Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not So Positive About Positively Cleveland's New Branding Idea For Cleveland



RANDOM THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ABOUT THE NEW BRANDING CONCEPT


While I appreciate PC's spirit and enthusiasm in promoting Cleveland through all the flashy videos, it seems to me that the impression of the new branding caters to a narrow demographic; the "easy and in-your-face- sell" demographic, contrary to the idea that such is not an easy target market. 

Cleveland would not need all the fancy marketing videos and material its elected leaders, civic promoters, residents and the rest would just focus on cleaning up the basics and being the best it can be with what it already has.

Example, and while I know this is not the focus of PC, the city hierarchy and residents are its strongest asset and need to focus on improving quality of life issues like crime, excessive noise issues in neighborhoods, street sweeping,  litter all over the city (which is HORRIBLE), maintaining existing parks as best as possible with what resources we have.  The focus should be more on making the city more than a visitor and tourist destination, and rather, a place people would want to live and raise a family.

Guess what happens when you get back to focusing on basics including, but not limited to what I listed above?

YOUR CITY SELLS ITSELF and improves its image via word of mouth.
Videos like the new branding concept Positively Cleveland has unveiled—one which suggests we are “real” and down to earth--and not flashy with egos are contradictory as they still examples of tooting your own horn! The new video and branding concept can be construed as little snobbish in its own right.

At the same time it suggests that we are down to earth, it also exudes an arrogance that is resistant to positive change, and content with complacency. It is the typical and archaic love it or leaves it mentality, not love it or CHANGE it, as maybe it should be. In a way, the new branding concept glamorizes underachievement--And such thinking is why we make stupid people famous on stupid reality shows! 

While I have always felt that making your city look better in pictures or fancy videos than the real thing was not a good idea, I also am not too sure about catering mostly to this demographic by showcasing what is in my opinion glamorized images of a complacent sloppy populace that has lowered standards so low that abnormal and slack is now the new norm and acceptable.

Can't these promotional videos strike a balance which appeals to everyone and in various demographics and walks of life? Afterall, Cleveland is often touting how “diverse” it is in culture and populace.  As I tipped at in the opening statement of this commentary, marketers are always after the easy sell these days and have largely ignored a demographic 35 to 55 which actually spends the most in our economy.

Take notice how Positively Cleveland videos appeal mostly to visitors, young wannabes, students, and business folks. But, what about those who actually live here, could live here, and who want to improve the physical aspect of the city and its daily quality of life? There is little to nothing reaching out to those folks. City leaders and promoters ignore this important component of our existing and prospective population. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of bringing in fresh blood and ideas, but not at the dismissal of existing creative minds that are already here and go largely unrecognized if they are over 35.  

Traditionally, Positively Cleveland has produced some great videos that actually promote and instill an image of more of what Cleveland can and should be which helps to promote more civic pride and a raising of the standards--BUT this should not be so good that when people see the real thing, they are underwhelmed and disappointed.

So, YES, it is important to promote an “as-is” theme as is the new branding idea—BUT, not such that simply accepts everything here as is showcasing beer drinking, sports, and mediocrity. There is a demographic and social scene on which they can focus that is neither overdoing it nor underplaying it, IF, they want to demonstrate a real Cleveland the promotions often fail to recognize as what I described above.  

Still, If we all take part in promoting a cleaner and safer city with a better daily quality of life, the city will eventually sell itself to everyone as such are the basics of determining where we want to live and perhaps even visit.

As it stands now, no matter which extreme direction PC takes, be it the former or latter form of promotion, so much either presents a better image than reality, or now, perhaps an image of nothing that promotes a higher standard than complacency. Thus, we may further the economic and social type-cast that has made us look and feel second rate for decades now. Raise the bar, don't follow a sloppy standard that has not seen any better in years.

No comments: