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Lesson in launching something in social media

May 11, 2011

About a year ago, I was asked to volunteer some time to help brand Buffalo for tourists. We were asked to sequester in a couple of rooms for 18 hours and come up with a position for Buffalo.

The process was interesting, to say the least. Getting to watch people work, play, laugh and create is part of the reason I’m in this business. Seeing ideas flow, both good ones and bad ones, was exciting.

As a guy who loves the town he lives in, it was fun to be a part of something designed entirely around amplifying the good. I’ve been in conversation with many a Buffalonian who thought I was daft for picking this city.

So, we created. We presented. Some people picked a line, then went off and created content around the line. They launched the new brand at a presentation at one of Buffalo’s wonderful tourist attractions, the Burchfield Penny.

After the in person presentation, they launched a sizzle video, something that encapsulates the new brand position of Buffalo.

They launched it on Twitter with this:

This created a firestorm on social media in Buffalo. A Twitter meme was created called #buffslogan, wherein people weighed in about possible Buffalo Slogans.

So here’s the issue, in my opinion: when Visit Buffalo Niagara launched the video, they didn’t give it context. The context is, this is a slogan to sell Buffalo to Architecture Tourists from around the country.

From a bunch of studies and data, this is the person who is coming to Buffalo now. So this video is meant to attract those people. It’s not a “Talking Proud” video, and it isn’t designed to get people to move and live here. It’s entirely about tourism.

Some other cities with slogans for tourism:

Charlotte’s got a lot.
Milwaukee: Live like you mean it.
Toronto: It’s time for a little TO.
Miami’s For Me

And those are just a handful of slogans.

So, to recap: Visit Buffalo Niagara, the former Conventions and Visitors Bureau, launches a new buffalo Brand for tourists, but fails to really tell people it’s for tourists, and a semi-firestorm erupts about what isn’t in the video, and what is.

People will share your stuff. Especially if you happen to be branding a city. Give people context, and they might share it positively.

Here’s the video. Now that you have context, what do you think of the video?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Lyga permalink
    May 16, 2011 10:32 pm

    dismal. Fine video, but missed the mark on the purpose….and 4 mins 11 secs? Many would be asleep before the “buffalo for real” logo appears.

    If I’m going to visit someplace, I’m not going to do it for the quaint streets and historic architecture

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