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Branding New York

March 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Destination Marketing

Here’s an interesting little piece that I found this morning:

Chewing the ‘Big Apple’

A report entitled ‘The Branding of Cities’ by Julia Winfield Pfefferkorn in 2005, reveals that for a city to be adjudged a brand, it must possess certain criteria. This includes defining characteristics that can be readily identified, in terms of functional as well as non functional qualities, including city appearance, people’s experiences of the city, their belief in the city, what the city stands for and the kind of people that inhabit the city. Case studies of cities that have been successfully branded would be those of New York and Paris, wherein the above criteria was met. Berlin too tried the branding exercise, but failed somewhere along the way because of confusing non-distinctive brands, economic problems and a negative history. In the case of New York City, the title ‘the big apple’ is claimed to have originated somewhere in the 1970s, when jazz artists began using it as slang for a desirable location to perform. The New York Convention and the Visitor’s bureau decided it was an innovative strap line that presented the city as a ‘cheery’ place and New York officially became ‘the Big Apple’. At the same time, an effort was made to promote tourism in the state and the ‘I Love NY’ campaign kicked off. Pfefferkorn, in her report, refers to it as one of the most successful and longest branding campaigns in history. Iconic sites like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park soon came to be the props that held the entire branding strategy together. A well-branded city will withstand the test of time and this can be seen in the case of New York. Post 9/11, the city was shaken, but regained its composure quickly. If brand New York is associated with all things cosmopolitan, Paris, with its cobbled streets and intricate architecture, became the romantic city. And if it bodes well to play on historical associations while branding a city, Rome would be one such instance. (link)

And thus the problem of “I Love NY” and branding the rest of the state with that tagline. Here in the Adirondacks, our image seems diametrically opposed to the perception of “all things cosmopolitan”.

So, when you hear “The Adirondacks”, and based on the criteria above, what comes into your mind?

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Ed

    As an “up-stater” I still think of the whole state when I hear/see the slogan, but I bet that’s rarely the case. I certainly doubt I <3 NY makes many tourists think of the Adirondacks as a destination. I think if continuing to broaden visitor’s understanding/expectations of New York is a goal, the Dacks and Catskills, Finger-Lakes wine-country, Great Lakes, etc., should all be stressed more…similar to California’s ads. I haven’t seen a NY ad in a while…seemed they were starting to go that way at the time.

    Maybe if NY keeps exporting people we can just spread the knowledge among the larger public that way.

  • TourPro


    That’s seems to be exactly what the new plan calls for – more exposure for the rest of the state. Whether the NYC+ concept works remains to be seen.

    I see your point about the emigrants, and it’s not completely crazy. They probably are telling people, but likely it is not the message we’d like.

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