Trying to Fit In With the Cool Kids
"The challenge for cities that currently have rather dowdy brand images is that they obsess over how over people see them. (Or even about how they think other people see them. For example, Indianapolis frequently says people used to call it "Naptown" and "India-No-Place", but I'm extremely skeptical that these ever had wide currency outside of Indy itself until the city started talking about them).
Seeing this negative brand image, they then look at what the cool cities are doing and say, 'If we want to be cool too, we'd better be like that.' In short, they think just like high school kids who want to be part of the popular clique. They fail to consider both that this attitude is itself adolescent, and that no matter what they do, they are highly unlikely to get into the club."
The post argues that some cities actively abandon what makes them unique in favor of what works for other cities, and that this is only hurting their marketing efforts.