Tuesday, October 18, 2005

City branding

Speaking of branding and the trend towards branding things you never used to think needed a brand...(libraries, the post office, water, universities) cities now join the ranks.

Oh sure, cities have always had marketing campaigns and bids for tourists. Vegas, Honolulu, New York...but this new effort looks like it has residents--as well as tourists--in its target audience.

The City of Atlanta has an initiative underway, complete with new logo, anthem, newsletter and team. The message is "Opportunity, Optimisim, Openness" and the effort highlights Atlanta's prominence as a major airport hub ATL.

I am beating the branding horse again, I know, but I tell you this: if a major city that hosted the Olympics less than 10 years ago now feels compelled to spend $4.5M on image perception, it makes me think that we (speaking for libraries as a whole) have a lot of catching up to do.


Mario McKelvey said...

Two comments:

1) Remember when Cleveland branded itself "The Best Location in the Nation" (around 1964-66). An early example of city branding, and similarly false.

2) You can't take Atlanta as a good example of anything. Remember that in addition to hosting the Olympics, they had a major embarrassment in the way that the Olympics were commercialized. And they had some nut set off a bomb during the Olympics in the park. Then the library director was sued for $18 million (reverse discrimination) and the library lost, big time. The mayor was indicted for bribery. Dozens of Atlanta politicians have been in jail for bribes, graft, and other civic sins. That town positively reeks of scandal.

So, I can see how they want to improve their image.

curtsy said...

Actually, the Cleveland Illuminating Company was using this slogan (which was picked up by the general business community) as far back as the 1940's, when Cleveland was at its zenith. A promotional film for the Illuminating Company from 1954 called "The Power to Serve" used this expression extensively.


As far as Atanta is concerned, on 11/25/06 the New York Times ran an article of the success of Atlanta in attracting young professionals (in spite of "some nut setting off a bomb 10 years ago."

"Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young"

However, Mario clearly seems to be biased in his opinions of Atlanta.