According to the Indianapolis Star, the City of Indianapolis is trying to come up with a tagline to define the city, in the same way that Vegas has “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Although they hasten to assure us that they’re looking for something less risque. Damn. And I thought we were going to finally get some spiciness going in good old Naptown.
Anyway, the branding is being done by an unnamed ad hoc committee of city and business officials, which doesn’t look good. It also doesn’t appear that they’re taking suggestions, which is a shame because we had some damned good ideas when were brainstorming for our site.
“Once unveiled, the branding will appear in advertisements, on the city’s Internet site and, possibly, the city’s official stationery. Steve Campbell, the mayor’s communication director, said the branding will be integrated with other initiatives to sell the city.”
Wow, that sounds like a hot campaign. “Possibly the city’s official stationery”? Hey if they don’t put it on all the stationery, I’m leaving town for good!! Sometimes you just have to take a stand.
The Indy Star seems to be making a bit of fun of the idea, because the article is titled “Indy trying to sum itself up in a slogan.” And they have a feedback forum entitled “Does Indianapolis need a slogan?” where people are posting their suggestions for the tagline, such as “Watch the potholes!”
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I just hope the tag line isn’t sold to the highest bidder like some other Indy landmarks (RCA Dome -was Hoosier Dome, Conseco Field House -replaced Market Square Arena, Verizon Wireless Music Center -was Deer Creek Music Center). I’ve heard rumors that the new name is going to be “Bio-crossroads of America” to recognize the many Indianapolis medical and biological based companies. Is that what we are known for? Is that what we want to be known for?
Bio-crossroads? That’s a horrible name. Reminds me of “Bio-hazard” or maybe some genetic experiment gone awry.
Well the genetic mutant isn’t going to be happening soon; the legislature is trying to push a bill to ban human cloning in Indiana, mainly because we are such a prime location for medical and bio-based companies.
I completely share Brent’s thoughts, as I’m sure most people do.
Remember when cities used to get nicknames informally, spread by word of mouth or publication by journalists? (Well, I don’t, but I’m guessing this is how it happens.) Homespun nicknames are more authentic — and honest — than anything a brand consultant could muster.
Can you imagine an ad hoc branding committee coming up with any of the following: The Windy City, Motor City, The Big Apple, Beantown, Tinseltown, et. al.? Well, maybe “Motor City,” but it would probably be something more buttoned-down, like “The Automotive Capital of the World.”
Jim’s right — when the nickname happens naturally, it reflects what the city is really like, not what the brand consultant wants you to believe about it. I think that’s a potential problem with “branding” as a job, to begin with. You have to start with a product that actually has some value, and let that determine the branding, rather than the other way around.
As a hoosier, I can suggest a few slogans. A nod to Lilly’s dominance, “Prozac invented here!” Or touting our fashion sense, “Where mullets are still in style.” We could go descriptive, “Flat, fat and fundamental.” Or we could play off our transportation and biggest sporting event with “Driving in circles.”
Oooooo – “Dirving in Circles” — kinda gives a different meaning to “The Circle City” then, doesn’t it?