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This story was originally published on May 28, 2022 as the opinion of the writer, which is based on the facts presented by the world around us.
We’ve all seen it, and many of us don’t like to talk about it — but others do, and none of it is good. That’s exactly what bad branding does. It causes others to think and talk badly about you. When you slap that logo on the side of every municipal opportunity in town, people begin to think you’re fairly tone-deaf.
Have you ever wondered why Columbus’ logo and branding are so … pathetic? There’s a story to it, and boy does it not disappoint. Here’s what actually happened, as alleged by those who were there and tried frivolously to stop the inevitable from happening.
Back in 2017, members of the ‘powers that be’ formed a buy-on board to rebrand the city. Collectively, this band of buffoons did this by ignoring all competent professional firms in the city — which is ironic, considering these same few people have been telling us for years how ‘amazing’ this town is. There are in fact several professionally-competent branding firms within Columbus that can normally be seen thriving at Creative South every year.
These aristocratic elite instead hired a firm from Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, to perform in-depth research to study demographics and other metrics to best create a brand for the city.
Having viewed the presentation of their work and findings myself, this writer can say with competence that the Nashville firm really did a solid job on this research. The Nashville firm then went about professionally developing a series of legitimate options for the City’s brand identity based upon their research findings. We shouldn’t hold anything against the Nashville firm at all; they really did a great job.
However, none of the firm’s research was ultimately used within the brand’s design, and the reason why might surprise you. What occurred next is what truly makes Columbus, well, Columbus.
The same elite of Columbus who bought their way onto the City’s new branding board — which paid roughly $75k to have a professional firm design a proper research-based brand identity — then decided they didn’t like what the professional brand identity firm presented. The aristocracy had better plans, because they knew better. They knew just how to fix the problem with their own home-brew solution based on their years of professional experience. Take the advice of professionals whom we have retained? Never! Our way is better, and we know it! That’s what makes us amazing! Sarcasm emphasized.
One of those board members then went home and literally drew the current logo themselves. The board then completely threw away the professional work of the Nashville firm — a legitimate brand identity company with years of experience specializing in community identity.
If this writer had to guess — and this is purely speculation from someone who knows exactly what it’s like to work with the arrogant and entitled elite of Columbus — the Nashville firm likely threw up their hands, gave up, and responded gracefully by saying, “You know what, fine. This looks great! I hope you’re happy with it, and good luck!”
This of course, as everyone knows, is a professional’s way of saying, “Cool, you’re going to get what you deserve and I sincerely hope you do at this point. I’m going to lie to your face and tell you how good it is because I now want to troll you. I don’t care anymore.”
The resulting logo, as drawn by an obviously incompetent marketer, is what is now representing Columbus to the world. How amazing.
The story behind the Columbus logo is, ironically, a perfect representation of the entitled and incompetent few who continue to destroy this city everyday. The logo itself embodies the aristocracy that controls Columbus in their truest form: a steaming pile of hot garbage who are too narcissistic, arrogant, and entitled to even know how incompetent they really are. They say they want to “do amazing,” but cannot for the life of them recognize that “what got them here won’t get them there.” If these elitist few had the skill sets to fix the problems they created, the problems would not exist in the first place.
The thing about trying to front a brand of something that you are not, is this: your true self will always bleed through. In this case, it’s quite the deadly hemorrhage. If Columbus does not reevaluate itself, humble its gentry, and get out of its own way, it will continue to move the metrics in the direction they’ve been moving for quite some time: the undesired one.
We can measure the results. Poverty is on the rise, as are practically all violent crimes from the time this rebranding initiative began. We all know of the murder rate, which began spiking back in 2017: the same year the city’s branding initiative began. Since then, crime has continued to rise and the security of the downtown area has become smaller and smaller. Columbus needs to take a hard look in the mirror, face facts, and chart its projection over the next decade or so. It isn’t good.
Try and read Columbus, Ga.’s branding website with a straight face. Tone-deaf does not begin to describe the stupidity of their collective results which we all continue to experience each and every day. Ask yourself honestly if you feel that the results have been positive.
Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.
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