Selling a city the Nashville way: Marketing takeaways that translate from the show to your business

Michelle Kolenz

Account Manager

Monday, June 13, 2016

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Nashville, Tenn. is the new hub and melting pot of Millennials near and far, and from a marketing perspective, it’s become one case to note. I like to refer to it as the new Chicago. It has become more than home to the Grand Ole Opry and country music. Marketers have worked their magic and made it more. My personal love for Nashville started eight years ago. Facebook’s memory feature recently reminded me of the wonderful senior trip I took there. This trip started it all, but over the last five years, Nashville has become my home away from home, the place where I got engaged and a wonderful city filled with friendly locals, amazing food and live music.

Nashville: A marketing success story

You can imagine my thrill to learn many of my friends and colleagues were also growing to love the City of Nashville. Was it my tales of great stories or was it the show, Nashville, that drove people all over the world to visit Music City? It was obviously the latter. With the recent cancelling of the show, I learned that the show itself was the brainchild of Ryman Hospitality to market the City of Nashville. They pitched the show idea to ABC and boom … GENIUS!

Throughout the four seasons of the show, viewers got sneak peeks backstage at The Grand Ole Opry, at the quaint Blue Bird Café, inside infamous local bars like Tootsies as well as subtle hints of other local hot spots through t-shirts promotions like Loveless Café. The show produced a rise in tourism beyond what the City of Nashville could of imagined. (Now I understand the increase in property costs and hotel rates.)

How to sell your city (or company)

I’m not suggesting that every city market itself through a show on ABC, NBC, CBS, etc., but there are no limits when it comes to promoting your city (or company). Selling your company to a target audience through compelling storytelling is key. For example, take future recruits or candidates. A recruit or candidate wants to see how he or she can fit within your setting and your culture, how you integrate and contribute to the community, and all the awesome work you do.

My best advice and marketing takeaway: Find that passion factor – a common thread that will unite a group of people – and demonstrate it through a compelling channel just as Nashville did with its self-titled show. The passion factor will become a rally cry and people will take notice. What are the core elements of your company that will truly sell your organization? To discover one way we approach storytelling, check out our collection of recent brand videos.

(Image source: Hulu)

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