Am I the only one who still loves NY?

Take a guess where New York City finished in The Reputation Institute’s 2011 City Mountain-,,goat-1 RepTrak? Forty-ninth place.

I will repeat that: Manhattan finished 49th! So much for ‘I love NY’. Heck, if you believe The Reputation Institute, just about no one loves New York anymore.

In fact, the Big Apple barely finished in the top half of a group of cities the Institute ranked on overall trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings as well as such other attributes as the local economy, administration and general appeal.

London topped the list (and, since I’m an Anglophile and absolutely adore Londontown, I have no problem with that at all). But London was followed by, get this, Geneva, Switzerland… Geneva Bloody Switzerland!

I just visited Geneva and, if pressed to describe it in one word, I’d opt for ‘boring’ with a capital B, and that rhymes with G, which stands for: ‘Gee, what was The Reputation Institute thinking?’

According to The Reputation Institute (a former Peppercom client, BTW), there’s “…a direct link between cities’ reputation and people’s willingness to visit them or do business in them.” Oh.
Kasper Nielsen (a good guy, BTW) says, ‘”…people are almost three times more likely to visit cities ranked in the top 10 compared with those ranked in the bottom 10 of the reputation ranking.” To which I respond: balderdash!

There’s no way tourists are selecting Geneva, Switzerland, over Manhattan. No way.
Could you imagine a happily married couple evaluating the relative charms of each venue for their upcoming vacation?

Lars: “Look at this, Helga. In New York, we can choose from the new 9/11 Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Broadway theatre, the U.N., Times Square and, of course, the Circle Line cruise.”
Helga: “Not so fast, Lars. Geneva has that water spout in the middle of Lake Geneva. The children love water spouts.”
Lars: “Ach. It is a dilemma. How will we ever decide?”

Sometimes, people take data too literally. And, while a city such as Geneva may poll dramatically higher than either New York or Hong Kong in certain categories, I simply do not believe that, when push comes to shove, the city by the lake is going to take tourism dollars or convention business away from its far bigger, far cooler competitors.

I hate to say this, but I’m questioning the reputation of the Reputation Institute’s City RepTrak.

What’s next? A Reputation Institute survey that reveals Americans have selected Fargo, SD over Camden, NJ, as the nation’s most livable crime capital? I wouldn’t buy it for a second. Not with the likes of Oakland, Houston and Miami in the wings.
As one of Jim Bouton’s ‘Ball Four’ baseball managers once said of his mathematical stats showing his improvement from one year to the next, ‘Tell your statistics to shut up!” Someone needs to say the same thing to The Reputation Institute.”


5 thoughts on “Am I the only one who still loves NY?

  1. I respect the methodology, but even if it measured the impressions of consumers in 115 countries, I’d still place my bets on NYC topping Geneva in terms of image, reputation and a destination of choice for consumers or businesses. That’s why I think interpreting such results with the heart is just as important as numbers-crunching with the head. This simply doesn’t compute intellectually.

  2. City RepTrak measures more than the tourist attractiveness of a place, since it focuses on Reputation, which is a combination of multiple aspects (that is why we are so interested in researching this subject and we are excited to announce the results of the first study). This survey ranks cities based on perceptions, not fact, and the study clearly shows that the perceptions of Geneva are more favourable than those of NY – among a representative sample of the general public in 15 countries around the world (rather than a non-representative sample of people in NYC…). For more information, please visit and join the conversation on our Reputation Institute Linkedin Discussion Group.

  3. I think this is a clear case of analytical people letting data convince them that a nonsensical finding is, in fact, sensible. No way Geneva trumps Manhattan. Ain’t no way. Ain’t no how.

  4. I think there must be something wrong with the Reputation Institute’s methodology (or blame it on Mercury Retrograde)…
    NYC is still one of the top tourist destinations in the world… If you believe NYC & Co., tourism continues to climb in the Big Apple… And if you’ve ever had to wrestle through the crowds in midtown during the Holiday Season, Gotham is not lacking in foot traffic.
    Heck, even the Gecko made sure he walked over the Brooklyn Bridge!
    With all due respect to Geneva…I HEART NY (with Paris as a close second and London third).