15.846 Final Project: Rebranding Cleveland, OH
Cleveland, Ohio has a branding problem on it’s hands: despite having world-class attractions, dining, and entertainment, Cleveland remains seen as a down-on-it’s luck town whose best days are far, far behind them. While those in section B of 14.846 will be lucky enough to hear our entire presentation, the communications strategy portion can be found here.
4+1 P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, Packaging
Product: Cleveland’s product is not the city or area by itself: Rather, it’s an experience encompassing the many, many things to do, see, hear, and eat in Cleveland. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is perhaps its most famous attraction. The nearby Cedar Point amusement park has been voted the best amusement park in the world for 16 consecutive years. The Cleveland Orchestra is world-renowned and is one of five American orchestras referred to as “The Big 5.” Cleveland also has a thriving food scene - perfect for those who are hungry after a day on the links at one of the area’s fantastic golf courses. Lastly, the area is home to several professional sports teams including the Cleveland Indians, managed by World Series winner Terry Francona. For those interested in a more permanent stay in Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic is one of the best healthcare facilities in the world - patients regularly fly in to visit leading doctors in all medical fields. Cleveland’s wealth of experiences make up the Product portion of our communication strategy.
Price: The cost of living in the Midwestern United States is generally significantly cheaper than the coasts. Cleveland is no exception: It’s 14% cheaper to live in or visit Cleveland than the rest of the US, and 71!! percent cheaper than New York City. Below is a cost of living index comparing Cleveland to other major US cities, with the national average set to 100:
United States: 100
New York City: 148
Los Angeles: 127
Portland, OR: 107
Kansas City: 90
Tampa, FL: 92
Promotion: As with essentially every promotional campaign today, Cleveland’s should be multi-channel. Social media accounts are a must. Social media tools like Instagram can be used to promote Cleveland via nice photos of the area. The explosion of the blogosphere and travel blogging should also be used, including inviting popular travel bloggers to spend a week in the city to highlight its many attractions. Video is also can be distributed both on television and on the internet, and can also showcase the area’s many attractions. Lastly, Cleveland should consider some tongue-in-cheek promotional tactics like those we have seen with Domino’s Pizza. Domino’s has embraced it’s not-so-stellar past and acknowledged the poor quality of its food and product flops like Pizza Cookies, while reinforcing their commitment to changing recipes and using quality ingredients. Embracing things like the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video helps strengthen the compare/contrast elements necessary to remove Cleveland from its past.
What are the distribution points to a Cleveland vacation? The travel industry has become increasingly fragmented and DIY vs. the old model of having a travel agent arrange a vacation. For many people planning a vacation travel website TripAdvisor, travel blogs, and the travel section in newspapers are sources of ideas and inspiration. Featuring the product in these channels, coupled with ease of access to the actual booking tools on websites like Kayak or Orbitz are the main channels Cleveland should focus on for actually booking a trip to the city.
Developing the packaging for a city isn’t unlike packaging for a product in the traditional sense. Packaging helps get your product noticed, and can create great experiences for a customer. For a city, it can be more difficult. Repackaging a city like Cleveland would require investment in public goods like making sure Lake Erie is clean, cleaning the streets, planting flowers, new construction, and ensuring a generally pleasant and enticing exterior for the city.