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Rebranding Columbus

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Rebranding Columbus

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  • #83091
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    There’s been some mixed discussion following the No Reservations thread and the NY Times thread, but I thought this new article from Urbanophile deserved a fresh look:

    Sunday, August 15th, 2010

    Rebranding Columbus

    How do you stoke the imagination of outsiders and the enthusiasm of residents? Columbus, starting from relative obscurity, has found that you cannot just hire an advertising agency, like New York and Las Vegas did, and come up with a slogan. It needs to find something real and heartfelt to trumpet, a task force of business, educational, political and arts leaders here concluded.

    Your brand has to be something that is authentic, that’s true to the place. It has to resonate with the people who are there. That’s not to say it can’t be aspirational. That’s how we grow. But to simply chuck your past and trying to be something completely different is overwhelmingly difficult and often fails. So kudos to Columbus for trying to find something true to the character of their city.

    READ MORE: http://www.urbanophile.com/2010/08/15/rebranding-columbus/

    #397219

    JonMyers
    Participant

    I agree and like much of the article. That said, the content and ideas for branding Columbus would have more reach, and thus greater impact if it were organized into a more coherent thought.

    All that rambling, with no additional headlines or organization of the story kills the potency of his message.

    #397220

    myliftkk
    Participant

    So wait, after all of his Indy examples he proceeds to say Indy still hasn’t has made the cool kids club yet, but that Columbus should follow Indy’s lead? Doesn’t that sort of unravel his entire argument?

    #397221

    myliftkk
    Participant

    JonMyers wrote >>
    I agree and like much of the article. That said, the content and ideas for branding Columbus would have more reach, and thus greater impact if it were organized into a more coherent thought.
    All that rambling, with no additional headlines or organization of the story kills the potency of his message.

    I think we can boil the message down to the following:

    1. Attempt big things and the right people will notice you.
    2. If some big things succeed, a few will notice you, and they might invite you to their club.
    3. Or, they might not.

    #397222

    If I could brand Columbus, it would be called America’s Creativity & Business Incubator. I mean we have so many research and tech institutions n developers in the 315 corridor and not to mention all our indie incubators (OSU included). It also ties in the whole indie-art theme.

    #397223

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    myliftkk wrote >>
    So wait, after all of his Indy examples he proceeds to say Indy still hasn’t has made the cool kids club yet, but that Columbus should follow Indy’s lead? Doesn’t that sort of unravel his entire argument?

    I think you misread the Indy comparison. It is that Indy is further along the process and has done so by bootstrapping and hardwork – doing more than talking. The secondary point is that making yourself elite in niche fields has dividends as those niches are seldom self-contained. Enough niches, enough bleed-thru and you’ve got recognition which powers brand.

    Having just been to Indy, I think we are further along in some areas like he acknowledges.

    A.

    #397224

    JonMyers
    Participant

    columbusyuppie, cool idea.

    Aside from simply being employers, how would you get these research institutions more involved and woven into the fabric of the community itself?

    These research institutions have little community involvement. Probably by design if I had to guess.

    #397225

    mbeaumont
    Participant

    I don’t think we need to be focusing on a singular brand as much as we need to be focusing on being bold and innovative period. Portland, for instance, is known as a biking town, a food town, a town with innovative and robust public transportation, a highly progressive town, a good music town. All of these things add up to Portland=cool city. No slogan needed.

    I think if Columbus simply focuses on doing a lot of things right, from urban planning to public transportation to small business development to tech, our reputation will grow and grow. Do a lot of things right, and be innovative and groundbreaking on a few high-profile projects and the rest will follow.

    Right now, Columbus is acting like we’re already there and people just don’t know about us. That may be true to some degree, but we still have a lot of work to do.

    #397226

    arenn
    Participant

    Thanks for the comments.

    As they say, “If I had more time, I would have written less.” On a publishing schedule of 4 times per week with no help and not enough hours in the day as it is, I’m not always able to invest the time I’d like. On the other hand, one of my inspirations is the New Yorker….

    I do like Columbus quite a bit and think it has unlimited potential as a city. Go get ’em!

    #397227

    myliftkk
    Participant

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    myliftkk wrote >>
    So wait, after all of his Indy examples he proceeds to say Indy still hasn’t has made the cool kids club yet, but that Columbus should follow Indy’s lead? Doesn’t that sort of unravel his entire argument?

    I think you misread the Indy comparison. It is that Indy is further along the process and has done so by bootstrapping and hardwork – doing more than talking. The secondary point is that making yourself elite in niche fields has dividends as those niches are seldom self-contained. Enough niches, enough bleed-thru and you’ve got recognition which powers brand.
    Having just been to Indy, I think we are further along in some areas like he acknowledges.
    A.

    But, how much public money and time do you drop on niches that in the end, may not get you to the greener pastures? As he says, Cbus has done much better at the nuts and bolts, but Indy is good at building niche products. Nuts and bolts aren’t sexy, even when you’re good at it, and that’s the paradox Columbus finds itself in. Should city leaders be rummaging around for a sexy niche to get involved in, not necessarily in my view. I’d rather they get a few more strategic nuts and bolts done than say shoot the moon with a Ameriflora part II. I’d rather have municipal wireless/broadband access, than say the world’s greatest Cello competition in Columbus if both are going to be supported by public resources.

    Ultimately, if Columbus is to be good at business/creative incubation, then what we want from city leaders is consistent valuable infrastructure improvements, not one off niche focuses. Build the infrastructure and let the entrepreneurs decide to make their own mark on their terms. Let the innovation flow from your citizens creative energy by giving them the infrastructure to exploit.

    #397228

    gk
    Member

    Has any consideration been given to changing the name of the city? Columbus is a very generic name. Changing the name of a large U.S. city would surely put people on notice.

    #397229

    JonMyers
    Participant

    Changing the city’s name would get Columbus a quick high, which would fade just as fast and be forgotten. It’s about what’s there, and what’s going on.

    #397230

    gk
    Member

    Here is a list of cities that have changed their names over the course of history. It’s quite long and interesting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_city_name_changes

    #397231

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    myliftkk wrote
    Ultimately, if Columbus is to be good at business/creative incubation, then what we want from city leaders is consistent valuable infrastructure improvements, not one off niche focuses. Build the infrastructure and let the entrepreneurs decide to make their own mark on their terms. Let the innovation flow from your citizens creative energy by giving them the infrastructure to exploit.

    I agree. The niche focus should be privately-generated for the large majority of it. There is a role for public/private partnerships. The infrastructure component and overall business climate responsibility is flipped with the City (plus) having the larger share.

    A.

    #397232

    MikeReed
    Participant

    How do you stoke the imagination of outsiders and the enthusiasm of residents?

    My one single piece of advice- and no offense to the Columbus Partnership, they obviously care deeply and are great people- but get more storytellers and fewer CEOs to work on this. Infuse even just a little creativity, man.

    People- real people- want narrative. They want to be inspired and be able to see themselves as having a place in the stories they witness. They don’t care about graphs, charts, business plans, 180,000 new jobs, capital investment totals, compound annual growth rates, MSAs, multipliers, and on and on… get that stuff into a dossier for CEOs if you are trying to attract corporations, but get it off line and get some visually stunning and masterfully crafted narratives about Columbus and her residents online for real people to see.

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