The Baltimore Campaign: Misdirected Slogans

Feb 25, 2015 | Digital

After years of being tagged “The Greatest City in America,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has signed the bill for Baltimore’s new slogan, “Baltimore: Birthplace of The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Cue the patriotic music.

According to a LinkedIn article by marketing expert Ashton Menefee, the change was the result of a city councilman and some history buffs putting their heads together.

Sounds like a good representation for all of Baltimore, right? Not exactly.

Which has us pondering, was the branding change really necessary and are they missing the obvious?

“People tend to want to revamp things while they are still working or change it because they are making personal decisions versus strategic ones. Knowing that effective marketing is about working it until it’s not working anymore, we’re wondering why they ever moved away from Charm City,” said Mandy Arnold, president at Gavin Advertising. “They may have let the wrong people make decisions without first establishing the voice of the customer and understanding how to celebrate the city’s unique brand voice. This appears to be a typical decision made by committees without doing the necessary due diligence on the target audience experience.”

Here’s a look at what the people of Baltimore are saying about the new slogan in a news segment from WBAL-TV:

“The most powerful tool behind a brand is its people. Get them to buy-in and you’ll be amazed at what can happen,” continued Arnold.

Baltimore would’ve been better off reflecting the full breadth of what the city is known for. Although it hasn’t been the official slogan since the 70s, many still know Baltimore as “Charm City.” Perhaps it’s worth revisiting this phrase.

How would you brand Baltimore?

photo credit: 347-DSC06359 via photopin (license)