Archive for November 27th, 2008

Ah, ye of little faith. As we are prone as humans to do, some of us are dissatisfied with the efforts of others. Tag lines have been bounced about and not everyone is pleased. To that I say, fear not.

Rest assured that there is a positioning statement, marketing strategy and that we have identified target audiences (unfortunately, all of this is at the office. I left everything there in an effort to actually stop working over the holiday. I cannot tell if I will indeed triumph over my desire to toil.)

The problem with branding an aging, post-industrial city on a river is that almost any slogan you come up with can be applied to any other community along a river, any river, in the northeast. That said, what this community has overwhelmingly identified as its greatest strength is the close, caring nature of its people. Again and again, when asked in a survey what someone would tell another to entice them to move here, this same point would float up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. It was what we could not, and should not, ignore.

Four slogans emerged as final contenders after weeks of gathering information and more time distilling. There have been many volleys back and forth between the marketing firm and the hypercritical jury in City Hall. The final four tags were sent out in a mass emailing to over a hundred random folks for feedback. “Small City. Big Heart.” was chosen almost three-to-one over any other offering, frequently with expressions of delight.

It is my expectation that the logo design and advertising concepts will round out our marketing initiative in ways that a single slogan cannot. Our gorgeous location, cultural heritage, fascinating history and future opportunities may be addressed creatively in a multi-faceted campaign.

Abraham Lincoln once said “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.” More importantly, he went on to say “I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” The resurgence of the City of Amsterdam is dependent on its people, not only a snappy ad campaign. It will be the combined actions of everyone of us to turn this ship around; every act of civil obedience, every small utterance, every simple prayer, every shared kindness. At this time of thanksgiving, let’s turn our sights to what we have that so many others do not – homes, friends, families and, really, that we are all so committed to coming up with a little tag line that will shine, hope.

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