Tomorrow, a Webinar hosted by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) examines the city of Detroit as a brand: How 30 Years of Communications Lessons Helped Detroit Create a Positive New Brand Image.
I honestly love my hometown as much as anybody, and will defend it to the end…but color me skeptical. Does Detroit really have a “positive new brand image”?
Let’s see. Mayoral scandals and an ignominious ouster. Police department brass resigning in shame. An infrastructure that is crumbling. A public school system that is the envy of exactly no one. Inept and depleted city services. A population plummeting. Foreclosures flourishing. A violent crime rate rising. Homes and storefronts being shuddered. Unemployment skyrocketing. Employers fleeing. Out of control debt and budget shortfalls. Tax coffers drying.
With all due respect, what is this positive new brand image?
I’ve written before about the dangers in disconnect betweeen brand and reality. And I fear what we have here is another case of the cosmetic meeting the porcine. Trust me, would that it were true…but wishing it were so doesn’t make it so. As much as I think there could be a story to tell at some point in the future, I think we as communications professionals need to be careful about telling it truthfully and honestly.