How To Handle a Poor Ranking? Fight Back!
May 29, 2013
Ranked low on that latest Best Cities index, did ya? You’re no doubt taking a pounding in the local press, so I don’t envy you. And your national reputation? Goodbyyyyye!
Of course, you do have one option: fight back. Sometimes the adversity thrust upon your community presents nothing more than an opportunity to stand out and make a statement. In fact, the national media love comeback stories, so a poor showing simply opens a door; it doesn’t shut it. Consider the following two instances in which cities took it on the chin, but punched back:
- Rockford, IL: Named by Forbes as the third “most miserable city” in the U.S. this February for its high unemployment, declining manufacturing base and high property taxes, Rockford decided it wasn’t going to let the ranking get them down. Instead, the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau developed an ad campaign with the theme, “Misery Loves Company.” The goal was to turn misery on its head, showcasing how “misery never smelled this fresh,” and “misery never made so many friends,” all the while highlighting the local farmers’ market and vibrant bar scene, to name a few examples. The ranking merely provided a platform for the city to promote creatively its finest assets.
- Grand Rapids, MI: Newsweek proclaimed 10 U.S. cities as “dying” back in 2011 (ironic given its own demise in recent years), with Grand Rapids earning the No. 10 spot. Rather than sulk, local leaders revived the community’s image with a 10-minute-long lip-dub of Don McLean’s American Pie, with 5,000 people participating as the camera rolled through Grand Rapids’s fun-looking downtown. What has happened since then is remarkable—being named by Forbes as the No. 1 “Best Place to Raise a Family,” No. 4 “Best City for Finding Employment,” and No. 7 “Happiest City to Work In Right Now.” It even just won the Beer City USA title, an indication that it is, indeed, a pretty cool town!
Have any other cool examples of how cities or states have turned a negative ranking into a positive? Please share below.
Also, consider joining us on Thursday, June 13 at 2 p.m. EST as we reveal the behind-the-scenes process that goes into developing some of the most important rankings in economic development! DCI has brought together two Forbes editors who regularly work on city and state rankings, Kurt Badenhausen (Best Places for Business & Careers, Best States for Business) and Morgan Brennan (America’s Coolest Cities), who will share their methodologies in detail, what they look for when devising a ranking topic and their advice on improving a community’s standing over time. We’ll also invite questions from the audience to ensure you walk away with a better understanding of how the system works.
Feel free to register below and we’ll send you the full link for the webinar!