More Houston branding: Greenest City in the SouthwestContinuing our ongoing quest at Houston Strategies to help shape a strong branding identity for Houston (why brand a city?, history/list, latest), this week I had a simple insight: people have noted that Houston, because of our tropical climate, is one of the most lush and green cities around, especially if you can get an elevated view (see David Crossley's "Green City, Garden City" initiative). I've personally noted and heard others mention the slightly depressing brown tinge in most of the rest of the dry Southwestern U.S., especially in the winter. Houston could legitimately claim to be the "Greenest City in the Southwest", and year-round at that.
Every southwestern competitor I can think of is definitely less naturally lush in the vegetation department: DFW, Austin, San Antonio, Denver, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Vegas, LA, even San Diego and most of the SF Bay Area. The Southwest is arguably the most popular and fastest growing region of America these days, and enjoys a pretty strong positive image. Being the greenest city in that region is not a bad image to have. I'm not saying it's our whole identity, just part of an overall brand, like Tropical Texas. It would also help directly mitigate many of the negative perceptions of Houston nationally:
- Air pollution and refineries
- Flat, ugly, concrete sprawl with too many billboards and too much traffic
- Heat, humidity, flooding, and hurricanes
- That we look like West Texas covered in dust and tumbleweeds (you'd be surprised how many people think that)
Playing on the double-meaning of the word "green", it could also support all of the Mayor's different environmental initiatives. It's a simple, short, powerful, compelling image for the city that helps neutralize many of our negatives, and one that could be woven into all sorts of communications, advertising, and marketing - from the Partnership to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to local companies trying to recruit employees.