You may think that I am referring to some of the city branding efforts that have been in the news lately when I refer to Dull, Boring and Bland. However, that’s not the case. From time to time, I have highlighted how some places are playing with a handicap when it comes to promoting themselves as an attractive place to visit, live, work or invest because they have an unusual name. Changing official place names can be controversial and difficult to achieve. On the other hand, these places can sometimes capitalize on their unusual names to gain publicity that might not otherwise come their way.
I recently witnessed this. I was traveling throughout the Australian state of New South Wales conducting destination branding workshops and while in the city of Wagga Wagga where I met Jeff Stein, the economic development manager for Bland Shire. Our conversation quickly focused on the Shire name and the “glass half full” opportunities that may be open to them. I told Jeff that we were working on a project in Clackamas County, Oregon where the City of Boring is located. I told him that Boring is twinned with Dull, Scotland and I would see if Bland Shire might be able to join these other like-named places.
A few emails with Jim Austin at Clackamas County Tourism and now Bland Shire is moving toward partnerships with Boring and Dull to initiate some joint marketing efforts. A hint of this triad combining their charisma has been caught by the media in many countries, including Hong Kong, New Zealand, Scotland, Australia, Ireland and several others. I hear that Static, KY and Solitude, IN can’t wait to join in.
Jeff Stein tells me that they would like to introduce a passport for people wanting to visit all of these exciting places. I suggest that it have plenty of pages because there seems to be more dull, boring and bland places out there than we realized! However, beyond gaining attention, they shouldn't lose sight of the need to demonstrate their meaning and value to target audiences.