Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will the Real Cleveland Please Stand Up?

Content Marketing World brought in 1700+ attendees in which more than 75% were in Cleveland for the first time. The promotional signs at the airport for Content Marketing World called Cleveland the “International Home for Content Marketing”. As a marketer, I love this designation! However, it got me thinking about Cleveland’s overall identity. The beauty of Cleveland today is that there are so many things that define the city...for those that live here, work here and visit here. However, what is the overall view of Cleveland?  
Cleveland is a hard-working, Midwest city. We’re a huge sports team...Browns, Indians, Cavs, Monsters, Gladiators, and more. We’re the Rock and Roll Capital of the World! We’re a hugely respected medical city. We’re a foodie town with well known, incredible chefs. We’re the birthplace of Superman. We’re the backdrop for A Christmas Story, Light of Day (remember that one?)...and now, Marvel Comics movies like The Avengers and the Captain America sequel. We’re a gambling town with the Horseshoe, Racino and upcoming Rocksino (there’s that rock theme again!). Again, now we’re the home of Content Marketing (well deserved!).

I’m sure I’m missing others, but you can see all the identities of Cleveland. So, with all of that, what SHOULD be our main identity?  My first inclination, mainly because I think it’s what we’re most closely related with is the sports town. The only problem with that is that we haven’t had a champion team here in forever, so I don’t think it reflects us as a city that's on top. I think we need to re-embrace and re-emphasize our Rock and Roll identity. I think it’s by far the most all encompassing and appeals to the most people. Plus, “Cleveland Rocks” has already been branded and it just works. With the Rock Hall, Hard Rock Cafe, the upcoming Rocksino, the Agora and countless music venues, I'd love to see some partnerships among them (and other Cleveland attractions) to really bring this aspect alive again.  It can be applied to any of the other identities to tie in a cohesive message. 
My honorable mention would absolutely be for the content marketing identity. There is such great work being done in the marketing industry and it’s exciting that Cleveland is viewed as the center of this activity and to be able to be a part of it.

That’s my two cents, but what’s yours? I know not everyone will agree. What do you think Cleveland’s main identity is or should be? I really want to see what everyone has to say. We love our city for all kinds of reasons, so tell me how you think we should be seen.

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