Cradle Of Brands

There are very few Enquirer articles, aside from sports, that I read entirely, word-for-word. But for some reason, I read this one about Cincinnati as the Cradle of Brands. For all the talk about Cincinnati losing young people moving away in droves - what is this they are saying?

"...experts say more than half the people involved in the advertising and marketing industry in the nation work and live in this region.

'You cannot walk down a grocery store aisle anyplace in the world and not see one product branded by a design firm in Cincinnati,' said Doug Moormann, vice president of economic development for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

'That's the scale of the business.'"

I always knew that advertising and marketing, mostly driven by P&G, was big in this town, but I did not know how big it really was. From the sound of the article, anyone interested in an advertising or marketing career must consider living in Cincinnati. The only other place mentioned in the story is Minneapolis, home of Target. Now, I've heard many times that Minneapolis is a nice place to live, but seriously does the average young person in this country think Minneapolis is cooler than Cincinnati?

This is a tremendous thing. But how long has this been known? It seems like something really valuable could be done with this information, but what? The only parallels I can draw are from the tech industry because that is what I know best. In the way that Silicon Valley markets itself, cannot we do the same as the ground zero for graphic/industrial design, branding, marketing? Where are the national conferences and design expos? Where are the Bar Camps and Coffee Clubs and Meetups? Or maybe these things occur but I just don't know about them because I'm not in the industry.

Silicon Valley is inexplicable, a phenomenon unto itself. You can start a company anywhere, but your experience starting one in the Valley will be remarkably different from starting one elsewhere. The Valley's perfect blend of support (funding, legal, news coverage and social) plus an inexhaustible talent pool makes it hard to replicate. Does that support for design companies exists here? I don't know.

There are hundreds (thousands?) of startup companies in the Valley. There are hundreds of small design firms in greater Cincinnati, employing on average less than 10 people. While technology companies may command more capital, what we have here is nothing to sneeze at. As I said before, it seems like we have something really valuable here, but the question remains: what is it?

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