Due to the wonders of “podcasts”, I was finally able to listen to Carol Coletta’s “Smart City” radio show. “Smart City” is produced by the local National Public Radio WKNO and is hosted by Memphis resident Carol Coletta.
“City Brands” was the topic of the first show I listened to. While it pertained to large cities, I felt it had a lot to do with our efforts at creating a “Lakeland identity”, and perhaps even be recognized by Bellsouth, the U.S. Postal Service etc.!
The guest, Simon Anholt, has compiled the “Anholt City Brands Index”. He bases this index on the following six measurements. The measures are:
-Presence (people’s perception of a city)
-Pulse (lifestyle, what is available)
-People (perceptions of the people by non-residents)
-Place: (Perception of physical aspects of the City)
-Presence (infrastructure etc.)
Of course, these rankings would apply to Lakeland much differently than a larger city, since the six measurements would be defined much different than for a larger city. However, the measurements are a method of defining what we want the future Lakeland to look like and our measurement of the Lakeland of 2006.
These measurements are not determined by city officials or residents but are how we are judged as a community and exist in the minds of literally thousands of people, including people who just drive through Lakeland. Many people I meet still perceive of Lakeland as the place with the amusement park and drag strip!
However, I meet many more people who perceive of Lakeland as a wonderful place to live, work and visit.
Such criteria, while we probably will never actually measure it, can provide some guidance on how we plan for the future Lakeland