MILWAUKEE: A local business group wants to use PR to transform
Milwaukee's image from the city of beer and brats to one that can retain
talented young college grads and attract hip urban professionals.
Spirit of Milwaukee plans to commission a survey of national opinions
about Milwaukee. It has spoken with research firms as well as an unnamed
PR agency about carrying out the survey, said Dean Amhaus, president.
When the results are in early next year, Amhaus' organization will use
those findings to craft key messages to reshape the city's image.
In the meantime, Amhaus has begun a grassroots PR effort, encouraging
local radio personalities to discuss positive attributes of
He also plans to contact business leaders at such local companies as
Harley Davidson, asking them to talk up the city when they deliver
speeches across the country.
The three-year-old business group has discussed spending as much as
$1 million annually on promotional efforts for the city, but
Amhaus said a budget has not yet been established for next year. Group
funding comes from local businesses.
The group discussed advertising, but decided PR can be a more effective
tool. It likely will consider hiring a PR agency next year.
"Anybody can put out ads, what we need is credibility," Amhaus said.
The Spirit of Milwaukee was founded with the primary backing of Midwest
Express Airlines after the airline found it difficult to lure new
employees from larger cities.
The city and the state of Wisconsin also have found it increasingly
difficult to keep college grads in the area.
The program wants to craft PR messages to reach both 20-something grads
and 30-something executives, said Amhaus. It's considering a range of
efforts such as encouraging development of the local music scene to
produce a unique Milwaukee sound, Amhaus added. In particular, Amhaus
hopes to develop a music scene in Milwaukee that is comparable to the
fame and notoriety of the Seattle scene which burst out in the early
1990s with such bands as Nirvana and Soundgarden becoming