Berlin is the capital city of Germany, with a population of 3.400.000 citizens over an area of 891 square kilometers. It is Germany’s most important city and has a surface 9 times larger than Paris’. The city has 12 territories.

Berlin it is notorious for its great standards, its various cafes and restaurants, its refined places of culture like palaces and museums and its rich history.

There are lots of places that you could visit in Berlin. Here is a list of things that you should absolutely see during your Berlin holiday:

Brandenburg Gate is the sign of Berlin. It was set up between 1788-1791. It split Berlin in two (Western Berlin and Eastern Berlin). On December 22th, 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate was once again opened.

The German parliament (Reichstag), constructed between 1884-1894 was destroyed by bombings at the end of The Second World War. It has been reconstructed in a creative way (today, the structure has a huge glass roof). Norman Foster is the artisan in charge with this task.

Friedrichstadtpalast Palace is the place where you can observe exceptional shows. Some of the 153 city museums that would present curiosity are: Museum of History, Egyptian Museum, Alte und Neue National Gallery (where you can admire the pieces of great painters such as Picasso or Dali), the Pergamon Museum (with temptations like Zeus’ Altar of Pergamon or the Roman Gate from Milet).

Television Tower (1965-1969) is the highest construction in Berlin, reaching 368 m. At the height of 250 m you can have lunch and admire the whole city panorama in a restaurant that circles around its axis in approximately 30 minutes.

Ged├Ąchniskirche Church (1891-1895) is an Neo-Roman style Evangelical church that was almost totally torn down at the end of the Second World War. The avant-garde part was erected between 1959-1961 by the architect Egon Eiermann.

Adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate was built a monument in the memory of the Jews killed in the war. The monument consists of 2711 large concrete blocks stretched on an area of 19000 square meters.

Nikolaiviertel is a small district situated in the city’s historic center. Its narrow streets are very famous and have a lot of restaurants, shops, bars and cafes. In the center of Nikolaiviertel lies the oldest Berlin church, Nikolaikirche

Charlottenburg Palace (1695-1699) is the most delightful palace in Berlin. It was built as a summer residence by Friedrich III for his wife, Sophie Charlotte.

The Berlin Zoo is the most important and biggest zoo in the world. It has over 1400 unique species and a total of 19000 animals. There you can see one of the most beautiful] and largest aquariums in the world.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof is one of the avant-garde and latest projects accomplished in Berlin. It is the biggest railway station in Europe and it was inaugurated on the occasion of World Football Championship in Germany 2006.

The Berlin Wall was a hallmark of the Cold War, dividing the Western Berlin from the German Democratic Republic. In November 1989 the wall fell, putting an end to the communist authority and allowing Germany to take a valuable step toward its reunification.

It has often been noted that cities with tremendous amounts of population all pushed together seem to be the most creative and this is where the most number of new innovations and inventions come from, also some of the best art, or so it is said. I’m not sure I buy into that concept completely, although I can say that the more people there are in a given space the percentages are higher that there will be more creative people amongst them. Another theory goes something like this; as you bring people together from so many different perspectives, all congregating in coffee shops and talking to each other you are bound to get more cross-pollination. Sure, that makes sense, but what if it’s something much simpler?

What if we could actually explain the phenomenon a totally different way? What if merely having tall buildings all around you makes you feel so insignificant that you need self-validation, and therefore whatever personality you process, or whatever traits you have, you accentuate those to make yourself feel significant and to help you stand out in the crowd? If such a theory were true, then as we bring more and more people on the Internet with more people on social networks we should see more creativity amongst each individual, but do we?

Sometimes the answer is yes, but often I see the increased interaction causing folks to realign themselves with the whole, even giving up some of their self so they can belong. They want self-validation so they try to be similar to everyone else, but just enough individual personality to make them stand out a little bit, but not enough to get whacked down for being different. Do you see what I’m saying here?

Interestingly enough, there was a very compelling article by Richard Florida in the Wall Street Journal on July 28, 2012 the article was titled; “For Creative Cities, the Sky Has Its Limits – It’s Not Enough to Build Tall If People Aren’t Thrown Together to Interact – Just Look at Shanghai Versus New York,” which also stated; “in absence of the pedestrian scale,” wrote the urbanist Jane Jacobs, “density can be trouble.” Right, and we know that when you pack a whole bunch of people together that they exhibit bizarre and weird personalities, the same is true for mice and rats in the laboratory.

Building big cities may create different personalities and accentuate or bring out the differences in individuals in profound ways, but that wouldn’t necessarily be because of cross-pollination, it could be because everyone feels insignificant, or alone even though there are people everywhere. It’s an interesting psychological phenomena and it is something that I’m going to bring up at our think tank because the implications are far and wide for the future of innovation in the United States.

If you have any comments or questions please contact me by e-mail, meanwhile hope you will please consider all this and think on.

Chiang Mai is mapping out a future as a smarter city by using advanced technologies to help transform its tourism and agriculture industries and create other new drivers of creative economic growth.

Linking patient databases and healthcare asset information could help create a hub.

The use of technology to build a strong medical tourism sector and improve food production is part of the Smart City programme supported by IBM.

IBM defines a Smart City in terms of the improvements in quality of life and economic well-being that can be achieved by applying information technologies to planning, designing, building, and operating urban infrastructure.

The company is awarding $50 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide over the next three years. Chiang Mai is receiving $400,000 or 12 million baht to bring in global experts to advise on new approaches, said Parnsiree Amatayakul, the general manager of IBM Thailand.

Chiang Mai was chosen based on its 700-year-old culture, abundant natural resources and strategic location in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

However, Chiang Mai’s gross provincial product (GPP) is only 1.59% of total gross domestic product, and its growth rate has been low because its economy is not very diversified. It relies heavily on tourism and agro-industry in food processing and agriculture.

The government, local universities and the private sector have been trying to improve local economic potential through the Chiang Mai Creative City campaign.

IT training and creativity will be fostered through a proposed Software park programme.

Nat Voravos, chairman of the local creative city development committee, said improving IT capability was one of the aspects of promoting a creative economy, with the goal of making Chiang Mai an attractive city for foreign investment, living, travelling, studying and working,

Mr Nat said technology and innovation could add value to products and services, create more job opportunities and increase productivity.

The committee is working with IBM to help develop a roadmap for a Smarter City. It envisions using smart IT architecture to expand the traditional tourism industry with a strong focus on medical tourism. A “Smarter Food” project, meanwhile, will focus on increasing yields and managing production plans for farmers.

In the healthcare field, public and private service providers can use real-time location tracking of patients and hospital assets to increase efficiency and build an internationally recognised service identity, said David Hathaway, a project adviser with IBM Corp.

Electronic medical record (EMR) technology should also be adopted to standardise information exchanges to link all medical service providers including traditional medicine and spas.

Niwate Nuntajit, dean of medicine at Chiangmai University, said the city already had some expertise in serving longstay visitors, especially Japanese. Quality services at low prices are also a major selling point in mainstream healthcare, dental and ophthalmological care and Thai traditional medicine.

The university had been awarded 500 million baht to build a centre of medical excellence including robotic surgery and geriatric medicine to accommodate the ageing society of the future.

Many countries are promoting medical services to drive their economies. Singapore is working to shift from a healthcare hub to a medical training hub for Asia, Malaysia is encouraging medical tourism to make a customized medical tourism network, India is focusing on alternative healthcare, and Qatar is attempting to persuade Thai businesses to open hospitals in the country.

“All these moves signal that the medical industry in Chiang Mai is under pressure and needs to increase its comparative advantage,” Mr Niwate said.

For the Smart Food project, knowing what to produce and when, using technology-aided forecasting and planning system, will be the key, said Nathalie Gutel, an adviser with IBM France.

The government could create an e-Farmer portal to gather data on all agricultural product categories for each season. It could then use those information to create pricing models under a supply-demand calculation system.

The information could ultimately reduce the risk of both shortages and surpluses of key crops.

As well, said Ms Gutel, smart irrigation could schedule water utilisation based on specific land use types and seasonal needs to reduce waste.

Chiang Mai will choose a district and a fruit for a pilot project to test the new applications. An IMB survey identified longan as the most promising candidate since thousands of northern families grow the fruit.

Ms Gutel also said that since mobile phones are now ubiquitous, government agriculture authorities should take advantage of their potential for delivering weather information and disaster alerts.

Also growing in importance from a consumer safety standpoint is traceability of food products from farm to table. Technology can help improve traceability, build brand reputation and improve export potential.

IBM opened a regional office in the city last year, she said.

The city, meanwhile, is determined to capitalise on local strengths in software and digital content development to create new clusters and widen employment opportunities.

Martin Venzky-Stalling, an adviser to the creative city development committee, said the city had as many as 150 software and digital content firms, many of them freelance operators specialising in graphic design. Some of them can be found working out of coffee shops along Nimanhaemin Road.

“The city has an attractive lifestyle with a lower cost of living. It also produces a lot of graduate students attracting new high-tech entrepreneurs,” he said.

The committee plans to work on public-private partnership to establish a Software Park with 2,000 square metres space to provide training facilities and working space for IT and design talent.

The Board of Investment is also being asked to declare Chiang Mai a special economic zone with incentives for innovative businesses.

Mr Venzky-Stalling said the committee expected to propose at least 10 projects with an investment budget of 200 million baht this year.

Chiang Mai has been selected as one of the 10 creative economy cities by the Commerce Ministry.

Several years ago Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo wrote a book about relationships called He’s Just Not That Into You. Mostly it was advice to women about when to move on in a relationship that’s not working out. I read a few excerpts from a copy my future wife had while we were dating. It contained a lot of good advice and examples of situations that tell women when a man is just not into them.

The same can be said about relationships between a creative and their clients. Not everyone fits with everyone in this industry. Some products scream out for cutting edge, in your face creative while other products need to be treated with quietness and reserve. There isn’t a creative alive that can provide all the needs that clients have.

As a business owner you shouldn’t just settle for the first creative you happen onto. Maybe he has a stellar recommendation from several people, but can you work with him? Maybe he has a dynamite portfolio, but will his/her style fit your product or service?

Once you’re into the relationship it might turn out that you’re just not that into his or her work. You may find out it just doesn’t fit into your marketing strategy. So how can you be sure to get the right fit?

Picking a creative can be a lot like dating. You may have to try several before you find the right one. Here are some points that might make the search a little easier.

Stay with professionals. Sure your nephew has the latest in laptop technology and has Microsoft Office loaded up. That doesn’t mean he’s a designer. Designers generally go through a university program to learn their craft. Some programs are better than others just as some designers are more talented then others. Once they graduate most enter their field and work their way up to a competent skill level. The more experience they have the better. Most will belong to a professional organization such as The Kansas City Freelance Exchange or AIGA.

Get a referral. Word of mouth is a great way to find a good creative. If you have a friend that has used someone and they’re happy with him or her, by all means, put them on your list. You can also search locally and nationally on various sites like the Kansas City Freelance Exchange. They are excellent resources to find a vast cross-section of creative help. Choose several and then proceed to the next step.

Interview the creative. It’s always a good thing to interview a creative before hiring them. By having a face-to-face meeting you can get a good feel as to whether or not you can work with the person. After all you are hiring this person so why not spend some time getting to know them a little on a personal level. Interview as many creatives as you need to until you find one that has a personality, attributes, and portfolio you like.

Give them a test project. After you have selected someone don’t immediately dump a bunch of projects on him or her. Start them with one and observe closely how their process works. Make sure that your working relationship is a good fit. Does the person return your calls and emails promptly? Do you need to be in the loop on every detail if so be sure this person does that, if not, discuss it with them and be sure that your needs will be met. Can they meet a deadline? Will they quit in the middle of a project? I could go on and on with attributes both good and bad. Just make sure the person is filling your needs all around.

Remember it’s a two-way street. A good creative can also not be into their client. Maybe the product or service doesn’t inspire them. Maybe they just don’t fit into the culture of the client. If they aren’t into their client and his/her business, they could be just going through the motions to get the work done and get a check. If you think this is the case with your creative it might be time to move on because he just isn’t into you.

Finding a keeping a good creative can make all the difference in your business. It can make or break a product or service. Make sure the relationship you have with your creative people is a mutual one where both of you are into the situation. When that happens it can be magical.

Western elites have a short amount of time to jump start a new wave of industrialization (to avoid being humiliated at international conferences). DARPA and Naukograds provide hints of how this should be done in the 21st century.

It is well known that a creative mind works best in a novel cutting edge environment. Google has long provided offices that could fit in The Jetsons, Steve Jobs knew it with his spaceship office building design, and president Medvedev intends to rapidly construct a hybrid of silicon valley and MIT in Skolkovo (the way IKEA packages a complex table). Chinese authorities are already constructing scientific campuses with top notch imported factory assembly lines as built in extensions.

For Westerners to begin catching up rapidly, the science-factory cities need to be rethought from the bottom up. The effort should be as holistic as the Apollo program was since it would stimulate and push the best of the human herd’s abilities. How would an even larger concentrated effort to churn out 21st century machines look like? The science-factory (SciFac) cities can take on a multitude of forms and sizes but the basic framework may take on this form:

1) Location: A brand new dedicated area to house up to 200,000 people has to be set up in a region that is not too polluted by toxins from prior industrial thrusts. The climate conditions should not be depressing, distracting, or prone to too many natural disasters. Scenery should be inspirational for those who get mental breakthroughs from activities like hiking. Elevation above sea level and air dryness are additional considerations. The SciFacs should not be in the suburbs of any old design city (even if this makes resource logistics more difficult and costly, it’ll end up being a blessing in disguise). A right country can of course be a giant plus when it comes to rapidly acquiring the right machines for SciFac’s functioning. One can of course visualize Germany or Japan and parts of United States as being good candidates.

2) Lay Out: The SciFac city is optimal if it has a shell within a shell within a shell Matryoshka doll set up. The city as a whole can be viewed as a giant biophysical assembly line. Even the working teams can be further arranged via “psychological assembly” and management to fully utilize abilities of different creative breeds.

a) The inner most central “research-brain storm” core is a well known basic DARPA layout where fundamental science research is done to create a bridge between current breakthroughs and long term potential breakthroughs. Various fundamental science laboratory complexes are to be integrated with novel housing for quick foot travel and each lab complex to have an immediate proximity communal club area where egos of the researchers can play off each other meaningfully. Obviously both the labs and their attached clubs would be like spokes on a small wheel so interdisciplinary brain storming can be unleashed via individualized healthy one upsmanship and tapping into NT narcissism.

b) The secondary “engineer and engineering research” shell would be a series of institutes for developing practical application of the fundamental research breakthroughs from the core. These institutes can be looked at as continuation of the spokes from the core. Same system of clubs and interdiscipline friendly architecture is present in this middle layer.

c) Tertiary shell is to have a network of modular easily replaceable factory floors to build and test prototypes as well as tools to make these prototypes. Real working technologies conceived within the core (brief biking distance at this point) are to be made available to continually inspire the humans in the core and secondary layer.

d) Supporting final shell where personnel that maintains the SciFac city lives and constructs needed supplies. This shell includes high tech automated vertical farm buildings, clothing factories, grooming item factories, security, raw material processing for tertiary layer assembly lines, etc. The reason why things like clothing, food, toothpaste, medicine are built/assembled on site is because it is incredibly easy to do so and because part of the tertiary prototype layer can actually continuously improve these facilities. In fact, a thin pizza slice of a given SciFac (extending almost to the core) can be tasked with just conceptualizing improvements and constructing augmentation of the actual SciFac itself.

This constant renewal is essential to avoid stagnation and to promote the efficiency, culture, and psycho-physical health of the residents. Modularization of the city’s buildings and infrastructure aids in this. Additionally, a small city owning the means of production and distribution and providing for its own needs can rapidly become a role model even before first prototypes roll off the assembly lines. Everybody understands that human primates have essential needs like grooming and an automated small factory can easily stamp out enough haircombs, socks, hats, dental floss, slippers, toys, etc for 200,000+ residents. The SciFac can of course be given ownership rights by the public over certain regional mines and agricultural lands to ship the raw resources to itself and streamline the process. Vertical and horizontal integration would not be just for robber barons anymore. Industrial 3D printing even allows consumers within inner layers to design and order batches of unique goods (if a specialized nanolined jogging sweater helps somebody in the core think better by all means let the person have it).

3) Culture and governance: Obviously Soviet or Chinese style regimentation would be stifling for creativity and a substantial amount of social libertarianism is to be the norm. Compartments within each layer, each layer itself, and the city as a whole can easily have direct council democracy with today’s communication technology. A scientific polis in action may be more inspiring for outside observers than any TED conference. As with DARPA, the red tape would not only be cut to the bone but scientifically reimagined. Non-hierarchal flat management structures and direct participatory democracy would of course further aid in psychological productivity by reducing damaging ego clashes, providing healthy feeling of autonomy, and even allowing invention of new more humane and efficient governance (within guiding limits naturally so the core city mission is not jeopardized by endless political infighting).

Besides helping in rapid reindustrialization of the Western world, the SciFac functions to groom future cadres of technocratic political leaders. The exclusivity of the SciFacs may seem elitist and scary (raising some people’s fears of scientific dictatorship) but it is a definitive improvement over the current oligarchic/lawyer/playboy elitism and parasitic dictatorship of finance capital. It definitely creates much needed experimentation for a more meritocratic and progressive society during a time of great planetary transition and danger.

A properly constructed SciFac city of course can function in parallel with the old society rather than hatching an embryonic socioeconomic replacement but it may be a futile exercise to stop its role model leadership once it begins. Ecole Polytechniques of the world and profit/patent based silicon valley type constructions would pale in comparison if we get a small holistic bubble of the 21st century up and running. Yes, purposefully killing the patent culture within city limits will do wonders for brainstorming while reducing individual neuroticism and jealousy based interpersonal barriers. Out of 7 billion people on earth, staffing will not be a problem. Conceptualizing proper incentives to work within SciFac (besides getting to live there) is the easy part.


Rather than a massive shake up of society or dictatorial large scale top down attempts at modernization, for some countries a SciFac City provides a rather benign foot in the door towards eventually rebooting the entire socioeconomic system. The public via state credit can easily set up a number of different highly automated relatively self sufficient SciFacs which share and learn from each other while keeping competition friendly.

The militaries of the world have engineer divisions that can quickly clear the needed areas and set up resource feeds for the SciFacs. The aesthetics and actual creativity inducing architecture are for the artistic breeds, organizational psychologists, and potential residents to decide upon. Soviets managed to rapidly catch up in technology and infrastructure using the shell within a shell compact living, researching, designing, and building Naukograd clusters. Dedicated Western power elite factions can do even better and overshoot rising competitors to the East when it comes to getting a top notch idea and getting it to the factory floor to take advantage of economies of scale. Of course SciFacs would function even better if they are international and cooperative in nature. In that case, China can aid in rapid construction of them in return for resource swaps as it has promised with high speed rail.

The public is hungry for state aided experimentation like this as the vacuum of ideas within elite circles becomes more noticeable by the day. The return on these investments stands to overshadow even the space race when it comes to ripple effects of emulation. Simple concepts like a city owning its own factories, farms, and energy sources to provide for basic resident needs (the way they provide police, the courts, and firefighting) will be revolutionary in terms of logistics and living efficiency. People will have a hard time believing it took this long and how they managed to live before such basic common sense practices.

So you’re thinking of creating a new slogan and brand identity for your city…

Join the club. The entire country is caught up in a frenzy of sloganeering. More than 80 percent of towns with populations greater than 25,000 either have a motto or are attempting to develop a new one.

The surge in branding can be attributed, in large part, to our friends in Las Vegas, whose daring motto, “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” hit the national airwaves in 2001 and shows no signs of abating. Of course, it helps if you’re blessed with a towering budget, an endless supply of neon lights, and hordes of tourists who are admitted adrenaline junkies.

Other big cities that have jumped on the brandwagon to polish their image include the likes of Cleveland (“Cleveland Rocks!”), Omaha (“O!”), Atlanta (“Every Day is an Opening Day”), San Diego (“City with Sol”), and Atlantic City (“Always Turned On”). They have launched city-wide campaigns to help sell their new brand message and make it stick. The results so far have been favorable and city fathers are relieved. Projects of this magnitude are usually accompanied by a fair amount of anguish and nagging doubts, especially when detractors start chomping at the bit. After all, a city’s pride and reputation are at stake.

City Branding Isn’t For Sissies

To put it bluntly, branding isn’t for sissies. Big cities can expect to spend nine months to a year in brand development and several more years promoting their brandiwork. They also have to contend with lots of stakeholders, such as city officials, neighborhood leaders, corporate sponsors, downtown redevelopers, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Chamber of Commerce. Oh, and let’s not forget the opinions of vocal city residents and members of the press who weigh in throughout the entire process.

So if branding is painful, protracted, and perilous, why do cities do it? Why don’t they keep their old motto? Why can’t they simply quote that cool Latin inscription on their official seal? What difference does a brand new slogan really make?

Well, I’m here to tell you…it makes a huge difference. A slogan is a valuable ambassador. When conceived correctly, it can reflect a city’s style and personality, leverage its assets, and communicate a compelling message. Think of it as urban renewal without having to pass a bond measure.

Every city is unique, possessing both positive and negative perceptions. It has a history, a culture, and a constituency. The key to effective branding is to embrace an appealing slogan that promises an experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. A good slogan is just the tip of the iceberg, an exclamation point at the end of a municipal pitch to the world at large.

Cities that succeed in incorporating their refurbished brand message into their campaigns and advertising creative provide the impetus for attracting visitors, retirees, home builders, and investors, which, in turn, helps generate greater tourism, tax revenue, unity, and goodwill.

Cleveland’s motto makeover is a case in point. After 30 years of living with the shameful moniker, “The Mistake on the Lake,” and the ever-so-brief, yawn-inducing slogan, “America’s Comeback City,” it has emerged with its self-esteem intact and is now enjoying renewed pride and optimism largely inspired by its new slogan, “Cleveland Rocks!” Cleveland has fast become a popular destination for the rockers and the Dockers┬« set, and its brand barometer has never looked brighter.

Preparing Your Motto Makeover

Your city’s motto is the focal point of your brand message. It tells a story, your story. It should be succinct, positive, original, and memorable. It should be believable (this is who we are), but it can also aspire to be something bigger and greater (this is how we’re evolving).

Mottos can be humorous (“Experience Our Sense of Yuma” – Yuma, AZ); alliterative (“Livable, Lovable Lodi”); quaint (“Where the Trout Leap on Main Street” – Saratoga, WY); clever (“There’s More Than Meets the Arch” – St. Louis, MO”); disarming (“It’s Not the End of the Earth, but You Can See It from Here” – Bushnell, SD),” or rhyme (“Where Nature Smiles for Seven Miles,” – Spring Lake, MI). Whatever motto you select, it reflects on you and vice-versa. Think of it as a robe you put on that fits well, feels good, looks great, and makes the right impression.

Since your motto competes with others in the municipal, regional, and national marketplace, it should also be strikingly unique so that it stands out in a crowd.

In the long run, you need a solid strategy for not only developing a motto, but also promoting it and communicating its value. A motto is just part of an overall brand awareness program that your town’s citizens and the rest of the world will judge by its clarity, consistency, and creativity.

The Ten Steps to Successful Sloganeering

As a public service, I have identified 10 easy steps that any city or town can follow, regardless of size, budget, or inclination, to ensure that its branding and sloganeering process is satisfying and successful. Here we go:

Step #1: Build Your Case

To kick off a city branding project, you need top-down and grass-roots buy-in. The officials who control the budget will want to know why re-branding is necessary. Be prepared to give them a good answer. Conduct a brand audit to benchmark your current thinking and build consensus. As you move forward, try to obtain pro-bono support from a leading ad agency and donations from a few local corporations. Assemble a plan, a timetable, and a set of expectations. Refer to the branding success of other cities and focus on bottom-line results. Start thinking like a brand manager…not a city manager.

Step #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Re-brand

Okay, so you have a tired, worn-out slogan that’s negative, unoriginal, boring, and trite – and it doesn’t do justice to your fair city. Well, then, do something about it! If companies can re-invent themselves with exciting new slogans, so can you. Perceptions change and you can find yourself in a rut very quickly. You don’t need to spend millions on urban redevelopment to have an excuse to re-brand – just a strong belief shared by others that your slogan is no longer channeling your city’s mojo.

Give your citizens something to rally around. Give them a new battle cry. Create a new platform for delivering an enduring message that expresses confidence and shows some attitude. Who remembers Las Vegas’s former motto, “Las Vegas Loves Visitors?” That’s ancient history. The city re-branded itself and never looked back.

Step #3: Test the Waters

Brainstorm as much as possible. Solicit opinions and ideas from newspaper readers and all of your key stakeholders. Organize their responses in a meaningful way and ask your agency to help you sort, craft, and polish them. Narrow down the best slogans to a manageable list. For a reality check, do a little focus group testing. Feedback is always invaluable. Be sure to determine in advance who will make the final selection of your motto – a branding committee or the results of a city-wide contest. In some instances, a branding committee will select three to five mottos and then ask city residents to vote on them.

Step #4: Focus on Brand Attributes

What are your town’s assets and attractions? What words best describe its past, present, and future? Focus on slogan attributes that illustrate your town’s brand character (traditional or innovative), style (colorful or understated), tone (informative or imaginative) affinity (Main Street or Wall Street), and personality (playful or serious). What core values are ingrained in your town’s culture? Be sure to survey the competition (e.g., other cities and other slogans) for added perspective.

Step #5: Make Your Slogan Specific

Me-too, cookie-cutter slogans are a dime a dozen. If you borrow another city’s brand style, personality, or message, you’re selling your town down the river. What are you proud of? What are you known for? Are you merely the gateway to someplace else or is there a there, there? Too many towns have generic mottos or monikers that sound notoriously alike (“America’s Hometown,” “A Great Place to Live,” A Place to Call Home,” etc.). Don’t go down that road. Instead, you can:

oHonor your hometown hero: “Birthplace of Johnny Cash” – Kingsland, AR

oConfer a title upon your town: “Goat Ropin’ Capital of the World” – Gotebo, OK

oEmphasize something unique: “Home of the Candy Dance” – Genova, NV

oPlay up a weird attraction: “The World’s Largest Chee-to” – Algona, IA

oMake an unusual claim: “The Poison Oak Capital of the World” – Forestville, CA

Step #6: Turn Your Brand Into an Ambassador

Your slogan is your brand ambassador. People experience your brand every time one of their five senses comes in contact with it. Your job is to package the most positive impressions that comprise their experience, and then brand it for them. “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” the motto of Hershey, PA, is a perfect example. Its brand image and message capture the joy and happiness that people feel when they experience chocolate.

As your brand ambassador, use your slogan to make your town more appealing. Is it a fun place to visit? What are the benefits of living there? Does your motto inspire us to learn more about your town? A good brand ambassador hits all the emotional touchpoints.

Step #7: Keep Your Brand Visible

More than 80 percent of the web sites of the 50 largest U.S. cities don’t even mention their official slogans, which just goes to show how little thought they give to their own branding. Too often, a city will spend months on brand development and then fail to make its new slogan and logo a visible part of its communications. Make sure your new brand identity is front and center on business cards, brochures, e-mail messages, and the home page of the Web sites that promote your city (e.g., city government, Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau, etc.).