Recently, I saw a food delivery truck with its slogan painted in large letters, “If it were any fresher, it would still be on the farm.” What a great slogan, I thought. It tells a story, makes a promise, and creates a desirable future.
Several years ago, with the help of marketing consultants, the town of Springfield envisioned its future with the brand and logo, “Springfield, reinvented.” With a nod to the town’s glory days of invention, the phrase promises something new. It doesn’t tell us what the town will be but suggests that it can be something else. Reinventing means rediscovering our successes and reimagining our possibilities to create a new future.
I wish that the phrase were used more. I wish that it would become our rallying point. It is both an affirmation and a commitment for the town of Springfield. Yes, it’s “only words.” But words matter. Words are powerful. How we talk about something determines how we think about it, even what we think about it. Research tells us that “a belief in a favorable future” can change a person’s behavior.
Slogans contribute to – even create – our positive perception of places. Cities like New York and Las Vegas, for example, changed both our expectations and our experiences of them with their slogans, “I love New York” and “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Nike’s “Just do it” and Avis’s “We try harder” are just two examples of slogans created to sell a product that became a part of our everyday life.
Among its many historical treasures, Springfield is home to the oldest one-room schoolhouse in the nation. When its first teacher, David Searle, saw it upon his arrival from Yale University, he exclaimed “Eureka,” (Greek for “I have found it!”) and that became its name.
Springfield needs to do more than just go forward – taking what it is to new places. It needs to be a new place itself. It needs to grow forward – changing itself to respond to its challenges – present and future. In other words, “Springfield, reinvented.” When this happens, we will all have the same response as Searle, “Eureka, I have found it.”
N. Springfield, Vt.