Posted by: Chris | October 11, 2007

Rebranding Opportunity: Relinquished

Rebranding is risky. But when the opportunity arises, and rebranding truly needs to happen, relinquishing the opportunity to do so may doom a brand to stagnancy.

The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma may very well have relinquished this opportunity when it shot down a fraction of a penny tax to be allotted for development along one of Tulsa’s most valuable natural resources, the Arkansas River.

As a native Tulsan (I was born in the pink St. Francis hospital on Yale), I have had to listen to jabs from other states’ cities for as long as I can remember. “Conservative” is the label that has been inexorably tied to our state. Sounds good. Safe. Moral. Unoffensive. Quiet. Meek. Dependable. Unchanging. Predictable. Dull. Entrenched. Unglamorous. Immobile. Inflexible. Afraid. Anti-progressive.


Fortunately, our current mayor, Kathy Taylor, is forward-thinking enough to see beyond this roadblock. My guess is, she knew that the same mindset that has caused Tulsa to languish for decades would effectively put an end to this local rebranding initiative. My guess is she’s already thinking about what to do next.

As we know in marketing, position and brand are not created so much as they are imputed upon a company (or city); a culmination of first-impressions, reputation, and consistency (see my formula here). And a sound brand requires a serious, significant investment. The adage “you get what you pay for” is particularly true in this context. Fortunately, there are uneasy, fidgety entrepreneurs in Tulsa who will keep introducing opportunities for Tulsa to rebrand. Hopefully next time, as a city, we will embrace the opportunity.



  1. I like your take on the situation. And also, TOUCHDOWN, 2PT CONVERSION.

  2. […] by whomever is in charge of our state’s image-a person who I do not believe exists. I blogged a while back about how my home city, Tulsa, recently relinquished the opportunity to change its […]

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