Maybe it’s not quite a crisis, but Springfield needs an identity.
The idea is not a new one. It’s just risen to the hot-button level among city and community leaders during the last year. Especially so when officials returned from a fall Community Leadership Visit to Boise, Idaho. You know, the “City of Trees.”
You probably didn’t know that about Boise (or that it’s pronounced “BOY-see”). But the nickname is an effort to embrace its identity with nature.
You could say Springfield is the Queen City of the Ozarks. But does that tell you anything about the fabric and values of the community? And besides, there’s 10 other American cities with Queen City in the nickname – including our very own Sedalia.
To address Springfield’s identity, a committee through the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is discussing and developing some ideas.
But did you know the city already has a slogan trademarked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
U.S. Registration No. 2500414 says, “Everywhere should be like this.”
That’s it. Everywhere. Like this.
That’s what our identity needs to answer.
Originally trademarked on Oct. 23, 2001, the slogan was last renewed in August 2011. Let’s leave it in 2011.
By definition, an identity is “the distinguishing character or personality” and “the objective reality of a thing,” according to Merriam-Webster.
So each city should not be like Springfield but should have its own identity. An identity is unique and believable.
But that’s a really hard question to answer: Who am I? Or, better stated, who are we 160,000 Springfieldians?
I’ve found cities don’t have a good track record with slogans.
Menominee, Michigan, is “Where the best of Michigan begins.” Right there, in Menominee.
The “Musky Capital of the World” is in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. I mean, it’s unique. But attractive?
Missouri’s struck out a couple of times: Warrensburg is “Made fresh daily,” and Marshall’s simply “Smart dog, nice folks.”
I’m not joking. Each of these is USPTO trademarked, according to research by the Trademarkology blog by law firm Stites & Harbison PLLC.
But here are a few slogans that have become memorable to me:
“We don’t coast” by Omaha, Nebraska. The phrase has its own website, hashtag and license plates.
“Des Moines: Hell, yes.” It started on a T-shirt, but it’s become widely adopted. And though it sounds trite, it really does embody the city vibe.
Missouri got it right in Independence, aka “Where the trails start and the buck stops.” The city is former President Harry S. Truman’s hometown.
Central City, Colorado, is the “Richest square mile on Earth.” And Glendive, Montana, is the place of “Good people surrounded by badlands.”
So, what is Springfield?
We’ve got to be more than the birthplace of Route 66.
Maybe we start with the quintessential Springfield. Yes, home of “The Simpsons.” That Springfield. It’s motto is “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”
OK, let’s move on.
I know I’m not of great help here. My tongue is somewhat placed in my cheek, and I won’t quit my day job to get into writing marketing copy. But someone’s got to start it and someone’s got to finish it.
Here are some defining characteristics we know: the outdoors, university life, artsy, entrepreneurial, creative, a regional hub and a small city yet big town.
One thing I’ve observed: We have some family business giants.
Chew on that. And let’s see what comes out.
Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Search sponsored by:
The Greek Corner relocated, New York Style Pizzeria opened and Tie & Timber Beer Co. got its start.
“We were pretty naive in believing if you build a website, you can sell anything,” says David San Paolo, co-owner of Redneck Nutz. San Paolo says you shouldn’t expect word of mouth and social …
David Brazeal shows how you can turn your smartphone into a scanner and not only digitize that paper, but also organize it. In each episode of our monthly series, App-titude, David Brazeal will …
Are you trying to attract and retain caring, hardworking employees who are passionate about serving your guests? Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions says it’s important to …
What would you do differently in starting your business? Charity McGill, CEO and Co-founder of Deep Water Software, says she wouldn’t change much, but wishes she had known a better way to balance …
Have you noticed changes in a coworker’s behavior? Are they making odd posts on social media? Have they said things that cause concern? Eric Schroeder, acting Corporal with the Springfield Police …
“It has a lot to do with lifestyle, and health and wellness — having daily practices that are healthy,” says Elle Feldman, co-owner Good Skin Day. Feldman likes the book, “Choose …
Chris and Jessica Ollis, owners of Spring Branch Kombucha, planned on distributing their beverage themselves. “That might actually be the issue of our business that we were probably the most naïve …
Kirk Stange, Founding Partner, Stange Law Firm says people have many misperceptions about divorce. “I know that clients, at times, look at divorce like a speed race, like a drag race — let’s …
Alina Lehnert, Owner of Lehnert Leadership Group, says if you want to be a good leader, you must first learn to lead yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Learn to regulate …
When Ricky Smiley, Founder and Producer of Smiley Records, LLC decided to pursue a career producing music, he didn’t have a mentor, so he looked to celebrities for inspiration. When Smiley met …