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News & Press: FOCUS

#WhyNotLansing

Wednesday, April 4, 2018  
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By Tiffany Dowling, M3 Group

When you believe in something, you fight for it. It doesn’t have to be a literal knocked-down dragged-out brawl, but it should make a statement. I have lived in Lansing for over 15 years and in that time I found my hometown – a place I believe in.

I don’t think anyone would be surprised to learn that my passion for Lansing goes beyond the #LoveLansing movement and the niche groups that have grown through their passion for this place. I believe in all of it. I know that the beauty of our region includes its blemishes and imperfections, the naysayers and optimists and those who just want things to stay the same. I fall in a different category though with those who are pleased with progress but are not satisfied and will push for more.

We deserve more. I think it’s time to change the conversation and update our perspective. I’ve been accused throughout my career of having a Pollyanna view of the world and jumping in to take risk without calculation. My penchant for positive change is firmly steeped in seeing the biggest picture I can with the information available to me.

I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and fight for our region. Wouldn’t you love a more vibrant, invigorated downtown Lansing with more shopping and bustling residents? Why don’t we have an urban grocery store? We need other retailers on Michigan Avenue or Washington Square. It’s time to ask the question, #WhyNotLansing? Other areas are seeing amazing downtown and larger community turnarounds. We can start a movement that helps define our region for us as well as those who want to invest, visit or call our town home. We can build the community that benefits our region’s economy, celebrates our diversity and inspires new and exciting growth.

Through the #WhyNotLansing discussion, I asked for people to sign a petition to show support for an urban grocery store. This started a dialogue among community members. Many of the stakeholders wanted to know how their input makes a difference. I assured them that gathering information is key to building something great. Input at all levels from individuals to neighborhoods to businesses to nonprofits to government organizations will provide vital information that helps define our region. You could say it provides the messaging for a community rebrand.

We used to be considered primarily a “GM town.” How do you rebrand a place that has morphed from its old role, with nothing defined to replace it? Can you rebrand before you regenerate? Can you even rebrand without any change at all? Rebranding is far more than a logo and a slogan. By clearly identifying the unique place and what it wants to achieve, we develop a brand useful to our community. We don’t need to be Madison, Indianapolis or even Grand Rapids. We need to be uniquely Lansing.

I’m committed and prepared to donate my time to this cause. We need to get proactive and rebrand our region. There’s no time to waste. Let’s figure out who we are and tell the world. Consistency over time equals brand recognition.

What would happen to this community if we all believed we were worth the effort?

Click here to download the April issue of FOCUS.


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