North Star Consultants recently briefed Escondido City Council members about the strategy / process they propose to develop a regional identity, or "brand", as an innovative marketing tool to promote more effective economic development in North San Diego County.
This branding effort will define how an overall new marketing strategy for the five (5) Cities adjacent to Hwy 78 Corridor will be distinctively different from, (and expected to produce better results) than typical marketing strategies, and economic development plans applied in greater San Diego, and other communities in a highly competitive marketplace in California. Most cities are still struggling economically, as all seek how to best display, or 'show off' amenities and advantages which exist within their defined community.
North Star was retained by the collective investment by the five (5) cities (Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido), and reflects the common interest to create more prosperous communities, thriving in a prosperous region.
What "facts" about Escondido are most important to convey to North Star consultants (operating from offices in Tennessee), who are briefly visiting each community? Consultants already have access to all the demographic data imaginable, so this may be the best chance for Escondido Public Stakeholders to self-identify "Who We Are in Escondido", in a way that reflects a more genuine and accurate self-identity, than otherwise could be developed by a third party. Typically, perceptions by a third party rely mostly on newspaper headlines, demographic data or comparative feedback from Corporate/Public Stakeholders, or perceptions by residents from other communities.
It seems likely that Escondido may rank lowest when compared with four (4) other North County cities in terms of income, education, wages, home-ownership, or other indicator(s) most commonly used to measure, or compare relative wealth. If one applies only the narrowest perspective of Escondido with other more prosperous communities in North San Diego County, it is likely that Escondido might rank ‘at the bottom’, if using only typical metric indicators.
In contrast, I assert if one chose to apply such narrow logic, one would be wrong, since many assets/advantages exist in Escondido, which may not be measured in conventional demographic data, nor appear in headlines.
What values are most important to 'ordinary' citizens in Escondido? In Escondido, it seems that most ordinary citizens place a high value on Quality of Life (QOL) issues, independence, and a choice to self-define our City by presenting a 'new narrative' to proactively present a new, more positive self-identity. This reflects the deliberate preference to self-define our own identity, instead of applying a mere passive acceptance of a default position which has already been predefined by any agency, consultant, or other third-party entity.
There is an almost infinite source of creative energy, new dynamic capital, natural curiosity, intellectual muscle, and a desire to advance our community’s interest in health, sustainable energy, equity, equality, history, environmental quality, art, and Quality of Life in Escondido.
On multiple occasions, I have been impressed by collective action(s) taken when unified coalitions are formed, reflecting qualitative positions articulated through a process of thoughtful dialogue, productive collaboration among citizens, volunteers, nonprofits, non-partisan organizations, faith-based communities, service clubs, students, seniors, young people all actively participating to define certain ‘core values’, which contribute to the Quality of Life in Escondido.
Escondido does not suffer the plight of many communities which reflect apathy or indifference. That’s what seems so unique and attractive about Escondido — the diversity of our citizens crosses a wide cross section of cultures, languages, backgrounds, income levels, education, age and experience.
A healthier community is forming, which reflects collective aspirations and higher hopes for a more dynamic, participatory, modern Escondido, capable of overcoming barriers.
Instead of allowing negative images created by headlines often used in newspapers to define Escondido, I’m promoting an updated, more positive image, where positives outweigh the negatives in a more modern narrative, which should dominate headlines.
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