A Pragmatic Solution to Cincinnati Syndrome


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Presented at Ignite Cincinnati with several other folks this evening.

Amazing event. Learned a lot. Left inspired and exhausted.

My presentation basically said we have too much going on in Cincinnati to not be excited and proud about our city.

20 slides, 15 seconds each.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
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  • After nearly 40 years to the day of living in Cincinnati, I’ve diagnosed a problem called Cincinnati Syndrome. It manifests itself in all of us and the organizations we work in at one point or another. It hampers creativity and ultimately our success as a city.
  • You’re probably wondering what exactly is Cincinnati Syndrome. It’s conciously or subconciously agreeing with the misconception that Cincinnati is somehow less than other cities. The New Jersey of the Midwest.
  • The syndromestarts out innocently, as a joke. Jokes I make myself. And it helps the world assume Cincinnati is nothing more than flyover country. A flat city that got its own sitcom years ago.
  • I can trace it back to Mark Twain. He did not actually say “when the world ends I want to be in Cincinnati as it will happen here 10 years later.” But he gets most credit so I’m holding him accountable.
  • However you diagnose Cincinnati Syndrome, to say or imply that Cincinnati is less than worthy is complete bullshit.
  • I’m not being unrealistic either. We’ve got issues like any other city. And I’m not trying to trivialize or to forget out past.
  • The riots took place in 2001 and had a huge impact on our city. But nearly 10 years later for Cincinnati to still be known as the city where the riots took place makes no sense at all.
  • This is an x-ray of my arm after a tragic accident I was involved in. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s an incident that had a big impact on my life. And I know it’s It is not even an apples to oranges comparison to the riots.
  • But it gives me and Cincinnati a similar choice. We can lock in orbit around an incident in our lives and let it forever define us and never really move past it.
  • Or we can use these events to be a low point on a map that looks at everything we’ve been and everything we’ve accomplished since.
  • This is our Wikipedia entry turned into a word cloud. It shows all the great things we have to think about. More assets and accomplishments to point to,
  • This visual sucks but it starts to show you where all of these basic assets fall.
  • Cincinnati is a brand. And if you consider all of the brand assets I just showed you. We have a huge opportunity to stand out from other cities and build on our success to date. But we have to be smart about it.
  • Perhaps Twain’s quote, which even miscredited won’t seem to go away, is part of what differentiates us. Pragmatism means we can be leading edge, but not be blinded by it.
  • Agenda 360 takes this my basic solution a step farther. The plan will position us as the consumer marketing capital of the world. P&G is the tip of a deep iceberg that shows our prowess in consumer marketing.
  • This will allow us to differentiate Cincinnati as a brand and bring more businesses here and by default, jobs and ultimately people.
  • It won’t happen over night, but work is underway. This will require an inside out approach. If the city is not unified and in agreement over this, it won’t sell elsewhere. It is a common thread that can run through all businesses. And benefit from it.
  • The end result will be a whole new trajectory for the city. We’ll be known as more than the city in which P&G resides.
  • The Queen City is a title we earned years ago. We are worthy of this crown.As the crown on Queen City Square is being finished, I challenge everyone here to be a defender of the crown.
  • It will take more than just God to save the Queen City I’m afraid (I’m Catholic, I can say that). It will take all of us working together.So be pragmaticAnd be proud of this city and what we can accomplish here. Thank you.
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