POV

06/06/2014

The Future Is Now.

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By Rebecca Lunna 

The geographic center of the contiguous U.S. is Lebanon, Kansas (give or take a few latitudinal and longitudinal degrees). And, given that we’re Minnesota-based, it doesn’t take much deductive reasoning to know why we’d think that the center of the country is also the center of the future of PR and marketing. But bear with us through this uncharacteristic Midwestern stream of humble bragging. There’s sound reasoning behind this theory.

The future of PR will be marked by upheaval, just as we’ve experienced in the last few years — and perhaps even more accelerated and dramatic. Our roles will keep changing. Our tools will be different. Our jobs will become increasingly multifaceted and take a broader array of skills than we likely would have predicted a mere two decades ago. (You know, before we could Google it.)

Here at Exponent, we believe that the most important element of our successful future is finding a place that supports the kind of innovation and sense of community that fosters an environment where good talent comes and stays. After all, talent is the core of our creative and service-oriented business — and that doesn’t change, no matter how far into the future you look.

So, why is the Midwest the place with the brightest present and future for PR talent? Let us tell you.

Hygge abounds.

Scandinavian roots mean a strong work ethic pervades the Midwest and so does hygge. Don’t know what hygge is? Think of the coziest, happiest, warmest feeling moments you’ve had. That’s hygge. And that sense of comfort and connection is super important in an always-on world. Now, in mid-January (or February… sometimes March…and the occasional April) you might be hard pressed to look at Al Roker’s national weather map and say, “There. There is the hygge-filled hub of opportunity that I’ve been looking for, full of creative people and a pioneering mindset.” But it is here. And finding a place where you can live and work is incredibly important. After all, the spaces between those two things are overlapping, but by all accounts we want — and will demand — both.

Good fortune in Fortune 500s.

There are 19 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Twin Cities alone and a strong presence of them across the Midwest. Making that list is an impressive feat of revenue, of course, but CNN cited additional elements critical to making the cut: adaptability, long-term focus, and valuing people and ideas over (or at least alongside of) financial capital and non-stop growth. These values brim over in the Midwest work and communications culture. And grads of Fortune 500s further infuse the local scene with creative and intellectual capital by creating startups, switching companies and sharing knowledge.

Livable is lovable.

Creativity is a core element of communications and public relations. And the Midwest has long been a culturally and creatively rich environment. As large cities (ahem, New York, we’re looking at you) become more expensive and less conducive to living and creating, artists and other creative types will seek out new places to work, live and create. (Note to David Byrne and Moby, come check us out.) It’s not just Midwestern arts and culture that get blue ribbons. It’s also fitness, health, quality of living and stress levels (an area where Midwestern cities don’t just show up — they dominate).

Take a gander at just about any top-ten list dedicated to attaining better health, a more fit and active lifestyle or less stress. Looks like most of them should start with living in the Midwest. And maybe in the future — or starting now — they will start to seriously consider it.

This article is included in PR Newswire's "60 Years of Storytelling" collection. View the compete campaign here

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