Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who Controls Your Brand?

Business 2.0 did a ranking of places recently regarding jobs, and it was further distributed by CNN.

It listed Raleigh but with a 1.5 million population, so it was obvious for this area there were two problems. Apparently they used the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CMSA here, which involves two MSAs and a micropolitan statistical area, then pitted it back against other MSAs. In other areas, they appear to have disaggregated an MSA.

We called to see if the label could be changed, since the ranking obviously wasn't for Raleigh, which is maybe a quarter of that overall population. We did the usual, explaining this is a polycentric region, and the brand isn't Raleigh.

What was stunning was the response back by an editor. He wrote, "Raleigh is now and will continue to be how we refer to your region in our lists. No slight is meant to Durham, but it's simply not as familiar a name to our readers as Raleigh…. Should you succeed in raising Durham's profile higher than Raleigh's, we'll be glad to reconsider our policy."

Never mind that it isn't his right to play fast and loose with brand names or that he's absolutely wrong about Raleigh being more familiar (surveys show Durham is only slightly less well-known, which is remarkable considering Raleigh is a state capital, and everyone has to memorize those in school).

What is absurd is the notion that Durham can raise its profile while his magazine ignores it. Am I missing something?

He certainly isn't the first editor to play fast and loose with community identities, often substituting "city" when it's really MSAs that are being measured and truncating names just to "fit."

Our response to this editor was that, in our opinion, Fast Company and Forbes are more familiar than Business 2.0, but we won't be substituting their names in reference to his magazine, because we know how important that brand is to him.

Wonder if he would be as cavalier with the business brands his company covers?

1 comment:

Bill Geist said...

And, I'm guessing he wouldn't be as cavalier with the names of those companies that ADVERTISE in his publication, either.