St. Louis. A city with towering potential. Have its Brain Sells linked with the outside world?
Apparently not. Here is the Big Picture. Where's St. Louis?
BrandBank looks to the past, and future, in identifying better routes than being identified as "The Gateway to the West" for St. Louis. The city should be a destination for success rather than the departure point suggested by what they have let The Arch represent. This Paper reveals The Brain Sells, the city's DNA, that can be linked to recognition as one of the most attractive places to light.
Every city needs a Brand. Is that important? Apparently not. Who needs it? St. Louis is a great place to live. The majority of people born and raised there stay. Many leaving, return. The luster and enhanced reputations of other cities outside the sphere representing the world St. Louisans call home are not a factor. In fact, presence or absence of any favorable image for St. Louis itself really seems to be of little concern.
As a result, residents are satisfied with little more than the notoriety that a professional sports team, or the pleasure that their child?s soccer activity, brings between times of work for others and that required around the house. It?s an unidentified, secret way of life. Not so secret, is that it has been sick? dying for quite some time.
How does that impact loyal residents? Theirs has become a sphere with a wobbly orbit that is losing places to work hard for others, hence a growing number are hardly working, resulting in the loss of places to live that used to require and did receive the kind of work that was tender loving care.
St. Louisans have been failed. Its reservoir of value is being drained. Is St. Louis an oasis that sand will soon cover?
Is repair possible? Not with the growing number of leaks that have occurred while city fathers, agencies responsible for advancement, business magnates, and civic groups charged with bringing growth to the area dabble with and send disparate messages to the world that there is no idea what the City represents, or how it?s regarded.
There is no single expression, no CBE, as to the City?s true worth.
What is missing? A St. Louis Brand. Brands stand for values that have substantial worth. Brands fill needs. Great Brands are so strong in that regard that they own preference for them. In fact, a powerful Brand can actually own whole categories in which it is competitively available.
St. Louis is little more than geographically defined, making it a target not the marksman.
David Ogilvy, the genius behind some of the greatest Brands, once said, “in all the parks of all the cities, there are no statues of committees”. Has he described the committees that have tinkered with and blurred the City’s image?
The City’s “Spirit” (the famous plane) hasn’t gotten off the ground since Lindbergh landed in Paris. Unknown as a Crusader, Louis IX, the city's namesake, has an identity crisis as a leader of any present day forays in capturing recognition. The Convention and Visitors people describe the city as "St. Lou". The local newspaper calls the city "The Lou" a term that, when verbalized, is a toilet elsewhere. Scores of other representations, all different, are used willy-nilly by groups with civic responsibility, the city itself, many businesses, and disparate attractions. “Google” RCGA, the city's Regional Commerce and Growth Association (Chamber of Commerce), and the first site shown is the Royal Canadian Golf Association. This alone begs for serious reBranding of the organization representing the city's potential, for attempts to find a Chamber of Commerce will get searchers "teed off" in the process. The Situation:
It’s no surprise that Brandless cities lose the Brands that built them. Will the last major Brand that leaves St. Louis turn out the light?
Ask the people who have lost their jobs through the passing of General Dynamics, ITT, Southwestern Bell, Sherwood Medical, Mallinckrodt, TWA, Storz Instruments, PET, Famous-Barr, Chevrolet, then Ford, and soon to be Chrysler, among significant others? More are sure to go in the inevitable shakeout in A-B’s future assimilation into InBev. Most of those who lost, or will lose, jobs with these important employers have remained in town, and “lights out” is not the light at the end of the tunnel needed.
The future for them and the city is dark and foreboding.
Which Brands are next? What entity, city, or nation, having Brands that attract success will be calling? Rest assured, St. Louis has already issued licenses to any and all of them. St. Louis is a happy hunting ground because of its apparent lack of stature, equivalency, or superiority.
All those esteemed companies acquired from St. Louis built their Brands with planning, strategies, establishment of need filling with pronounced values, and singular marketing messages that coupled with potential receptive minds in defined marketplaces.
St. Louis has done little of that.
As you can see from the partial collection of statements, graphics, slogans, representations, and attempts to identify the City in one way or another that accompany this Paper, it has no Brand save for being fickle, foolish, uneducated as to what it takes, and confusing.
And, by the way, St. Louis has done this to itself for years with ever-changing attempts by various entities creating new, conflicting communications garbage identifying it in “creative” contexts supposedly reflecting some sort of vibrancy and advancement.
Not once has a real Brand emerged. Nothing but harm has been done in the process, and in whatever marketing done for each detached and discordant attempt at embellishing our image, all have profoundly succeeded in failing. It is time to regroup, unify, and learn how to have Brand Demand…The City Branding Effect. The Solution:
Change. Achieve CBE.
·Cease all administrative concern for self, personal posturing and think as a unit with one goal, the building of a New St. Louis…one with a single, powerful, real Brand. ·Rediscover what made St. Louis great, assets that are still here, embrace them, and expose their values in a better context than competitive alternatives. “Own” that status. ·Take a backseat to no one. Adopt an attitude. Reposition alternatives/competing cities. Be the place of choice. ·Expose the reasons that some buyers of our assets decide to not only leave them here, but invest in them further with added responsibility, recognition, and investment of people and funds aimed at realizing better bottom lines. ·Think “Pride”. Fuel a new status with it. Make it the only takeaway rather than any exits of additional things of value. ·Resist fragmentation of image. Up to now, St. Louis has a disparate personality born of a city with a flag that might as well herald New Orleans with its fleur-de-lis; a monument that has it all over the Eiffel Tower while letting it represent passage to places of supposed better opportunity…a Gateway elsewhere further fostered by local business, tourist, and growth building groups that each have their own agenda and axioms, none of which work; and no Plan for recovery, future direction, and deserved recognition. The City is not only Brandless; it is clueless. Change that. ·Compete. Go after that which has been lost in the past. Stem further loses. Be convincing. Tell the world, “You are up against a city that is better to join than fight”. ·Do what it takes to win. “Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive”, should be St. Louis’ anthem. ·Speak logically about logistics, demo/psycho/and econographics. Be the Brand to prefer. Convince the world that it can join us in St. Louis, and be better off for doing so. Make it worthwhile to base here. ·Think “Globally” first as a metro area, then nationally, and ultimately universally offshore. Get the City’s act together. ·Recognize the shortcomings that depreciate our city. Work together to systematically eliminate them, and focus on why it is as good, if not better, a Brand of city, place to live, grow, and prosper than alternatives. It is more than within the realm of possibility. It is a reality. St. Louis has simply failed to Brand itselfand make it the City’s one and only Brand. ·Learn what a Brand is, and how to go about creating the best.
The Questions Awaiting Answers to Becoming a Brand New St. Louis
What are the City’s existing core values? Does it need to identify new ones to add to its worth? Can they be distilled into a single statement and graphic that is the most powerful expression of what it represents in terms of value to residents and the world around them? Has St. Louis the “Brain Sells” to engage with the majority of the Brains-To-Be-Sold out there in the marketplace? Can St. Louis be positioned in a leadership role in the vast category of cities? Will the Brand adopted reposition alternatives to their detriment? Is there the patience to market a Brand consistently, with continuity, for the time it takes to create widespread awareness, interest, understanding, and preference? Will there be resistance; any changes in this effort except those that make it possible and ultimately effective?
The answer to all of the above is yes; provided the City acts as one using answers to these questions as a “Change Order”.
Here is The CBE Change Order
·Identify and list St. Louis’ real core values ·Distill that list into a statement best describing St. Louis ·Couple that statement with a supporting graphic ·Link St. Louis’ worth (Brain Sells) with outside minds ready to be sold. ·Become the city category leader ·Own that category outright ·Reposition competing cities ·Patience and perseverance pays off ·Make change for the better the only change
Identify and List St. Louis’ Real Core Values
Based on one of the many attempts to describe what St. Louis represents, depicting the City as “perfectly centered and remarkably connected”, readers may ponder the meaning of this slogan (not a Brand) at length, find it convoluted, seek a translator, or simply do none of the above, and move on. It doesn’t work.
“Perfectly centered” is an attribute that has been touched upon in the past. Presumably, this statement again refers to our relative location in the center of the US. If distributing goods, the axiom of benefiting from being the departure point in the shortest distance between two points, St. Louis may be of some interest to someone looking for a base of operations. However, today’s economics such as they are with costs so attractive half a world away and just-in-time manufacturing a discipline, scotch this presumed beneficial location story. “Perfectly” really needs to be greeted as a gross exaggeration.
If being “centered” is used as a double entendre to suggest being focused, think again. This “campaign”, and other fruitless attempts past and present are off-center, Brandless…off-target. As a result, citizens are a disenfranchised lot, losing former employers to acquisition, their jobs, and few new prospects for them. There is no focus.
“Remarkably connected”? To what? St. Louis has an orphaned airport. The state runs the police department and school system. The really big businesses are being acquired (“disconnected” might be a better choice of words). The highway and transportation system is years behind and losing ground. You have to be a local to travel to many treasured, yet far flung, attractions. And, the perpetrator of this slogan operates independently of other groups that present entirely different “adverstising” takes on what St. Louis represents.
Another positioning attempt is pictured in the montage early in this Paper; “St. Lou is all within reach”. That message is directed to tourists and convention people. Presumably, the intent is to depict the city as “having it all” in terms of attractions, accommodations in proximity, ease of getting here and around once here etc. Unfortunately, what’s conveyed is the real “reach”. St. Louis is “spread” thin. Access to all of what exists is impossible for outsiders.
The true core values, ones upon which Brand building should be premised are far more magnetic. St. Louis has key values that attract residents to stay, represent the real potential for growth, and provide the bases for business to achieve success. All are untold.
Let’s focus on these attractive values. St. Louisans are intelligent, unpretentious, delightful people who attract and keep friends, are graciously receptive to outsiders, are honest, work at being true to their word, and fulfill their obligations religiously and dependably.
St. Louis is a one-of-a-kind environment with a lifestyle in which much is “free” to enjoy. The quality of life is high. Pride strangely abounds individually, yet hasn’t surfaced as a representation of the city. The people and quality of life is a draw that needs exposure.
The City’s worth should be described as a magnetic personality with “attractive” opportunities for success and a better lifestyle.
The Arch, is unequalled anywhere, yet really needs to be “owned” as a sign of our uniqueness and draw. Were St. Louis a product, The Arch would represent the ultimate trademark. However, it appears in many convoluted contexts, most without any real meaning, while being orphaned in a physical setting that “isn’t even in reach” to locals, much less visitors, afoot from the West side of town.
It should be the Gateway to a great city, not represented as the departure point to elsewhere. It is St. Louis’ main attraction. There is limitless potential, it is aplace with the ease to discover, learn, innovate, invent, be involved, excel, and succeed.
The City can have a powerful Brand, a visual voice, of unique people, places, processes, purpose, and potentialthat deserveworldwide recognition for the values and worth all represent. The statement that best describes the city:
“It has what it takes to attract success as…The Magnet”!
Couple that statement with a supporting graphic.
St. Louisans need this City Brand Effect to be a leader within the category of cities that are attracters, and have drawing power. It represents a powerful Brand, a visual voice, of the unique people, places, processes, purpose, and potential that deserve worldwide recognition for the values and worth all represent. This St. Louis Brand elevates anything bearing it by creating finite, favorable identification and differentiation from any other city.It adapts to and elevates products made here, originating here, managed from here, and sold from here. Existing Brands are supported by its attachment to them as a “Brand Boost for Brands Bearing it”. It represents a focus and even stronger point of origin than “Made in the USA”, and reason to create and realize success as a result of being in St. Louis.
The same enhancement potential is applicable to services, attractions, events, activities, groups, initiatives, and anything the City wishes and needs to own. For the first time, St. Louis can have one Brand that through consistent application provides a singular, easy-to-adopt, replacement of yesterday’s absent continuity that diluted and clouded our true worth.
Anything existing in, emanating out of, or managed from St. Louis warrants this Brand identification. It is a statement of unique qualities that become differentiated and elevated above that of lesser, or even equal, worth elsewhere.
Achieving preference with the adoption of this Brand is not only possible, it creates the opportunity for a positioning owning a category of cities that offer remarkable advantages, while repositioning alternatives because none can match the strength of the unique recognition of our Arch used as a Brand, trademark, identity, and status.
This Brand makes St. Louis the choice because it speaks of:
“Monumental Potential for Success”
Linking St. Louis’ worth (its Brain Sells) with those in minds ready to be sold out and around the world.
What are Brain Sells? They are the collective core values of what a Brand represents. Their accumulated worth, in terms of a capacity to fulfill needs, competes with many other Brands and the attributes each offers in impacting the minds of marketplaces.
Brain Sells reside in the minds of everyone. They are on hold to be sold. A colleague, Wally Armbruster, the creator of “Belief Dynamics”, looked at achieving marketing effectiveness as having to penetrate and win over a gatekeeper area of consumer mindsets. He described an area imbedded in brains as “The Bull-Shit Cluster”. He realized that penetrating it and achieving an open-to-buy reaction required a universal key. Wally looked for the words that best described the benefits of Brands he represented as an ad man. He knew how to open closed minds. Brands receiving his “touch” succeeded by bonding product attributes with recognition of and receptivity to them by turning off people’s “BSC’s”, and fostering preference for what he was selling. “Budweiser. The King of Beers”, and “The Bud’s for You” are examples of his acumen.
BrandBank takes Wally’s thinking a bit farther, distilling it by looking at the attributes of what is to be sold and what of those values best link with residual receptivity in as many minds of prospective adopters as possible. The list of values inherent, or to be created, in a Brand are Brain Sells to be sold. When the same Brain Sells existing in the minds of potential users are identified, spoken to, linkage achieved, and bought...BrandLocks occur.
Brands bond when Brain Sells connect. Brain Sells are keys. The best Brands lock the door behind themselves, owning preference.
The City Branding Effect creates those as BrandLocks.
St. Louis can have that kind of status and linkage with a singular Brand that “Sells” the City’s values and worth in terms of consistency, continuity, and conformity as a single, most conducive message and appeal to the World.
Becoming the city category leader
Let’s look at St.Louis’ competition. One, Chicago, was smaller than St. Louis back in 1904 when a show that hasn’t been equaled since, The Louisiana Purchase Exposition opened. Consider what it would take to recreate that World’s Fair today. St. Louis folded its tent afterward. Chicago has gone on to leave the rest of the Midwest in the dust. Physically, and fiscally, Chicago is so big that St. Louis is unlikely to ever match what they have become. Their “Brand”? “The windy city”. Now, there is a description that is vulnerable, and can be competitively gained upon in the future.
New York. “The Big Apple”. That they are, with a “Brand” that has become engrained in minds everywhere. However, “Big” has many drawbacks by comparison to truly more beneficial Brain Sells owned by St. Louis that can be linked to the City’s advantage.
“The Big Easy”…New Orleans. Immediate identification. Like Chicago and New York, long and consistent use has made that handle uniquely theirs. But, is it any more of a true value than the nicknames (not Brands) of cities with which St. Louis needs to compete? Their future is uneasy, with storms not weathered.
“What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Vegas” has a Brain Sell or two that have proved to connect to thinking that leans to “X Rated” interests and has been successful in terms of tourism and boomtown growth. Beyond an appeal to being naughty and getting away with it, what have you got? Why gamble on Brands like this?
Scan the horizons for what other cities have adopted as “Brands” (really slogans) and the doorway to the World’s more important Brain Sells is wide open.
“Cities of the Sun” are hotter than hell. “Places where you’ve left your heart” are also where you walked away without your wallet.“La-la Lands” are frankly phony. “City’s of light”? It’s charming, but very light on congeniality. The list is long, but short on real down-to-earth assets that distinguish St. Louis.
Once St. Louis eliminates its own slogans, past and present, and adopts a relevant Brand, the City can create a category that is uniquely its own and be both the leader in what it represents, and reposition all the others to their detriment. No other city, anywhere, has the only monument of its kind. The shame is, we haven’t bothered to own it. The Arch has no competition. St. Louis doesn’t own it to attract real recognition.
Think of the Arch as not “The Gateway to the West”.Make it a destination. The Arch is an unparalleled draw. “You have been attracted to St. Louis”, depicts the City as need fulfilling with a worth and Brand all its own.
So, how does we this Brand become recognized as representing a special place with all the Brain Sells needed to warrant a leadership position in the category of cities? How does the City own that category outright, reposition competing cities, and have the patience and perseverance to maximize Brand Demand for St. Louis?
Make this change for the better the only change, and implement it in every conceivable context with the same guarded, protective frame of mind and control as would any owner of a trademark, a Brand, having limitless potential and value.
Implement it as The City Branding Effect.
Okay, now, what does St. Louis do with a Brand once it has one? First of all, all use it without adulteration. It works, stands alone. It amplifies anything made in St. Louis, represented, existing, and offered. It is the summation of the seldom matched composition of its people, places, processes, and purpose that results in a magnet of monumental potential to attracting and achieving success.
Think of it as the linchpin of a system; one that any corporation would guard with an Identity Manual, making it inviolate… “If you do not use it accordingly, properly, your use is prohibited”. Where to begin? Let’s think about what should be most emblematic. The City Flag. Regardless of whether there is immediate acceptance of the proposed St. Louis Brand, we must dispatch the fleur d’lis depicted. That is “owned” by New Orleans’ Saints football team, and that city. The graphic portrayal of the confluence of the rivers is strong and appropriate. Add the new Brand graphic, and there is no mistaking the flag’s representation and attraction. The next step is probably even tougher to implement. It requires a repositioning of the Body that represents the Chamber of Commerce (and growth). For some time, it has referred itself and St. Louis as “regional”. How about thinking of such efforts as “global”? Isn’t the City behind the times if it doesn’t join The Global Community, and think of it as a reference point of potential?
Here’s some Brand continuity thinking for consideration. If St. Louis is to pursue growth, the effort should not reflect nor project “small”. Reference to “regional” does. Oh, sure, looking inside, with a myopic view to just the geographic area represented, RCGA applies. Wouldn’t it be better to put St. Louis on the Mercator Map by thinking that big in terms of the business, eco-nomics, and growth that resides and is approachable worldwide?
The RCGA’s present logotype does approximate The Arch, and in the perspective depicted presents a sweeping appearance. However, that design may not be as apparent a connection to the city or the monument that many outsiders will grasp when seeing the graphic.
The new St. Louis Brand is one conveying attraction. It combines The Arch, the symbol of the city, and a magnet all in one compelling, recognizable graphic statement of the power of the values St. Louis offers as draws to realize growth and success. Wouldn’t the St. Louis Arch as a magnet Brand depict a far more powerful message of the group’s intentions and representation?
St. Louis becomes an environment, a “chamber, or space” that contains values that uniquely foster success. Those properties are facilitated by the involvement a Chamber, an official representative organization, that offers the matching of the City’s worth to a World of opportunists looking for it.
That brings us to how to better unify and identify the Group responsible for enticing tourists, visitors, and conventions to St. Louis. It is way past the time that groups with this kind of responsibility cease the creation of alternative names for the city. The City is St. Louis. That is unique enough! Every variation dilutes the City.
The Convention and Visitors people have adopted a graphic representation/logotype that, though creative in context, is guilty of presenting The Arch in yet another convoluted counterfeit shape that is bent to facilitate a difficult to assimilate design. It is but another attempt at a fresh depiction of the City, in a long line of restarts employed over the years. Recently, their call for increased patronage of St. Louis was the use of “Hello” (as in the name badges worn by attendees at meetings and events). Presumably, that effort was one to extend the area’s reputation for friendliness. “Hello”, does that, or the present effort, really have any Brand expression or value? Absolutely not.
Couple “St. Lou” with the City’s newspaper’s attempts to make the area appear more “hip” by referencing St. Louis as “The Lou”, and one can readily see how far all are from establishing a Brand identity of any true value.
These efforts are downright silly; one becoming alternatively humorous, sickening, and worst of all, a further depreciation. The use of “Lou” (to be confused with “Loo”, known worldwide as a toilet) to describe St. Louis seems to be alright with the publishers of the local newspaper in spite of significant complaint by residents. It has been claimed by the paper to be clearly differentiated in print. However, when spoken, by individuals, in the verbal media, and any context bereft of spelling, the word conjures up a very poor image. Add verbalization of “St. Lou” and both uses send the City down the toilet. Until recently, when Belgian interests acquired the City’s largest remaining corporation, “The Lou” seemed marginally problematic. Now, there is no question that upon hearing that they have bought into a loo, they are unlikely to want to move their entire headquarters to St. Louis. Does St. Louis deserve to be Branded as a toilet? Such references must cease before revitalization is possible. What can the Visitors Group do to be St. Louis’ Brand of attraction? Join in contiguous use of it, and offer more than ever before.
This and the foregoing examples are just that…samples of how a new St. Louis Brand can be employed with continuity, and collective impact, building rather that diluting recognition for the City’s value and fulfillment of needs everywhere. These suggestions are apt to fall upon some deaf ears, and fail to be implemented for personal reasons of perceived disenfranchisement of the parties involved. That reality is already one of the causes of the City’s lack of status, recognition, and future promise.
Hence, Brand implementation may have to be undertaken at even more grassroots levels in order to create the back pressure that will ultimately result in universal adoption of The Brand. Further depreciation will result from such hesitancy to join in advancing the fortunes of St. Louis through a one and only one Brand foundation.
Let’s look at some optional routes to implementation of a Brand St. Louis Program: Wouldn’t be interesting if companies located in St. Louis added the St. Louis Brand to product labels, packaging, literature, advertising, websites, and even stationery? The collective beneficial impact would be significant. The recognition potential for The Brand would be enhanced many fold. Moreso, the products embellished would enjoy the graphic statement that it is enhanced, successful, and an attractive purchase. Actually used as a seal, The St. Louis Brand can contribute to the success of products and services. And, the change from a mandatory “Made in the USA” becomes “owned” by the maker and the City when refocused on the “City that Attracts Success”. St. Louis Brand footnotes... The Monsanto Round-Up, and Purina examples were expressly chosen because the acquiring companies, Pfizer/Pharmacia and Nestle respectively, have chosen to keep both of the acquired companies in St. Louis. Both operations have actually grown in terms of revenue, additional Brands, and employees. These companies remain as headquarters operations for what they offer though owned by outsiders.
Would InBev, as solely a beer business, find St. Louis to be much more than simply North American headquarters for A-B Brands if The New St. Louis Brand proved to be a bigger statement of worth than the fragmented residencies represented by Belgium, Brazil, St. Louis, and other places dotted about the globe? St. Louis has all the credentials to be considered, “The Beer Capital”. The St. Louis USA designation helps communicate that. The owners involved in the other recent consolidation of competing beer Brands, representing number two in the industry, help make that status for St. Louis possible in that they are abandoning “the city that beer made famous” (Milwaukee) for headquarters elsewhere (Chicago). This is a huge opportunity for St. Louis and InBev to capitalize upon.
St. Louis USA is a powerful differentiation. Other things originating in this country, and internationally, haven’t that kind of specificity. Suddenly, St. Louis moves up into global recognition above and beyond “country of origin” status. The St. Louis “touch” takes on qualities “worth” consideration by “Brain Sells” everywhere.
So, moving forward with this concept of City Branding, think of implementing The St. Louis Brand in concert with the marketing of anything and everything St. Louis. Fortunately, the city’s Brain Sells of unique people, places, processes, purpose, and potential are alive (though perceived as dead by many), and open to adoption of an identification that has the potential to eclipse that of cities everywhere, most of which don’t have equivalent credentials. Critics of this proposal to Brand St. Louis with The Arch as a magnet will claim it to be a bastardization of a National Monument.
Wake up St. Louis, that deed has already been done in oh so many ways that work to the city’s detriment. It is already established as a monument not to the city, but a place chosen to kick off a pursuit ofa life of promise elsewhere. The true value of The Arch has yet to be realized, expressed, and owned by St. Louis.
Scores of adulterations of The Arch abound in graphic adaptations and depictions of it that range from distortions that render it barely recognizable to graphics that have swings attached to it. None contribute a “meaning” or interpretation having any value. Yes, some qualify as trademarks. None are Brands that foster recog-nition of the city in an appreciative context that has a chance of contributing to enhanced status.
The Brand proposed in this Paper has the potential of adaptation to everything St. Louis really represents for the first time. This opportunity is possible because a Brand finally exists. It can be employed everywhere, in any context, in one resolute presentation, consistently, and with continuity that amplifies the collective qualities that represent the content of St. Louis.
Here’s a sidebar relevant to implementation of this Branding recommendation:
The wife of the author of this Paper is a contract embroiderer. She implements the application of the Brands and trademarks of many major businesses and corporations on career and promotional apparel. At this very moment, she is stitching jackets that will be graced on the left chest with the logotype of a leading dishwashing Brand that is manufactured in St. Louis. But, that’s not all. Centered at the top of the back of each garment is another embroidered element that is a statement that this corporation “gets it” in terms of what St. Louis really represents. It depicts the St. Louis Arch, realistically, not bastardized, with the P&G logotype centered inside it.
This manufacturer and marketer, one of the world’s largest, is already sensitive to capitalizing on one of its most significant assets, employees. St. Louis’ Brand of people. The mark embroidered on staff jacket backs exemplifies an understanding of the value of ERM, Employee Relationship Marketing, in fostering added product worth, coupling the company’s parent Brand with that of its origin to powerful effect in terms of amplifying the city’s employees involvement, and performance in producing it. Talk about elevating Brands; both manufacturer and City benefit enormously.
Will P&G take this to the next level and be a charter adopter of The St. Louis Brand? I think the company already recognizes the benefits. Perhaps, the commitment already in place can best be expanded in steps. This simple adaptation of their present embroidery is a small, but very significant improvement that amplifies what the St. Louis Brand of people (remember the city’s core values: people, places, processes, purpose, and potential) contribute to the success of products they produce. Imagine the worth of the sub-sequent step that utilizes the Brand on product packaging side panels or backs to further fortify its value. The parent Brand ( P&G), product Brand (Cascade), and St. Louis Brand represent a total expression of values and leadership positioning that supports category ownership while repositioning competition that cannot match the Brand representations.
A brand new perspective on St. Louis doesn’t stop at businesses, products, and the collective amplification of all the Brands identified with St. Louis USA, and St. Louis’ ties to the power of other Brands employing St. Louis’ new Brand. The City Branding Effect is just beginning to gain momentum. There are numerous attractions that warrant a collective boost in recognition through implementation of the new Brand St. Louis. Various civic groups, websites, and individual attractions promoting themselves independently present a fragmented picture at best. There is no cumulative CBE, past or present. Here is what is said on the site of one of the best, The St. Louis Zoo, which has been named #1 zoo by Zagat Survey's U.S. Family Travel Guide in association with Parenting magazine.
“The St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 18,300 exotic animals, many of them rare and endangered. These 700 species represent the major continents and biomes of the world. Set in the rolling hills, lakes and glades of Forest Park, the Saint Louis Zoo is always a great place to be”.
Perhaps the best of the City’s attractions other than The Arch, The Zoo, is where to implement The New St. Louis Brand and add further lift to the CBE it represents. Here is what needs to be added to any reference to The Zoo:
A ST. LOUIS USA ATTRACTION
Event or meeting planners, convention site selection committees, tour operators, or just vacation-minded families are faced with wading through reams of literature and various internet inputs. Each and every decision-making element presents its own “take” on what St. Louis represents. The isn’t a consistent message. There is absolutely no continuity. None establish St. Louis, itself, as The Attraction loaded with one-of-a-kind attractions. None have a City Branding Effect. All overlook the opportunity to Brand the City based on the effects of its collective Brain Sells. The CBE should be:
St. Louis…The Monumental Attraction.
And, the “A St. Louis Attraction” logotype says that if used as a footnote to every attraction’s message.
At the present time, each attraction, and agency touting it, makes a worthy attempt to describe the worth of itself and The City.
Bless their hearts, the folks at the Zoo have lost it after the very first sentence. From that point on, the description is one of a century of decline, and passing from prominence.
Other commentaries continue to tout attractions in proximity to The Zoo thusly: Forest Park Is 'Crown Jewel' of St. Louis:In 1876, Forest Park was created from 1,371 acres of land west of downtown St. Louis. By the 1890s, the public park was widely used for recreation with bicycle paths, baseball diamonds and lawn tennis courts. An expanded lake provided parkgoers with an opportunity for boating in the summer and skating in the winter. In 1986, Forest Park Forever, a private, not-for-profit organization, was founded to work in partnership with the Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry to make Forest Park the finest urban park in the country.
Missouri Historical Society: Here you will find all the information you need to become acquainted, or reacquainted, with the Missouri Historical Society, its facilities, programs, exhibitions, and community involvement.
St. Louis Science Center: Explore more than 700 free, hands-on exhibits on environment, aviation, technology and more. Nominal fee for the James S. McDonnell Planetarium's Space Station experience, OMNIMAX® Theater and special traveling exhibitions.
Saint Louis Art Museum: The Fine Arts Palace of the 1904 World's Fair is among the leading art museums in the country. Collections range from ancient to contemporary. Special exhibitions are held throughout the year.
The Muny: Find fabulous Broadway-style entertainment under the stars at America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. From mid-June through mid-Aug. Nightly, in beautiful Forest Park.
Does each and every description have a magnetic personality? Is a rewrite essential? It better be initiated before any “St. Louis USA Attraction” graphic is attached. Once the copy makes the attraction of each read as worthwhile, The New St. Louis Brand helps say so. Further assessment of what is written about other of The City’s unique attractions also mandates a review of how each is presented.
Missouri Botanical Garden: Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the country and a National Historic Landmark. The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. It is a one-of-a-kind in the world.
St. Louis' Magic House Ranked Nation's Best Children's Attraction:
Zagat’s U.S. Family Travel Guide says it’s the nation’s best children’s attraction? Even Disney’s Magic Kingdom took a backseat to The Magic House in Zagat’s 2005 ranking of national attractions designed for children. Founded in 1979, The Magic House is an interactive children’s museum dedicated to providing a hands-on learning experience that is fun and encourages creativity. The museum loves to help children better understand science, history and the world around them through exhibits that allow them to be a part of the action.
Located in a renovated 5,500 square-foot Victorian mansion, the museum has four floors filled with more than 100 exhibits designed to engage and entertain kids. The Magic House welcomes 400,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most popular children’s museums in the country. Delmar Loop Named One of America’s Best Streets: The Delmar Loop has been named one of the “10 Great Streets in America” by The American Planning Association. The APA says the Loop is a great example of what can happen when government, community and business leaders work together to revitalize an urban neighborhood. It is difficult as a Brand Builder to understand the Group’s failure to capitalize on its Top Ten ranking, and continued use of a graphic that makes no reference to its status. Here is a thought as to what can be done to express that ranking in a context that extols it as it well coming on board the New St. Louis Brand flagship for even greater impact and contribution to the continuity of application across the board of all St. Louis attractions. Here, for example, is a concept to accomplish the foregoing: The St. Louis Brand is a BrandLock that cannot be matched elsewhere. Every adoption and utilization of it reinforces the City as magnetic, with energy that represents added worth and attraction to anything drawn to and attaching to its values. St. Louis’ outreach is amplified, becoming the category leader to consider.
The Cost of Ignoring the City Branding Effect
“What you see is what you get”, is an ageless axiom. The world hasn’t seen much of cities like St. Louis. That puts St. Louis and cities like it at a disadvantage. There hasn’t been and isn’t any CBE. No City Branding Effect whatsoever. In fact, if St. Louis really had a Brand, it would be the victim of BBE, The Brand Blanding Effect (more about that deficiency in another Paper).
Others that have become major cities during the last century enjoy a focus and awareness that the media helps create.
Primetime “TV News” originates from the likes of New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The same is true of newspaper coverage. Television programming and entertainment content is generated there. Main streets of America are not movie locations. The Internet, though open to input from everywhere, is a product of innovation and virtual control that is masterminded by operations that are practically cities in themselves.
These and other matters of size, proximity to movers and shakers, innovators in residence, and where big money holds court, and is to be made, robs notoriety from many smaller cities. What each represents is virtually nil in terms of exposure given to them elsewhere. The attractiveness promoted by and of big cities is fostered to the exclusion of smaller venues and what they represent.
There is a line drawn in the sand that most cities that have let themselves become invisible have to muscle up and cross to enjoy CBE. One of the weaknesses to be addressed is disarray, and lack of organization, amplified by an appearance, attitude and assumption of no interest in unity and a will to win. Early in this Paper are ample examples of all of the above. These and scores of other visuals corrupt the way any city is presented and regarded. Call it an identity crisis, but down deep think of it as the work of BrandFlakes; people who seek “creative” expression and recognition while orphaning a potential parent Brand (their city) with off-target brainchildren. None of the foregoing graphics are Brands. Though identifiers, none communicate value, worth, benefit, or need fulfillment. There are no core values expressed. All fail to own Brain Sells to connect to minds (Brain Sells of potential “believers”) waiting to be sold. None contribute the strength and motivation to cross that line in the sand and take on the giants…and win.
The City Branding Effect can be that route and edge in the minds and hands of believers.
CBE in the Hands of Others
Whether contemplating the deficiencies enumerated in the Case History at hand, St. Louis, or any city bereft of real Brand Demand, others, Mass Media, are most often given the opportunity to independently “Brand” (categorize) the Brandless subjects. Doing so in mass circulation can make or break a city in contexts and content that, as stated at the beginning of this Paper, propel a city forward beneficially, or backward much to its detriment because a city lets it happen.
Included in this appendix is a ranking of cities based on the attract-iveness of each as travel destinations. The information is lifted from a magazine that basically focuses on pursuit of leisure travel and vacations, but also represents a “bible” for those responsible for convention, event, and tour interests. The executive level of readership also has a profound impact on how cities are valued. Even a casual reader of such material absorbs the CBE, or lack thereof, that such rankings impart of any city’s Brain Sell Linkage in listings of this nature.
Looking at this Top Twenty-Five City List from our Case History’s perspective, St. Louis is not included, nor are other destinations worthy of comparison, and perhaps better choices.
The twenty-five cities included are judged on criteria that are critical components of what are required to create a successful City Branding Effect. Some . listed have better Brain Sells to be included, and at this time do link to mindsets worldwide. Others are, at best, on a par with St. Louis and a number of other cities, if not actually less appropriate representations A review of this list’s criteria, comparatively judged against that of any city’s categorical worth, results in a display of preferential opinion born of little or no influence (CBE) imparted by cities not on the list. That failing, Brand absence, is the primary reason for cities to wane as a result of having little, or no “Effect”.
Recently, New York City has had its population ranked as the Nation’s most neurotic. That reality alone is reason for cities like St. Louis to finally Brand its people, places, processes, purpose, andpotential to competitive advantage, recognition, and Brain Sell linkage that elevates the City to ranking with or above any of the Twenty-Five and plenty of others not reviewed.
Here are a few of hundreds of representations of St. Louis presently in use. This not only poorly impacts the city's CBE, it contributes just the opposite...A City Blanding Effect.
To review, here are applications of BrandBank's recommended City Branding Effect for St. Louis, ending the existing dilution, lack of continuity, confusion, and proliferation of images that have no focus, inhibit recognition, and fail to create the BrandLinkage of Brain Sells.