Claremont Insider: Claremont: Hip? Or Hip-Replacement?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Claremont: Hip? Or Hip-Replacement?

Branding Claremont

We have covered Claremont's nascent attempts at "branding" our community. Unfortunately for those wanting to establish the New. Hip. Claremont.®, there may be just too much going against the effort.

Last week the Human Services Department mailed out the Winter number of The Claremont View. Tell us if we are wrong, but we think the New. Hip. Claremont.® now has even a more difficult job to succeed in catching on:

click on photo to enlarge

Look closely--even fleetingly--at the picture on the cover. Does that convey the image that Claremont is au courant? What were the City mothers thinking? We don't fault the individuals--they were probably roped into participating, and the consensus of our fashion experts is that they were "dressed up". But why? Notwithstanding the shopping bags, this doesn't seem to us to convey the message of the New. Hip. Claremont.®. The three canes in the picture send an especially compelling subliminal signal, though.

Let us just state our opinion boldly: Any business development or promotion effort that involves city staff or elected officials is doomed to failure. Don't matter whether it's the Economic Development Officer, Assistant City Manager, Human Services Acting Director, or Mayor. The Claremont Chamber and the Claremont business community ought to run away from that crowd in a straight line.

Mayor Ellen Taylor was quoted in the recent Courier article: “We’re not a mall and we never will be,” Ms. Taylor said. “ Claremont may need to seek a new identity and how best to promote that image to continue to grow in the future." Maybe Claremont should start, just before the recent publication of the Winter View, in shedding the old identity.

Of course, the real product of city government is the consultant's study, preceded by the writing of a tens of thousands of dollars check, and followed by an action of those business experts on city council*. The "branding" issue is no different:

The study will “identify who we are, what we’re selling, and what message we want to communicate to our target audiences," according to a city staff report. Staff estimates that it will take 7 to 8 months to come up with a final brand to present to the city council for approval.

We think the video clip below shows the perfect way to bridge the generation gap in the selection of fashionable women's clothing. Welcome to the New. Hip. Claremont.®**:

*A family law firm office manager, a public employee, a retired aerospace worker, a former sometime college dean, and another public employee.

**By the way, the City may use New. Hip. Claremont.® at no charge. Our contribution to the community.