Editorials: The Sacramento brand proves hard to identify

Published: Friday, Jul. 4, 2014 - 12:00 am

The six-county Sacramento region for too long perceived itself as a “gateway” to other places – to Lake Tahoe in the east or San Francisco in the west.

That perception, thankfully, is outdated.

The Sacramento region increasingly is a hub community with an identity of its own. But what, exactly, is that identity?

Inspired by a study trip last September to Philadelphia, where a “PHL: Here for the Making” campaign was visible everywhere, several individuals from the Sacramento region started talking about developing a single regionwide brand.

The effort grew into a “Brandathon,” with several hundred people volunteering their time to brainstorm and Next Economy organizations supporting the effort.

So far so good.

But the final product? Not so good.

Over time, some 40 entries were narrowed to four. The results didn’t reflect the enthusiasm that went into this effort; none of the four finalists was inspiring, and all could apply to any number of communities:

• In Season

• Sacramento in Season

• Here. We. Grow.

• Here We (fill in the blank)

Online voting on the SacBrandathon Facebook page ended Monday. The advocates announced “In Season, Sacramento” as the winner on Thursday.

The winner has three strikes against it.

While Brandathon advocates see “In Season, Sacramento” as signifying “something for everyone, all year round,” it has certain connotations with, ahem, “in heat,” the breeding cycle of animals, that would make the Sacramento region an instant source of late-night comedy.

It’s also a copy-cat concept. The California Department of Food and Agriculture already has “California, Always in Season,” a campaign to highlight year-round California-grown specialty crops and promote agritourism.

Lastly, the concept doesn’t capture the unique attributes of the region. It is the capital of the nation’s most populous state; the site of two major rivers and an inland river delta; the center of farm-to-fork richness; the launch site of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, pushing from Sacramento over the Sierra Nevada to connect the Atlantic and Pacific; a major transportation hub today; on and on.

The next step, organizers say, is a July 14 meeting to bring together businesses, local governments and civic organizations to figure out how to embed the “In Season” concept in messages and graphics.

Not so fast. “In Season, Sacramento” is not the pot of gold participants hoped to discover at the end of the rainbow.

Keep the conversation going. “Capital Unlimited,” anyone? How about, “Only in Sacramento”?

Read more articles by the Editorial Board

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