Judges like 'Nashville: Where Innovation Sings' for city branding

By Milt Capps Last Updated 9:01 a.m., June 13, 2009

Judges like 'Nashville: Where Innovation Sings' for city branding | Michael Burcham, Butch Spyridon, Janet Miller, Ralph Schulz, Mike Edwards, Mark Montgomery, echomusic, Tod Fetherling, Nashville Technology Council, economic development, Virtual Entrepreneurship Center, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Accelerator Summer Business Institute, First Tennessee, Mike Shmerling, XMi, Choice Food Group, venture capital, entrepreneurs, angel investors, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, music, entertainment, innovation, Creatives

With CMA Festival underway,
it's a perfect week to explore
leveraging the existing
Nashville brand

During the annual Owen Accelerator competition this morning, "Nashville: Where innovation sings" topped seven other brand themes for marketing Nashville.

Students in the Accelerator Summer Business Institute were challenged June 1 to devise a new brand for the city that would leverage the city's long-standing Music City positioning. They had until this morning to come up with their solutions for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, on top of the work they're doing for six other clients.

The theme was chosen on the basis of marketing strategy, promotional tactics, message cohesion and other variables, as well as the tagline, itself. The winning campaign will soon be presented to Metro Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, an annual Accelerator tradition.

Chamber Senior Vice President Janet Miller (at left) said the Chamber now owns all the ideas presented today, and will evaluate all the messages and tactical ideas for possible future use. She told VNC a website for the Chamber's planed Virtual Entrepreneurship Center is in development, and may be operational by fall.

A total eight student teams were given a hypothetical budget of $50,000, within which to work. One team reported that by its calculations, succeeding in recruiting merely eleven entrepreneurs to the city would quickly create more economic value than the amount the team proposed to spend.

The other seven competing taglines competing this morning were:

  • I Am Music City, with testimonials from entrepreneurs and others;
  • Nashville: Where the stars align.
  • Nashville: Plug in and Prosper.
  • Tune Into Opportunity.
  • What's Your Music?
  • Nashville: Our Stage. Your Opportunity.
  • Tap into Nashville.

Beyond the catchy lines, proposed marketing tactics ran the gamut from bringing out-of-state entrepreneurs and investors to town for a conference; launching mentorship programs; using blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media for viral marketing; traditional advertising and direct mail, among many other ploys.

Judges for this morning's presentations were: Janet Miller of the Chamber; Chamber President Ralph Schulz; Tod Fetherling, Nashville Technology Council; Butch Spyridon, Convention and Visitors Bureau; entrepreneur Mike Shmerling (of XMi and Choice Food Group); entrepreneur Mark Montgomery, formerly of echomusic; and, Mike Edwards of First Tennessee. The Accelerator program is directed by Michael Burcham.  ♦