On a recent flight to Milwaukee, I flipped through the in-flight magazine and noticed a series of state and regional business and tourism destination ads. Louisiana: Pick your Passion. What can Missouri Make Grow Move for you? Made in Tennessee: The Soundtrack of America. Missouri: Enjoy the show. And my favorite: Illinois: Are you up for Amazing?
What’s Your Favorite Slogan?
It seems that everywhere I turn these days, I read about, or am asked to bid on, or give my vote for, a new name or slogan for an organization, an association, a cause, or a region. These are some recent messages about logos and names that have caught my eye:
- Headline on a BusinessWest editorial: “Western Mass. Needs More Than a New Slogan”
- Regional development initiative email: “We’re going to approve the new name for the organization (finally something to call it!) on Wednesday.”
- Client announcement in company enewsletter: “We’ve chosen a new name, and now we will be working with our consultant on logos.”
I find these announcements about “We’ve come up with a new name” or “We’re working up a new logo” to be concerning. I only hope that a vast amount of research, a diligent process, and rigorous creative exploration are behind these happy announcements. As the BusinessWest editor correctly pointed out, “The prevailing opinion these days is that a state or a region has to have a catchy tagline.” Illinois is proof above.
Oklahoma to Name Western Massachusetts
An Oklahoma-based ad agency has been hired to come up with a catchy theme to describe western Mass. to visitors to replace the current “Arrive Curious, Leave Inspired” slogan. And it mustn’t have Pioneer Valley in it, which is now considered to be passé, even though Pioneer Valley has tremendous equity throughout the region on signage and in countless business and organizational names. I wonder if the Oklahoma “admen” will make notice this if they come to visit?
Local Hero is a Brand
It was only in reading a letter to the editor in the July 26 Daily Hampshire Gazette that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Yes! Someone gets it!” “’Local Hero’ signs are more than a rallying cry” was the headline, aptly describing the depth of support that is behind those provocative “Local Hero” stickers we see on car bumpers, menus, and products in grocery store cases throughout the region. The writer, who is the program manager for CISA (Citizens Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), explained their two decades of efforts “…to educate the community about seasonal eating and local agriculture, building relationships between farms and local businesses…” – 271 local farms and 68 restaurants and counting. That’s the real deal behind those “Local Hero” stickers.
It takes hard work and sometimes years to turn a name or a logo into a brand, which is what CISA has successfully accomplished. And it’s the experience of customers, clients, patients, suppliers, and partners that infuses that brand with integrity. Without that integrity, it’s just another catchy phrase that carries no experiential meaning.
A new name or slogan means little to its intended audience without investment in educating, demonstrating, articulating, experiencing and believing in the ability of that name to reflect the reality of the region or organization. It takes customer and competitive research, brainstorming, testing, and lots of creative ideation and refinement to uncover the name or that “slogan” that truly reflects the experiences of an organization’s constituents and articulates the heart of its mission.
If you’d like to talk about brand building with an experienced marketing strategist, give me a call. As the slogan says, “The call is free. The advice, priceless!”