Rebranding Washington DC

Looks like Washington DC is looking at a new tag line with two PR firms developing the study. According to the article in Washington Post, tourism is worth $5 billion in DC, so the $150,000 to develop the right slogan seems like a drop in the bucket.

The current slogan: “Washington, D.C.: The American Experience.” They’ve even posted a website to get ideas from residents via a zoomerang survey.

Mixing Strategy with Tactics

Jim Tobin at Life Is Marketing blog commented on my recent post about being a Marketer On THE Run (MOTHER):

It’s too easy on both the agency and the client side to get task oriented. You even have to schedule the task of doing some meaningful thinking. It’s ironic, particularly when I find that most of the answers in marketing are found when you pull your head out of the tactics and consider the strategy.

How true that is. Relationships. Strategy. Looking at the Forest, (not the trees.) Beginning with the end in mind (Stephen Covey.)

Good marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thanks Jim.

Communication Concerns: Writing for the Reader?

I was recently interviewed by e-mail by a graduate student at Kent State University about the importance of writing in my profession.

Although I’ve always known how important writing is to my work, it really brought it home when I thought about my answers her questions.

This morning I found a blog that quoted Richard Denney, at Thoughts on Sales and Marketing, where he asks about communication:

We are getting to the point of information overload, but are we communicating more effectively? No.

Everything that we do throughout each day involves communication in one form or another – at work and at home, in politics, commerce, education, sport, entertainment and the financial world.

Communication touches every sphere of our lives. Yet communication is a largely undervalued, untaught asset in the modern world, often with disastrous results. When communication breaks down the bombs and the brickbats start flying about -whether in the home environment, the workplace or the global political

Writing, Denney says, “is the most dangerous form of Communication. There is one simple rule that should be the basis of all written communication”:

“You must write not so that you can be understood, but so that you cannot be misunderstood.”

How true. Hat tip to Kenneth Davis at Manage Your Writing.

Tell me about your writing. Do you write to be understood… or so you are not misunderstood?

Chris Brown
Branding & Marketing blog

Technorati Tags: Marketing, Branding, Writing

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Too many stakeholders: Rebranding a University

Andrew Careaga’s blog talks about a recent name change at University of Missouri-Rolla:

{11 a.m. 3/23/07}… That’s when UMR Chancellor John F. Carney III plans to announce the recommended he has submitted to the University of Missouri and its board of curators. Since sending out a media advisory Thursday afternoon, the Name Change Conversations blog has been moderately abuzz, with traffic surging from an average of about 110 unique visitors per day to 353 yesterday. Commenting has heated up, too, but some of those comments ” from “insiders” who have gotten the scoop” are being held until after the 11 a.m. announcement. Fun times to be a higher ed blogger.

{Note, the blog has been removed from}

I think that rebranding a university is much harder than rebranding a company. With a university the stakeholders feel much more ownership of the branding than the stakeholders in a company. The faculty. The alumni. The students.

Think about it: how many students shell out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of advertising the university on their chest, backpack, notebooks, car plates. How about alumni?

Most employees want the company to give them branded merchandise, not have them buy it. Most retirees don’t sport the brand like alumni of a university will and do.

I hope Andrew’s university rebranding goes smoothly. It can be tough!

Related Post:
Style Guides: One Key for Revamping the Marketing of a University

Relationship Marketing Builds Bridges

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to London and Rotherham with Athena International’s board. What an inspirational trip on many so levels. Now that my jet lag has somewhat subsided, I wanted to share what I saw and learned.

1) Planting tiny seeds can produce outstanding unexpected results. The original connection between Rotherham chamber and the Athena organization started in Youngstown Ohio. This is a story that deserves it’s own blog post, so watch this space.

2) Going beyond the normal customer service amazes your clients. The photo above, taken in the morning light, shows Hellaby Hall Hotel managed by John Silker, president-elect of the Rotherham chamber. I can’t say enough about the warm welcome and the over-the-top service of John and his staff. Just lovely. I was so impressed by their great, world-class workout wellness center, as well as the great service in the restaurant and the meeting room facilities. Outstanding!

Previewing the website before the trip, I had expected my stay to be much more corporate and formal. However it was my experience that Hellaby Hall Hotel, although top-notch corporate, was also a wonderful mix of sincere warmth, hospitality and friendliness that really helped to establish a strong connection for me with Rotherham. It really felt more like being welcomed into someone’s home. Maybe that’s why it hosts so many area wedding receptions and events.

3) Relationship builders — people who have the knack for bringing people together — can accomplish so much to bridge the differences. Janet Lister, the event organizer, was awe-inspiring at bringing people together for a common goal and positive outcome. She headed a committee that got the chamber and the council to work together to honor 10 Athena honorees, 22 young Athenians and build some amazing connections.

Again, post worthy of additional blog entries!

You might think, what does this have to do with marketing? Recently I’ve posted about various regions marketing their talents and unique mix of offerings: State marketing vs Regional Marketing using Ohio’s marketing for example, Des Moines Iowa’s marketing efforts and Minneapolis & St. Paul’s marketing program.

Rotherham (population 253,000) has figured out how to:

  • encourage its youth
  • build relationships with those from all over the world
  • exhibit leadership
  • and enable all types of people to work together for a common goal

All these regions and states in the US could take a lesson from Rotherham.

  • What is your community doing to build future leaders? To develop strong customer relationships? To encourage collaboration? To market the region?

    More importantly, what are YOU doing?

    Informative Links to learn more:

  • Rotherham Chamber – named 2005 UK Chamber of the Year with 38% growth.
  • Rotherham Council – named most improved Council in the UK on March 20th by the Local Government Chronical
  • Athena International – A professional businesswomens’ organization dedicated to leadership initiatives.

    Technorati Tags: Marketing, Branding, England, Rotherham, Hellaby Hall, Customer Service

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