March Letter from the President

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth 50,000 - views, that is.

On February 28, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's State of the City address included a Facebook video called #WhyNotAkron, which has since attracted more than 49,000 views from people all over the country. This is certainly attributable in part to its gorgeous production and relatable stories, but I think there's something more.

As communicators, we are often faced with challenges - a client's challenge, an employer's challenge, even our own business challenge - and we must decide how we will address it. Will we avoid the challenge, offering Band-Aid answers that perpetuate the issue? Or, will we face the challenge head on, perhaps leveraging it as an opportunity to communicate something unique about our values?

Akron has been declining in economic strength since its peak in the 1960s. Yet, in that decline, many young entrepreneurs have found an affordable and welcoming place to start a business. It has also watched its population leave in droves to the suburbs. But, in turn, it has become as a safe haven for refugees fleeing crisis, many of them entrepreneurs, too, creating a richer cultural and economic landscape in neighborhoods like North Hill and Kenmore.

When engaging a communications problem, I would encourage us to follow Mayor Horrigan's lead: First, look to mission and identity, then to advantages and opportunities. Who knows? Your next challenge may be just what you needed to advance your mission, not to mention your Facebook views.

Tina Boyes

President, Akron Area PRSA 

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