Editorial / By CBJ Editorial Board
Instead of hiring a regional branding firm and engaging with more than 1,500 people to develop a regional brand like local leaders did with Iowa’s Creative Corridor, the new joint venture between the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Iowa City Area Development Group and led by Jen Daly pulled a handful of area creatives together and came up with a new name for the region: ICR IOWA.
“We are excited to share ICR IOWA, a new brand imagined by a team of 17 creatives who live and work in our region,” said Ms. Daly in a press release. “The ICR stands for Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, shortened to share that central ‘C.’ The team believes this brand will resonate both within and outside our region, allowing us to develop a stronger presence nationally and internationally for business and talent attraction.”
At least it will fit nicely on a t-shirt, which appears to be one of the primary goals of the brand.
We are withholding final judgment on the concept until we get some pithy slogans from Raygun’s iconoclastic founder, Mike Draper, who is already working on “a really fun notebook design that we are handing out to clients,” Ms. Daly said.
(Full disclosure: the publisher of the Corridor Business Journal was the chair of the regional branding effort from 2009-2011.)
On a related note, the CBJ held its inaugural Future of Technology event last week (see our coverage on page 3). One common theme discussed was how the region could do a better job of fostering more tech companies in the Corridor – a highly coveted goal by economic development officials. Two of the event’s speakers – both relatively new to the region, from Los Angeles and Chicago – were pleasantly surprised with the area’s vitality and the level of tech activity and support available.
Two suggestions voiced by these new residents were to better market the region and to get more local folks speaking affectionately about what we already have.
Granted, the Iowa Creative Corridor brand was neither created nor implemented as effectively as it could have been, but there has also been a recognition and embrace of the name by nearly 200 businesses and organizations in the region, so we were disappointed that the new branding didn’t include this term in some form.
A catchy acronym is now being used in places like Oklahoma City with OKC and MSP in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but Minneapolis-St. Paul is still widely known as the Twin Cities and that brand equity isn’t about to change.
The bottom line is we aren’t going to change the name of the Corridor Business Journal nor are we going to stop referring to the region as the Corridor, and we would encourage others to do the same.