I'm not sure how many Columbus natives follow my blog - or are interested enough to dig deep in the Experience Columbus campaign I covered last night - but, I think there's a larger story unfolding here. One that's less about Columbus and more about the power of - to borrow a phrase from a sister agency - an open brand.
In a few weeks I could be writing a post called: How bad advertising built authenticity for an embattled tourism agency. I'm totally kidding on the bad advertising part, but, you know, these things do require a little drama.
A number of local bloggers have written about the Not in Columbus campaign with a mixture of hesitation and disappointment.
Pete McGinty (our hero - and marketing VP - at Experience Columbus) has not only stayed in the conversation - he's leveraged our feedback to revise the campaign.
Here are just a few of the comments Pete submitted around the local blog scene:
"Your feedback, as well as the subsequent comments in your blog, is very helpful as we go forward with the campaign. We couldn't have afforded enough focus groups to garner the input we've received!
One of the benefits of how the campaign is structured is that the elements allow for flexibility.
In fact, we have temporarily removed the videos so that we can rework the ending with a more positive spin. Stay tuned."
"We recognize the role of social media in our marketing mix. We are learning. As you know, we are not launching the NotinColumbus.com Web site at this time. We shared it to ask for the precise kind of input that we've received from you. That will only make us better going forward."
"I'm glad that you were able to make it to our event last week. We found it extremely valuable to gain the direct feedback of people like yourself. And, of course, the feedback keeps on coming, which is what we hoped for. It is exciting for us to hear from those who are engaged in this city and have the same kind of passion for it that we do."
"I'm glad you see the potential of the campaign. "Working the bugs out" is actually what we are doing right now."
"Thanks so much for coming to our event last week and for your support of the campaign.
We have received so much valuable feedback. It is great to feel the energy of so many people so passionate about our city.
Glad you enjoyed your t-shirt."
I have to say I'm somewhat floored by this. Despite the able counsel of a damn good PR partner, this kind of totally productive, chin-up response to feedback has to be really tough. As both the delightful Adverboyfriend and my loyal Adverbrother would point out - my skin isn't nearly thick enough to stand up to similar criticism.
Cheers, Pete! You've won over the mob.