The Battle of Business
Updated: May 19
Chicago is a beautiful city full of history, culture, artwork, and diversity. It’s also one of the most infamous in American history. Battles have been fought on Chicago ground for centuries. Although the nature of them has changed in recent decades, they’re still as bloody and brutal as they’ve always been. The scars just aren’t as obvious as they used to be.
As I meandered through the neat and tidy streets of downtown Chicago trailing behind my taller and much faster paced compadres, we would occasionally stop to observe and discuss a sign on a trash can or bus stop archway and critique it from a regional marketing perspective. Being there for an annual marketing conference, we dutifully kept our marketing hats on, even while we traversed Chicago as wide-eyed tourists.
What struck me the most about Chicago was its boldness. Not just in local marketing campaigns, but in everything. Chicago is BOLD. Fearless. This city suffered through the bloody race riots of 1919, the “sinful, ginful” Al Capone era in the 1920s, violent street gang wars that began in the 1990s and lasted through the late 2000s, and brutal winters that fall well below freezing, causing major issues for the 5,000 homeless citizens trying to survive on the streets.
Chicago has been through some trying times and likely will face more in the future. Their saving grace, however, is that they’ve survived struggles most other cities would have crumpled under. Emerging from the ashes better and stronger than they were before. We can all use a page from Chicago’s robust playbook.
Regardless of your market, find your own ways to be bold and brave. Create plans, strategies, and designs that stand apart from the rest. It’s important to know and cater to your market, yes, but I believe it’s equally as important not to be stifled by it. Don’t wait for the future to come to you. Create the future you want to see.