File:Minneapolis seal.gif   File:StPaulSeal.png

An open call for change. Change where it counts, in brands.

Don’t read this if you have a closed mind and can’t imagine a different future beyond tomorrow. You know who you are, this will make you cringe and we don’t need that on our conscience.

For the remaining, take a minute to consider that a city government and a business are fairly similar. They have income, expenses and they provide services to a specific audience. They employ people and should be governed by the same natural economics that exist for all organizations (for profit, government or not-for-profit).

Now consider the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) as two similar organizations. They have a fair amount of duplication, providing similar services, having similar roles, similar physical proximity, similar missions, etc. Yet, to this day they are separate operating organizations.

Yes. The suggestion here is a merger of cities and a merger of brands. Minneapolis and St. Paul.

  Thumbnail for version as of 18:22, 21 November 2008 

If you need examples, look to Budapest (Buda and Pest) and New York merging with Brooklyn. If you’re wondering why there are no other modern examples, welcome to my world of wonderment.

Now, before your head starts to move back and forth, this doesn’t mean we eliminate half the jobs. Though if you’ve been through a merger, there are efficiencies to be found in duplicate roles. It does mean someone has to figure out the brand strategy behind two merged brands. You could treat it like the two are still separate, but run them from one back office, creating the efficiencies of one government while still having two cities. Look to Byerly’s and Lunds as a great example of how this could be accomplished. Or merge them in under an existing brand name (Twin Cities) would also be a good option. The last two options would be a new name entirely, which would be an interesting challenge if we involved voters in the naming decision. Lastly some smerging of the two names (Minnstpauleapolis) which would certainly not be our suggestion.

Whatever the strategy, the savings would be tremendous. This isn’t savings to the organization, but rather savings to each citizen of these two great cities. If they were two businesses a merger would have occurred long ago.

 —Aaron Keller, Capsule

 Trying my consumer’s hat on for size this Labor Day, I’ll ask the question: Would you pay good money and choose to stay a night or two in the hotel pictured above, without having a personal recommendation from a very, very good friend?

Me neither, says my wife, for our family.

Did the name have anything to do with your decision? In other words, might you be leery of weary desk clerks, eerie hallways, and dreary rooms, at the Drury Inn?

We were. Sorry, Drury Inn.

But, with far more cheery sounding and well-known national hotel brands readily available like Courtyard, Crown Plaza, Hilton, Hyatt Regency, Westin, Sheraton, Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, and Holiday Inn (or, should I say, H?), do you really blame us for our uninformed theory?

Remember my family road trip this past summer that revealed a trend toward single letter chewing gum brands and a discussion of non-verbal logos that can stand alone? Well, on that same trip, driving through the heartland, along the various interstates we traveled, we noticed Drury Inn after Drury Inn, a hotel chain we had never encountered before. We stayed a few nights in downtown St. Louis, near the above-pictured Drury Inn, but we never had the interest or courage to take a closer look.

Actually my wife felt even more strongly about it than I did, she thought that the various Drury Inns we saw (from the outside) looked and sounded, well, quite dreary. Apparently we aren’t the first to make the “dreary” word association with Drury Inn, especially among those who have expressed  online their rather negative experiences in spending nights and money (on the inside of one) (here, here, here, herehere, and here). One could say that deciding to use a name so easily a target for a hotel chain starts to make the resulting wounds look self-inflicted.

Sorry again, Drury Inn.

Recognizing the practice of many popular national hotel brands to select and adopt brand names that evoke feelings of comfort and pleasure (Courtyard, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Sleep Inn, and Comfort Inn), I was left rather intrigued with the peculiar naming decision involving Drury Inn, at least enough to take a closer look online. Armed with a Wikipedia reference along with the hotel chain’s website, I was surprised to learn, having never head of the brand before, that it has been around since 1973, it has 130 locations in twenty states, and it has won some awards too.

Now, while Mr. Drury, and other family members, might defend use of the family name based on the recognized success and longevity of their business, someone less emotionally attached to the surname might ask where the business would be with a better brand name for a hotel chain.

Continue Reading Re-Branding and Pink Elephants: Doesn’t “Drury Inn” Need a Name Change?

Recently, UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog commented on the new logo adopted by Much Music. After 10 years of using MUCHMOREMUSIC, the logo was changed to MUCHMORE. The new logo is aesthetically more pleasing, but the change raises an important issue. Modernizing old logos can result in abandonment of the old mark, which means a loss of all trademark rights in the old logo.

In order to retain the trademark rights from the old version of the mark, the modified mark must contain what is the essence of the original mark and the new form must create the impression of being essentially the same mark. In other words, the new mark must retain the same overall commercial impression of the old mark. Generally, modernizing a mark will retain the same overall commercial impression of the old mark. However, the risk of creating a different commercial impression looms when elements are added to or deleted from the old mark.

In Much Music’s case, they deleted the term MUSIC, added color, and stylized the terms in a different way. The different stylization of the terms probably does not create a different commercial impression. However, the addition of color when the old logo did not have color and deletion of the term MUSIC could cause the new logo to create a commercial impression that is different from the old logo. The potential loss of 10 years of use could have a significant impact on the brand going forward. Therefore, it is important to keep this issue in mind when modernizing marks especially marks that have been used for many years.