A creative conversation between Des and Tina, Brandopia's mythical brand developers
DES: Earlier this month, the city of Leeds in England's northern county of Yorkshire, launched its latest brand mark based on the slogan - Live it Love it.
TINA: Co-incidently, the slogan also mirrors Hong Kong's strapline: Live It. Love It!
DES: Hong Kong does however have a global brand strategy - despite the over-used slogan.
TINA: Getting to the top of Asia's World City league table is a powerful brand vision and focus.
DES: Leeds, however, doesn't appear to have a big brand idea - either locally or globally.
TINA: A situation that needs to be addressed if this city is to become one of Europe's great destinations, instead of losing out to near neighbours York for leisure tourists and Harrogate for conference visitors.
DES: OK Tina, let's see if we can brainstorm a big brand idea for Leeds.
TINA: There seems to be two interesting possibilities. First, Leeds is the UK's most popular destination for university student applications.
DES: But unfortunately, the OxBridge brands of Oxford and Cambridge are perceived to occupy the top two positions in the country's uni league table. (See footnote).
TINA: The second interesting possibility is that Leeds has won the UK's best city for business award.
DES: Now there's an idea with enormous potential.
TINA: Leeds, over the years, has transformed itself from a commercial centre for textiles, wools and metals, to a modern financial and legal powerhouse - a business capital.
DES: Now that we've uncovered a big brand idea, we need to find an equally big market territory to position that idea.
TINA: Whilst the county of Yorkshire is a relatively large market, I think there is potentially an even bigger market - the North of England.
DES: But sadly, the 'North' is a bland, unemotional, unfocused compass name which definitely needs a name makeover.
TINA: Well, two of the region's major natural landmarks are the Pennines mountain range - the so-called backbone or spine of the country - and its Dales - deep valleys formed between the peaks.
DES: Welcome to Pennsdale: England's northern region, and its business capital: Leeds the Biz, handling over a third of the UK's Internet traffic.
TINA: Where after business hours you can enjoy its high-brow culture of opera, ballet and the International Pianoforte Competition, and shop-till-you-drop in its designer retail quarter - Victoria.
DES: To build its brand, Leeds must champion the bridging of the great Pennsdale cultural divide between the modern Penns - the next-generation entrepreneurs - symbolised by the historical 'Wars of the Roses' fought by the Yorkists in the east, whose emblem is the white rose, against the Lancastrians in the west, represented by the red rose.
TINA: And it must then go on to build a European position by developing its twinning programme to embrace the Continent's great business cities such as Germany's Frankfurt and Switzerland's Zurich.
DES: But should it also commission a sculptural work of art to complement Antony Gormley's iconic Angel of the North?
TINA: Absolutely. And it should name it - Eldes - a transposition of the letters in the word L-e-e-d-s - with the sub-title: Business Angel of Pennsdale.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"A brand mark - logo & slogan - should represent or symbolise a destination's brand strategy - a big brand idea with a future-focus. A brand mark without a big brand idea is simply style with no substance".
For a Q&A session on the world's university destination brands, simply click here and scroll down to Massachusetts.