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The rebranding problem for Texas, Houston, and all the rest

I appreciate Chris Tomlinson's recent article about rebranding Texas, and I don't disagree with his point, but... 

As a marketing professional, I always raise a skeptical eyebrow when someone says something has to be 'rebranded.' 

Changing the message doesn't change perceptions. Changing behavior changes perceptions. If we want Texas to be seen as a dynamic, diverse, and sophisticated place, we have to vote, run companies, and participate in enterprises that demonstrate it. 

Chris and Hajj Flemings acknowledge that. Now we have to find ways to inspire Texans to fulfill all our capabilities. 

Houston Chronicle: Texas needs a rebranding away from racially charged myths, 2019-Apr-10 by Chris Tomlinson

The adoption of the Western identity, after all, was an intentional rebranding of the state. In my book about my family’s five generations in Texas, "Tomlinson Hill," I describe how state leaders wanted to slough off the Southern, white supremacist identity that dominated until the 1940s when state leaders made Big Tex the new icon.... 

Many native Texans may want to deny it, but our state already suffers from a bad reputation. Employers and economic development offices continuously complain about how young professionals and innovative companies won’t come here because they think it is a hot, regressive, cultural wasteland.

Those perceptions, which include only a sliver of truth, hurt local businesses. But think about the number of visitors who say Texas wildly exceeded their expectations for culture and graciousness. Or how surprised they are to find San Antonio is a fundamentally Hispanic city, and Houston is arguably the most diverse in the U.S. with a globalized culture second to none.

Here is the opportunity, because most authentic brands are based on truth, not public-relations exercises. They bubble up from residents, entrepreneurs and companies, said Hajj Flemings, founder of Rebrand Cities, a technology firm focused on boosting economic development. 

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