"Denton. North of Ordinary"
Slogan goal to set city apart
Officials: ‘North of Ordinary’ reflects diversity of Denton
08:43 AM CDT on Sunday, May 7, 2006
By Dawn Cobb / Business Editor
It’s all about creating an identity.
Unveiling a new slogan, “Denton. North of Ordinary,” the Denton Economic Development Partnership Board hopes to set the city apart from its North Texas neighbors to attract the attention of major corporations.
The idea, officials say, is to develop a theme that captures Denton’s many facets — from its growing and diverse population to its higher education offering to the varied and lively culture within the city. “It ties into North Texas with ‘north’ and ties into the fact that the city of Denton is extraordinary,” said Marty Rivers, branch president with First State Bank in Denton, who is currently serving as board chairman of the Denton Chamber of Commerce.
The slogan, complete with new images and icons, will soon be seen on materials sent to major industries considering the North Texas region as well as in marketing materials used for promoting the city.
With its new moniker, the city now joins many communities that have adopted slogans to set themselves apart from the rest. Consider, for instance, the slogan for Las Vegas: “What happens here, stays here.” Or Austin, “The Live Music Capital of the World.”
Both slogans have become well known through repetitive marketing on television and in newspaper advertisements as well as by word of mouth.
Many are slogans not as well known across the country but familiar in the state — from Lubbock’s “The Giant Side of Texas,” to Abilene’s “The Friendly Frontier.” Even the city’s neighbors to the south have their own slogans: Fort Worth: “Where the West Begins” and Dallas: “Live Large. Think Big.”
And speaking of Dallas, a recent letter to the editor in the Denton Record-Chronicle stated what some have privately asked: “What does Dallas think about Denton’s new slogan? Are they offended?”
A quick telephone to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce to ask about Denton’s new slogan netted this response: “North of ordinary — that’s funny, that’s kind of catchy,” said Corey Hill, spokesman for the chamber.
Slogans are about making a statement. The North Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s slogan is “More than business.” “It’s about capturing attention but, more important, you want to capture attention where people know who you are, where you are,” Hill said.
The fact that Dallas is south of Denton isn’t the issue. “It’s reasonable for people to stretch the bounds,” he said. “It captures the attention of the people. Comedy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.”
What is a slogan?
Wikipedia.com has a succinct definition for the word slogan: Slogan is a memorable phrase used in a commercial context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose.
The word is actually derived from the Scottish Gaelic word for battle cry.
Lou Pelton, a marketing professor from the University of North Texas, says the use of slogans is endemic in society, used in everything from promoting soap to electing a president. “Slogans are something that might be viewed as hot buttons to viewers,” he said. “When Nike says, ‘Just Do It,’ that tells us to take action.”
For instance, slogans became synonymous with elections, especially national elections. One example, still known today, was the “I like Ike” made popular in the 1952 presidential campaign for Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The slogans of yesteryear no longer apply, he said, because of the generational differences. “Both colloquial and nomenclature that goes along with a period of time changes,” Pelton said. “Terms change over time.”
Members of Generation Y, born from 1977 to 1994, are the new emerging group marketers are targeting. Slogans for products and services geared to that generation would have to reflect issues and experiences of that age group.
Cities, however, are competing for a different group — from tourism to business. “Tourism is an enormous part of the revenue generation of a city or a municipality,” Pelton said. “They use the same marketing strategy.”
Making of a message
Market research by Applied Behavioral Science in 2004 gave Denton a foundation from which to consider what message they should create.
An image survey of interviews with residents in Denton, around the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and into Oklahoma generated information about people’s perceptions of the city of Denton. “What he found out was that people who didn’t live in Denton typically thought of it as something north of the metroplex,” said Linda Ratliff, economic development director for the city of Denton. “After he talked to them about Denton and gave them information, their interest was piqued.
“He found out that what we needed to do was get the message out of who we are, what we are and where we are to the people in the metroplex and out of the metroplex,” she added.
From the survey, officials signed a contract with SullivanPerkins to develop a tagline and logo to set Denton apart from the rest, using the available information from the interviews. After being hired through a combination of city and chamber funds, SullivanPerkins of Dallas began their own research to find a message specifically for Denton. Their goal, according to president Mark Perkins, was to find a message “that would gain attention, motivate and ring true.”
The message they found was “that Denton had extraordinary advantages that separated it from other North Texas communities, and that, therefore, it was a superior choice for business.”
After looking at other economic development themes at cities across the nation, the company presented a list of 200, narrowing it down to 75 and then down to five.
Among those five were:
“Attuned to business”
“The crossroads of performance and possibility”
“People and opportunity in harmony”
“In tune with big dreams”
Perkins said the selected theme, “Denton. North of Ordinary,” was “provocative, competitive, took some risk, but was true.” The theme, he said, spoke of the city’s geography, but as a metaphor; separated Denton deliberately; and tied the city to higher expectations.
The theme was officially unveiled at the annual Denton Chamber of Commerce banquet on March 30. Reaction from the back of the UNT Gateway Center was positive. “Ooh, I like it,” was the immediate response from Julie Trevino, a local certified public accountant.
Chamber officials say they plan to meet this month to decide exactly what steps will be taken next to implement the new theme. Discussions will center on how to market the slogan. The slogan will soon appear on a number of brochures, including the Denton Demographic Profile brochure, the 2006 Partners Investment brochure, and the 2006 Employers and Manufacturers Guide cover, among other items.
The budget for the marketing campaign is an estimated $150,000, from which the theme development is the first phase, said Chuck Carpenter, president of the Denton Chamber of Commerce. The first phase, considered the launch, is expected to cost about $37,000. “Our intention is … building pride, building credibility,” he said. “We feel like we need to get the homegrown folks checking off on it.”
DAWN COBB can be reached at 940-566-6879. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
SLOGANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Here are a few slogans adopted by cities in Texas and in other states:
Abilene: “The Friendly Frontier”
Addison: “Where Dallas Goes for Fun”
Austin: “The Live Music Capital of the World”
Brazosport: “Diversification: The Strength of Brazosport”
Bridge City: “Building Bridges Together”
Dallas: “Live Large. Think Big.”
Fayetteville: “The Way Texans Used to Be.”
Fort Worth: “Where the West Begins”
Giddings: “Experience Our Hometown Hospitality”
Hearne: “The Crossroads of Texas”
Hereford: “The Town without a Toothache”
Lindale: “Good Country Living”
Lubbock: “The Giant Side of Texas”
Marlin: “Mineral Water City of Texas”
Pilot Point: “Where you can spend a day … or a lifetime”
Rockport-Fulton area: “The Charm of the Texas Cost”
Rockwall: “The New Horizon”
State of Texas: “It’s Like a Whole Other Country”
Atlanta: “World’s Next Great International City”
Cincinnati: “All Together Surprising”
Las Vegas: “What Happens Here, Stays Here”
Manhattan, Kan.: “The Little Apple”
Omaha, Neb.: “O!”
Pensacola, Fla.: “Just Do It”
San Francisco: “Baghdad by the Bay”
Topeka, Kan.: “To the Stars Through Difficulty”
Tuscaloosa, Ala.: “The Druid City”
SOURCES: Internet and SullivanPerkins