Part of what we love about Brooklyn is its "humpty-dumpty" history of cultural pioneers and makers. From Spike Lee to Woody Allen, Jay-Z to Talib Kweli, pizza slices to ramen burgers, brownstones to water towers, Jean-Michel Basquiat to Mickalene Thomas, artists in Brooklyn represent a dynamic nature that is at times too elastic for verbal explanation.

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Mapping Corporate America: A State by State Vision of Branding

Artist Steve Lovelace has created a map of "The Corporate States of America."

Artist Steve Lovelace has created a map of "The Corporate States of America." For each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, he's assigned a brand or corporation that best represents it. "My criteria are subjective, but in each case, I tried to use a brand that a) is based in that state and b) is still in business (as of 2012)," the artist explains.

California is represented by Apple computers, Texas is Dr. Pepper, and so on. "My hypothesis is that, as corporations and non-governmental organizations grow in power, the power of nation states will become increasingly irrelevant. We’re already seeing this on a small scale, as people turn to the Internet to make friends, instead of befriending their neighbors. I think that, as corporations become the dominant organizations on Earth, people will start thinking of themselves as citizens of Apple or partisans of Starbucks."

While I see the point Lovelace is trying to make, I have greater faith in humanity that we won't entirely loose our personal and collective identities to brands. But that burden falls on us—instead of thinking about ourselves and our states in corporate terms, perhaps Lovelace's map could be taken as a call to reflect on what place we want in this country and the world: how do we want to represent ourselves, and the places we call home? Its hard to generalize, but instead of letting a brand do it for you, how would you define the people and the place where you live? As a New Yorker, I'd characterize the state and its citizens in three words: resilient, ambitious, cultured.

In a few words, summarize where you live. Click here to add this to your To-Do list.

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In addition to providing residents and visitors to major cities access to alternative, quick and easy transportation, bike shares are an increasingly popular way for forward-thinking brands to get more attention.

Companies like Citi Bike and Alta recently partnered to launch New York City’s much welcomed bike share, a direct move linking health and sustainability to new methods of transportation, (not to mention catering to a whole new generation of urban dwellers who don't mind being a moving ad).
Even city hotels are picking up their own bike fleets to offer velo-loving guests options of getting around town, setting them apart in terms of who they are catering to and want to attract. In fact, Green Lodging News reports that “more than 500 cities in 49 countries now have advanced bicycle-sharing programs—evidence of the growing interest in carbon-free travel.”
Starwood’s Element hotels, for example, are required to have bicycles available for guests as part of the brand’s Bikes-to-Borrow program and all Kimpton hotel properties offer them as well. The Hyatt is getting on board too.
Papillionaire Bicycles, an Australian designed and based bike company riffing off of vintage bikes (recently launched in Brooklyn) also have bikes at three of the Punthill hotels, and at the Q1 hotel/spa in Queensland.
Saxon Baird, head of U.S. operations says women opting to bike in cities whether from bike shares or at hotels are “very driven and strong-minded and athletic but also very particular about style. I've sold a handful of Classic styles to women who I know use it to commute every day to Manhattan from Brooklyn,” says Baird.
Most bike share programs will be found in major metropolitan cities where, as the New York Times recently reported that millennials, the bulk of who are increasingly inhabiting cities, “aren’t driving cars.”
And when it comes to bikes, there’s lots of money to be made.
Mia Birk, President of Alta Planning and Design, the company supplying Citibank with their bike share in New York City says the early adopters—those sponsors who get in on the ground floor to support bike shares, will reap the benefits.
“Witness NYC, where Citibank is the title sponsor of Citi Bike, with a launch slated for Memorial Day. We’ve sold more than 10,000 memberships. The volume of (mostly positive) press has been staggering, and the 500+ stations will all be branded Citi colors and logo. A cutting edge, phenomenal level of exposure,” says Birk, adding that’s why Citi Bank committed $41 million to be the title sponsor of NYC’s Citi Bike program (opening Memorial Day).
Add to that organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Kaiser Permanente, Barclays, Master Card, Whole Foods Market, New Balance, hospitals, universities like Harvard and MIT, restaurants, Frontier Airlines, and telecom companies have committed tens and hundreds of thousands, even millions to sponsor bike share systems.
Puget Sound Bike Share in Seattle, has determined that by offering a city-wide bike collective, a company can equate the sponsorship opportunities to a total of $2.8 million in annual media value.
While some cyclists might choose biking as a snub to gas tax and oil companies, Holly Houser, Executive Director of Puget Sound Bike Share says she truly thinks the bicycling trend goes hand-in-hand with the movement of people back to the city and back into urban, walkable neighborhoods.
Houser also cites the U.S. PIRG report, and that the Millennials are the first generation to fully embrace mobile internet-connected technologies, which are rapidly spawning new transportation options.
Big business is listening and watching as well.
“Sponsors who invest in bike share will not only benefit from the massive visibility of the system as 500 bikes zip around the city every day, they will also associate their brand and their message with 60,500 professionals, students and visitors each year who engage over and over again with the system, the website and the conversations on social media,” says Houser.
Though bike shares can and should benefit all sorts of markets (there are big opportunities to serve lower income populations), the "sell" for corporate sponsors is that urban bike-shares often attract the young, educated, professional market that they want to reach.
Andrea Learned, a women's market expert and sustainability communications strategist who is an urban bike enthusiast says bike shares, in particular, are riding the coattails of successful businesses like Car2Go and AirBnB.
“Bike share as a corporate sponsorship opportunity is a no-brainer. Whether it is budgeted as a marketing or a social or environmental responsibility effort, pairing your corporate brand with the youthfulness and freshness (and health and environmental benefits) of biking reflects an awareness of the lifestyle and interests of a key consumer base,” says Learned.
“Branding your corporation through bike share (or sponsoring bike events) these days is a powerful way to reflect awareness of what is hip and what is smart, without having to put out a press release about how hip and smart your brand is,” Learned adds.
Join us for our Fix Your Street Challenge on the last Saturday of May. Click here to say you'll Do It and be sure to share stories of transportation innovation all month.\n
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Breakaway: Building a Brand To Get Kids Biking

Can the simple fun of riding a bike help motivate kids to exercise more? That's the premise behind Cycle Kids, a Boston-based nonprofit that...

Can the simple fun of riding a bike help motivate kids to exercise more? That's the premise behind Cycle Kids, a Boston-based nonprofit that teaches fourth and fifth-grade students bike skills and road safety, along with nutrition and literacy. The program started in 2004, when a former tech exec learned about rapidly rising obesity and diabetes in children and decided to help share her love of biking in the schools.

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Online Agency Brands Social Enterprises for Corner Store Prices

Sexy branding shouldn't have to cost a fortune, according to a new online creative agency called Brands For The People

No matter how enticing the message or important the mission of a new nonprofit or startup, a website and logo that look like they've been slapped together for nothing will keep the idea from generating the buzz it needs to take off. Unfortunately, many social entrepreneurs who are just starting off can barely afford to pay rent on an office, let alone shell out thousands of dollars to branding strategists to coach them through their launch.

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Quebec Scientists Brand One of the 54 Unpronouncable Chemicals in Maple Syrup

What "Quebecol" means for the science and business of regional foods.

As I wrote yesterday, the flavors and aromas of maple syrup are bound up in its geography, processing, and its chemistry—most notably, sucrose and vanillin. Its chemistry became interesting recently, when a University of Rhode Island study, funded by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Agri-Food Canada, found 54 different chemical compounds, including—bear with me—2,3,3-tri-(3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-propanol. Researchers said this compound appeared to be unique to maple syrup and dubbed it Quebecol.

The Quebec Maple Syrup Board took that as an opportunity to tout maple syrup's health benefits—much like Pom Wonderful underwrites studies demonstrating the antioxidant content of its pomegranate juices. Others were quick to point out that quantifying maple syrup's phytochemistry was neither a sign of quality nor an indication of its possible effects in our bodies (which the study did not test). Joe Schwarcz, the director of the McGill University Office for Science and Society, told Post Media News: "Any suggestion that [maple syrup] is 'healthy' is irresponsible and may make scientifically shallow people eat more."

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