Selling Your City

Santa Clarita, California has come up with a new way of enforcing the city’s brand and getting people to have some civic pride. They started an online boutique. That’s right. The City of Santa Clarita has it’s own official online store. I was browsing the site and found myself desperately wishing that my own city had an online store.

Everything from diaper bags, onesies (yes they say “made In Santa Clarita”), to commuter mugs, shirts, caps, towels, hiking kits, and on and on. My personal favorite being an entire section where you can purchase street signs. Gone are the days of nefariously snatching the street sign from the street someone grew up on! Now they can simply be purchased online. Well if you live in Santa Clarita anyway.

This is very cool. Right now as I write this I am wearing one of a dozen t-shirts with my son’s school name on it. Because I have pride in my community and so do all the other people in my neighborhood who all run around wearing the same school shirts. If we had access to the same kind of shirts with the city name, would we wear those too? You bet.

All of us really do want to be part of our community. We want to show pride and be a part of all that goes on within. And though a simple online store may not seem like much, it’s is one more way a city can instill and support civic pride in it’s citizens. Connecting and boosting pride is what its all about.

It looks like it just may be something that smaller cities are starting to finally see. With the ever-increasing popularity of social Networking sites, it’s no surprise that many cities are trying to up their game by building profiles in places where citizens can connect and get involved with city events.

After Barack Obama’s historic win earlier this month using very similar means and the overwhelming response of people across the country to get involved, cities all over need to look at how they are connecting with their citizens. It’s obvious that now more than ever, people are ready, willing and able to get inolved.

Obama made a somewhat distant and bitter country suddenly feel like one small community all-working together. If he was able to do that using social networking, imagine how much could be accomplished if more cities did the same. Keep active blogs, maintain those Facebook & MySpace profiles, and maybe even build their own social networking site just for locals.

The possibilities are endless, and the people have shown their up for it. The people have made a statement, “We are here and ready take part”. Now it’s up to the cities to lead the way.

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Profile Photo Adriel Hampton

Very cool. And I actually didn’t connect until this post that you are Meghan1018! Will have to have your family over. I’m really interested in doing more in this space (small city civic engagement). Thanks for the post!

Profile Photo Mark Danielson

Hi Meghan,

Great ideas. Cities are selling themselves. To the folks who may live and work there. For the folks who live there now. Pride in community is an elemental thing for people. Cities that are loved and are great places to live all have that in common: people who visit there and who live there buy stuff to remind them of the place. To show pride in the place. And of course, that’s good advertising as well. Thanks for the post. MD

Profile Photo Pam Broviak

Meghan
That is a great idea! With sites like Zazzle and CafePress, small cities could easily get something like this started with little up front cost. Those sites even give you a widget you can then put on the city Website. I might even try doing that today for our city. Thanks.