You probably chose the city in which you live for a number of different reasons. Was it the proximity to other family members or friends? The draw of arts and culture? The short drive to outdoor recreation? The local amenities? Maybe it was the pull of a research center or university? And what about the job market, the ability of a city to lure talented workers, or the low unemployment rate that many places see year after year? Whatever your reasons for choosing the (in your opinion) best place to live and work, many cities still struggle to attract - or keep in many instances - their people. Specifically, young, educated, savvy, and talented people who make solid additions to a city's workforce.
So why do some cities continue to face adversity? Why aren't they able to create emotional connections between their place and those they're trying to attract? According to an interesting article by the Milwaukee Business Journal, some cities are dealing with an identity crisis. They're focused on, and worried about, not having enough to offer - to highly educated people and Millennials especially. Trending these days - a temperate climate and access to mountain recreation - are strong drivers that lure such audiences, but cities like Milwaukee, Dayton, Cleveland, and Detroit don't have the luxury of either. Still, these cities do boast a lot of redeeming qualities that draw people in. Why, then, do such opposite reactions arise when people talk about Denver, Nashville, Austin, Seattle, and Portland versus the aforementioned Milwaukee, Dayton, Cleveland, and Detroit?
Loving Yourself First
It's all about positioning. It's all about self awareness and self identity. It's all about leveraging, and taking charge of, reputation. And it's all about loving your city first. Rather than constantly working to defend the bad, talk about the good. Commit to telling the good story. Tell that which sets your city apart. Boast. Brag. And most importantly, create a revolution. Work to change the perception of community members and residents. Remind them why they chose their city in the first place. Let them be the advocates who help spread the message that your city is one to be proud of, and remember, that while yes, Austin has something special in SXSW, Detroit’s theater district is the second largest in the country; second only to New York City. All places have something to offer. All places deserve recognition. All places have the capability to thrive.
Loving your place, disseminating an optimistic message, and regarding all of the good that occurs within your city's borders will yield a following that truly believe your city is the best city. Do we care about your city? Absolutely. We help places all over the world see their best selves, ensure they're putting their best foot forward, and ensure they're capitalizing on opportunities for their communities - those that bring jobs and capital investment into their doors.
Telling the good story looks like...