Supporting Anchor Personas

Last week I attended the The Community Foundation for Muskegon County’s annual gathering where Peter Kageyama gave a presentation on community development.  Here’s a similar talk at Peter gave at TEDxTamapBay.

The big idea from his presentation is that cities need to nurture their creative class.  That is the 1% of the population that is driven by purpose and meaning to make their community awesome.  The leaders of the creative class he calls “anchor personas”

Who are the anchor personas in your city or company?  They are easy to spot.  They are the innovators that are driven to create and nurture the community in which they live or work.  They are the ones that Peter says are “making the content that the rest of us consume” in our cities.

I agree with Peter’s call to augment traditional economic and community development by supporting the creative class.  Never miss a chance to help an anchor persona do what they do.  They create the content that sets the tone of a geography. They create the vibe that bring tourists, employers and investors.

If you live in Grand Rapids, I’d like to call your attention to young man named Steve Zaagman.  He’s an anchor persona that needs your support.

Steve hosts the weekly summer swing dance events in Rosa Parks Circle on Tuesday nights. He brings together over 40,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 21 over the course of the summer.  He also hosts outdoor movie nights.  Here’s a video of one of Steve’s fun Tuesday swing events in downtown Grand Rapids.

As a parent, I love the idea of young adults dancing downtown in the cool Michigan evenings.  That’s the type of wholesome entertainment that makes West Michigan so special.  And as a business consultant, I see an opportunity for a company to build major brand recognition with their core demographic by supporting Steve’s popular event.  Neither Steve nor I know who the sponsor might be, but somebody does.  Do you?

Let’s help Steve in his work as an anchor persona.  He needs a single sponsor to contribute $40,000 each year to keep this event going.  That’s a great deal at just $1 per potential customer and repeated impressions.  Steve guarantees he’ll make a “big deal” about the brand that steps up to sponsor these Grand Rapids Original Swing Society events at their events and on their Facebook page.

Contact Steve here:

Today is my 17,254th day of life and I’m honored to be an anchor persona in West Michigan along with passionate people like Steve Zaagman.