A gift to the community?

It’s Thanksgiving- and I’d like to thank all my readers for their participation on this site. It’s their thoughts, input, tips and discussion that have helped grow intelligent analysis of our community and its issues.

This quote from Margaret Meade is why I do this: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

We face daunting challenges in our community, many of them easily solvable, if only we can kick ourselves out of the rut we’ve dug. The Wright Brothers aren’t the answer to bring people back to Dayton, we are- and we’ll have to re-invent our community’s shared perception of itself- if we hope to succeed. Unfortunately, our local media thinks that every shooting, stabbing, stealing and stupid human trick is news- instead of focusing on the best of Dayton- and what we’re achieving without their coverage.

But- new thinking also has to come from our captains of industry- those who sit in their brand new hospital towers, or university offices (because all we have left is Meds, Eds and Feds as we’re told- and the Feds are too busy with their own messes). How can we change our community from backward reminiscing to forward acting?

Start with how we choose to advertise our companies? Yep.

Think about how Pepsi has moved a portion of the millions that they spend to promote selling sugar water away from media- to actual projects that impact communities- they call it “Pepsi Refresh”– or Google providing free wi-fi to holiday travelers, the idea of “Marketing as a service” is a way to make a much bigger impact than spending on billboards, tv ads or newspaper ads which are all temporary in nature.

Looking at our two major hospitals which spend millions trying to steal market share away from each other- we could have something tangible that promotes a healthy lifestyle in our community. From the DDN:

Premier cut advertising and promotion spending 35 percent to $5.45 million, while KHN cut such spending 33 percent to $2.86 million.

At Premier’s Miami Valley Hospital, 2009 advertising/promotion spending was $2.36 million in 2009, down 37 percent from 2008. At KHN’s Kettering/Sycamore Medical Center, 2009 spending was $2.08 million, down nearly 30 percent.

Premier hospitals’ advertising and promotion spending doesn’t include the more than $28 million in long-term marketing agreements those hospitals have with local schools.

via Hospitals cut nonclinical costs in tight economy.

A fraction of their “investment in advertising” could provide a countywide bicycle sharing system– which could reinvigorate our community- and provide them with “a vehicle” to spread their message. The bikes would be branded- the kiosks would display ads, the social networking functions would build relationships with people who will eventually need their services- and our community will have something to talk about that’s a bit newer than the Wright Brothers- but, still connects to their roots as bicycle builders.

As our City (metropolitan) continues to lose residents- the market for our health care providers shrinks, it becomes harder to attract top-notch talent to the community to work, and we’ll continue to see an exodus of companies, jobs, and residents. But, change where we spend our money to market- and start to transform our perceptions- and we’ll have more to be thankful for.

The university presidents at both UD and WSU are already on board with this plan, and willing to commit some funding for the program, all that’s left is a company that wants to give back to our community in more than 30 second soundbites and billboards.

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