A Look at Local Currency and Taking Charge of the Brand

Northeastern North Carolina’s regional currency took another blow. Sequestration is now the law. Legislative stressors to regional infrastructure such as unemployment insurance, funding for Head Start, and bills that support job creation, makes growth even more difficult, while at the same time, sparks the region’s most creative genius; a redo of its brand.

Building the local economy of economically distressed regions in the present political environment is what is being asked.  A cut to critical areas of community supports presents an unusual challenge.  Could it be that the timing of consistent and targeted cuts to some of the most vulnerable is enough to push the entire community to strengthen its entrepreneurship base, increase its graduation rates, and change public perspectives?

Little can be done by communities when Congress acts in a broad sweeping context such as the sequester. It is time communities decide to rewrite the stories that have been told about them. Dreaming is a powerful tool. Storytelling has always been an advocate of the extravagant visionary. Sequestration places communities in high need in a quandary. What to believe; and what to speak. There is a historical document that supports faith as a power unleashed when spoken, next comes the journey of believing and after that the manifestation.  It purports that you have to believe that certain things can exist before they do.

The poor existed within the context of sequestration debates before and after its passage. They did not vanish overnight, nor did their needs diminish. Unemployment and underemployment still exist. This makes for the case that the riddle of the condition of the poor and the eradication of poverty must be solved. Rhetoric must move beyond the brand of the poor being lazy, contrary and without hope; baby makers and takers and a tax burden, if resolve is the goal.

Association can malign communities and stymie their potential. Expectation is as powerful as dreaming. Real dreams are without inhibition. There is expectation. Identifying the local currency of low wealth communities and defining its relevance is a first step. The need to build public capital has been far spent. The grassroots community has the wherewithal to get in their game and make some decisions. The greatest strength a region of need has is its people and their unbridled connection to hope. Associations made about people dependent on public supports, is to cast a branding net that captures the reality of the community while giving glimpses of the region’s potential. It is taking local strengths to build a vision much bigger than expected, which in turn, enhances the region’s currency.

Believing in households with a history of public supports is part of the message that branding can send.  In the absence of corporate business capital, aggregating the assets of micro investors into pertinent business practices is statistically relevant. Grassroots business ventures have been working since Mary Kay to Microsoft.  The aerial view of distressed communities might be lacking now but with clear guidance and direction, receiving technical assistance and business development supports, it would show clusters of entrepreneurial activity. Communities would show signs of growth in tandem with a decreased dependency on public support.

In the world of marketing branding is everything. It is a set of associations that people make. In northeastern North Carolina, low wealth and economically distressed are clear associations that drag at the hems of our region. The power of makeovers is that, the tools used to redo, are found within the context of the product. Northeastern North Carolina is a product with an extraordinary story to tell that will sell. Before a product can be sold, however, there must be an unshakeable belief in it from every sector. Sequestration is that tipping point among cuts to the poor which will cause the poor to be invited into a game to call the plays that they own.