Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 271
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for December 23, 2004

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

I see "they" want to give Warrensburg a Christmas present - a new "brand." I've asked a few people what they think that means, and they're as baffled as the 2-year old given a new computer. I'm not particularly clear on it either. Is the intent to roll everything about Warrensburg into one catchphrase? Will something that will help industrial development also attract tourists or make CMSU attractive to new faculty and students? Is Springfield growing because it's the "Queen City of the Ozarks" or because it pays better bribes (tax breaks) to new businesses?

There is no doubt that Warrensburg's tourism "brand" needs to be Old Drum. It's unfortunate that there has always been resistance to using the story as a keystone of local tourism because some people of influence seem to think a sheep-killing dog is undignified. That's similar to the powers in Kansas City not wanting it to be known as a cowtown, something that other cities (Denver, Fort Worth) have embraced. As a result, Old Drum has been under-marketed and underutilized.

I don't know how Old Drum as a "brand" would play out with industry or the University. Would using a hunting dog as a symbol tell people that Warrensburg is so backward they should avoid us? I doubt that.

It is interesting that figuring out a "brand" for the city as a whole would take a $60,000 consultant. "They" are saying that all the various constituencies in town would need to buy into the "brand." If they can do that, maybe it's worth that much money - as long as the taxpayers aren't being forced to pay for it.

See also Gadfly 273 for an update.

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