Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winnipeg Kick Heard Round the World

Thank you Mayor Sam Katz for kicking Winnipeg into the global spotlight, courtesy of one child's face.

Over the last week, there has been more press and internet activity centred on Winnipeg than any efforts ever made by the very lame "Winnipeg Incredibly Cool" website by Destination Winnipeg who are now Economic Development Winnipeg; the "Selling Winnipeg to the World" initiative which is now "Yes Winnipeg" and the "Winnipeg Inland Port" project which is now "CentrePort Canada".

Millions of Winnipeggers' tax dollars continue to poor into these efforts to put Winnipeg on the map, driving interest for businesses and people to relocate to our city, without any reportable results. Meanwhile, our Mayor kicks one kid in the face - at no cost other than a few scared parents and a bag of ice to slow the swelling - and suddenly all eyes are on the 'Peg.

What's my point? My point is results. The viral nature of information flow provides the ability to capture an audience - though often brief - it gives you those rare moments to educate and excite people about something. I'm not suggesting we have Sam randomly kick kids in the face each week and post it on YouTube, what I'm suggesting is that there are ways these entities that are responsible for marketing Winnipeg to the world can use the viral flow of information to keep eyes on Winnipeg.

Now, I'm not saying I have the answer to what this may be. I do know it needs to be consistent, and it needs to have a target audience in mind. Its not putting up a video called "Does Winnipeg Really Exist?" and cutting and pasting a bunch of movie and tv mentions of Winnipeg to show that this some how makes us relevant. I still shake my head at that one.

A perfect example of the lack of vision this city has in how we market ourselves is in a recent conversation I had with the women now responsible for social media at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. She openly admitted to me she's never really used any social media platforms, and out of the blue one day, was given this role for the Chamber. This is the same group that started "Selling Winnipeg To The World" - an initiative that, when it started, didn't even have an internet strategy. Now, they hand over the job of social media to a person that seemed more scared than excited about it.

If it wasn't for Sam's misguided foot and a couple of lap dancing teachers, I don't think Winnipeg would have made news beyond Brandon over this last year. That's right...let's just keep pouring millions into giving people jobs to market the city without any consequence for failure. I'm sure there's plenty more Government nipples to go around.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Widening Inkster & Widening Costs

Okay...I'm all for the development of Winnipeg's inland port. I feel our geographic location is a fit; our successful Manitoba manufacturing and aerospace companies will benefit; and the potential for new business development and job creation is immense. What I'm not sure of is what has truly been accomplished to this point other than a tremendous level of spending of taxpayers money?

A trip to Mexico and tour of the Southern U.S. resulted in squat. I mean what impact are Diane Gray and her team making on these trips if, when reported on, they can't even spell her name right? click here Didn't she leave a business card?

Have they secured the land in Rosser yet? No. Without this, how will they secure tenants? Maybe they should spend less money touring the world, and more time working out relations with the rest of Manitoba.

Does anyone in Winnipeg even know anything about this project? No. I know this for a fact as I'm out meeting with companies all the time. Majority of people just think this whole project is the airport expansion. I'm sure that's why Michael Rodyniuk left. He probably got tired of explaining that the two projects are completely separate from one another.

Now I see that all the talk is around being Canada's first foreign trade zone. I'd say this is a pretty big deal. Why isn't the CentrePort Canada team shouting this to the heavens? They make a small mention on their website and that's it!

My point is there needs to be more education and marketing locally in order for Winnipeggers & Manitobans to talk less about noise pollution and tax spending and more about the potential for provincial prosperity.

With the millions of dollars already spent, when will we see some real business deals closed and the potential for return on investment? Yes Winnipeg! I sure hope so...