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.