Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.
What comes to mind when you think of Scottsdale? Luxury, golf and shopping… or “Snobsdale” and perhaps smugness? A variety of terms and connotations emerged during our class day, Beyond Scottsdale City Limits, where local leaders shared their thoughts on the role of collaboration among cities as well as the state of Scottsdale’s brand.
While all cities battle conflicting viewpoints to some extent, it seems the passion and pride of Scottsdale residents has been put into question a bit more since voters struck down the General Plan late last year. This issue has come up during many of our classes since the election, and it resurfaced once again as dignitaries from around the Valley converged.
Have the recession and other events from recent years altered Scottsdale’s brand? While it’s clear that many residents want changes – especially among those who hit the polls – I don’t believe the brand has suffered permanent damage. However, I do think more leaders and residents need to find common ground, goals and priorities.
Rachel Sacco, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, shared five key distinctions that make Scottsdale a desirable place to live and visit. Promoting these aspects of our city, she says, will help protect the Scottsdale brand.
- Desert Recreation – No doubt the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a local gem. More than 30,000 acres of pristine desert landscape and 120 miles of trails within city limits are certain to draw residents and tourists alike.
- Resort Lifestyle – There are many benefits to being dubbed a resort destination, especially in attracting affluent tourists who impact tax revenue. I also don’t mind living near a stone’s throw of poolside service.
- Arts – The Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts serves as a hub for the arts community, but artistic endeavors are present throughout the city.
- Events – Think Barrett Jackson, Phoenix Open, Parada Del Sol, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, etc. These events draw people from all over the Valley, state and even the nation.
- Transportation – This might be a weaker point from my perspective, but certainly worth noting and discussing. Ever been on Ollie the Trolley? Me neither, but I want to catch a ride one day!
Do you agree or disagree? At what level should local leaders focus on supporting these distinctions? How can Scottsdale collaborate with neighboring cities to further strengthen positive branding?