Study gives tips for Chicago development

CHICAGO: A local economic development group has a new PR tool it is hoping business leaders will use when touting the benefits of being located in the Windy City.

CHICAGO: A local economic development group has a new PR tool it is hoping business leaders will use when touting the benefits of being located in the Windy City.

World Business Chicago, a 4-year-old partnership between city and area businesses, recently released results of a Chicago branding survey it had done over the past year. The study found Chicago's positive brand attributes are its business resources, quality of life, and people. Its negatives are its cold weather and a perception of a high crime rate. World Business plans to give away the key findings of the survey to businesses, and civic and governmental groups working to promote economic development in the area, said Meghan Risch, assistant director of public relations for the organization. World Business is planning a road show to begin later this month to present findings from the study to local business leaders and organizations, Risch said. The hope is that local boosters will pick up key messages form the survey when promoting the area. "It's a positioning statement," Risch said. The study suggests that Chicago should position itself as a place where businesses can maintain a high quality of life and a trained workforce, and have good infrastructure. "Have it all is a realistic aspirational brand identity that Chicago can work toward achieving," says a presentation that World Business Chicago has put together for the report. The issue of crime comes from what people see of Chicago in movies and on the news, Risch said. "The media is not educating people about Chicago, and that's the challenge we have," she said. "There are clearly misconceptions, and we have to work with the media again and again to correct them." Other weaknesses the survey found include high labor costs, the quality of local schools, and a lack of entrepreneurial spirit. Strengths included culture, location, diversity, a sense of community, and natural beauty. When asked to characterize Chicago as a person, respondents saw it as both a blue-collar male worker and a white collar conservative man, demonstrating that the city has something of a split personality in the mind of the respondents. The study was done by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management working with management consulting firm Prophet and local ad executive Jim Schmidt. Kellogg students conducted in-depth interviews with 80 corporate executives and members of the media for the survey.

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