You Never Roll Out a Brand
You never just “roll-out” a brand. Brands are “earned” – good or bad. They build over time and perceptions are key to the brand building process.
What is your perception of Cleveland, Ohio? Good? Bad? Ugly? “The best location in America?” This was actually a tag line for Cleveland. Does it ring true in your mind? If it doesn’t, then it falls on deaf ears. Brands are earned, when Cleveland, like so many industrial-based communities was falling on hard times the negative slogan “Mistake on the Lake” was catchy and, to most people, it had a ring of truth to it. It fit the perception people generally had of the city.
Cleveland is, once again, going through the branding process, this time with “Cleveland+” or “Cleveland Plus.” Does this say anything about Cleveland? Does it change your perception of the city? Does it make you want to move there? Visit the city for your next vacation?
Perhaps the best tagline for Cleveland was “Cleveland Rocks!” When the city opened up the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame and it gained international acclaim, all of a sudden Cleveland was seen differently as a hip, cool place to spend time. It changed the perception of the city. And it delivered on the promise through the hall of fame and redevelopment of the shoreline around it.
Since a brand is a promise, it’s essential that the promise be fully realized, obvious, and pervasive throughout the community. Most struggling communities need to focus on a “repositioning” or “rebranding” effort in order to change the perception, which is an arduous and time-consuming process that MUST start within the community.
At the end of the day, you NEVER roll out a brand. You earn it over time.