'Tampa Bay' regional branding gains a new ally with USF
The use of "Tampa Bay" to designate a regional brand for this greater metropolitan area is catching on fast. The University of South Florida is in the early stages of rebranding by adopting the "Tampa Bay" name. It's not a name change, the school explains, but a better way to geographically bullseye a school whose "South Florida" name often confuses people unfamiliar with its Tampa Bay roots.
I would like to think, however, that this regional brand adoption is more than the school suggests. It was only a month ago that this newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, announced that its name will change, come 2012, to the Tampa Bay Times. Why? Because the name better reflects the geographic territory of its readership.
Well, ditto for USF. Especially when its smaller, affiliated universities -- USF Sarasota-Manatee, USF St. Petersburg among them -- are already so identified. More to the point, USF president Judy Genshaft, who recently attended the Tampa Bay Partnership's (a group she once chaired) annual meeting with 500 other business leaders, was reminded again of the merits of building "Tampa Bay" as a brand so that this one metro area can better compete and market itself on the bigger national and global playing field.
Here's the St. Petersburg Times coverage of the USF plan. Here is the Tampa Tribune story. And here is USF's own press release with the telling headline (as shown in the graphic above) USF Is Tampa Bay.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times (and soon to become the Tampa Bay Times)