Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Memphis: The Comeback

Jim Russell alerted me to a diaspora marketing campaign from Memphis, Tennessee. They are trying to lure residents who left back home. One part of this is a web ad in the style of Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” called “The Comeback,” which you can see below. If the video doesn’t display, click here.

Looking at the diaspora is good. I might also suggest places where Memphis already is seeing in-migrants arrive from. Some of them are Nashville (unsurprising), Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas.

Memphis metro is 46.6% black – highest in the US among all large metros. Some writers are observing a reverse Great Migration back to the South. A lot of that black growth is occurring in places that have been more robust economically like Atlanta and Charlotte, unsurprisingly. But Memphis might try to figure out how to take advantage of the trend, particularly with the Great Recession affecting the economies of some of those other places, particularly Atlanta.

1 Comment
Topics: Civic Branding, Talent Attraction
Cities: Memphis

One Response to “Memphis: The Comeback”

  1. Memphis, from what I have read and experienced (5 years ago, mind you), is a car running on a political engine from the 1980s. It has an uphill climb ahead of it. The long-time Mayor Herenton engaged in heavily racially divisive rhetoric that he only ramped up during the latter part of his 18-year tenure, estranging himself from the affluent white tax base–some if it echoes what Coleman Young did in Detroit 20 years earlier. Incidentally, as you no doubt know, Memphis is one of the few largely distressed big cities that hasn’t lost population this year–completely attributable to persistent annexation. Yet a suburban community like Hickory Hill was quite comfortably middle class when it was annexed in the late 1990s (after a lengthy legal battle with the residents), but it suffered enough to be nicknamed “Hickory Hood” just a few years later. Only West Memphis–south of Sumner Avenue, north of the southern portion of the I-240 beltway–seems to have remained stable over the years. At the same time, this lack of political initiative resulted in some pretty well-designed widened streets that still accommodate pedestrians pretty well, and the historic downtown commercial building stock is much better preserved than even a lot more vibrant cities.

    But clearly Memphis has a long way to go before it can even convince Memphians of the viability of its brand.

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