Reno’s “Biggest Little City” Campaign

Last year I wrote a very popular post entitled “The ‘Why I love Reno’ Campaign,” which basically talked about the many failed attempts at re-branding the City of Reno or more generally, our Reno region.  From “America’s Adventure Place,” to “Far From Expected,” to “A Little West of Center,” to “What’s Your Passion?,”  to most recently “All Seasons, A Thousand Reasons,” all slogans have worked to capture the essence of the Reno area but none really ever did hit the mark.

In that post I also talked about a new video that had surfaced and why it was different in that it had been produced by the citizens of Reno. I was excited to see this crowd-sourced approach taking place, because I knew it offered something different and a little more authentic. Today, this movement has come full circle in that a group of citizens recently launched what is known as the “Biggest Little City” movement. According to the web site at www.biggestlittlecity.org:

Reno rebirth is a group of residents that joined together for the purpose of creating a campaign that gets people talking about Reno in a positive way. There are over 40 volunteers donating their time to create a branded platform for contributors to design, film, write, blog, etc., about the great things Reno is and offers.

Through the web site, local citizens can share their stories about why they have chosen to live in the Reno region. While the majority of stories are submitted by individuals on their own account, there have also been a couple of featured videos produced that you can watch below to give you a flavor for this movement:

Grant & Shawna Korgan’s Story:

Kristin Stith’s Story:

Mark Estee’s Story:

What’s great about this approach to “re-branding” the city is that it’s not really re-branding anything at all, but rather taking the city’s most familiar slogan and bringing it to life through crowd-sourced storytelling. It’s authentic, illuminating, and appealing. In fact, The Next Web recently published a story featuring the Biggest Little City movement in an article entitled “Your City Doesn’t Have a Startup Community? Start One!” The author writes:

The city of Reno, Nevada rolled the dice and showed their faith by calling on their entrepreneurs to rebrand the city. The Biggest Little City campaign turned startup success stories into a stronger community where new businesses can flourish.

In many ways, this is the equivalent of instituting a modern day marketing approach that puts your strongest advocates of a particular brand message to work for you (as opposed to the other way around, which has up until now been the “traditional” approach) … which I also talked about in another recent post entitled “Marketing is Dead and Customers are in Control: Mobilize Your Advocates!”

Next week, the Reno-Tahoe AMA will host a luncheon featuring a discussion hosted by representatives from the team behind the Biggest Little City movement.

While the various agencies have done a great job promoting the region in various aspects (for example I love this video that was recently produced by the RSCVA for the “All Seasons, a Thousand Reasons” campaign), no campaign before has really had the ability to go as far or create the type of engagement among the citizens of the community that is required for lift off in today’s intensely connected, increasingly digital world.

Fueled by passionate citizens, combined with the fact that the movement recently received $100,000 donation from the Peppermill, it will be interesting to watch this effort unfold over time and see what sticks and how the community benefits from it.

Now it’s your turn: what are your thoughts on the movement? If you live in the Reno area, have you shared your story?

3 comments

  1. Nice post…the trick to all this is converting the “internal” feel-good to the external audiences — addressing their perception of Reno/Northern Nevada

    • Don – Thanks for your comment. I agree … however, I think this movement is different in that it began with businesses and residents communicating their reasons for being here as opposed to agencies talking about why we’re a good place on the map to visit. I recall that EDAWN did a similar type of campaign years back with it’s “Can Do Reno” approach, but I am not sure that really ever went anywhere. There was an element of crowdsourcing to that too, but I think that was a little before digital life became more mainstream. What do you think?

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