The Angeles City I Like! branding campaign was launched in October 2011.This is how it came to be, based on what I published as the city’s tourism officer in December 2011:
In the first quarter of 2011, the need to brand Angeles City was recognized. This is because of fierce competition from neighboring destinations for tourists arrivals; to distinguish the city from the rest through its unique qualities; and to correct the city’s negative image especially on the Internet. On February 28, 2011, I attended a Branding Workshop as a volunteer and resident of the city. The activity was facilitated by a consultant named Danny Consumido, in cooperation with the administration of Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan, and stakeholders. Held at the Angeles City Library, the workshop resulted in 30 brand slogans presented by city volunteers and concerned citizens.
Fast Track Branding
By June 2011, I agreed to work as a consultant for the City Tourism Office. Following the recommendation of REID Foundation on May 27, 2011 to create a new tourism brand, I conducted a market research using a questionnaire that utilizes the principles of place or destination branding. This is a specialized approach to branding that refers to a city, country/ tourist destination, and to their competition for tourists, visitors, investors, residents and other resources (Wikipedia).
The survey respondents included the following profile: Angeles City tourists and residents, 15-60 years old, Americans, German, Filipinos and Kapampangans, first time visitors and return visitors, day tourists to long-staying guests, with expenditure of PHP150 – US$5000, mostly spent on food. All respondents use the Internet and word-of-mouth referrals as their source of travel information. All visitor respondents expressed desire to return to Angeles City.
As part of the urgent requirement of REID Foundation, in August 2011, I presented my branding recommendation with the slogan Angeles City I Like! to Mayor Pamintuan, representatives from the REID Foundation, city stakeholders and other members of the city hall invited by their core group. I selected the slogan Angeles-City-I-Like-Angeles-City-I-Love offered by one of the participants in the Branding Workshop held in February. Two other taglines culled from the 30 taglines, “Sky is the Limit” and “City of Flight,” were chosen by Mr. Consumido and presented to the group by Angeles City resident artist Nicky Reyes. Backed by my market research and analyses, support visuals and implementation strategy, I presented my defense for “Angeles City I Like!” to the same group.
To Like Is To Make A Connection
By September 2011, I was appointed City Tourism Officer. Amidst, the 40+ fiesta activities that they had put together for my office, I continued working with the brand, using my years of copywriting, advertising and branding experience. In my research, I learned that “like” is said to be the modern equivalent of love. Inspired by the Facebook phenomenon of 500 million users (this was back in 2011) who click 3 billion Facebook likes a day, “Like” is a way to give positive feedback. “Like” is to connect with things you care about. In the case of Angeles City, “I Like” is a first aid treatment, a “modern”, digital tool to counter the unwholesome image of Angeles City as seen in top pages of internet search engines. From a marketing perspective, it allows for a non-complicated, cost-effective, but cohesive sales campaign and presentation that may start with: These are the many things to like about Angeles City. From here you may easily enumerate the positive attributes of Angeles City such as our world class cuisine, Angeleno culture, heritage and hospitality. More of these far outweigh the negative qualities.
The direct, emotional appeal of I Like! also aims to encourage civic pride and community participation in making things better for the city. In advertising, “I Like” may be described as “sticky” (easy to remember). It is friendly, builds instant rapport and uses a universal language that speaks to a wide audience. It is easier to imagine kids, teens, adults and senior citizens, especially in this the digital generation, saying I Like! with excitement and conviction. To appeal to the hearts of the local the market and the residents, I Like may also be easily converted to Kapampangan (Buri ke!) or Tagalog (Gusto ko!). To visually reaffirm its message, the slogan may also be supported with a fun and wholesome hand gesture.
Next Challenge: Brand Management
With instructions from the Mayor’s Office in October 2011, Angeles City I Like! launched softly amidst the celebration of Fiestang Kuliat. The logo, designed by Nicky Reyes, appeared in brand shirts (just one of several brand applications produced as souvenir templates), worn proudly by City Hall personnel and guests at various events and in major promotional materials. Angeles City I Like! was also presented at the Angeles City tourism booth during Tigtigan Terakan Keng Dalan, North Philippines Tourism & Travel Expo at SM Clark, and League of Cities of the Philippines International Convention and Exhibit at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. It was re-launched to my principals and the city’s stakeholders in May 2012. As for its future, the brand slogan could change depending on the need and on how well the city is living up to its brand potential.
Angeles City’s branding goal is simple: to show that Angelenos are a likeable people; Angeles city is a very likeable place; and that whether you are a resident or a visitor, you can proudly say, Angeles City, I Like!
NOTE: Angeles City I Like! came out in 2011, just a few months before Department of Tourism released it’s international campaign with It’s More Fun in the Philippines in 2012. The marketing concept bears a similarity to the way the slogan easily enumerates the country’s positive tourism attributes by showcasing what’s fun in the Philippines (for us, “what’s there to like about Angeles City”) 🙂