Houston – The Energy Capital of the World

Random branding and positioning thoughts about Houston.  I flew into Memphis last week.  They have a sign in the airport that reads:

Memphis – America’s Distribution Center

FedEx planes are lined up on the runways.  It looks like one of those high speed images of airports where planes land every 3.5 seconds!  I now KNOW that Memphis truly is America’s distribution center.  Then I land in Houston.  We are confused and in denial.  We have a sign outside of the airport that reads:

Welcome to Houston – America’s Fourth Largest City.  The City of Opportunity.

Why is Memphis so concise and clear in their positioning and we are so not-even-top-three-as-if-they-care? I suppose it is better than “Houston is Hot” from a few years ago, which was just horrible but at least rang true.  Apparently we can’t get to the point and are confusing ourselves with New York (now there is the city of opportunity as well as the big apple). I asked a few people about Houston and everyone says the same basic thing.

Houston – The Energy Capital of the World

That is not a bad position to be in.  And economically it only makes sense that the energy capital of the world has a vibrant creative community (only cities are creative because only cities provide the means for artists to survive typically).  Jane Jacobs would back me up on this.  You’ve got also rans like "space city" but come on, we are more known as the energy capital than anything else.  Why must we live in denial at the cost of jobs for our community?

There – we just need to Ries-clarify the brand message for the city and quit running around the issue.  We already have a position in people’s minds.  So let’s affirm it and talk about how creative we are in the energy capital of the world.