Traveling around as much as I do, I hear it from Mayors, I see it in community vision and mission statements, and I read it in marketing brochures. . .
[insert city name here] – “A Great Place to Live, Work and Play/Shop/Stay”
It’s been the tagline, catch phrase, sound bite, etc. for years now. And candidates for governor and congress use it in speeches (even last night), chambers use it, downtown groups use it, economic developers use it, etc. And this is a big problem. So, if you’re marketing yourself as a great place to live, work and play, your community has no chance to stand out. NO CHANCE!
What does this statement really tell me about your community? Nada. It doesn’t tell me who you are, what you have, or what’s unique. So looking at “Anywhere: An awesome place to live, work and play” and “Lake Town: Live a Lake Life” which one do you want to know more about? You’re community needs to be united around an identify that is unique and authentic to you.
At best you’re running with the pack when using this as the fulcrum of your marketing. I can type “great place to live work and play” into Google and get 4.35 trillion hits. Sort through the first few pages and you’ll see community after community saying the exact same thing, along with a couple articles like this and some articles about live, work play (LWP) mixed use type projects.
And the pack you’re running in is big. It’s the more than 35,000 places in the United States that have a permanent population and buildings (Source: USGS), especially the 19,500 cities, towns and incorporated places (statista.com).
So if you’re using (or thinking about using) “Great Place to Live, Work and Play” to describe your community, STOP! Because even declining rural communities can stake the same claim, because their declining population is less about them and more on the fact that there are better places out there to live, work and play. . . ones that have a better marketing message or that are willing to invest in the amenities and infrastructure that proves it.
Still think it doesn’t apply to every community? Then envision the supermarket. You may not want to buy a can of sardines, but there are cans of it on the shelf because that is what some wants to buy them.
Toyer Strategic Consultant was in Spencer, Iowa yesterday continuing our work with the Grow Spencer Commission to create Spencer’s new economic development strategic plan. The day concluded with a community forum where David Toyer made a presentation on the economic development planning process, the core planning components within the strategy, some of the targeted industries and a review of the community’s goals. There is more coverage of the forum at The Daily Reporter and KICD AM 1240.
“Spencer is one of the nation’s 550 micropolitan statistical areas,” said David Toyer. “We’re excited to be working with them on a plan to maximize their growth potential.”
On October 17th our firm held an implementation work session with the Skykomish Town Council and members of their Planning Commission. The goal of the work session was to prioritize economic development goals in consideration of the Town’s budgeting for 2019, as well as the connections between multiple goals and tasks requiring additional coordination.
The Skykomish Plan was put together using the Toyer Framework® – our signature approach to economic development strategic planning that focuses on implementable action plans, not binders that collect dust on shelves.
Toyer Strategic Consulting has completed the Phase I of a two phase business retention and expansion project for the City of Pacific and Port of Seattle. The Phase I inventory discusses our methods for data collection, and categories and analyzes the types of existing businesses within Pacific’s corporate limits. Phase II of the project (now underway) involves distribution of a general business survey and completion of business retention and expansion (BRE) visits.
The City of Spencer, Iowa has retained Toyer Strategic Consulting to assist their newly created Grow Spencer Commission with the development of an economic development work plan for the community. Check out this story in The Daily Reporter.