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Opening Arguments


Logo Most of the talk I've heard about Fort Wayne's new branding logo has been pretty negative. Check out the comments at this Mitch Harper post, and you'll get an idea of the general flavor. I did an editorial about it and was probably kinder than I could have been. This is the core of the problem, I think.

Most brands, though, pound away relentlessly at one simple and easily graspable theme. Drink Starbucks coffee. Ford trucks are tough. Even destination brands

Posted in: Our town


Steve Towsley
Fri, 01/12/2007 - 8:34am

I guess it depends upon whether the given enterprise is fat and happy and can afford to be passive, or whether it is stagnant with a shrinking economy and the people are kicking butts to get their leaders active.

In our case, I think citizens expect their elected leadership to do something pro-active to counter the thousands of layoffs we've been suffering (me included).

I think Room to Dream could work for a while if the ad materials are accompanied by the right graphics. A full page ad with a photo, for example, of grassy acreage stretching to the horizon with a business real estate sign planted in the scene should convey the message. Maybe a photo of a clean, huge, high ceilinged and shiny floored, well-lit warehouse interior with lots of empty shelves. Or how about a large, gorgeous, tastefully appointed suite of offices with hi-tech IT equipment on the desks and built-in jacks, connector plates and wi-fi modules visible in the foreground?

That sort of thing might illustrate "Room to Dream" and remove the ambiguity. An embedded paragraph of carefully chosen text could seal the deal in terms of soft-selling a clear and positive impression of Fort Wayne as an ideal and cost effective location for new business.

Then you have to place the ads in the right trade magazines and target market publications, of course, and get a PR agent to write and distribute news releases to more magazines who may publish stories affecting their own industries as news features with photos -- free of charge. Sometimes you can even get the cover story. You can, in fact, do a lot with PR free of charge and keep the paid ad budget down somewhat as a result.

Hopefully somebody is working on all this as we speak.

Steve Towsley
Fri, 01/12/2007 - 8:36am

Oops, sorry. It's Room for Dreams, not Room to Dream. That's what I get for scrolling the slogan off my screen.

Fri, 01/12/2007 - 10:42am

those are all good ideas. as you said, they will need to get the right pr behind it or it is wasted money.

Fri, 01/12/2007 - 1:33pm

I saw a flyer for a special package you can buy with a hotel room, dinner downtown, etc. They used the "Room for...." slogan nicely, actually.

Still, I think it's more of a slogan and less of a brand. As you say, Leo, a brand is what something IS/DOES, not really just a nice phrase.

Larry Morris
Fri, 01/12/2007 - 2:38pm

I believe you and I were talking about the company I work for and their efforts (or more precisely, the amount of money we were wasting) at branding and your full quote was (believe it or not, I kept it and use it often), "When people start talking about

Fri, 01/12/2007 - 3:59pm

If you're going to brand something, first you have to have a sufficient grasp of what that something is. The "What Happens in Vegas..." creatives obviously got it: Naughtytown USA. And they conjured a strong feeling to associate with it: No Embarrassment Here.

You can blow your savings, commit adultery or attend a Barry Manilow concert and nobody has to know. Yippee. Even if you never go to Vegas you won't forget the tagline.

The Room for Dreams folks need to dream a bit bigger. Fort Wayne isn't a sexy product, but someone with a deft hand could turn its dullness into a virtue -- tongue in cheek, of course. Done right, a good ad would generate buzz and possibly put this podunk on the map and people might just decide to start having conventions "in that town everybody talks about. You know, in that ad."

You could probably get college art students to do it for nothing and put it on YouTube and get more mileage than you ever will with that thing up there that looks like it belongs on a detergent bottle.

Leo Morris
Sun, 01/14/2007 - 7:45am

What Alex said.