The City of San Jose has brand envy and wants to co-brand. The problem is that the co-branding would only benefit San Jose, while diluting the message. San Jose is in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is the self-proclaimed Capital of Silicon Valley. The problem is that nobody else sees it that way. San Jose has no brand equity (assuming you even know the way) and Silicon Valley has a ton. San Jose wants to cash in on that for obvious reasons.

Recently the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal dropped San Jose from its name. The airport would LOVE to change its name to Mineta Silicon Valley Airport from Mineta San Jose Airport. Unfortunately the airport commission is beholden to the City, which can’t bring itself to recognize the San Jose name has no equity and Silicon Valley has cache. So, the airport struggles to bring flights back because who wants to fly to San Jose. Silicon Valley or San Francisco, sure, but San Jose, not so much.

Kim Walesh, Director of Economic  Development for San Jose, wrote a Letter to the Editor (which got almost a full-page) of the Silicon Valley Business Journal trying to make a case for San Jose/Silicon Valley as a both/and. Why? It dilutes the Silicon Valley name and adds no value. I can see why she might try to make that pitch, but it makes no sense.

When people ask where I live, I used to say near San Jose, which got me a blank stare. I then said south of San Francisco, which worked but since I am not a fan of San Francisco, that did not work for me. I then started saying Silicon Valley. People said, “nice.”

San Jose might wish they could co-brand with Silicon Valley but they bring nothing to the party.


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