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Why Scrapping the Positively Plymouth Brand is the Positive Thing to Do

The Positively Plymouth brand has been scrapped. Did you even know it existed?


What the Positively Plymouth brand looked like

When the Positively Plymouth branding was previewed on 27 May 2010 I was one of the people invited to hear about it. As I listened to the speeches and took part in the Q and A it struck me that this could be good for us all. I even wrote a blog post about it that same day which you can still read (Positively Plymouth – the New Brand is Revealed). The problem is that it soon became apparent it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing.

Like a few others, I went back to the office and googled “Positively Plymouth”. Turns out the slogan was already being used in the States. The design itself was unclear and people didn’t quite know how to use it. Now, fast-forward to 21 February 2013 and the BBC breaks the news that the brand is to be quietly put to sleep (read the BBC article here: Positively Plymouth Marketing Brand Ditched). To be honest, it’s not a moment too soon.

Why I’m Pleased Positively Plymouth is Being Scrapped

Okay here’s why I agree with the decision to ditch it. There are a few reasons and I’m not going to explain them in depth. I’d rather hear from you. So read them now and leave a comment if you’d like about the subject.

  1. The brand identity was hard to understand. Nobody (apart from a few big-budget firms) ever really got to grips with how we could use it. A good brand ID needs clarity – we have to ‘get it’ almost instantly.
  2. It failed to capture our imaginations or to inspire the people and businesses of Plymouth. This may well be due to poor implementation but in any case it didn’t grab us or more people would have adopted it
  3. It’s not strong enough. If we want to attract investment and encourage inspired action here, we need more than encouragement to be positive. Most of us (except a vocal minority) are already positive about our wonderful city and need something with a lot more passion.
  4. Ultimately, the statement “Positively Plymouth” is actually negative and patronising. Now, let me explain that before you react.

Be Positive But Be More Passionate

Just using the word “positive” doesn’t make you positive. Try telling your teenage child to be more positive about cleaning up his room and you’re not likely to get much positivity. The phrase “Positive Plymouth” sounds more like an instruction than an exclamation, more of an admonition than an exclamation. This ultimately makes it a patronising (and therefore negative) brand for me. We’re already positive.

Instead of spotlighting the wealth of talents and skills in Plymouth, it just tells us: “be a bit more smiley, eh?”. Being positive doesn’t attract investment on its own. We need to identify and promote our advantages over the rest of the UK. Where else do you find the amazing combination of natural beauty, talented people, history, heritage and cutting edge technology than in Plymouth? We are unique and we need to let the world know how proud we are about that.

Apparently we are now to have a much stronger brand. I certainly hope so, because Plymouth has waited long enough for a campaign that matches the passion of the people that live here.

Why Scrapping the Positively Plymouth Brand is the Positive Thing to Do

by | The Plymouth Blog

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