Peter Saville, Creative Director for the city of Manchester, England, was recently interviewed by The Atlantic Cities about a range of subjects, including the city’s brand. This quote on city brands, in particular, stood out:
“I was not interested in an official city logotype or a slogan. City logotypes do little and slogans are a sign of insecurity. If your place needs a slogan, it has a problem. A brand is not just a logotype, it’s a set of values that are communicated through actions.”
This hit home for Richmond, which has struggled over the years to establish a brand that feels both authentic and aspirational. RVA Creates is part of a grassroots effort to communicate Richmond’s existing groundswell of creativity and innovation. And it’s not the only effort underway.
“There’s nothing wrong with logos or slogans — I’d never argue that Avis’s ‘We try harder’ or Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ or Apple’s ‘Think Different’ aren’t powerful statements of what their brands stand for. But they’re not enough,” said Matt Williams, EVP/general manager for the Martin Agency and a member of the multi-agency group that launched RVA Creates. “If they don’t represent real behavior that people care about, they’re just empty turns of phrase. The brand is the behavior the slogan represents, not the slogan itself. Maybe your brand needs a slogan, maybe it doesn’t. But if you don’t have the corresponding behavior a catchy slogan won’t matter.”
And that’s the heart of RVA Creates—a recognition of the amazing things you, the residents of the Richmond region (or RVA as so many of us call it) are out there doing every single day.
Said Williams, “creativity is behavior, not just branding. The RVA idea is meant to tell stories of Richmond’s creativity and to enable the people to be more creative. We wanted to celebrate and unleash the creativity we all know is already here.”
You can help tell the stories that show RVA as a creative and innovative region by sending your stories of creativity and innovation in RVA to firstname.lastname@example.org, posting them in the comments below or sending them to the Facebook page or Twitter account.