Rhino's Ramblings - Notorious Opinions

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Rhino’s Ramblings

Notorious Opinions

Robert Thomas - Opinion/Commentary

It is one of those questions I have been hearing a lot about as I go around town and that is what do you think about the new city slogan Notorious?

As for me myself personally I think it is an OK slogan it is bold, saucy and at the same time dangerous as when it comes to using anything with negative connotations it can hurt you both ways.

With that said over the last five days I have been out talking to local businesses as to what they really think about the move of the city slogan to Notorious. 

I sat down and spoke to 20 businesses and what I found were three groups of dominant opinion when it comes to the Notorious slogan and branding initiative. 

One group of eight businesses were whole-heartedly in support of the Notorious branding, six were neutral on the subject, lukewarm and just did not care and a final group of six were opposed to the new branding initiative for various reasons.

Now I promised not to name any of the businesses when I spoke to them. But I did notice some things about them and in many ways what they felt about the entire Notorious branding initiative was really in many ways based upon who or rather what peer group of businesses the individual generally associated with. 

The people who supported Notorious may have had some reservations about the branding but when it came right down to it they were in many ways ready to support whatever branding for the city was chosen. 

The ones who were lukewarm were in two groups with three saying at first they had negative vibes about the branding due to it being based on in their opinion some very negative connotations. 

But after they gave it a thought they looked at it as worth giving a chance. Perhaps there is something to be found from it and there could be some very good things come from it if we, as a city, can stand out in a good way. That just maybe we can attract people, especially tourists, back in the numbers who once traveled here for such things as the Casino, the spa and the tunnels.

Numbers I am told are down from what they once were. People can tell me where are my stats on that one, well that's easy, I actually know my fair share of long time hotel employees and they have very good memories of how busy they’ve been over the last 15 years.

They tell me things are up with bus tours but it is not like it was a short eight or ten years ago.

Then there are those who actually just do not care one way or the other. Their opinions are just get on with it or it does not matter to their businesses as they are not tied to it one way or another.

Then there are the six businesses who do not like the new branding at all. Most of them tell me they like the old slogan of The Friendly City. There opinion is not swayed by pointing out there are many cities in North American using the same slogan.

Their opinion is based upon the “fact” it sets us out as a better more friendly alternative to their nearest competitor and that is Regina. For the them the three words ‘The Friendly City’ means we are more humble, small town Mayberry like setting but at the same time cosmopolitan. A uniqueness of a safer place where everyone is helpful.

And the final two just quite frankly do not like change.

Now how does this all bode when it comes to a re-branding and whether or not the Notorious theme is actually adopted or ultimately tossed into the trash?

Well I can tell you there are a couple of businesses who do not like the change have “quietly” expressed their opinion to the powers to be. They are not in any mood to participate in the initiative at all.

And this is where the problem lies. How far widespread is this in the business community might very well lead to the abandonment of the entire Notorious branding initiative. 

Now am I hearing that anywhere officially from the business community? No I am not but you sort of have that feeling there is some push back out there.

With the leaking of the Notorious theme locally it in many ways has left those behind the initiative scrambling.

Any carefully planned release and marketing drive is now by the wayside and silently selling a very innovative but admittedly negative marketing campaign is out in the open before its time. It leaves those promoting the entire initiative trying to convince skeptical elements of the business community to back it while there is let’s face it negative talk about it in the general public.

The big question is, is it enough to scuttle the entire branding campaign or is it just choppy waters for the time being?

Do those behind the initiative try to sell it through polite conversation or do they come out critical or worse yet attacking those who might not like it and voice their opinions? If it is the latter then it might seem appropriate but in reality it may well harm your cause. 

But then again this is also Moose Jaw and there always seems to be an underlying current against change. 

Time and time again people on any issue say what is wrong with what we have or had already?

In some ways this is a good sentiment in my opinion but one of things we need to understand is we live in a world where there is rapid change going on all around us and fail to adapt to those changes can leave the local economy behind the curve and left out from the resulting benefits.

We need a city where people feel they have the ability to voice their opinions and be heard in an ever changing world. Accomplishing that is not easy but finding that sweet spot is key to the long term viability of Moose Jaw. 

And that in the end may well be the real reason why the Notorious branding campaign turns into a failure people do not see it as their slogan but someone else's.

Rhino's Ramblings is an opinion / commentary column we welcome opposing viewpoints and comments both for and against the views expressed in this column. 

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