Sunday, August 27, 2006
What's in a name?
The reaction was swift and clear: 'Nooooo!' Many observers (myself included) didn't see how a name change was going to alter the course of events. What was hurting Manchester Airport wasn't a poor name, but rather an industry malaise. Good name or not, our airport was going to suffer. Indeed, many others argued that having 'Boston' as part of the name was tantamount to waving the white flag. 'We should never surrender!' the chorus went. I can see the logic behind the move; I just don't subscribe to it. The name change resulted from studies that showed a real lack of geographical knowledge relative to Manchester, New Hampshire. I'm not sure who the studies targeted, but many respondents had no clue as to where Manchester (or even New Hampshire!) was. I guess when it comes to studies (and political polls) you can ask a whole bunch of people a whole bunch of questions and once you find someone that fits the need, you stick with them! You know what kind of result you want and the trick is to build a set of responses that reinforce that result.
Anyway, the 'studies' did show that having 'Boston' in the name would help the cause. The focus group people probably searched until they found some 'Billy Bob Smith' down in Mississippi who truthfully had no clue what New Hampshire was, never mind where it was. So, on Billy-Bob's say-so, Manchester Airport turned into 'Manchester-Boston Regional Airport' almost overnight. Now that we've got the new name, what can we expect? Well, Kevin Dillon went out seeking the top job down at the Orlando International Airport after his power-play to change the airport name. So, one could infer that he'd rather be somewhere else. I won't editorialize further on that, but I will say that the new name is not likely to bear much if any fruit. I might be proven wrong, but I suspect that any GOOD things that happen at our airport won't result from the new name. These will happen because the airport is a great airport...not because it has a new and supposedly better name.
Time will tell.