Saturday, May 01, 2010

Urban Branding And Talent Migration

The moral of yesterday's story about Most Livable Pittsburgh is that placemaking takes a backseat to intimate knowledge of place. Your city can be cool and affordable, but talent will still go somewhere else. As for local graduates, they don't really care about your investment in downtown. Every year, young adults flee from regions sporting a wealth of urban amenities. Pittsburgh is a city struggling to justify its lavish expenditures on placemaking:

"They try to stage something high profile every year because (Pittsburgh) has to sell itself, I mean to sell against people's preconceived perceptions of what it was like," said Mathews, who has been a frequent participant in such fact-finding trips with the local chamber of commerce and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. ...

... Patterson and Schulz said financial problems have delayed that city's plans for a convention center hotel, causing the loss of thousands of visitor room nights and reduced hospitality tax revenue.

Preconceived conceptions are difficult to overcome. Also, they matter more than livability or any other kind of rankings. But any branding campaign isn't likely to shift the regional stereotype.

Pittsburgh already has a successful global brand and it's not all bad. People choose to highlight the negative. Thus shrinking cities spend a lot of time, effort and money trying to convince the world that their place is not the Rust Belt. I love Pittsburgh because it is the Rust Belt. That's the brand I would promote.

No comments: