“Build it and they will come.” No other phrase captures the magic of modern-day Miami quite like this admittedly overused quote.
Yes, the Magic City has long been a luxury hotspot with gorgeous beaches, high-end restaurants and some of the world’s best nightlife, but nobody (seriously, nobody) could’ve predicted the energy and momentum currently coursing through my hometown.
For years, marketers like yours truly tried to bill Miami as one of the world’s great cities. We’d point to tentpole events like Art Basel Miami Beach and world-renowned destinations like Wynwood Walls in hopes of sneaking into national newspapers, magazines and shows hyper fixated on LA and New York. Almost without fail, our pleas would be met with polite, but uninterested smiles and, if we were lucky, vague references to some special “Miami Issue” down the road.
Of course, Miami’s army of publicists persisted. It’s part of the gig, afterall.
We continued to cobble together data points and anecdotes to give weight to claims of market momentum and financial stability. We touted the positive impact projects like Miami World Center, The Underline and others would have on our city’s walkability and street-level urban fabric.
We continued to receive more of those empty smiles – until we didn’t.
Thanks to Mayor Francis Suarez’s famous “How can I Help?” tweet, those same media outlets who’d given us the cold shoulder were suddenly staffing up their Miami offices, doubling down to cover the same projects, initiatives and success stories we’d been following up about for years.
Despite coming years late, early reports on the city’s flowering tech and finance scene (looking at you FT) were a collective win for local storytellers. Not only did these articles give kudos to the many local entrepreneurs and businesses who propelled Miami forward – they also created a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, attracting promising new talent, mountains of capital, and catalyzing a new era of growth for the 305.
Seeing this process unfold gave me a newfound sense of professional pride. Sure, publicists aren’t on the frontlines building skyscrapers or establishing corporations, but the stories we help tell hold the power to inspire. After all, if we could play a role in manifesting this new tech-driven Miami, what else could we will into existence?
This question was top of mind last week as I watched videos of record-breaking floods across South Florida. I wondered the same thing when I read about the lack of accessible housing or hear about potential impacts of sea level rise and climate change on our beautiful city.
Don’t get me wrong. These are serious issues that will require hard work and considerable resources to address, but I can’t help but feel that by amplifying awareness around the diverse initiatives currently underway, we can kick-start another self-fulfilling prophecy: hopefully a climate- friendly and inclusive one.
The pieces are all there.
Thanks to the Aspen Institute, Miami is now host to one of the world’s foremost pro-climate summits, bringing together leaders across numerous industries to collaboratively identify solutions to pressing climate-related challenges. The city also has numerous, out-of-the-box ideas for ways to capture CO2 and preserve our oceans, as well as deliver more housing for all income levels. Young residents are taking matters into their own hands and organizing grass root clean ups. Hell, Miamians – known for their addiction to suburban sprawl – are even beginning to wean themselves off of personal vehicles in favor of greener alternatives.
So, what’s missing? I’d argue it’s a spark that unites disparate efforts behind a single, unified cause. Another viral tweet or tik tok video or perhaps an article or story that inspires large-scale mobilization.
Easier said than done, yes, but we all saw it happen once already.
In the meantime, local marketers and storytellers will continue to do our part, helping manifest a future Miami we can all stand behind – even if the media doesn’t immediately hop on board.
It is part of the gig, after all.
About the Author
Jorge Mendez, VP, Spaces
With nearly a decade in the real estate marketing world, Jorge has partnered with a diverse roster of industry-leading clients to drive commercial objectives, promote stakeholder buy-in, and maximize overall visibility. Over the course of his career, Jorge has proven himself to be a valuable C-suite counselor, working hand in hand with top real estate executives to advance and shape their personal and professional profiles. Prior to joining Antenna, Jorge spent nearly a decade with Miami-based rbb Communications, where he oversaw a variety of clients ranging from professional and consumer services to tip-of-the-spear sustainability companies.