North

http://www.wsj.com/articles/minnesotas-new-cool-image-as-the-north-1421881346 I’m in, inasmuch as the brain trust would let me in, and inasmuch there’s an obvious place for the brain trust to take this. I guess its marketing. But yeah, he’s right. I think we’re talking about Eric Dayton here who is articulating it most forcefully. We’re not getting our due as a region in the Midwest because we’re not top of mind as being in the Midwest. Indiana is top of mind as being in the Midwest. We’re suffering in that company, it’s unfair. You take ‘North’ and make it ours, that probably addresses that problem.

I will say, we just got Politico’s #1 ranking for quality of life indices, but the WSJ article is about….Veblen goods. Veblen goods of a certain type now, Veblen goods with a utilitarian chic, that utilitarian-ness serving to mute the frivolity and pretentiousness of their being Veblen goods… We’re going for an LL Bean / Eddie Bauer thing here, which is not hoity toity… but this is still Veblen goods. And I love Veblen goods, I do not have the moral conflicts about them that some do. But the quality of our Veblen goods is about the 15th or 20th best thing in Minnesota, amirite? It’s just to say it seems a superficial thing to focus on, and doesn’t seem entirely natural that it should be a musing of the state’s Democrat in-crowd.

But I certainly think it’s a valid marketing angle. We have a Veblen goods magazine here, MSPMag. With its focus on high dollar dentistry and urban interiors, I think it’s got narrow appeal. Just about everyone aspires to a sort of LL Bean / Eddie Bauer / cabin chic lifestyle. If you can construct a medium or message that tickles that in a mass audience I think you can…. sell stuff, “North’ stuff …if that’s what it’s all about. And I’m not saying that’s bad if it is.

So with my capacity for creativity I built a … new Twitter feed… last night. It follows about 250 Minnesota things, has no followers. It’s got a ‘North’ name, one that was available. Obviously, you put your nose to the grindstone and tweet, you can build a following, which you can monetize. People do it. I am not a guy who tweets though. My first hang up has always been originality, too self-conscious of duplication. But ya figure ya gotta get over that, as duplication is the coin of the Twitter realm. I’ll toy with it.

I do like these stores. I will go to Askov Finlayson, and hope to buy one of their NORTH tossle hats. I don’t know precisely what their angle is. Gentlemans’ store, cabin chic, outfitting, outfitting for poseurs, hybrid of all… I like outfitting stores. I like the one on Canal Park in Duluth, who’s name I can’t recall. We had one in Stillwater when I was growing up, St. Croix Outiftters. There’s a gentlemans’ store across the street from where I’m at, Hymie’s Haberdashery. It’s not an outfitters, but it’s tweedy.

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