood's aesthetic. We used these new brand guidelines to tell the MiMo Biscayne Association story in a brochure, which sold memberships and served as an informational piece at community events.
We knew that a website was going to be the most critical component to accomplish several goals, including: creating a source for historical information, for individual members to join, for corporate members to be displayed, for community events to be advertised, and to be a resource for the myriad press requests MiMo receives from a variety of countries and from publications such as The New York Times, VICE and Vogue Latin America.
The website also needed to show that MiMo was reinventing itself. The historical photos we had on hand only took the story so far, so we engaged a notable travel photographer Wyatt Gallery (@wyattgallery) to shoot the beautiful nuances of the MiMo neighborhood. His images combined with the new design of the website breathe new life into the neighborhood's persona.
Smarthinking Inc. continues to support the Association with managing social media platforms, the website, producing quarterly newsletters, developing swag for membership and fielding all press requests. The impact of the new brand is evident in the continued membership increases and the community's votes resulted in Curbed Miami naming MiMo “Neighborhood of the Year” in 2014. With Smarthinking’s guidance, the district continues to reclaim the cachet that created it.