Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winnipeg open for business... again

I recently read the article titled "Manitoba's Inland Port is open for business." The article discussed the appointment of the Board of Directors for CentrePort Canada - leaders in Manitoba representing transportation, construction, manufacturing and marketing . I then went on to Google each of the board members to learn more about their background and experience. (I would have simply went to the website for CentrePort Canada, but there isn't one) I was especially interested in the board's marketing expertise, based mainly on the article's title.

It seems Winnipeg has been open for business for sometime. This was the catch phrase used by Sam Katz when first elected as Mayor back in 2004, and can be found in a number of articles that used the slogan to promote Winnipeg to the world, including some by CentrePort Canada board member Bob Silver of Destination Winnipeg. These articles discuss all the beautiful amenities our city has to offer, along with the economical benefits such as cheap hydro. The message remains consistent with recent press on the city, but is anyone hearing it?

My concern is that if we've been open for business for this long, why is it that we still struggle so much to raise our profile as a city both nationally and internationally? Is is that we have little to offer or is it that only a few are getting the message?

With all the positive additions coming to the city between the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the Inland Port and a potential new stadium to name a few, my hope is that the business leaders responsible for delivering this message will catch up to the new media available for delivery. We've seen a glimpse of this recently by Destination Winnipeg and their "Incredibly Cool" website, and the "Manitoba's Coolest Companies" online campaign on the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce website. The effectiveness of these campaigns is yet to be determined, but its refreshing to see the evolution.

My question: Is there anyone in Winnipeg with the expertise in new media to guide the good intentions of our business leaders as they battle to put Winnipeg on the international map? If so, we're open for business.

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