Last May, as I was walking to my car following the mayor’s press conference announcing the formation of the Airport Task Force, Co-Chair David Fowler came up to me and asked me out of the blue, “Do you think Kansas City has a brand problem?” I thought about it for about a 10th of a second and replied, “Yes. As long as I can remember.”
Kansas City’s “cowtown” inferiority complex is as legendary as its barbeque. We are constantly acting like the neglected middle-child whose big brother gets everything first and whose little sister is spoiled. We’re obsessed with trying to be something that we’re not, mistakenly thinking that it’s better, instead of celebrating what we are.
“Brand” is essentially an experience. The experience of owning a Ford vs a Chevy or eating at Gates vs Jack Stack. The role of brand in business is to differentiate from competitors. A good brand identifies one or more competitive advantages and exploits them to grow the business. Note, that the competitive advantages exist already or are developed internally BEFORE the brand goes to market. Brand is built from the bottom up and from the inside out. Brand is not something that starts with a logo or a slogan. One could hand the KCMO Public Schools and snappy new logo and slogan that says, “Educating Responsible Leaders for Tomorrow” but I don’t think the schools would suddenly become accredited nor would lines form to enroll.
This past week, a new Kansas City logo was unveiled. It was revealed as the new “brand” for KC. But again, KC’s brand is not a logo. Our brand is the unique experience that is Kansas City. The new logo of course does nothing to convey that in part because I don’t think anyone has made the effort to define and celebrate KC’s competitive advantages.
Of course, one of them is the remarkable speed and ease of KCI that comes from its unique design. As discussed before, it’s a legitimate and powerful competitive advantage. Not only must the Mayor’s Airport Task Force protect this KC brand asset, those charged with promoting the city need to sell it.
And regardless of your opinion of the new logo, it does make an interesting airport terminal.
1. I have plenty of parking options.
2. Reliable shuttle to the terminal.
3. Ridiculously short security lines.
4. The key is to wait OUTSIDE security until boarding begins.
5. Why anyone would pay airport prices for food boggles the imagination. Pack a sandwich at home, put in your carry on and you’re all set. I refuse to let my tax money be used to subsidize anyone’s airport dinner.
KCI is the apex of airport efficiency.
The airport is just like a bus stop, I have no need for it to be anything more. I and all I know are happy flyers. Save the taxpayers’ money for worthwhile projects. With attentive maintenance there’s no reason it can’t last another 40 years.
Note to airlines: Whine all you want about the price of jet fuel. The simple fact is that you’ve all but priced me out of flying and I’m sure I’m not the only one
Josh: I fly in/out of KCI weekly. But I rarely spend anymore than 15 minutes in the airport, since I pull into the garage and get through security about the same time my flight is boarding.
So, I don’t care what KCI looks like, as long as it functions smoothly.
And you think it does? I would beg to differ.
How often do you go to the airport? It is the most dead, dark, depressing place in Kansas City. I would rather walk around naked at Swope Parkway and the Paseo at two in the morning than walk around KCI. If there was ever an example of airport terminal blight, it is it. It is also a perfect example of everything that is historically wrong with Kansas City; projects that fail to live up to their conceived hype locally and regionally, much less nationally. This city has for too long believed in the “if we build it, they will come” mantra. Is building a new terminal the answer? Absolutely not. NOTHING will change the way the nation or the world views Kansas City. We are, what we are, for better or (as is often the case) worse. KC began taking its slow, ragged, dying breaths when the Pendergast machine was dismantled. She is no phoenix; there will be no rising from the ashes. This city is dead. It’s not coming back.
I’m sensing a bit of negativity when it comes to your opinion on the city…
If you perceive “reality” as negative, then yes, you’re probably sensing some.
I agree with everything, including the logo terminal.