Rust Belt Marketing: Promote the Category

By Griffin Jones

There are no awards for the thinnest kid at fat camp. Making fun of Detroit doesn’t make us (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc) any skinnier. We don’t look attractive and cool when we refer to Detroit as a shit hole. We look like the pathetic loser who tries to lift himself up by humiliating his only friend.

Motorcycle companies don’t advertise that other bike makers are more likely to crash. Cell phone companies don’t warn that tower signals from other providers will give you cancer. Hurting the value of their category only damages themselves.

Buffalo’s first new marketing attribute is the value proposition that binds all Rust Belt Cities. If we want to limit destruction to the planet, then people from everywhere need to care about rehabilitating these urban spaces. The same could be true of any city in need of renewal, but the Rust Belt brand allows us to attach geographic strength to a very strong idea.

New England, the Pacific Northwest, Cali;  all are brand names that give each area within them more brand power. Each city is different, we still have our own unique marketing position. Buffalo is attractive because it is small enough to change, there has been so much progress, and it’s tipping point is close. But promoting others in the category strengthens all in the category.

Detroit is amazing. For entrepreneurs, urban farmers, and artists, it’s a beautiful playground. I encourage everyone to go there. I brag about the patriots who have committed themselves to the amazing cause of rehabilitating our planet by focusing on one small part of one enormous city.

No one’s doing themselves a favor by casting stones from their abandoned glass house. We are all comrades behind the same cause. There is more profit in working together.

Opportunity Detroit.

Opportunity Detroit.

Advantage Detroit.

Advantage Detroit.


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