Chamber studying ways to help community fly

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has launched an eight-week study on ways to better market the community to attract businesses and new residents.

On Thursday, Andrew Davis, a marketing specialist who works with business leaders on “how to grow their businesses, transform their cities and leave their legacy,” spoke to the chamber’s online Rooster Booster Breakfast and later talked to small groups of political and business leaders at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

“Wow, what a place,” he told the Rooster Booster audience. “You’ve got something special here.”

Later, Davis told political leaders at the Hall of Fame, “I’m really excited about Owensboro. Your (Smothers) park is awesome.”

But he said the community needs to ask itself, “Why Owensboro? Why are we still here?”

Answering that question will help the community sell itself to both businesses looking for new locations and people considering moving, Davis said.

It will also help with attracting visitors to the city, he said.

“People want a story attached to what they buy,” Davis said.

Communities need to create location envy to help attract newcomers, he said.

Before Davis sold his digital marketing business, he produced for NBC’s “Today Show,” worked for “The Muppets” in New York and wrote for Charles Kuralt.

After he sold his business, he said he was at a loss to decide what he would do next.

So, Davis visited 54 communities to see what made them either successful or unsuccessful.

In his book “Town Inc.,” he wrote that he noticed that the boomtowns had “one amazing shared attribute, they all stake their claim as a ‘capital of the world’.”

On Thursday, Davis said, “Towns without a claim fare worse than those with a claim.”

He wrote, “These places are known for something remarkable, instead of nothing memorable.”

In 1955, Bob King, then executive vice president of the chamber, suggested that the city brand itself as “The Barbecue Capital of the World.”

Sixty-five years later, the city still calls itself that and has hosted the “International Bar-B-Q Festival” every May for more than 40 years — until this year when it was canceled by the pandemic.

Owensboro also calls itself “The Home of Bluegrass Music.”

“This is just the beginning, Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president, told those attending the first session. “Over the next eight weeks, we’re going to see how we can fly.”

By: Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer