City Transformation, Events, News

Detroit Homecoming is our Ice Bucket Challenge

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The Ice Bucket Challenge. What a concept. What a success. As of August 28 it raised $94.3 million for ALS and they’re still counting. Better yet it built awareness about this disease and the association dedicated to finding a cure.

The Challenge certainly delivered more than positive brand attention. It created a phenomenon that captured the interest of the entire nation and spread to other countries. In short, it went viral.

We have our own Ice Bucket Challenge coming up September 17-19 with the Detroit Homecoming. No, no one will be dumping freezing cold water over his or her head but this is an opportunity for us to use the same tools to build national and international awareness of our city’s ongoing transformation and where it’s going in the future. Those tools are creativity, social media and emotional connection.

detroit_homecomingThe Detroit Homecoming is creative. It brings 150 “expatriates,” whether they were born in Detroit or attended school in the region, back to the city to explore the opportunities to invest, engage and reshape the city and its story in its post-bankruptcy era. They’ll meet with key local executives, investors, entrepreneurs and grassroots leaders, all of whom will share stories about Detroit. They’ll be unexpected, sometimes surprising stories with great punch lines …stories those attending will want to share immediately as well as when they return to their homes.

As a result, the Detroit Homecoming will appeal to every social media platform … Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. There will be plenty to share fast, far and wide.

The Detroit Homecoming is an emotional connection. Those attending are coming back home, often to where they spent their childhood. Together, they’ll learn about the new Detroit as well as experience and visit places that are often difficult for out-of-towners to get to on a quick trip home. What they see will hopefully give them a sense of unity with those of us who live, work and play in Detroit every day. And, hopefully, it will encourage them to become part of the transformation … to invest, engage and reshape our city.

That is quite challenge that could create quite a phenomenon.

A recent article in Entrepreneur says the secret sauce to create a phenomenon is P.A.C.E.S. It needs to be positive, authentic, compelling, entertaining and simple. The Detroit Homecoming delivers all of them.

Just think what could happen if each of those 150 expats attending the Detroit Homecoming challenged three others to come here and see the transformation … and those three challenged another three and so on and so on. Detroit and its transformation would go viral and that would go a long way toward freezing up the unbalanced stories about our city.

Thank you to Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business for her leadership in bringing the Detroit Homecoming to all of us.

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