Just so you don't feel so bad -- Fort Wayne, as the second-largest city in Indiana, a place with no special geographic or cultural feature, is not alone in feeling insecure and in need of a special "brand" to sell itself. The largest city in Canada, with more than 2.5 million people, has an inferiority complex, too:
Others were whimsical: Why, asked one participant, is Toronto afraid to market itself as a great place to come in the winter?
Some participants liked bidding for special events such as the Olympics; others said that after two failed Olympic bids it's time to put that dream to rest.
Some liked the idea of promoting Toronto's ranking as a financial or cultural centre; one skeptical participant noted that a wide-ranging ranking of U.S. cities once put Buffalo as America's top city because it was mediocre at everything and last-place in nothing.
While Clark was there to listen, he wasn't afraid to offer advice.
To market itself, he said in an interview, Toronto needs a core identity that everyone understands, from CEOs to taxi drivers.
That's right, the expert said what Toronto needed was a "core identity" -- haven't heard that too much, have we? I don't think you can invent one, or make a snappy slogan substitute for one. For every great slogan (what happens in Las Vegas, etc.), there are a dozen flops like, well, Fort Wayne's Room for Dreams and "The City Beautiful" (which Orlando and Coral Gables fought over a couple of years ago.