Strength Become Weakness

Posted by Brad Ferguson on

Great companies evolve. Great people evolve. Great institutions evolve. Apple Computer has evolved. James Bond has evolved. LEGO has evolved. Bill Clinton has evolved. Hell, even Earls Restaurant has evolved.

Good organizations are built on strengths, but great organizations understand that those very strengths soon become their weakness, and they need to evolve in order to get to the next stage of growth.

Are cities any different? Let’s look at Edmonton.

Strength: a humble city of entrepreneurially thinking people and quietly profitable businesses that rally around any community initiative and provide anonymous donations to capital campaigns.

And …

Weakness: a humble city of entrepreneurially thinking people and quietly profitable businesses that rally around any community initiative and provide anonymous donations to capital campaigns … that doesn’t like to bring about any overt attention to its successes, yet wants to change its external image and become a destination for new businesses, residents, tourists and investment.

Yikes!! Could Edmonton’s humility be getting in the way of achieving its next stage of success? Does Edmonton and Edmonton-based firms truly understand marketing? Are Edmontonians ready to move from introvert to extrovert?

I suggest that we collectively need to invest in marketing in order to jump to the next curve … and by collectively invest, I mean starting with a serious look at our individual marketing budgets and ask the following questions:

• Are you spending a minimum of 1% of revenues on marketing (marketing, not sales)?
• Are your events held in public places and considered remarkable (worth remarking about)?
• How many stories in the press/media do you get every year (telling your story)?
• How much, and in what, are you investing to recruit new employees (and how many)?
• How do you celebrate your philanthropy to build your brand (community marketing)?

These questions are tough to answer for many Edmonton-based organizations, and will be the topic for subsequent blogs over the next month. This is a topic that is critical to our collective success, as the Edmonton story is simply an aggregate of our individual stories … corporate, institutional, personal, community or charitable. There are many things that we can do individual level, and there are many things we can do in the collective.

But be prepared to become more extroverted. We all need you to be.

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