Cincy becomes "City that Sings" in branding campaign

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With less than four months to go until Cincinnati hosts the World Choir Games, the city is moving forward with a new slogan it hopes will really 'sing'.

On Tuesday, city leaders updated council committee members on the behind-the-scenes preparations going on to ensure the success of the games.

Included in the update was a presentation on the wayfinding signage they will be putting up around downtown and Over the Rhine to help visitors navigate the city.

"It's time to be proactive with a good image that makes sense for our city and our history: the City that Sings," council member Laure Quinlivan said.

In addition to being put on the permanent way finding signs, the slogan will also appear on more than 500 flower pots to be set out around the city. According to Quinlivan the slogan additions carry no additional costs for the city.

"My thing was, as long as we're going to be spending city money to do things for the world choir games, let's brand ourselves at the same time," Quinlivan said.

She says she is also working on securing private funding to create a promotional video like the YouTube sensation that has generated millions of hits for Grand Rapids Michigan.

"It's a creative idea to get free publicity for your city," Quinlivan explained.

Quinlivan's goal is to get celebrities with Cincy roots to sing out in support of the Queen City.

"If we can actually get celebrities singing about our city, oh my gosh … that's a great branding," she said.

Quinlivan would not divulge who she has been courting, however.

"No, no and whoever I do get … and I do have some commitments … it's going to be a secret," she said. "It's going to be a big premier."

Fellow council members have signed on board for the City that Sings as a temporary slogan.

"I like it as a promotion for World Choir Games," Yvette Simpson said. "Clearly promoting our singing tradition and our heritage is important for this major event."

Simpson says she is concerned, however, about long term branding.

"I wonder whether we'd be using this if we didn't have the World Choir Games this year," she said. "I think that leads to: should our branding be tied to a particular event or something long term?"

"If it's authentic, if it has a resonance with people it will stick. Right now we've got nothing," Quinlivan said.

Quinlivan also says she recognizes ultimately it is up to Cincinnatians to decide whether to keep the slogan around. She argues it is better to be proactive in branding the city with a positive message rather than allowing others to latch on to negative stereotypes to create an image for the city.

"You don't just wait around years and years for yourself to develop an identity," Quinlivan said. "Unfortunately for Cincinnati for while there we did become known for things we don't want to be known for."

The World Choir Games run from July 4-14.

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