Dorothy Dobbie

1. Change our story. It is time for Manitobans to drop the negatives. Forget the cold, mosquito infested, pothole ridden, down trodden wilderness. Start talking about the sunny days, the lazy summers, the boundless lakes, the green elm canopy, the prosperous little towns that hide explosive and understated world class industries: Crown Royal (Gimli); HiLife (LaBroquerie); Bothwell Cheese (New Bothwell); Friesen Press (Altona); Polar Bears (Churchill); Portage Mutual Insurance (Portage La Prairie); firetrucks (Wawanesa); buses and farm equipment (Winnipeg); to name just a handful . . . 

2. Tell our story. Do a complete revamp of every scrap of paper, every brochure, every publication, every video that we currently use to promote Manitoba. Have this material re-written by story tellers, magazine publishers, book writers instead of public relations gurus. Stop trying to be Newfoundland and find our own voice in video, television, radio and on the Internet and social media. This is not a job for an advertising agency. Express it using the talents and ingenuity of our local artists from every arts discipline.

3. Celebrate our successes and our people. Applaud our people – past, present and developing for their energy, creativity, innovation and courage. Celebrate the great successes and bring to life the emerging stories. Use our plurality of voices which mingle into a harmonious hum in our province. Talk about our celebrated arts and cultural industries, our stars, our innovators, our scientists and doctors, our inventors. Our magical, beautiful places filled with spirit of Manitou and the first peoples who understood the mystery of this land. Talk about our vast northern plain in the Carrot Valley where the rich, black topsoil is 16 feet deep; about our extraordinary mineral resources, gifted to us to make lives better as we learn how to use the richness of this planet in a benign way.

4. Get the story out there. Launch both an internal and external campaign with the newly minted materials. Get all our current marketing agencies together to build a giant list that we can merge, purge and use to target our stories. Talk to Manitobans. Give them the help they need in articulating how they feel about this wonderful place. Tell our stories over and over again locally and abroad. Trust our people to be our personal but unofficial ambassadors, to take our stories (as they do our Hub magazine) to the far-flung reaches of the world.

5. Show up like big boys on the International scene. Go prepared with our heads full of information, the ability and confidence to make decisions and the determination to follow up when we talk trade. Arm our politicians with the best advice we can buy, and support them with knowledgeable, sophisticated people at their side. It’s all about posture in that world.

Dorothy Dobbie is the publisher of Lifestyles55 in Manitoba. She believes we can do anything in our province if we just do it. “We don’t need anyone’s permission! Just do it!”