If you’re going to tell a story that you want people to believe, the execution needs to ensure that every channel used to tell the story syncs up and reinforces the others. A bad graphic, an off-message quote, and in this case a dated-looking website and a turned off TV can undermine everything. You don’t have to be the always-on, in-your-face experience of Times Square. But your messaging at whatever scale should always be aligned.

I was in Times Square early Thursday morning. All the lights were on, even though I was the only person on the street at that hour. It was bright and it was loud (at that time not in noise, but to every other sense with its huge displays of flashing monitors, six-story tall Sofia Vergaras and 100-foot long new Corvettes). No matter if anyone is there to see it or not, it is true to what Times Square is – a major commercial and entertainment hub.

Click for fullsize panorama.  

If you click the image to zoom in, you’ll see a tiny speck in the monitor that is me — the only person in Times Square at that hour.


I know Gainesville isn’t known for the same hustle and bustle as New York, but it is a city that believes it has a bright future as a technology and knowledge hub. So when I arrived back in Gainesville Thursday night to this display at the Gainesville airport, touting the city’s claim as an innovation capitol, I was dismayed to see the 32-ish inch display was turned off.
Disappointed at the disconnect in story and execution, I went to the website listed on the otherwise very pleasant looking and well-located kiosk. Using the most readily available technology I had, and what most other visitors to Gainesville would also have at hand, I pulled up the site on my mobile phone. Yet another disconnect in the story, a site that does not present well on what is now a several-year old technology — the mobile browser. (The first iPhone came out in 2007. The first Android came out in 2008.)


Mobile screenshot of
Listed in small text at the top of the page — I found it hard to read after a long flight, and I have 20/20 vision — was the text “View Mobile-Friendly Version.” Although I know there are infinitely better ways to handle mobile browsers, but still looking for some sign of hope in this process of confirming the story as Gainesville as an innovation city, I click the link.


iPhone screen shot of the Innovation Gainesville mobile website
Now, I’m completely taken away from the story of Gainesville as an innovation city, both in that what I see as a presentation totally not congruent with the proposed plot and in the literal way that I’m now just dropped off at homepage for the chamber rather the “Innovation Gainesville” initiative.

Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Compfight cc


Brian Russell is a senior marketing strategist at 352. He's on Twitter a lot, but to get all the extra goodies, Google requires him to say he's on Google+, too.