Author Topic: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand  (Read 6717 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« on: September 04, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand



An interesting editorial by National Sign Plazas (NSP) highlighting 5 tips for cities like Jacksonville to improve their civic brand. Take a look and tell us if you agree with what NSP is selling?

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-sep-5-tips-for-improving-jacksonvilles-civic-brand

KenFSU

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 05:38:19 PM »
In my opinion, here's the primary problem with Jacksonville's brand:

Like with successful businesses, great cities offer great value propositions.

For those who don't enjoy marketing, your value proposition basically answers the question, "If I am your target customer, why should I buy from you, rather than from anyone else."

In a city's case, the value prop question manifests itself in questions such as:

"If I am a traveler, why should I choose Jacksonville over any other city to spend my vacation in."

We need to get a hundred of the city's brightest marketers together and lock them in a room until they walk away with a tightly refined one-paragraph answer, in the form of "Because Jacksonville ____________________________________________________________________."

We're not talking a hollow and gimmicky tagline - think "Bold New City of the South" or "First Coast" -- but an honest, authentic value proposition that highlights what makes Jacksonville appealing and different versus the hundreds of other cities out there.

From there, we need to put our full marketing resources behind getting the word out about this special, magical thing that makes Jacksonville unique from its competitors.

Just for kicks, let's look up the official travel pages of some of our sister cities.

I didn't do any prep work, just literally picked a few cities at random.

Notice the value prop at play here. You can almost experience the cities just from the copy.

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Welcome to Savannah, Georgia!

With its pedestrian-friendly layout and innovative urban design, Savannah serves as a balm for the senses. The city of Savannah inspires visitors with its emerald tree canopy, quaint cobblestone streets and majestic architecture. Take the time to wander off the beaten path and experience the history, beauty and charm of this beloved coastal city. With blooming azaleas and a fun line-up of festivals, Savannah really comes to life in the spring and the city is vibrant with color.

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Charleston, SC - A Veritable Living Museum

Earthquake bolts and ornate iron gates. Antebellum mansions and sprawling plantations. One of the oldest public markets in America. Landmarks with national significance. Living history is everywhere in Charleston.

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Catch Des Moines!

Des Moines is everything you want to find in a city. It's a Friday night at a Broadway show. A Saturday morning at the Des Moines Farmers' Market. A night at your favorite restaurant. Or enjoying laid back music venues. It's a shopping trip to an East Village boutique. Or an inspired trip through a downtown sculpture park. It's also everything you don't expect. It's easy to get around. Easy to park. To feel safe. To feel at home. Catch a city where you can do it all. Catch Des Moines.

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Anne Arbor: Doing Life Different

Experience the Ann Arbor area during the spring months as you wander one of America's Best Main Streets! Get outside and kayak the Huron River or bike the border-to-border! Explore our world-class museums, including three on the campus of the University of Michigan. While in town, you won't want to miss our diverse dining scene, it's one of the best in the Midwest! Spend some time with us this summer and discover your Ann Arbor!

Now, let's head over to VisitJacksonville.com, which is directly funded from city bed taxes. Check out our value prop:

Quote
Explore Jacksonville!

Come for a visit this Fall, where the water is still warm.

Whether you are looking to discover the undiscovered, relax under the sun, shop till you drop, golf a perfect game, ignite romance or be inspired by the city’s cultural offerings, unique cuisine or stunning sunrises, anything is possible in Jacksonville!

With all due respect to the VisitJacksonville folks, this is wretched. Why would anyone read this and want to choose Jacksonville to visit over any other city?

Where is the exclusivity? Where is the uniqueness?

You can "relax under the sun" or watch the sunrise from literally anywhere on Earth. You can "shop till you drop" anywhere in the world. You can "ignite romance" literally anywhere that there are members of the opposite sex. Every single city on earth has some form of "cultural offering." What is this unspecified "unique cuisine?"

Half of this city's underperformance is the direct result of us as a city not knowing what truly makes us unique. If we really took the time and exerted the effort to develop a strong value proposition, I really think it would give Jacksonville a lot of momentum. The city would embrace it and take pride in it.

I hesitate to even add this, as I know that I probably come across as a Shad Khan cheerleader. But the Jaguars get it.

Where a century of bumbling Jacksonville politicians have failed on the value prop front, Shad Khan's team came in and quickly identified Jacksonville's maritime history and the beautiful St. Johns River as key components of the city's value prop. And the Shipyards plans -- from the land use, to the nautical themed buildings, to the USS Adams, to the interplay with the river -- all served the greater master of enhancing and strengthening that value proposition. The design instantly brought authentic identity to Jacksonville. Even the logo was spot on:



You can piecemeal the property to death, but it will never capture the essence of what makes Jacksonville unique like the Jaguars plan for the Shipyards does.


« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 08:00:50 PM by KenFSU »

Fallen Buckeye

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 07:51:50 PM »
As someone who's not from around here, I'd have to say that Jacksonville's brand right now would be as an afterthought. I ended up here by chance, and until I came to live here I knew almost nothing of the city. Not many up North think Jacksonville when they think Florida, and most people talk about it in generic Florida terms when I bring it up back home (beaches, warm weather, etc.). I'd say our problem is that we largely lack a recognizable national brand. There are great things about this place which is part of why I've stayed here this long (nearly a decade now), but I think that we can do better in branding ourselves.

Kay

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 09:10:44 PM »
What is unique about Jacksonville?  Seriously?  Downtown looks like its been through a war.  Most of the county, which is Jacksonville, could be anywhere in the U.S. as it looks like what you pass on the way to an authentic place.  We have not taken advantage of the river.  Jacksonville's uniqueness has been destroyed.  What is left is not being revitalized.

jcjohnpaint

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 09:20:14 PM »
Fallen Buckeye, I agree with you 100%.  I never thought much of Jacksonville until I came here.  We really like it here for many reasons and many of those reason make the city unique to Florida.  When you think of Savannah and Charleston, many images come to mind, even if you have never been there.  I feel that Jacksonville is Florida's old town.  I think we should really play off the history- especially with St. Augustine.  I feel Norfolk has a similar problem. 

thelakelander

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 09:28:32 PM »
Growing up in Central Florida, Jax used to be called the Armpit of Florida, due to the industrial odors that used to consume the city. Other than that, I don't recall any type of identity that the city stood out for. Driving through town on the interstates doesn't reveal much either. Even the downtown skyline is virtually the same as it was 25 years ago. However, when you get off the highway and stumble into some of the historic neighborhoods, you see the potential that exists if we can every get our heads straight.
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CCMjax

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 11:29:14 PM »
Growing up in Central Florida, Jax used to be called the Armpit of Florida, due to the industrial odors that used to consume the city. Other than that, I don't recall any type of identity that the city stood out for. Driving through town on the interstates doesn't reveal much either. Even the downtown skyline is virtually the same as it was 25 years ago. However, when you get off the highway and stumble into some of the historic neighborhoods, you see the potential that exists if we can every get our heads straight.

When you drive through downtown you see a gigantic river that looks more like a long huge lake, which I thought was pretty cool the first time I saw it.  Jacksonville really needs to embrace the river, it is the only thing that really makes it unique, many cities have rivers but few the size and history of the St. Johns.  Jacksonville is "Florida's River City."  How about that one?  Not just River City but Florida's River City, something that sets it apart from Orlando, Tampa and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.  Unfortunately we really don't have anything on the river that is really cool, the Landing is outdated and isn't what I'm talking about.  More riverboats, marinas, riverfront parks, etc like below (Wilmington, DE).  The Shipyards and Healthy Town would be nice developments if they tied into revamped north bank and south bank riverwalks.  I think the north bank walk should be more substantial than it currently is and stretch all the way from Riverside to Everbank Field.  It kind of does currently but gets lost towards Berkman.  Connect that with parks along McCoy Creek and Hogan's Creek and you get something not just unique for visitors but also people who live here who live in Brooklyn/Riverside, Springfield and downtown. 



"The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'This is mine,' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society." - Jean Jacques Rousseau

Adam White

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2015, 05:02:05 AM »
I think Jax should  market itself as a sportsperson's paradise. We have the river, lots of parkland that could be developed, some excellent beaches, forest, etc.

I also agree that the river is an amazing natural resource and should be exploited.
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CG7

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2015, 03:41:34 PM »
I'm partial to "Florida's North Star" for a slogan. We definitely need to focus n the river. The complaint I get the most is that the Riverwalks are nice, but there is nothing to do. The things I would like to see are the Riverwalks become Riverpaths that are more bike friendly, even if we have to split them down the middle with separate sides for pedestrians and bikers (we can share the narrow parts), then tie them in better to the bridges.
The second part would be adding barges in the river, along with ship containers, and food truck areas along the Riverwalks for food, drink and just general hang out areas.
Finally I have heard only great comments about the mosaics around town. Downtown becoming Mosaic City would set it apart from other places in a unique and attractive way.

Adam White

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2015, 04:18:45 PM »
I'm partial to "Florida's North Star" for a slogan. We definitely need to focus n the river. The complaint I get the most is that the Riverwalks are nice, but there is nothing to do. The things I would like to see are the Riverwalks become Riverpaths that are more bike friendly, even if we have to split them down the middle with separate sides for pedestrians and bikers (we can share the narrow parts), then tie them in better to the bridges.
The second part would be adding barges in the river, along with ship containers, and food truck areas along the Riverwalks for food, drink and just general hang out areas.
Finally I have heard only great comments about the mosaics around town. Downtown becoming Mosaic City would set it apart from other places in a unique and attractive way.

I think a well-developed cycle path system in the core would be a great idea, especially if it includes the riverwalks. I'd also like to see something like this tried downtown or on the south bank:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibition_Road

“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.”

Know Growth

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2015, 09:38:29 PM »
How about this:  "Jacksonville!......where Miami begins!! "
Gotta admit the slogan would be an attention getter,and Truth In Advertising.

"Jacksonville!,warmer water kayak and outdoor paradise!!" would likely swamp as major market message placement,however including the image within The Message would be worthy.

How about:  "Jacksonville!,we got Great Potential!!"

Or perhaps: "Give it some time!"  "Better than you think!" etc.
I'm very good at depromotion, steering prospective newcomers away when I know the area will not meet expectations, or as a result of unseen yet certain new growth impacts. Yet in another instance, I suggested that a Great Lakes area newcomer give Jacksonville some time,it'll grow on ya'. That was over ten years ago,and recently I was thanked for the input. ("We'll Grow On You!" promotion would prove obtuse,a possible depromotion...per the past Branding attempt "Jacksonville's Millionth Mania" sponsored by Barnett bank and COJ Special Events office...the clamor for "Millionth" Jacksonville resident,that could not be mustered without including surrounding counties met backlash,and enmity from Carl Hiaasen,who profiled the sordid event in his book "Kick Ass".   8) )

It's tough to condense an area's signature attributes down to a paragraph,isn't it?   :)

A native of Miami, Florida, I recall a couple of childhood visits to Jacksonville. The River seemed boring compared to Miami's area waters,which I was enthralled with.

Decades later, the call for River awareness, promotion.....Access!  I am so tired of people complaining about River access. Why keep talking about it? So many limitations,entrenched development patterns,no real effort,will,money,propensity to really accommodate 'access'. Development patterns,build out basically defies 'exploiting' the River.The "Park Lands " are rightfully off limits to most 'development'.It is what it is,and isn't.

It's not as if we would imagine consigning the Shipyards property to essentially public connection open space water front,direct water access/kayak,bike and walk paths.......... exactly what newcomers around the country are attracted to....'Jacksonville's Gracious Front Porch'.


In my business I engage with boaters from throughout the country who come here to purchase boats. Many are initially attracted to Jacksonville waters. It's been a great education,market research. I've got some ideas as to effective "Branding". On the other hand,effective promotion can destroy the very attributes.
Above all,what are we to do with twenty years worth of "You all have some great potential here!"

I recently witnessed a couple who moved here from Idaho. They had a nice place on a river in Idaho,which they are hangin on to.
They ended up in Riverside temporarily. Blind Rabbit homicide,ongoing crime in the neighborhood- they ended up at the coast in an adjoining county.....a common scenario that generates certain  Jacksonville "Branding".

Perhaps just enjoy what we have. How bad can it be?? Plenty of folks have been using the River system just fine and dandy as it is thank you very much. World class. Many in 'The Know" would just as soon we keep it to our selves.

There are some very positive attributes weather-wise with us being two weather zones removed from the South Florida sub-tropic zone. Think about it.

In my experience,some of the most attractive areas refrain from overt Promotion.

Above all, make sure the slogan meets the Carl Hiaasen test.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 02:21:26 PM by Know Growth »

Noone

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 09:41:03 PM »
I think Jax should  market itself as a sportsperson's paradise. We have the river, lots of parkland that could be developed, some excellent beaches, forest, etc.

I also agree that the river is an amazing natural resource and should be exploited.

+1

finehoe

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2015, 10:33:30 AM »
Seems to me comments on this thread are conflating two different things:

1) Jacksonville's "brand" as a city in and of itself;
2) Jacksonville's "brand" as a tourist destination

Granted, they are related, but they aren't the same. If Jacksonville can define what it wants to be for residents and potential residents, then tourists will be enticed to come check it out for themselves.   If you take care of #1, #2 kind of takes care of itself.

Adam White

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Re: 5 Tips for improving Jacksonville's Civic Brand
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2015, 11:19:15 AM »
Seems to me comments on this thread are conflating two different things:

1) Jacksonville's "brand" as a city in and of itself;
2) Jacksonville's "brand" as a tourist destination

Granted, they are related, but they aren't the same. If Jacksonville can define what it wants to be for residents and potential residents, then tourists will be enticed to come check it out for themselves.   If you take care of #1, #2 kind of takes care of itself.

I disagree. Kind of. Las Vegas's brand is as a tourist destination - there is no real standalone brand. A lot of places are like that. I don't see an issue.
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