Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mud-struck New Gahanian anchor seal marketing ... and Rhode Island's disastrous state branding campaign.

Among the questions we've been asking since 2015, or maybe 2014 ... say, exactly when did the junta seize power, anyway?

Branding mud-struck: Why did the city of New Albany steal Anchor Brewing's seal?

We receive comments, like this one here.

It's sadly fitting they've chosen an anchor as a graphic representation of the city. An anchor fixes a potentially moving object to a place. It gets stuck in the mud and silt and keeps things from moving. That's why it's called an anchor.

This is not a "marketing piece", a "branding image" - it's not a progressive symbol, it doesn't imply a growing and vital city. An anchor? Who designed this?

This is "marketing" just like offering seven MILLION dollars to Pillsbury AFTER they said they they were leaving - that wasn't a "plan to attract businesses to the city" either. Too little and much, much too late.

And another by e-mail.

In going through files recently, I noticed that the city's new "branding logo" has replaced the old city seal on mundane printed things such as the city sewer bill.

I'v also noticed the inclusion of the city's new "branding logo" on the new street signs.

Questions abound:

1) How can the city seal be changed without public discussion and vote by council?

2) Why wasn't someone with real graphic design experience used to create versions of the logo that could be easily seen at various distances or in various uses?

The artwork is much too "thin" and confusing when seen in reverse, at a distance on street signs.

Who designed it, why and at whose request? Was a fee paid?

Back when Dan Coffey was on the mayor's payroll -- before he wasn't, and now he's back again -- there was an entirely normal city council meeting, during which these questions were answered, except they weren't.

As McLaughlin dozes, Coffey expresses his dislike of fuddy-duddy steamboat seal-bearing visitors.

The city's economic dishevelment facilitator, David Duggins, at long last became interested in the melee, and vaulted forward to volunteer this: The new symbol is a "marketing piece" and "branding mechanism," and not a new official seal. Branding and marketing. By executive order. Small wonder we remain anchored.

To avoid further instances of brain death, let's consider the case of the anchor-like millstone around Rhode Island's neck.

The Anatomy of a Disastrous State Branding Campaign, by Aarian Marshall (CityLab)

After Rhode Island’s epic screw-up, a five-step guide to doing better.

 ... Are place branding campaigns ever worth it? It’s hard to figure out, because campaigns are difficult to divorce from the actual city. Is that spike in jobs due to that sweet ad your commerce board put out two years ago, or because Large Company X liked the cut of your (empty office park’s) jib? Are tourists abandoning your boardwalk because your logo deeply offended their aesthetic sensibilities, or because the best funnel cake place closed last year? Still, as the state of Rhode Island points out, there’s definitely a bad way to do it. CityLab talked to marketing experts to figure out what went wrong—and what cities, states, and regions can do better next time.

1 comment:

w&la said...

Ms. Marshall's article's most relevant point that applies to New Albany's effort:

5) Make it sellable in the first place

Finally, the secret sauce to place branding: the place. “If the community doesn’t have infrastructure, doesn’t have enough beds to attract new tourists, or it doesn’t have a qualified workforce to offer, then from a business perspective and marketing perspective, your money should go toward improving the community,” says Pryor.

It ain’t worth advertising if there’s nothing worth selling.