Skip to main content
Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 7 years ago

Pro-business logo draws criticism

Share
Florida might have the perfect climate for business, state economic development officials say, but an attempt to brand and sell that message has fallen more on the imperfect side.

Florida might have the perfect climate for business, state economic development officials say, but an attempt to brand and sell that message has fallen more on the imperfect side.

Enterprise Florida, the state economic development agency, unveiled its first-ever marketing brand and slogan to big fanfare Jan. 31. In an effort to provide a message every economic development organization in the state can rally around, the Orlando-based agency sought to play up Florida's strengths. That includes no personal income tax and an envious global trade location.

“Each day I talk with CEOs around the world to tell them that Florida is the best place to do business,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott says in a release. “Our unemployment rate is at a four-year low, we've created close to 200,000 private sector jobs in just two years and our K-12 education system has jumped into the top 10 in the nation.”

But the program's tagline, “Florida: The Perfect Climate for Business,” is where the message, to some, gets muddled. The slogan is written in green, except for the “I” in Florida, which is in orange and shaped like a tie — a man's tie.

It's that “I” that's drawn the ire of several statewide woman business leaders, who say the logo, at minimum, is insensitive toward women in business. Beth Leytham, a prominent public relations expert in Tampa, calls the branding myopic.

“I saw it and it hit me upside the head,” Leytham, with The Leytham Group, tells Coffee Talk. “It's very male-focused. I think it does a disservice to women-owned businesses.”

Stuart Doyle, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida, says the criticism is undeserved. Doyle says the image is only one piece of a much larger program, and past that, the agency and the firms it hired to do the work researched the issue thoroughly. One firm, Doyle tells Coffee Talk, conducted focus groups with many women executives, in and out of Florida, and didn't hear one negative comment.

“We did a lot of vetting,” Doyle says. “We wanted to be sure.”

Meanwhile, another issue hovering over the launch of the program is cost. The research for the project cost $205,000 and brand design and campaign strategy cost another $180,000. Enterprise Florida, after a bidding process, hired Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies for the research work. Jacksonville-based On Ideas worked on the brand and campaign strategy.

Some business leaders across the state, in several daily newspaper articles, questioned both cost of the project and why a non-Florida firm won more than half the work.

Related Stories

Advertisement