Welcome to Miami-Dade County, home of the dullest motto
Written by Michael Lewis on August 11, 2015
Miami-Dade County is poised to toss a free economic development opportunity into the garbage for no good reason.
The opportunity is to hang a global nametag on our community – the kind of tag that almost everyone associates with the area, one that has a positive ring. The moniker would be visible on county vehicles, stationery and everywhere that the county posts its name.
The county already has a title that’s seen all over – seen, but not noticed. Stick it in among some great urban nametags and it’s like the blank museum wall between two Warhols – blah and irrelevant.
Yet a great branding job echoes the image of great cities around the world. You know who they are from the slogan alone.
Take the test and match the community’s name with each of these famed slogans and brands: The Motor City, The Big Easy, The Eternal City, The Big Apple, the Windy City, The City of Light, The City of the Angels, What Happens Here Stays Here, The Research Triangle, The City by the Bay, The Mile High City, and Delivering Excellence Every Day.
Did you get that last one, the one about delivering excellence? Pretty lame among all those others, isn’t it?
Know whose it is? Ours.
It sounds more like UPS or FedEx than our vibrant community.
For several years a few commissioners have recognized how lame that Miami-Dade County slogan sounds and how valuable it could be if it we directed a good line to the rest of the world rather than trying to tell local taxpayers what a good deal they’re getting for their tax bucks, which is what we’re doing now – tossing away opportunities to talk to the world by trying to burnish the county’s image locally.
If it’s true, it’s really commendable that county employees do their best all the time. It’s what taxpayers have every right to expect.
But tossing off hundreds of thousands of impressions that a county slogan can make on the world so that county leaders can visually pat themselves on the back in public is wasted opportunity – the kind of opportunity they don’t waste in the Big Apple or the Windy City or the City by the Bay.
You know what their slogans are. But go to Chicago or New York or San Francisco and ask if they can figure out what metropolitan area is Delivering Excellence Every Day. Dollars to doughnuts they won’t pick us as first choice, or second.
So back in 2013, Juan Zapata rounded up professional volunteers who offered to help recast our slogan, our county’s equally bland logo and our image at no cost. Fellow commissioners were skeptical that everything would really be free so they suggested that high school art students could for sure do it all for nothing. They forgot to say that it would probably be worth exactly that – so we said it for them.
Then last fall Commissioner Dennis Moss asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez for a report on exploring a consistent theme for the county’s Metrorail cars, buses, water and sewer trucks and so on and recommend something new. The mayor responded in July that county policy requires that the county’s logo be everywhere so leave well enough alone – as though it really were well enough.
Mr. Moss then said all he wanted to do was make sure that all the logos and looks of county vehicles match up. “I agree 100%,” the mayor told him. End of story – and end of opportunity to take a long, long step forward.
The mayor is right that county policy gave us what we have. But last time I looked, it is the commissioners who set county policy. If they don’t like it, they can change it with a single vote.
And, pardon me, what’s to like about “Delivering Excellence Every Day” beside a curved line name tag that says Miami-Dade County? It was never distinctive, and it has aged particularly poorly when compared with just about any metropolitan area in the nation. Can you find one with branding this flavorless?
A municipal slogan that’s worth anything catches the flavor, feeling and nature of its community. It also rolls off the tongue and sticks in the mind.
Name a county or metropolitan area in the nation that couldn’t have the brand “Delivering Excellence Every Day” with more or less the same validity as we have? It doesn’t roll off your tongue or you’d have said it about your home town many times. Have you?
As for sticking in the mind, I had to look it up to be sure I had it right. Nobody in Chicago has to look up The Windy City.
So before the county spends a penny to make sure that every vehicle has the same insipid slogan and blah logo as every other county vehicle, couldn’t the commission call time out and think of something that actually reflects the assets, feel, appeal and individuality of Greater Miami?
Once we dream it up we wouldn’t have to spend a penny – just apply it to every new vehicle and every envelope and every public image as they’re put in service.
Now I’m sorry I pooh-poohed using high school students. Any of them could do better than “Delivering Excellence Every Day.”