Houston's identity: Global Village, American Dream, Texas SpiritConcluding Houston branding identity week (previously: Why brand?, History and Strategy), today we wrap up with a proposal. I've talked about a differentiation strategy offering a "best of both worlds" between two categories: a big, multi-ethnic, international city with great amenities, culture, and opportunities, while also being affordable and fast-growing with a feeling of community. Remember what we're looking for here is a broad branding identity, not necessarily the short "Something City" nickname. After a lot of word tweaking, this is my best shot, although there are potential variants I'll discuss below.
Obviously trying to create a rhythmic pattern with the geographic zoom-in from globe to America to Texas. First, let me go through the logic behind each term, then we'll get to some variants.
Global Village: Clearly a little wordplay on the generally-accepted meaning of this term. In the last post near the bottom, I laid out Houston's international credentials. There are two other connotations I like here: 1) the unity and community feel of a village, and 2) the term has both technology overtones (Internet and the web bringing the world together) and connectivity implications - a nice fit with our port and Intercontinental airport hub. I thought about "Global Community" here instead, but it doesn't have the additional connotations of "Global Village", and I think community is a term that has gotten overused in recent years (nobody builds subdivisions of houses anymore, they're all communities of homes), diluting its impact.
American Dream: Optimism, opportunity, social/economic mobility, and affordable home ownership. To put a twist on NYC's famous saying, "If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere." (thanks to Patrick for inspiring this piece with his "Houston = Accessible American Dream" insight)
Texas Spirit: pioneering and entrepreneurial, hard-working, can-do energy, tough but friendly, independence within community, hospitality, openness to outsiders, charitable (noted worldwide after Katrina).
I think the combination of all three of those terms creates a pretty unique identity for Houston vs. other cities.
A few variants/options.
- We already talked about "Global Community" above.
- It could be mixed with any number of nicknames, from "Bayou City" to "Space City" to "Open City" to "City of Opportunity". I still believe "Open City" or "Open City of Opportunity" are good sum-ups of all three terms into a nickname.
- I added "Texas Spirit" at the last minute, and it could be dropped if it needs to be shorter.
- Finally, if we wanted to have fun with it and throw in a NASA reference, we could zoom out another level with "Galactic Hub, Global Village, American Dream, Texas Spirit"... ;-)