Monday, 21 May 2012

Change my name?

No thankyou. I will stay with "Catdownunder" unless I move to Upover - unlikely.
There is yet another call though for the Australian state in which I live to change its name... oh and change the name of the capital at the same time. Oh?
As usual the call comes from one of the usual suspects. This time it is "the business lobby" - or rather the leader thereof.  No doubt he has some support from within the ranks. They like the idea because they believe it would give business a boost. They like the idea because "the very act of changing our name would boost our profile". Oh?
To me all this smacks of laziness. If we are having a problem marketing our state then I do not think changing names will help. It may even hinder things. It would be extremely expensive.
I think what matters is what we have to sell.
In world terms we do not have a lot to sell. We have a small population. We have only a little industry (and some of that is disappearing). We have some nice scenery. There are some pockets of history - Australia's one and only saint if you happen to be Catholic, the old mining towns and the opal fields. There are a few caves in the south-east of the state and over on the far "west" coast. There is a longish walking track and the wine-regions and the biggest automobile museum in the Southern Hemisphere. If you want a nice, quiet holiday or an outdoor holiday or you want to go fishing or wine-tasting then it is an ideal place for a holiday.  There is a Festival of Arts, SALA (the South Australian Living Artists) Week, a horse race, a car race. Yes, things do happen as well.
The capital however is not exactly a bustling metropolis. It is, by world standards, small. It is not going to suddenly change into a city of ten million people overnight. Yes, shopping hours are different here. Opening shops for longer makes no sense unless you have far more people to spend far more money. As it is longer opening hours just adds to the expense of buying locally.
Changing names is not going to change these things. Changing names is not going to turn the state into some sort of mega-tourist attraction. Changing names is not going to sell more wine or fruit or bring in more tourists. Oh yes, there might be a small increase for a short while but things would soon settle back into the same rut.
There would be a fierce and divisive debate over any name change. There would be those who wanted it retained. There would be others who would want an indigenous name (which would cause more division because which tribe would you recognise). There would be others who came up with suggestions that may or may not be acceptable to some and not others. We would, like Burma/Myanmar and Bombay/Mumbai
have years of dual names and some would always resent it.
It is not a name change which is needed but an attitude change. The state has to recognise what it is - and work around that. It has to work at marketing itself. Merely changing names will not do that.


Rachel Fenton said...

"Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?" Nothing is free of branding - sadly.

the fly in the web said...

I suppose the business lobby means all the website designers, printers and logo designers...