In a recent post I talked about how my hometown of Jackson, Michigan was once called “Central City” because of the railroad industry back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The name most people my age knew was the unofficial title of “Prison City”. One reader reminded me that for several years Jackson has been calling itself the “Rose City”.
I forgot about that name.
Sure there are some subtle reminders such as the Rose Parade in which my boys and I have participated over the years, and the Rose Festival, but not much after that.
A friend of mine moved to Jackson a few years ago and heard the name. She still wonders how the name came to be. No huge rose gardens on display, no neighborhoods full of roses, no roses featured in the new logo. The name doesn’t fit the experience.
Prison City still fits. We still have prisons. People already think about Jackson that way. You don’t have to try to convince them otherwise.
But Rose City doesn’t.
That’s one of the key principles of advertising. To truly be effective, your advertising has to match the experience. You can’t advertise your way out of a bad reputation. You can only reinforce the reputation you already have. You can’t change perceptions with advertising. If you try, you will only waste thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it.
PS There are four things advertising cannot do. It cannot change your reputation. It cannot fix your business. It cannot create loyalty. It cannot reach everyone. Sign up for the class and I’ll show you the four things advertising CAN do.