Loyal visitors to this space know that we always are interested in the efforts of state, regional and local economicrndevelopment agencies to rebrand their locations in pursuit of the holy grail ofrna catchy tag line that imprints their neighborhood on the collectivernconsciousness. Something like “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Last fall, we reported that the city fathers ofrnColumbus, OH had elevated their search for a new slogan to something akin tornthe Manhattan project.
ThernColumbus Chamber of Commerce and representatives from local promotionalrnorganizations including the Columbus Foundation, Experience Columbus and thernjob-creating Columbus Partnership joined forces to leave no stone unturned inrnsearch of the verbiage that will put Columbus on the national radar with thernintensity of a heat-seeking missile.
ThernOhio capital’s city fathers indicated they will take their time before adopting arnnew moniker because six earlier branding efforts fizzled out. Previous entriesrnincluded “Discover Columbus,” “Surprise, It’s Columbus” and the currentrnstandard-bearer, “There’s No Better Place.”
One of our favorite rebranding efforts took place in Indianapolis, which carved out a unique niche by calling itself the “AmateurrnAthletic Capital of America.”
This week, we learned that rebranding feverrnhas crossed the border and is spreading across Canada.
From the Standard Freeholder newspaper inrnCornwall, Ontario comes an update on the efforts of six townships within thernUnited Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry to come up with a regionalrnbrand.
In October, the six townships thought they hadrnagreed to move forward with a regional branding project. The counties approvedrna budget of $35,000 to engage a consultant to work with the S, D & GrnEconomic Development Working Group, which is comprised of one representativernfrom each township and representatives from the S, D and G Community FuturesrnDevelopment Corporation.
However, since that agreement, a significantrncrack emerged in the united branding front: Glengarry county has gone aheadrnwith its own branding process.
Glengarry agreed on a new marketing tool tornpromote the region, with South Glengarry adopting the tagline “Glengarry:rnOntario’s Celtic Heartland” at its council meeting last week. NorthrnGlengarry council also approved the idea.
Not so fast, said township officials inrnCornwall. They said they aren’t prepared to bring any funding requests up for approvalrnuntil reassurance is given that all six councils wanted to be involved in thernproject.
“Moving forward, I don’t see how we canrnjustify spending the $35,000,” the township administrator told thernStandard Freeholder. “I assume not all six townships (will) agree on arnbranding.”
“It’s obviously not a huge amount ofrndollars, but …we want to make sure that we do it, and do it right, and that itrnsticks.”
South Glengarry Mayor Jim McDonell respondedrnthat Glengarry will be a part of the bigger picture. “We want to have thernclout to bring people to eastern Ontario,” he said.
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, the sixrntownships apparently agreed to resume their search for a regional tag linerndespite Glengarry’s independent action. Barb Matthews, executive manager ofrnCornwall and Seaway Valley Tourism, hailed the renewed initiative.
She said the Stormont, Dundas and GlengarryrnEconomic Development Working Group will be meeting within the next couple ofrnweeks in order to hire someone for the consultant position. This person’srnduties, Matthews said, are to look for a name that could be used for tourismrnreasons, in order to attract more people to the area, and to advise the grouprnhow to use the brand in advertising and on websites.
“They would work on finding one common namernwe could agree on and use,” she said. “Geographical names are notrnreally familiar to people outside our area. Once you have a name picked andrneveryone agrees on it, you have to do something with it, or else it’s a wasternof time and money. It has to be something that is going to mean something tornpeople.”
Matthews estimated the person filling thisrnposition will be working on the project for three to six months. “Usually,rnwe give them deadlines for projects,” she said. “This one isrnopen-ended. Certainly, we wouldn’t want it to go on forever.”
We wish our friends up north good luck withrntheir effort to find a common slogan. We offer one word of advice: make surernthe tagline means the same thing in French as well as English.