If you have read the previous post about the history of Rally Saint Louis, you know the backstory: I’d been writing for Forbes for about three years, and in December 2011 I penned a piece called “St. Louis Doesn’t Suck” about what makes our city a great place to live, work and play. In it, I revisited some of the challenges St. Louis has had in articulating our quality of life to the outside world, and then laid out the structure of how we can go about informing people about the reality of life here in the region.
The reaction was rather electric. Most of us recognize that greater St. Louis has struggled to define itself to those outside the region, and it’s cost us jobs, political conventions, bright young minds, and new companies that may have moved here otherwise. My Forbes piece clearly struck a nerve and demonstrated that St. Louisans — from O’Fallon, Illinois, to O’Fallon, Missouri — are ready for change.
Following the story, my partner and I at Elasticity, Brian Cross, were approached by some leaders in the business community who suggested we take the excitement generated by “St. Louis Doesn’t Suck” and work to create a vehicle that might harness the apparent interest in community collaboration to better define what makes greater St. Louis a great place.
And, nearly a year later and hours upon hours spent building, selling the idea, and raising start-up capital — on Wednesday, November 14 we begin accepting ideas from the public for Rally Saint Louis (RallySTL.org). It’s a first-of-its-kind online platform aimed at shaping outside perceptions of metro-St. Louis by harnessing the collective ideas and financial backing of residents.
Here’s how it works:
- Beginning November 14, anyone visiting RallySTL.org can submit an idea for how to market the region. There is no set formula: From campaign slogans to beautification projects to highlighting a favorite cultural destination.
- Residents can then vote for their favorite campaign ideas, and those ideas receiving the most votes from the crowd will proceed.
- The Rally marketing committee, which is made of up marketers from companies and agencies in St. Louis (Anheuser Busch, Elasticity, Purina, Coolfire, Hardee’s, etc.), will set a budget and resources needed to complete the project.
- The budgeted ideas will then be put on the site for voting again, but by crowdfunding. If someone likes an idea and wants to see it executed, they must donate small denominations to see it come to fruition.
- If a project reaches it’s funding goals, it will be executed by a St. Louis-area partner. Ideas that do not reach funding goals are removed from the site.
It’s ideas from the people, for the people, paid for the by the people, representing the people, and I’d be remiss to not thank visionary St. Louisans like John and David Kemper, Lee Broughton and Andy Taylor, Phil Fusz, Jenna Petroff, Joe Reagan, Steve Johnson, Kitty Ratcliffe, Brian Hall, Tom Irwin, Kathy Osborn, Katie Jamboretz, and countless others who’ve really made Rally Saint Louis happen through their support.
In the end, it all comes down to this: St. Louisans appear tired of having the region represented in a manner that doesn’t represent the St. Louis we know. And now, if you have an idea or an interest in seeing the region continue to excel, you can play a role, contribute your voice and ensure St. Louis is properly represented as a great place to live, work, raise a family, visit, attend school, whatever.
Let’s all rally – Rally for St. Louis.