DES: Last week at London's World Travel Market, the city of Atlanta in the southern state of Georgia USA, unveiled its latest branded campaign: Every Day is an Opening Day.
TINA: Sadly yet another meaningless advertising slogan destined to follow 'Advantage Atlanta' and 'Center of the New South' into the dustbin of destination branding history.
DES: Since hosting the 1996 summer Olympics and being consistently rated as a top choice business location, Atlanta has enjoyed a meteoric rise in its status as a major city destination.
TINA: So much so that the city's airport - Hartsfield-Jackson - has overtaken Chicago's O'Hare airport as the world's busiest, populated substantially by domestic passengers, who are now stopping in the city rather than just using the airport as a connecting hub.
DES: I do however sense a big brand idea in the air for this mega-successful metropolis.
TINA: Welcome to Atlanta: America's Favorite American Destination. (See footnote).
DES: And its nickname - Hotlanta - first proposed by blog buddy Laura Ries' father: Al Ries - the perfect moniker to mirror its rapid rise up the US domestic destination league table.
TINA: Leadership of a category is a powerful strategy to position a brand. It seems that people are drawn to where it's 'hot' despite the possible negative interpretation of unbearable summer temperatures.
DES: So how should Atlanta build on its domestic success and rival New York's international positioning as a world-class city based on ex-Mayor Rudi Guiliani's big brand idea: The World's Capital?
TINA: By developing the tactical idea: "Now that you've visited The Big Apple: the World's favorite American destination, you're ready to experience Hotlanta: America's favorite American destination".
DES: Sounds logical - lead people from what they know to where you want them to go. So let's now try and put forward a powerful global brand plan based on that tactic.
TINA: Well, Atlanta is home to two of the World's top brands - Coca Cola: the World's No.1 product brand, and CNN: the World's No.1 news channel. The perfect opportunity to co-brand product with place.
DES: But Coca Cola and CNN are both strongly associated with Brand America, whose current strategy of exporting the 'American Dream' - Land of the Free - using military might, has plunged the country's international brand image and reputation to an all-time historic low.
TINA: Although this is unquestionably a difficult period for Brand America and every brand associated with it, it's important to remember that it's only temporary from the perspective of an historic timeline. However, within every cloud there's a silver lining - an opportunity for the city of Atlanta and its people, to catapult themselves onto the world stage - post Olympics.
DES: I fully agree. Atlanta is the spiritual home of arguably one of the greatest personal brands in 20th Century history - the late Martin Luther King - who, having been influenced by India's Gandhi, campaigned under a 'freedom-thru-non-violence' strategy.
TINA: By becoming a cultural activist through co-branded campaigns with The King Center as well as Coca Cola and CNN, Atlanta has the credentials as well as the resources to take up Brand America's greatest challenge in the 21st Century, and in doing so, it would build a global leadership position for itself.
DES: Atlantans, Uncle Sam Wants You!
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"Leadership of a destination category is critical to sustainable success. So temporarily put aside logos and slogans, and focus your mind on finding a category where your competitors have to play catch-up and follow-the-leader".
Within Atlanta's proposed positioning statement - America's Favorite American Destination - the more powerful word 'City' could replace the word 'Destination' because Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport is located partly within the southern city limits of Atlanta.