Letter to the Editor: Exponentially Ineffective

Los Alamos

To begin with let’s examine the first couple of definitions you see when you google the term “Exponentially”.

  1. The root of exponentially is the French verb exponere, meaning “to put out”. Think of a factory that puts out so many products its creations seem to increase exponentially. The mathematical origin of this word has to do with multiplying a number by itself so….think of rabbits, who are known for multiplying exponentially. Now imagine if rabbits worked in a factory…(No animals were harmed during this explanation)…..www.vocabulary.com 
  2. *Of or relating to an exponent, *involving a variable in an exponent by an exponential function, *expressible or approximately expressible by an exponential function: especially: characterized by or being an extremely rapid increase (as in size or extent), *Including or using an exponent….www.merriam-webster.com     

Oh, now I get it. It’s all clear and it all makes sense why this should be our new branding direction and tagline to attract people to come visit us or relocate here…….SAID NO ONE EVER. And by the way, why are we trying to rebrand Los Alamos when tourism numbers are up each year for the last two consecutive years? Beyond that question, who decided we were going to hire a company to rebrand our community, when was it decided, where did the budget come from to support this effort?

Is there, in all seriousness, any definition you see above that excites and entices you? Can anyone honestly say that we want people to equate these definitions to visiting Los Alamos? And don’t think some people won’t google “exponentially” if they see these proposed ads. Most people don’t know what exponential means or how it fits into a tourism or relocation campaign. Most people won’t spend the time to figure it out but for those who do, the above definitions are exactly what they will see.

Now let’s delve into synonyms for Exponential: Aggressive, Augmented, Growing, Rampant, Wanton, Expanding, Mounting…..I’m quite sure these are not the word relations we are looking for to define, and/ or sub-define, Los Alamos as a destination.

To refresh our memories, County Council publicly announced the rebranding campaign earlier this year and there was a public outcry of disproval. The voting, tax-paying, back-bone of Los Alamos County have already emphatically stated that we do not like “Live Exponentially”. That being said, and I know everyone heard it, why is this still on the table for discussion? To what ends do Los Alamos County residents have to go to be heard and listened to?  I’m thinking this is a community decision and I’m pretty sure I know what the decision is.

Marketing campaigns, branding efforts and straplines are impulse. It’s like being in a check-out line at the grocery store and you see the snickers bar sitting there on the rack…….and you just bought it! People will decide in just a couple of minutes of viewing tourism ads whether or not they will dig deeper or keep looking at other options elsewhere. Are you going to go where discoveries are made or are you going to go live exponentially…wait….what….does….that…..click!

The “Live Exponentially” campaign presentation makes you the reader feel good about yourself, it begins to create a bit of self-fulfillment. As the presentation continues a bit of arrogance sets in and then it’s very easy to think, “WOW…..I am special and people should want to come see where I live. A clever angle for the strategy company to win you over to what they have come up with, but you feeling good about yourself is not what attracts tourists and potential relocates. AND, it’s most probable that is how potential visitors may view that….a bit arrogant, a bit self-serving, a bit self-righteous. It’s almost like we are saying, “If you know what exponentially means, then you can come visit us”.

The bottom line for me, and I know I speak for many others as well (quite possibly the majority), it just doesn’t make sense! It’s not easy to understand, doesn’t grab you and does not quickly define an exciting and adventurous vacation, or a relaxing, beautiful and serene vacation….of which Los Alamos offers all of the above.

“Where Discoveries are Made” is absolutely perfect for Los Alamos as it covers the gamut of what Los Alamos is all about…..from A to Z. It’s thought provoking, it creates wonder, it’s easy to understand, it grabs at you a bit to dig a little deeper. We like it, we live it, we share it and we own it….LET’S JUST KEEP IT!!!!!







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