The letter I didn’t send Dr. Percy Mack at Dayton Public Schools

I wrote it, I signed it, I put it in an envelope- and then never delivered it. I was going to look at it one last time- and didn’t until today.

18 May 2007

Dr. Percy Mack
Superintendent Dayton Public Schools
VIA: Hand delivery

Dear Dr. Mack,
If you want to change the outcome of your next levy campaign- you need to change your message.
Ideally, this should have started two years ago.
Now, you have less than 6 months.
Your campaign message obviously didn’t work. We have a different way of approaching the problem- and you would do well to at least have a listen.
Bring your best and brightest to the meeting- and I’ll wow them with the strategy that will not only get your levy passed, but will increase fall enrollment.
Can you afford to ignore this request for an hour or two of your time and no money?
16% points says you can’t.

Sincerely,

David Esrati

Too cocky? Too antagonistic? Too honest? Too much chutzpah?

Damned if I’ll ever know- he didn’t respond to the first 12 letters I dropped off two years ago asking him to reconsider his branding to becoming one focused more on strengths than on empty statements like “a new day is dawning” and “moving ahead.”As we can see by the levy failure- yes indeed a new day is dawning, and it won’t be moving anywhere but backwards.

The realization hit me like a cicada on my helmet visor at 75mph, last week while attending the National Conference of the American Advertising Federation- people from outside Dayton look at me quite differently- and hear the knowledge I willingly share about the new realities in marketing, advertising and web 2.0. And best of all, they are willing to pay quite a bit more than what I’ve been charging locally.

Dayton may need my ideas, but other markets are willing to pay quite well for them.

C’est la vie.

Would you have responded to my letter?

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