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You know how important “buy-in” is. You need buy-in from your clients and your clients need buy-in from their prospects and customers. But it doesn’t always happen. In fact, you might say it rarely happens.

Here’s an example from The Oregonian that nicely illustrates the problem.

Mayor Sam Adams announced last week at his State of the City address that Portland would rename the Central Eastside Industrial District “Produce Row.”

But that surprised some members of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, the business group that meets regularly with city officials.

“Sam way overreached,” said said Dan Yates, President of Portland Spirit River Crusies and a member of the Council. “We’re not going to change our name because the mayor changed our name … For a branding effort, it is one-sided, ill-conceived and not supported by the actual people working here.”

Central Eastside Industrial is populated with warehouses, some of which process Oregon-grown fruit. The area is also home to a number of the city’s design shops, agencies, web devs and other creative class pursuits, thanks to availability of rehabbed loft space.

I guess I wonder who the Mayor’s Office is trying to impress. I can see where it might be helpful in landing a business moving in from another city to speak in real estate-friendly terms. Produce Row does that. But locally, I question the need to rename and rebrand this part of the city. Central Eastside Industrial works. In fact, it’s as descriptive as Produce Row, but with a different feel. Central Eastside Industrial is the Pittsburgh part of Portland (a part I like). Produce Row, while also authentic, but it sounds like it could be made up.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.