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December 10, 2009

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Dan, you should get Jeff to send you some of the work he's talking about. Beyond any sot of graphic representation or slogan, the copy and themes that they generated were really a step in the right direction in what you're talking about, and would be an interesting point to jump start a conversation from.

Unfortunately, it seems to be an unforgivable sin to have any piece of print or internet media generated concerning/promoting Athens that doesn't prominently display an English bulldog. (See the current CVB "website" at http://athens-lifeunleashed.blogspot.com/)

Look, I love georgia football as much as the next guy - season ticket-holder, etc.- but we've already snared THAT tourist market, and we don't have to spend a dime to maintain it - UGA takes care of that for us.

We do need to draw more full time residents and visitors to Athens for what we offer the other 46 weekends a year.

Jeff:

Thanks for the comment.

I didn't intend to criticize "Life Unleashed" as an official slogan for Athens. In fact, I have to admit I wasn't aware that people considered that Athens' "brand".

I meant for my post to be about a more informal "branding" process--what a city comes to be known for. None of the other cities mentioned in the post were linked with any official slogan...instead, they were linked with the image or idea that the city evokes. I'm pretty sure Las Vegas isn't officially known as "Sin City, nor Portland as streetcars and bikes.

I'm much less interested in what slogan we adopt than in the kind of lifestyle Athens is (or comes to be) sought out for--that's the kind of brand I was talking about and that's what Renn was talking about in his article. I didn't make that clear.

My firm did this years ago. The campaign won several awards and was briefly used in a joint effort by the mayor's office and EDF. Then, what always happens in these situations happened. People who have no knowledge concerning brand management all jumped in with their "expert" opinions and copy of "rise of the creative class". After months of process and few results "life unleashed" was unleashed.

The problem is that the people often leading these kinds of efforts have no idea what they are doing. Citizens don't go down to the auditors office and the fire chiefs office and tell them how to do their job yet when it comes to marketing everyone thinks they are the expert.

Marketing is a profession as much as law or finance. You're not qualified to manage marketing simply because you wear vintage clothes and listen to Sam Prekop.

We offered the last campaign to the city for free. Instead the CVB lead an effort to use an outside company and they were not free.

We won't make the same mistake next time.

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