Columbus, the largest city in Ohio and its state capital, is removing the statue of Christopher Columbus from the lawn of City Hall. The reason is Christopher Columbus has been cited by the Indigenous People as an agent of genocide.
There have been issues with the image of Christopher Columbus for years. Even Columbus, Ohio has quit celebrating Columbus Day, and the City of Berkeley officially changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992.
There is also a movement that is gaining momentum to take this issue one step further and insist that Columbus change its name. From a pure branding perspective, there are some very interesting opportunities at play. While many people will resist the idea, is it time for Columbus to change its name?
Some desired features of a good brand name are if it is unique, memorable, and differentiated. Great names like Google, Tesla, and Netflix come to mind. Columbus is not a unique, memorable, or differentiated name. There are a whopping 18 states with a city called Columbus. People of Columbus that travel and are asked where they live almost always have to say Columbus, Ohio. A good city name stands by itself like Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many others.
Two, Columbus has always had a brand awareness problem. It really doesn’t stand for much in the minds of the people in the United States or the world. If you take a poll and ask the question “What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say Columbus?” what will you get? Probably not any consistent answers, and you’re likely to get a blank stare. The state of Ohio suffers the same fate, confirmed by research Cult Marketing conducted for TourismOhio.
Changing the name of Columbus would be an incredible opportunity to engage and unite the people of the city and country in a dialogue about human rights and subjugation. This is a tangible way that something positive could be done to raise awareness of this issue. Join the petition for change here.
Finally, if we turned this into a naming contest, I think the residents of Columbus would come up with a fabulous name for the city, something memorable, fresh, and reflective of the greatness of the city – and something free from its negative historical references.
What do you think? Submit your idea for a new name for Columbus below.
*By submitting a name you forfeit ownership rights to the name.*