On Pam Zubeck's March 28 "Branded" cover story on Olympic City USA (aka Colorado Springs) — branding bombast, hyperbole and jargon aside...
1) There is no compelling "hard data" (only soft PR findings) to support or refute that any human being outside the city or its Olympic constituencies is aware of the "Olympic City USA is Colorado Springs" association or vice versa. No economic development or tourism studies, no trend analysis, no emotional intelligence data. The Convention & Visitors Bureau's Doug Price seemed to confirm these points. No one addressed them further.
2) Brand strategy? Talk the talk, walk the walk, consistency, beginning to end. "Right moniker and tag line" is only the launch pad for head-on economic development or a tourism game plan. Brand is aspirational, where you'll be in five, 10, 20 years. The USOC debacle will prove inconsequential with these timelines.
3) Unless the Colorado Springs public and private sector respond to "sexual assault" protocols similarly to the USOC's proven history of neglect, avoidance, inattentiveness and denials, there is no "tarnished image" issue. Repeat: Talk the talk, walk the walk.
4) The majority of interviewees refer to "Colorado Springs-as-Olympic City USA" in a self-referential manner. Tout-and-amplify does not make it so (all due respect to social media, advertising and opinion journalism). The USOC debacle will not be its last: Errors of judgment, missteps and acts of criminal or civil wrongdoing come with the territory.
As a brand-new relocatee-resident and "Corporate Branding Campaign of the Year" award-winner that put an unknown PepsiCo brand on the map, [I can] imagine how many millions of prospective tourists have no idea that the Olympic City USA, Official Hometown of the USOC, and Colorado Springs are one and the same.
We've got 25 years to make it stick (length of USOC commitment). Let's make the most of it — no matter what the USOC does or does not do.
— Stan Friedman, Colorado Springs
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