NASHVILLE MARKETING BLOG: Insights on strategic branding, marketing management, general business and Nashville marketing topics. By Monica Powers, Vanderbilt MBA and marketing consultant in Nashville, TN.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Downtown Nashville Is A Brand

Nashville is a city desperately seeking an identity. We live and love it here--especially us transplants. We just have trouble explaining to out of town friends and family what exactly it is that makes this town memorable. (Insert some "hmming" and "huh-ing" here, between an obligatory visit to the Wildhorse Saloon and a binge at Pancake Pantry.) Since moving here on New Year's Day 1995, I noticed we outgrew the country music "handle," but haven't found a new and better handle to replace it with.

Neighborhoods and landmarks most definitely help give a city its handle. I'm talking icons, places and images that lend character, and not just tourist attractions. We don't have many of those, but if it happens anywhere first, it will be downtown Nashville.

The Nashville Gulch is trying to create a brand and stand for something. We have the named area of SoBro, and the Belmont area is trying to rename itself. Downtown residential lofts are the new hot thing. The proposed Signature Tower? Now, there's a landmark to remember. And the folks at Nashville Downtown Partnership are certainly hoping to stir up a strong following for TBD retail, entertainment, and housing products under the brand that is Downtown. The issue with that is: which comes first, the product or the brand? Can you truly brand a concept and experience before you have the substance and critical mass to deliver and make it real?

I can't wait.


Blogger Mack Collier said...

Is Nashville still going with the 'Music City' slogan?

May 24, 2006 11:09 PM

Blogger Monica Powers said...

Yes, still Music City, and getting some recognition for other genres besides country. The Schermerhorn Symphony Hall will open soon.

May 25, 2006 7:40 AM

Blogger Mack Collier said...

I did a piece for BMA a few months ago on Nashville trying to 'rebrand' itself as the 'Music City', that's why I remembered that. I remember reading that it was no longer just country music, for example, at that time Canadian music label Nettwerk (who I am a big fan of), had recently opened a Nashville office.

May 25, 2006 9:25 AM

Blogger Jack Yan said...

Wow, what a great image of Nashville. To answer your question, I believe it is possible to create a brand first: it is akin to setting a vision for a business. However, to make sure the reality meets the vision takes money and leadership. It will also need fairly constant management to ensure that the true experience stays true to that vision.

June 06, 2006 6:11 AM

Anonymous seth said...

It seems like they're trying to copy what Denver did. However, I just prefer Nashvegas – seems like a good brand to me, except of course for all of the gambling and shadiness ;)

February 29, 2008 9:40 PM


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