Yesterday, KLS ran this story on a recent poll that found Utah suffers from an unfavorable reputation around the nation.
Now, there is probably a poll that can prove almost anything. Also, the KSL story itself is kind of badly written as well, lacking much substance and using random and specific people to improperly draw broad conclusions. Plus, Utah’s economic recovery has generally been strong, suggesting that someone at least likes Utah. So all in all, it’s important to not put too much stock in this particular bit of information.
But all of that said, polls like this are bad for the state, and cities within the state — like Provo. In addition, I suspect that any Utahn who has traveled outside of the state has had personal experience supporting the findings of the poll.
If Utah was a teenager getting picked on by bullies, it’d be worth simply ignoring the haters.
But Utah isn’t a person getting bullied, it’s a region needing to attract development. It’s thus more akin to a company selling a product, and it therefore needs to be hyperaware of its brand. That’s an important distinction to make, and one that sometimes gets lost in our culture that rightly seeks to undo personal ostracism and stereotyping. In other words, image does matter in this case.
In this post and this post I talk about Provo’s reputation, and in this post I discuss “mystique.” The point of all these posts, this one included, is that Utah and Provo could be doing even better — economically, culturally, etc. — if we thoughtfully controlled our image and improved our brand. Of course, efforts are underway to do just that, but the survey mentioned by KSL is evidence of how far we have to go, and how important the process is.