This is the ninth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021.
Through all the difficult events of the last two decades (a Great Recession, an opioid epidemic, economic stagnation, creeping nativism, a pandemic, a pandemic recession), Old Whitewater has responded with the same question: how can we market the town to others?
If marketing hadn’t been invented, these gentlemen would have had open calendars and empty task lists.
Some marketing efforts will, in any event, prove easier than others.
For the school district, efforts to persuade families who have left the district should prove the easiest marketing task in Whitewater. Those families have connections geographically and personally to the district, they chose to be in the district before the pandemic, and if the pandemic truly abates in the Whitewater area, a well-crafted appeal to the prior reasons they stayed in the district should have a good chance of success.
That sort of marketing program would be a reclamation effort, where one reclaims by persuasion those who once had a commitment to the district.
Beyond a reclamation effort, however, other marketing programs – for newcomers to the city or school district – will reach the eyes and ears of those who have not before lived in the community. Those prospects will have no prior experience (or little) by which to evaluate the claims, offers, and promises they hear.
Local marketing men will evaluate the success of their appeals by the number of newcomers they attract. There is a more fundamental standard by which an ethical man or woman evaluates an advertising or marketing campaign: one first judges advertising and marketing by the honesty of the claims presented. Honesty requires truth, significance, and relevance.
If Whitewater aims to sell to others the city or school district, then that effort requires more than a nice website or colorful flyer. Many communities have nice websites and colorful flyers.
There is no greater promotion, no more colorful banner, no more compelling slogan, than the truth.
Whitewater would do better to admit – indeed, to declare boldly – that she is a work in progress, in need of help from talented newcomers from near and far. For the city to succeed in that declaration, the same
ten eight six people who have chanted self-promotion as though a universal creed will have to yield places and opportunities to those talented newcomers.
All the rest is more of the same.
Previously: Unofficial Spring Election Results, The Kinds of Conservatives in Whitewater, The City’s Center-Left, The City’s Few Progressives, The Campus, The Subcultural City, The Common Council, and COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.