Federal Way’s search for an identity | Letters
November 15, 2011 · Updated 2:43 PM
Over the past year or so that Mirror editor Andy Hobbs has penned a series of well-thought and engaging tips on how the city might secure the long-sought brand and identity it has been missing.
The Mirror’s peers more recently honored the newspaper a “Best in the State” award for this initiative. Judging from the overall count of published letters to the editor, I’m aghast that in comparison to a host of other topics (most recently the elections), that hardly a beep among the bevy of readers, eager to stand up and be counted, has graced these pages.
It would not surprise me to discover a few years down the road that Federal Way is still a city looking for an identity. Despite changes today and in the guard, in future years to come, I believe this same haunting question may still daunt us.
If there were such a profession as a city or municipality psychologist, I don’t think it would be difficult for them to reach the same conclusion.
A community that does not recognize itself in its own mirror will obviously look lost and poorly paired with any brand or identity — even if they are able to afford the best consultants and brand names money can buy.
There was a time not so long ago when recognition by the public — after a good product had been in use — constituted what is known as a “brand” name. In those days, celebrity represented success. That success came after a widespread public consensus that someone/something and its competition, compared side by side, clearly would show one coming out head and shoulders above the rest.
Now we appear to believe that a favorable brand is something that can be given to anything we choose to market (i.e. people buy because of the brand, regardless of a product’s individual merits). While so people do, persuading everyone to do so is not by any means always a good thing or an ultimate service to society.
Distressingly so is the idea that only those qualities we can sell then determine the real value of a community. As proof, look at areas in our society where maintenance is being deferred, cuts being executed, and where services and news initiatives die. That’s where you measure the values of a locale.
Speaking of death, ironically this is the same process with people and maybe communities. Because an epitaph is written for individual entities that, in death, will be given the identity, reputation and epitaph they deserve.
Mizu Sugimura, Federal Way