Weekly Column: 2017-06-30

Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know the city of New York? Even people who have never been to New York would have seen it mentioned in a movie, on TV shows, or in a book. You can easily imagine the Statue of Liberty, skyscraper buildings on narrow streets, and busy streets filled with cars and people.

I visited there last week. New York, the largest city in the United States, has a great impact on many areas such as commerce, finance, media, arts, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. Every time I visit, I am charmed by this cultural capital city. There is something everyone must buy before leaving - a souvenir with the I♡NY slogan. In truth, a big part of the city's identity is this logo that is actually quite simple in design. This one-line embroidered emblem with a red heart matches New York City quite well and, I believe, may have made New York one of the most beloved cities in the world. 

It's very simple phrase "I Love New York" conveys the heartbeat behind the city. However, if simply left as a one sentence statement it would probably lose something over time.  But, creating the slogan “I♡NY,” replacing love with a heart and New York with NY became an instant success and the driving force for an increase in tourism.

This shows how huge the role of branding is. One small slogan can change the image of a city, even if it is a simple and ordinary logo. If you can clearly tell what the message is in the hidden story, there can be a better effect than you think. During the 1970s, New York had a notoriously negative image due to its high-crime rate, but since the city centered its branding business on the “I Love New York” slogan with heart-shaped T-shirts, a new lifestyle with a positive symbol has emerged among New Yorkers. By emphasizing this positive image, visitors have succeeded in transforming the city's image itself as they traveled around the world.

It seems that many people still think that branding is difficult and should be expensive to make an impression. They expect great performances from high costs and are easily disappointed, abandoning or even readjusting the process, and wasting a lot of time. However, in many instances, in order to make a big difference, bringing a slight change in the beginning, can lead to great results. The difference between success and failure in a business, regardless of cost, is made by the slightest of changes.

In the end, all businesses need good branding. Creating an appealing brand image will make it part of the culture and show the specialty of a brand. People will share it with others, making this the most important step for a business' success. If you meet the consumer’s emotional and symbolic needs, provide a unique consumer experience, and start thinking about what cultural image your product or service conveys to them, don’t you think people will see your business as a success in the future?