Greener BeeGreen LivingArvia: Tinley getting in tune to the big brand era

Everybody wants the slogan.

But let’s get this straight: Tinley Park dropped $85,000 on Roger Brook’s company not for help with a slogan, but help with a brand.

A brand is what you’re known for. A slogan is what you’re known as.

Brooks is a marketing consultant. His mission in Tinley Park was to find out what the community has to offer, then figure out how to sell it to the village’s 58,000 residents, the 80,000 people living within three miles of the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Hickory Street, then the 200,000 within five miles — and maybe, someday, to the 170 million or so people who drive by each year on I-80 and I-57.

Arvia: Time to send locker-room talk to the showers

Arvia: Time to send locker-room talk to the showers

After the ugliest weekend ever in American politics, perhaps there is one thing on which we all — Democrat, Republican, undecided, future Canadian citizens — can agree.

We need a shower.

But perhaps not in a locker room, where we might be inclined to banter as men apparently have since homo habilis…

After the ugliest weekend ever in American politics, perhaps there is one thing on which we all — Democrat, Republican, undecided, future Canadian citizens — can agree.

We need a shower.

But perhaps not in a locker room, where we might be inclined to banter as men apparently have since homo habilis…

(Phil Arvia)

During that talk, Brooks grew more excited as he extolled the virtues of the village’s music theater, a pair of recent state champion school bands, numerous local live music venues and annual programs.

And you can see him revealing what must be a brand man’s version of planting tulip bulbs and striking oil.

“We went online and typed in ‘Music City, Illinois,'” he said. “Nobody came up.”

I mentioned that moment to village marketing director Donna Framke and could almost hear the gooseflesh rise on her arms.

“I know, right?” she said.

She’s excited because the village at last has a direction.

Forget about the movie theater/commuter parking complex/condo development that got recessioned into oblivion nearly a decade ago. Forget about pie-in-the-sky plans for the toxic nightmare that is the former Mental Health Center property.

“Music — that really does make us special,” Framke, an 18-year village employee and 1981 Andrew graduate, said. “It’s an easy brand to buy into and support.

Trump taxes? IRS expert suspects many happy returns

Trump taxes? IRS expert suspects many happy returns

Richard Schickel, who grew up in Thornton and graduated from Thornwood High School, retired not quite three years ago after 33 years with the Internal Revenue Service.

Since then, he’s written two books — “IRS Whistleblower” and “What to do When the IRS is After You” — and just last week popped…

Richard Schickel, who grew up in Thornton and graduated from Thornwood High School, retired not quite three years ago after 33 years with the Internal Revenue Service.

Since then, he’s written two books — “IRS Whistleblower” and “What to do When the IRS is After You” — and just last week popped…

(Phil Arvia)

“Most of the components have all been thought about at one time or another, but now we have the vision. We’re in the best position we’ve ever been in to move forward.”

There’s money in the budget. There’s momentum.

As a lifelong south suburbanite who has seen more than enough towns go from nice to not so nice to everybody I graduated with moved to Indiana, I applaud the vision. I encourage Tinley’s residents to, you’ll pardon the expression, play along.

For all its assets — a convention center, a music theater, a handful of hotels, Oak Park Avenue’s lovely commercial stretch — Tinley Park is still the place people drive out of to go to Frankfort, Orland Park and Chicago to dine and shop. How to reverse that trend has been discussed ad nauseam.

To borrow a phrase Brooks used in his presentation: That’s why you never see statues of committees in public parks.

“We get criticized for doing a lot of things — using consultants, in particular,” Mayor Dave Seaman said after Brooks concluded his presentation. “But this was not something we could have dreamed up sitting in a room by ourselves.”

By themselves, they might have argued about the various focuses suggested by the hundreds of response to an online survey: craft beer, a sports complex, festivals and events, green living, healthy living, kids family. Oh yeah, and music.

It turns out Tinley, to most folks outside of it, is known for the current Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. It also has nearly a dozen live music venues, plus the annual Caribbean Block Party and Rocktober Fest, the Music in the Plaza program, the library’s music series …

“When you have music that ingrained in your community, why the heck wouldn’t you want to leverage it?” Brooks said. “The problem is, everybody’s doing their own thing.

“If you just package these things, you’re going to be known for music. It’s already here.”

By early January, an action plan will be finalized. It will contain the recommended steps toward turning Tinley into a music destination, who’s charged with implementing those recommendations, how much they’ll cost, where the money’s coming from and which steps will be taken in what order.

If Brooks’ talking points are realized, Tinley will get music-themed signs directing visitors to and from various attractions around town. Crosswalks may become piano keyboards. A public square — tentatively tabbed “Harmony Square” — would land in the Oak Park Avenue corridor, featuring a splash pad that in the winter would become an ice rink. Where there are now perhaps 50 days of programming each year bringing people out to Oak Park Avenue, the goal is 250.

Brooks cited a similar initiative launched by Rapid City, Iowa, noting, “Within three years of building a downtown square, the average age of homebuyers dropped 12 years.”

And that’s the idea. Communities get old. Housing stock gets old. Young homebuyers refresh the properties and fill the schools with their kids. But they need a reason to move in.

“You want millennials?” Brooks said. “You need things to do after 6 o’clock. You need places for people to hang out. You need a pedestrian-friendly downtown.”

Tinley’s plan to get there involves weaving a common thread through every decision moving forward. If there’s a business to be courted, an improvement to be made, a development to be planned, one question will always be asked: How does music play into it?

For this to work, Brooks said, Tinley’s residents must adopt the attitude, “Music is in the DNA of everything we do.”

“That’s not a slogan,” he said. “That’s you’re mission statement.”

Phil Arvia is a freelance writer for the Daily Southtown.

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/opinion/ct-sta-arvia-column-st-1018-20161017-story.html


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