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Apr 6, 201510:25 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Managing state or regional brands is hard to get right — and keep right

(page 2 of 2)

Another regional brand, one that I coined in the early 2000s, is the “I-Q Corridor.” That refers to the interstate highway that binds Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but it also references innovation, intellectual property, investment, quality of life, workforce, and more. Those are shared brands that shouldn’t stop at state borders — especially as the Upper Midwest competes with the East and West coasts for business attention.

Want to live and work someplace where water isn’t rationed … or where business and housing costs aren’t artificially high … and where people actually show up for work when they’re supposed to do so? Then maybe the Upper Midwest’s I-Q Corridor is for you.

Cities also have a stake in smart branding. At the recent South by Southwest festival, the city of Austin, Texas, continued to stake its claim to being the nation’s digital health capital. That might surprise many people in the Madison area, who may assume Wisconsin’s capital city has a leg up thanks to the presence of Epic (the nation’s electronic health records leader) as well as a host of emerging health-tech companies.

That’s only true if the rest of the world knows about it, too. Maybe it’s time for Madison to become MED-ison when it comes to spreading the word about its expertise in digital health and other life sciences.

Brands matter. As Indiana has learned of late, years of work can be jeopardized overnight in a world that moves at the speed of social media and public opinion. It’s a lesson Wisconsin would do well to keep in mind.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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