Take a guess where New York City finished in The Reputation Institute's 2011 City 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."