Play to your strengths

I’m not a native Iowan.  I’ve been here for about 15 years and its a great place to raise a family, build a business and enjoy a quality of life that is tough to beat.

But as long as I’ve lived here, I’ve noticed that Iowans are constantly apologizing or putting down their own state.  They lament that college kids seek the big cities and that there isn’t enough night life for the single set.  Both true.  And probably not going to change.

For years, Iowa has tried to overcome that perception (again — remember its accurate) with media campaigns and catchy slogans.  Surprise — they didn’t work.

Why would you put the spotlight on a weakness and then shout "nuh uh!" and try to disprove it?

That’s why I was thrilled to see Patrick Schaber’s post about Iowa’s newest campaign.

For the first time that I can remember, the state’s push for people to consider bringing their business and/or their family to Iowa is not apologizing — it is celebrating all that makes it such a terrific place to live.

They’re running ads in magazines like Fast Company and built a pretty impressive website.

Also on their site is the creative, like this outdoor board, that they’re running.


The print ad series touts some of the perks of Iowa life and spotlights families who’ve made the move.  This PDF ( Download haldeman.pdf ) talks about Iowa being the 8th safest state to live in.  Not a bad message these days.

Another ad (–>) talks about Iowa’s reasonable housing costs.  Picture_5_3 What makes this campaign so strong is that Iowa finally stopped trying to put lipstick on a pig.  Marketing campaigns that make you something that you’re not but really, really wish you could be, do nothing but muddy the waters.

Congrats Iowa for getting it right!

Read what some of my fellow Iowans say about why Iowa.

Mike Sansone

Todd Mundt
Tom Vander Well
Adam Steen
Andy Brudtkuhl
Cory Garrison

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