New City Slogans
How many “we’re the best” city branding slogans can we come up with across the U.S.? And how many of them are actually believable?
How does Baltimore’s new slogan “A Great Place to Grow” set itself apart from the other 21,000 cities, towns, villages and counties in the U.S. that all think they’re a great place to grow? Branding is supposed to be the art of setting yourself apart from everyone else. Does this make you want to move to Baltimore? Start a business there? Vacation there?
Ninety-nine percent of the cities out there have no clue what branding is. What makes it even worse is that they hire agencies and consulting firms who believe brands are simply logos and slogans and, naturally, they are dead wrong.
San Diego’s “America’s Finest City” is another shining example and brings up another point: Brands have to be believable. While I LOVE San Diego, I’m not so sure it’s really the “finest” city in the country. I do, however, believe it has the finest weather in the country. Perhaps they were simply filling a void after Baltimore tossed its prior slogan, “Baltimore is Best.”
At least Blakely, Georgia found a point of differentiation with “Peanut Capital of the World.” Here’s the challenge: Have you ever gone anywhere because it was the capital of a fruit, vegetable, grain or any other type of produce or dairy product? I’ve had this very conversation with dozens of cities in the Sacramento Valley and I always ask the same question, “how’s that working for you?”
Mark Byrnes, a fellow at The Atlantic Cities and a graduate student in publication design at the University of Baltimore recently took a look at 2011’s crop of new city slogans. Here’s his look at some other challenging slogans that cropped up this past year. You’ll love it. I know you’ll be shaking your head in just a few seconds.
BUFFALO, NY “Buffalo. For Real.”
Perhaps it’s an answer to the frequently asked “Really?! Buffalo?” Or maybe it’s just reiterating the belief among boosters that the city’s current aesthetic is a sign of authenticity instead of decline. Regardless of meaning, Advertising Age thinks it’s pretty bad.
BURTON, MI “Burton: Small Town, Big Heart.”
It might not be the most avant garde of slogans but at least it was better than another submission “Burton, We’re not Burtucky. We’re just kind of yucky.”
CHICAGO, IL “Second to None”
A confident rejection of the famous “Second City” mantle that Chicago has long been known for. Its last official slogan was “Make No Little Plans,” a reference to a quote from famous early 20th century architect, Daniel Burnham. Aurora, Colorado, has been calling itself “A City Second to None” since 2005, and the town’s mayor is flattered by the imitation.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO “Live it Up!”
Known for its high quality of life and natural amenities, this slogan certainly seems appropriate. But some locals dislike its simplicity and $111,000 price tag.
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS, NV “Every City Has a Soul”
Las Vegas already has its own slogan, but now they’ve also coined one specifically for their downtown. While “Every City Has a Soul” is true, it doesn’t say much about downtown Vegas. Perhaps it’s in reference to the replicas of famous buildings from other cities that give downtown Vegas its unique charm.
MODESTO, CA “Modesto. Family Owned and Operated”
Modesto previously had no official slogan. This one makes the city of 200,000 feel even smaller with its humble, small town rhetoric.
NEW ULM, MN “Come See What’s Brewing.”
For a friendly town with a deeply rich German heritage, it’d be a shame to not have a slogan like this.
SUMTER, SC “Uncommonly Patriotic”
Being the namesake of a hero of the American Revolution, Thomas Sumter, can be seen as patriotic. Apparently, serving as a key logistical hub for the Confederacy makes you uncommonly patriotic.
UTICA, NY “Renaissance City”
Formerly known as the “Pent-Up City” and “The Handshake City,” Utica is taking a more generic approach to its brand this time around. When asked about the new slogan, Mayor Roefaro said “Renaissance is like a rebirth.” While his French is strong, it might be a stretch to apply that word to contemporary Utica.
SEATTLE, WA “metronatural”
A slogan that will apparently no longer be with us in 2012 is Seattle’s “metronatural.” After a five year run, local disdain (some suggesting it sounds more like an urban nudist colony has led the Convention and Visitors bureau to revisit the phrase.
UNDETERMINED NEW SLOGANS
MORROW, GA TBD
Morrow is working with a PR firm to create a new slogan. The criteria is pretty simple. According to the head of the town’s Business and Tourism Association, they want people to “know this place is not Godforsaken.”
Mark Byrnes’ full article here