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.