Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Branding, pedestrian traffic, and the arts.

There was an article in the Tampa Bay Times yesterday [LINK]. Branding around here is apparently handled in a manner similar to naming a puppy, not by professionals.

I am also hearing about branding the arts, and this is a far more nebulous and delicate matter, one that could do as much or more harm than good. I remember when the Tampa Chamber of commerce branded Tampa "America's Next Great City". It was repeated at every convention, in TV ads, by people with frozen grimace smiles to no effect, and Tampa is still anything but a great City. When a certain magazine decided that St. Pete was the #1 arts destination in the US (via web voting!), that was parroted constantly, at least until the Beach Drive Galleries closed, revealing the real state of the arts in the community.

 "Individually we are impressive. Together we are transformative,'', said Kanika Tomalin, a Bayfront Health VP of external affairs. I believe this applies to the arts as well, which are presently Balkanized into several "Districts". Outdoor spaces were also mentioned. I think having a series of small micro-parks along Central Ave., with (non-commercialized) places to sit down, hand out, in a green space would help bring out pedestrian traffic.

St Pete Developer Darryl Le Clair explained: "You want to engage the public,'' LeClair said. "We can do this for chump change. Stuff that is big magnitude but cost efficient.''

Engage the public for "chump change"? This sounds like a perfect strategy for the Government of Saint Pete to apply to its existing Arts Hubs and enable them to be more competitive with other arts markets.

--- Luis

Branding Links [LINK], [LINK].

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