Don’t get me wrong. There are a few good agencies here that do good work. But to generalize, the Charlotte marketing industry is, at best:
But to elaborate-
Bland: Overall, nothing very vibrant and fresh has hit the pavement and buildings of the Queen City. There’s no exciting viral campaign going on, no publicity stunts or news conferences. There is no agency dictating the perception of human behavior and perception.
Conservative: This tidbit overlaps with the previous one. Being in an over-built financial town, of course regulation (I’m looking at you FCC, SEC) will inhibit a lot of effort in communications. But there’s plenty more businesses in Charlotte that are able to loosen that white-collar, and do something flashy. It seems like we’ll be the ones that start it.
International: What is cool and blows at the same time is that the agencies that are based in Charlotte that we really like (BooneOakley, ok…so “agency”) do nothing but national and international work. Awesome. So, what about Charlotte? They must have seen what we’re seeing (maybe) and decided back then that they’re work has to go elsewhere.
Social Media Focused: Charlotte if not anything else, is locked on to social media. I think the social media here rivals the likes in Silicon Valley, Denver, Atlanta, and is nipping the heels of Boston and New York City. I haven’t seen anything like it. But, when one talks about specialization, there’s the other side of the spectrum. Discussing market research, consumer behavior and other traditional marketing topics get thrown to the back-burner. Of course social media is here to stay, but discussing the integration of it shouldn’t (in my naive opinion) dominate the industry.
Young: Charlotte grew fast. Very fast. And with rapid growth some things lag behind. Urban development, for one (see my article “Making a City Sexy”), small business support, a solid and flourishing arts district (which is gaining traction), and of course- a thriving marketing industry. All the cities I’ve mentioned before has all of these. Charlotte is getting there, but its still an uphill battle.
Developing: Charlotte still has a strong “Good Ol’ Boy Network” where these groups of people (Board of County Commissioners, Center City Partners, Charlotte Regional Partnership, CCOG, Arts and Science Council) basically play musical chairs and keep power amongst themselves, and allow those who don’t threaten them to have a seat at the table.
That’s going to have to change. Charlotte deserves better.
And Charlotte will get better once this latest trend/shift of young talent and brain power starts to take hold of certain establishments in Charlotte.
And we’re itching to break off a piece.