It is nice to see the grass roots efforts around the “You will do better in Toledo” slogan from our history gain some ground. Tuesday, December 17, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the debut of the sign, so it has become “You will do better in Toledo” Day. Cool! [Added 12/17: the video]
I am far from an expert in the history, but it seems like “You will do better in Toledo” was a marketing campaign to help attract talent to the area. It could turn into a way to do the same 100 years later, a nice connection to the past but updated for today and the future. A few things to consider if we decide to go that route.
- I am not sure if the original focus was “You will do better in the City of Toledo” or not, but today, it needs to be a regional message. People looking to relocate here may want to work in the city, but live in Monroe, Bowling Green or elsewhere. Or the reverse: live in the city and work elsewhere. Or, live and work in Defiance or some other town in the region: we all benefit. So we should be sure to include stories of ways you can do better in the Toledo region.
- Grass roots efforts are great, but at some point, if we want to have an impact, then various companies, organizations and other institutions will need to adopt it and build upon it to address their specific talent attraction needs. For example, instead of the Promedica HR folks building their own content and message to attract medical professionals to the region, they could take advantage of the videos, stories, enthusiasm and other informal efforts around YWDBIT and add their doctor-specific materials on top. The Toledo Region Branding initiative is a good start for coordinating this.
- We should map out specific audiences we are targeting to attract. Who are the best ones? I propose young people who are likely to start businesses as a key audience for these efforts, but there are many more options. Each company will have its focus. Certain job skills (I heard local manufacturers are in dire need of skilled tradesmen who can pass a drug test). Certain industries like solar or automotive. People with a past connection (like people who grew up here and have moved away) or newcomers. From elsewhere in the midwest, only in the US, or immigrants from around the world? We should brainstorm a list and connect organizations who are trying to attract similar audiences to pool resources and collaborate.
There will be some things we can build to enable a regional focus, help companies adopt it, and allow special audiences to get the most targeted messages. For example, YouWillDoBetterInToledo.com has been registered; in theory, it could be a gateway to the grass roots content developed by all of these “Toledo lovers.”
Some of the stories of how you will do better will have general appeal, but all messages will not resonate with all audiences. I suspect some stories that appeal to a cardiologist will not appeal to a welder. If we want to try to attract a very specific audience (example: the brightest Chinese students to study here), then we may want to develop specific stories just for them (like, other folks from China who are already doing better here, telling their stories in Chinese).
With the proper organization and tagging of the content on that site, and on other sites like ToledoRegion.com, then all of this energy and enthusiasm around “You will do better in Toledo” can be the foundation for something great. In the future, perhaps we will be able to share stories of people who saw the YWDBIT content, moved here, and indeed are doing better.